Ruthie Friedlander, former digital director of InStyle, current fashion and lifestyle brand consultant, and co-founder of eating disorder support group The Chain, and Steven Chaiken, founder and director of image maker agency LENS, first traded words over email. Back then, she was working at Chanel, and he at V Magazine. They officially met through mutual friends and were introduced to each other at The Fragrance Foundation Awards. Three years of dating later, and Steven proposed in Palm Beach.
The two were on vacation, and after she took nap (she’s the self-proclaimed “queen of napping”), he suggested they go for a walk. “He brought me to a dock and told me he had to tell me something, I thought he was going to break up with me! Instead, he proposed,” Ruthie remembers.
The bride-to-be always fantasized about getting married at The Frick Collection, an art museum located in the Henry Clay Frick House on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. “Carolina Herrera used to hold her fashion shows there, and I remember sitting, watching, and thinking how fabulous it would be to have a wedding there. I never thought it would be possible, but Steven called them and fought fire to make it happen,” says Ruthie. “It was important to us that we make the venue feel fun and playful, since it’s such an old, regal establishment.” To help with the planning and heavy lifting, they hired Jung Lee of Fête and her A+ team (Allison, Melissa, and Josh) handled it all.
Because of her background in the fashion industry, the bride has very strong opinions when it comes to what she wears, and her wedding dress was no exception. For the ceremony, she wore a custom Vera Wang gown, and halfway through the reception, she changed into a custom Carolina Herrera late-night look. “I wanted to be covered up for most of the wedding,” she says.
Meanwhile, the groom wore a Tom Ford tuxedo, and Ruthie gifted him cufflinks on the morning-of. The wedding party consisted solely of the bride’s sister and the groom’s sister. Ruthie’s maid of honor, Sara, wore a Monique Lhuillier dress and Steven’s “best girl,” Jen, wore a Jay Godfrey gown.
In the same synagogue that the bride’s grandparents were married in nearly 70 years prior, Ruthie and Steven had a fairly traditional Jewish ceremony. The chuppah they stood under was made by the groom’s brother, who used wood from his home in Woodstock. “That felt very special, to stand under a piece that represented such peace of mind and safety,” says the bride. After stomping on the glass and sharing a first kiss, the pair hopped in a car, where they had pre-ordered Mr. Chow waiting for them.
Unlike a lot of brides who say that the whole night went by without them noticing, Ruthie says she remembers every part of the evening. “I fully sat down and ate the delicious dinner. I was able to see every single person and dance with each of my best friends. It felt like the best party I had ever been to,” she says.
Dinner was a sit-down Kosher meal of fish and dairy. While everyone was seated, the bride’s parents, sister, and sister-in-law gave moving speeches. And then they hit the dance floor, where more than one dance-off took place.
Their DJ, DJ Phresh, spun high energy tracks all night and was accompanied by an electric violinist, Sarah Charness. “We asked both of them dress up in Rococo style to match the venue, and it brought it to the next level,” explains Ruthie.
For their first dance, the newlyweds swayed to Sade’s “By Your Side.” Funnily enough, when it was time for the first dance, the wrong song was played at first. “Steven literally ran up onto the stage and stood next to our amazing DJ, while they put the right song on. And I just couldn’t help but smile. Something that maybe should have been SO incredibly ‘perfect’ was flawed, but so perfectly flawed. And seeing Steven run full speed and jump onto a stage in his tux was pretty sweet.”
Near the end of the reception, Ruthie’s Marie Antoinette-esque wig, which she had been attaching things to up until the ceremony, made an appearance and stole the show out on the dance floor. When it was all said and done, a small group headed to The Carlyle for chicken fingers and french fries.