Emily Leonardo, an art advisor and principal of E. Leonardo Art Consultancy firm, and Gregg Geffen, a Managing Director at J.P. Morgan, met via the dating app Hinge. The two were both away on holiday, when they first matched and connected, and Gregg initially tried to set up a date for three weeks later when they’d both be back in town. “Not knowing what a planner he is, I brushed him off, thinking he’d forget about me by then. Lo and behold, he followed up three weeks later to the day, and scheduled a date on a Saturday night—after he had dinner with his parents—all of which I found adorable,” says Emily.
A few weeks later during a blizzard, she was “trapped” in his apartment for three whole days, but even once the snow started melting, the pair knew they wanted to stay together.
After two years of dating, Gregg proposed on a random Tuesday, after his original plan was derailed due to the ring not being ready in time. “Gregg had an elaborate proposal planned to coincide with our anniversary celebration in Joshua Tree. He worked with a friend of mine to design the most beautiful ring of rubies encircling a diamond, based off of an antique ring I had shown him long before. He envisioned kneeling in the desert during sunset on New Year’s Eve,” recalls Emily. But the day Gregg got the ring from the jeweler, he got down on one knee. “He said once he had it, he couldn’t wait a day longer!” He even had “Blizzard Love” engraved on the band, a nod to that snowy weekend.
Looking to escape the cold that brought them closer, the newly engaged couple chose Mexico City for their destination wedding and found their perfect venue at Luis Barragán’s Casa Pedregal. “After a magical visit, we approached the owner (he rarely allows events), and thankfully, he agreed once he saw how much we loved and appreciated the house,” says Emily.
For their invitation suite and signage, graphic designer Rosaura Unangst of Pigment and Parchment was able to capture the casa’s vibrant landscape. And the couple hired Lum Eventos to plan their big day. “Most importantly, we wanted our guests to feel as though they were going on a journey through the house and property, experiencing each distinct space individually, as Barragán intended. Therefore, the ceremony took place in the front courtyard, the cocktail hour took place in the backyard, and then the dinner was held in the pool and gardens,” the bride explains.
When looking for a dress, Emily knew she wanted something with a sleeve, or something that could be paired easily with gloves, and still appropriate for the location’s 70 degree weather. She landed on a long-sleeve, sheer lace gown by Oscar de la Renta. “If I’m being completely honest, I ultimately picked it because Oscar de la Renta’s bridal specialist told me it made me look tall (I am 5′ 4”)! I was sold,” she reveals. The dress was paired with grey Roger Vivier strappy sandals and the mother-of-the-bride’s antique diamond earrings. For beauty, Emily went with a dewy, natural look with a berry stained lip and loose waves.
The groom wore a cream Tom Ford dinner jacket and bespoke tuxedo pants. “I told him my look would be formal, so he changed from loafers to patent leather tux shoes at the last minute,” the bride says. While the couple didn’t have an official bridal party, close friends and family arrived early for photos and were asked to wear looks inspired by the color palette of the pink house and its gardens.
“Before the ceremony began, Gregg and I gathered with our families in the pink-tiled kitchen of the house for a few final moments together. We hadn’t had time to rehearse the ceremony at all, but laughing and joking together, we were able to release some of our nervous energy!” Emily says. While they were prepping, guests found their seats in the front courtyard, while a mariachi band played Mexican ballads. As the ceremony started, Gregg and Emily met at the base of the aisle and walked down together to “Contigo Aprendi” (With You, I’ve Learned) by Armando Manzanero. “As soon as I saw Gregg holding his hand out to me, I felt completely at ease,” she says.
Gregg’s brother, Brian, officiated the ceremony. “[Brian] gave such a touching and funny tribute to our relationship based on interviews he had done with each of us separately. He and Gregg are very close, and I, as an only child, feel so lucky to have gained such a special brother-in-law,” recalls the bride. She paid tribute to her mother, who passed away four years prior, by reading from the Oliver Sacks essay “My Own Life.” “I definitely struggled to get through the passage at some points, but it was also one of the most meaningful and emotional moments of the day.”
The couple also incorporated the Mexican custom of the Lazo, or lasso, which is a floral garland that their families placed over them in a figure eight formation—a symbol of infinite union. As they had their first kiss as a married duo, all the guests shook the maracas placed on their chairs, and the mariachi band gave them a rousing send-off. “Immediately after the ceremony, I collapsed into tears in Gregg’s arms—everything I had been holding in came pouring out!” Emily says.
After the mascara was double-checked, the newlywed’s photographer grabbed them for an impromptu photo shoot in the lava rock gardens, while guests roamed to the backyard where margaritas were being served. The two made their reception entrance to Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good,” which got a standing ovation.
For dinner, everyone moved by the pool and were seated around two long tables set with ceramic vases filled with overflowing pastel-hued flowers, pink tapered candles, and platters of fruit. “Our local florists at Kado Boutique picked seasonal flowers and fruits that that celebrated the indigenous flavor of the Pedregal neighborhood. Caterers Les Croissants helped find us traditional Mexican barro dishware, and our planners sourced fringed tablecloths designed for us by artisans in Oaxaca,” explains the bride.
Gregg is very passionate about food, so he wanted to showcase traditional Mexican cuisine in the menu. Sea bass ceviche, Oaxacan tamales, and red and green enchiladas were served with sides of rice and corn soufflé. And for dessert, flan was paired with carajillos, an after-dinner drink of espresso and a Mexican liquor. The vanilla, dulce de leche, and cardamom cake had been decorated with edible flowers and was made by Cato Con Amor. As a late-night snack, churros dipped in chocolate kept guests happily fueled.
On the dance floor, the DJ worked with Emily’s playlist of their favorite r&b and hip-hop tracks to make sure energy levels stayed high. “I love to dance more than almost anything and had been preparing for this moment for a long time, so I swear I must have danced for four hours straight without a single break—I was so in the zone!” says the bride. The couple had their first dance to Frank Ocean’s cover of “Moon River.” “He is one of our favorite artists and his version of this classic chokes us up every time we hear it.”
During the toasts from family members, servers came out with a little liquid courage in the form of tequila shots! “Gregg’s parents made up a song to the tune of The Addams Family theme song (switching it to “The Geff-Leo Family”) about the merging of our two crazy families, which had us laughing so hard we cried,” Emily remembers.
And as with any great party surrounding a pool, the night ended with a spontaneous dip. “After a lot of tequila, we decided we had to jump in the (unheated and untreated) pool fully clothed—me in my dress and Gregg in his tux. We couldn’t believe our friends and Gregg’s parents followed us in! Gregg’s mom actually started doing laps in her floor-length, beaded gown,” Emily shares. Because they hadn’t planned on the swim, they used the tablecloths as towels! Then their wet guests hopped on a shuttle back to their accommodations, of course making a stop for tacos on the way.