One hot night out in the city, PR director Rebecca Schwartz went out dancing to a now defunct and, in her words, “unmentionable” Chinatown club with some friends. There, she ran into an old acquaintance who introduced her to Alex Smith, a senior real estate manager for Kering Americas. “I took one look at him and knew there was something there,” she recalls. “I told him I could teach him a few dance moves and the rest is history. Five years later, his dance moves have improved tremendously.”
Their engagement story, Rebecca says, was a classic case of “man plans and God laughs.” Alex had prepared an elaborate proposal at Canon Beach, Oregon over Fourth of July weekend, but a bad thunderstorm kept them stranded on the tarmac of JFK airport for five hours until their flight was ultimately canceled. “Defeated we went home, buried our disappointment in Prince Street Pizza and decided we would go to Oregon another time.” The next morning, the couple went for breakfast and took a walk around the city, when Alex later suggested they sit by the water. “There on the grass, on a blanket looking at Lady Liberty, he proposed.”
The bride, who originally hails from Colorado, was intent on having an outdoor wedding. For their venue, they chose the Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch nestled in the Beaver Creek mountains, which offered a perfect balance of “rustic charm and elegance.”
While most brides just focus on finding the perfect wedding dress, Rebecca carefully thought about how she would style every single one of her wedding weekend looks. “I could picture what I wanted to wear in each specific moment, so it was really about finding exactly what I was envisioning.” For their welcome dinner, which was hosted in an oversized log clubhouse, Rebecca wanted something that was “part bridal, part Dr. Quinn medicine woman” and found just that style in a Temperly dress, which she paired with Sophie Buhai earrings.
For her wedding dress, Rebecca was looking for something less traditional, and after going to several stores and coming up empty, she decided it was best to get something custom-made. A friend introduced her to Danielle Frankel, and from day one, Rebecca knew she had made the right decision. “From sketches, to selecting laces, to fittings, Danielle brought my vision to life,” she says. Rebecca’s ultimate inspiration was her grandmother’s wedding portrait. “She was this raven haired beauty in full lace,” she adds. She completed her look with a cathedral length veil—“which I now like to put on from time to time around the house”—and a pair of pearl and diamond drop earrings her father gifted her mother for their 25th wedding anniversary.
As for beauty, Rebecca wanted to keep a natural look so she focused on adding some natural highlights ahead of her big day with her New York based colorist, Kirstin DuFour, and on her wedding day, worked with hair stylist Alex Cox and makeup artist Katie Klein from Chanel. The groom meanwhile settled on a white Armani dinner jacket and a Lanvin bow tie. “He tried on countless options, but when he put on this white dinner jacket, he lit right up and told me ‘this is it,’” she remembers.
The day of the ceremony, Rebecca and Alex were married by a close family friend in a traditional outdoor Jewish ceremony. Instead of attendants, the couple chose to have their brothers under the Chuppah with them, which was covered in Rebecca’s grandfather’s tallit (the Jewish prayer shawl.) “Every event of our wedding incorporated something that honored our grandparents’s memory,” she explains.
After being declared husband and wife, the Smiths joined their guests for a groovy reception that included a 12-piece band called The Great Family Reunion, speeches from the bride’s family, and a “Colorado meets the Mediterranean” menu that featured rainbow trout and braised short ribs. Alex and Rebecca then took to the dance floor to the Bill Withers classic, “Lovely Day,” and later guests joined for an epic Hora dance off. And yet, one of the most special moments of the night came when Rebecca’s mother and 15 other female family members sang a camp-style rendition of Janis Joplin’s “Mercedes Benz,” with verses re-worked to tell the story of Rebecca’s life and relationship. “It is important to note, I do not come from a family of vocalists,” she adds.
After slipping into her late night bridal look, a sleek Nili Lotal slip dress and Jennifer Behr headpiece, Rebecca and her new husband fed each other chocolate raspberry wedding cake and made sure to put in some quality time with all of the guests who made it to their after party. “We then slowly slipped out back to our room and chowed down on some cheeseburgers in bed,” she admits. “It was our ideal brand of romance.”