Winter weddings, especially those around the holidays, have a special glow. The snow, twinkle lights, winter greenery, and candlelight all conspire to create a once-a-year kind of magic. Add to that all the love wrapping around a couple committing to one another and it’s headier than any mulled wine or hot toddy!
Liesel and Harmin began their wedding journey with a sweet engagement in Brooklyn Bridge Park (pictures below!). At the time, they thought they’d have one ceremony and big wedding, but things changed for everyone in early 2020 and so did the celebration these two had in the works. So, they adjusted their sails, postponing the larger party until 2021 and planning an intimate holiday ceremony at Cleveland’s Old Stone Church and an intimate dinner at Le Petit Triangle.
Get the details of their winter celebration from our elegant bride, who wore gorgeous, bespoke white gloves with her custom Lea-Ann Belter gown and veil:
How did you two get engaged?
“Harmin planned a perfectly lovely proposal in Brooklyn Bridge Park overlooking the Manhattan skyline, followed by an engagement photo session and dinner at The River Café. It was certainly an evening to remember!”
How did you choose your gown?
“The weekend following our engagement, my mother and I went to brunch to celebrate. In my mother’s typical fun and spontaneous nature, she suggested we go to the bridal salon, Brides by the Falls, down the street just to look. We walked in, and Jennifer Esposito-Hatina and her team were immediately accommodating – even on a Saturday, without an appointment.
I had a look in mind: timeless and elegant, but a bit chic and fashion-forward. Structured taffeta or silk Mikado. No embellishments or lace. Poofy. An endlessly long train. And, possibly a huge bow on the back. Also, something that would age well and be granted the approval of even the most conservative guests in the room – including my mother! Dress shopping made me nervous – I knew I would either fall in love with a dress instantly or be looking for quite awhile. My mother and I leaned toward a couple dresses right away. The first dress I tried on was the Lea-Ann Belter Aster, an A-line made of silk Mikado. I tried on a few others, but nothing compared to the Aster. So, we decided the Aster was the one. Jennifer suggested we come back in a few months, during the Lea-Ann trunk show, when a Lea-Ann representative would be present.
Over the next few months, I thought of additional elements to be included: a long train, a big bow, more poof, and subtle pleats to amplify the poof. When we arrived at the trunk show, I shared my vision with Karen Lackner, International Sales Manager with Lea-Ann Belter, and Jennifer. We played with different pieces available in the store to best replicate my vision, with the Aster as a base. Ultimately, Lea-Ann agreed to create a custom gown to match my vision, and would send me a sketch. Leaving the store that day, I had no idea what my gown would look like. A few weeks later, Lea-Ann sent me a sketch of the dress. It was such a keepsake!
The time eventually came when the gown arrived at the salon. At my first fitting, I tried it on, and it was everything I had envisioned and more. Lea-Ann made each request come true in a single dress – a 3-4 foot train, big bow, poofy skirt with subtle pleats, all out of the Aster as a base. In addition, Lea-Ann created a simple tulle veil with no ruching that was slightly longer than my train. To top it off, Lea-Ann worked with Wing & Weft Gloves, a glovemaker out of New York’s Garment District who made Dr. Biden and Vice President Harris’s gloves for the inauguration, in supplying them with fabric from my dress to make matching custom opera-length gloves.”
Tell us about your day!
“With respect to the pandemic, in order to further prevent the spread of COVID-19, The Old Stone Church Session restricted the numbers of guests to ten. Therefore, the ceremony was limited to immediate family and honor attendants, after which we had a small dinner reception at Le Petit Triangle.”
One detail you couldn’t live without?
“One detail I could not live without was making sure my late grandmother, Nonie, was present in different ways throughout the day – though nothing could replace her actually being there. She was my best friend and biggest role model. We had her photo displayed in the suite that I, my mother, and attendants got ready in, my something borrowed was her amethyst, borrowed from my mother, and our cake topper was her Dresden figurine.”
What was your something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue?
“Something Old: Gold Band, given by the Father of the Bride. Engraved with: “C.G.C. to J.E.B. April 17th 1916”. This was the wedding band of June Cummings, Paternal Great-Grandmother of the Bride. June’s gold wedding band matched her husband’s, Chester Cummings, Paternal Great-Grandfather of the Bride. Complementing June’s, Chester’s gold wedding band is engraved with: “J.E.B. to C.G.C. April 17th 1916”. Harmin wore Chester’s ring as his wedding band, while Liesel wore June’s wedding band on her right ring finger.
Something New: Lea-Ann Belter Tulle Veil.
Something Borrowed: Nonie’s (Maternal Grandmother of the Bride) Purple Amethyst Ring, borrowed from the Mother of the Bride.
Something Blue: Emilia Wickstead Grosgrain Slingback Pumps.
And I also had a sixpence in my shoe!”
Liesel + Harmin’s Old Stone Church Wedding Vendors
wedding dress: custom Lea-Ann Belter gown and veil via Brides by the Falls | dinner celebration photographer: Emily Schmader Photographer | getting ready, ceremony + portrait photographer: Genevieve Nisly Photography | ceremony venue: Old Stone Church | dinner venue: Le Petit Triangle | hotel suite: Renaissance Cleveland Hotel | bridal gloves, shoes, + bag: Wing & Weft Gloves, Emilia Wickstead, The Row | hair + makeup: Shelby Lieb of Beauty Bar | tuxedo: Vera Wang | bridesmaid dresses: Alfred Sung | florals: Roses for Weddings, Inc. | stationer: Reaves Engraving | jeweler: William Stearns Designs