When accessories designer Cora Thomas first saw yacht broker Henry Guest at a wine bar in Venice, California, she remembers noticing how handsome he was and chastising herself. “Of course, the one night I show up to a bar looking like a mess,” she thought. But Henry clearly disagreed with her assessment, since he spent most of the evening glancing in her direction. “It took me about 45 minutes of staring and a few glasses of wine to pluck up the courage to speak to her,” he says. “He introduced himself and as soon as I heard the British accent, I knew I was a goner,” Cora adds. From that day on, the two were inseparable.
A little over a year later, Cora was at her family’s house in Connecticut frantically trying to finish some work before she and Henry headed off to a three-week vacation in Italy. She suspected he was going to propose sometime during the trip, but instead, while she was sitting at her computer in jeans and wet hair, she suddenly saw her dog Marley walk in with a tiny basket around her neck containing a small ring box. “I burst into tears as soon as I realized what was happening,” she says. “It was really perfect because we celebrated with my family that night.”
The couple decided to get married somewhat sooner than they initially thought, due to the declining health of Cora’s grandfather, whom she wanted to attend. They set their wedding date for December and chose New York as their destination, in order to make it easier for Henry’s entire family, who is based in England, to make the trip. “My grandparents got married in New York at The Church of the Heavenly Rest 63 years ago, so we decided it would be really special to also have our ceremony there,” the bride explains. “We have an almost identical photo from their wedding and ours. It’s so sweet!” Since it was a small event, the two passed on hiring a wedding planner, but enlisted Weaver Events for help on the day of. “Alana Moskowitz really saved me that day!” Cora adds.
Unlike most brides, Cora chose the very first wedding dress she tried on: a long-sleeved, lace Oscar de la Renta gown. The day of the wedding, her grandparents gifted her a pearl and diamond bracelet her grandfather had given to her grandmother on their wedding day 63 years ago. She finished off her look with diamond studs and soft, dewy makeup by Aya Kudomua. Meanwhile, her future husband wore a three-piece Burberry suit.
The day of the ceremony, friends and family gathered at The Church of the Heavenly Rest to witness Cora and Henry’s wedding. “I walked down the aisle with my father at what seemed like a snail’s pace to meet Henry at the altar,” she says. “I look back and think I should have walked even slower to make that moment last longer.” As for Henry, he says he’ll never forget the moment he saw his future wife that day. “I remember turning around to see Cora for the first time as she got out of the car and it was like New York stood still and my very own Grace Kelly emerged,” he says. “We also got the first snowfall of the year that day, which made it even more magical.”
A dinner reception at the upstairs dining room of La Grenouille followed, where a traditional four-course French meal was served, while dessert included macerated berries and a small wedding cake from Momofuku Milk Bar. Dinner featured several toasts from the father of the bride, the groom’s best friend, and a serendipitous speech from Cora’s mother, which ended with her reading out a list she had found years earlier. “I remember writing a list of all the qualities I would like in a husband after a terrible break up (and about a dozen glasses of white wine),” Cora explains. “Needless to say, Henry checked every box.”
Funnily enough, the couple ended up having their first dance alone. “We started dancing to ‘What a Fool Believes’ by the Doobie Brothers,” she explains. “It came on and we were upstairs, alone for the first time all night, and we just started dancing. I remember that moment so vividly and just thinking how much I wish the night would never end.”
After the reception wrapped up, the newlyweds and their friends headed to the penthouse at the London Hotel and had a “crazy little after party.” “At around 2:00 a.m., two of my closest friends performed a scene from White Christmas called ‘Sisters, Sisters,’” Cora remembers. “Big blue caribou fans emerged along with spot on choreography. If you know the movie, you will understand—it was amazing and hilarious!”