Whitney Renee Lewis and Steven Lawrence Ciosek first met on the soccer field in high school. “I was the only girl on the club team!” she recalls. Years later, as they were headed into their senior year of college, they reconnected as coworkers at a gym. “Over time we became friends, slowly became best friends, and then one day, we realized we were soulmates.”
After six years together, Steve surprised Whitney and proposed during her charity dinner for the NYC Marathon. “I had a feeling it may occur at our anniversary dinner the next week, so I already had an engagement outfit planned,” Whitney laughs. “Instead, Steve called his supervisor before the dinner and said ‘I’m going to be late to work tonight, I’ve gotta propose to my girlfriend.’” Of course, his boss let him have the night off, and Steve snuck into the restaurant and got down on one knee.
The two originally planned for a wedding on May 29, 2020, but as COVID-19 became bigger they postponed to June 5, 2021. Aesthetically, Whitney wanted a classic and clean look for their ceremony and reception. “My goal was to make sure that when I look back on my wedding in 40 years, I don’t say ‘What the hell was I thinking?!'” she exclaims.
To wear on her wedding day, the bride chose Kelly Faetanini’s Phoebe gown with a matching overskirt from Bridal Atelier Montclair. And to complete the look, she added Oscar de la Renta earrings and Miu Miu heels. On the day-of, Naomi Wiggins and Stephanie Weiss gave Whitney a natural, clean beauty look.
Steve wore a suit from The Black Tux. His first two fittings were actually cancelled last minute because the locations were closing due to COVID. And at the rescheduled 2021 appointment, they nearly ran out of black suits for the groom and his groomsmen, which would not be ideal, since the bridesmaids were all wearing black. Thankfully, it all came together perfectly.
In the skyline garden of the Atlantic City Country Club, a string duo played “At Last” by Etta James—a cheeky nod to their postponement—as Whitney walked down the aisle with her parents. “I’m an only child, so it felt right to have them both there,” she explains. Then, one of the couple’s best friends married the two in a sweet ceremony.
Once they both said, “I do,” the cocktail hour began on the outside deck, followed by an elegant plated dinner. “Since [the] majority of the events were outside, folks felt more comfortable being around each other,” Whitney notes. And as the newlyweds entered the reception, guests waved their napkins in the air—a nod to the Trinidadian party custom. And after their first dance to “Always and Forever” by Luther Vandross, everyone stayed outdoors to celebrate the rest of the night and dance to classics mixed with soca and calypso hits.
The bride’s favorite part of the reception was the anniversary dance to “You Make Me Feel So Young” by Frank Sinatra. Couples were called off the dance floor by the number of years they’d been married, and Whitney’s grandparents, who had just celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary, were the last ones standing. “It brought so much happiness to my heart and a sense of pride to have them as an example, as we set off on our marriage journey,” the bride shares. “With my grandparents in their late 80s, and my grandmother on my other side, [who] survived COVID-19 after three weeks on a ventilator and more than two months in the hospital, it was a blessing to have all of them there for this important moment.”
As the formal festivities came to a close, everyone moved to the clubhouse bar for more revelry, late-night snacks, and pub games. And the new Mr. and Mrs. are planning on going to Hawaii in September for a tropical honeymoon.