the wedding files

This Effortlessly Cool Wedding Came Together in Two Weeks

A City Hall ceremony for two people who made New York their adoptive home.

Photo: Valentina Pozo
Photo: Valentina Pozo

When we ask newlyweds to think back on what they wanted most for their big day — and we’ve interviewed hundreds of them over the years — the most common response is “For it not to feel like a wedding!” Gathering with old friends and eating mini grilled cheeses in formalwear to celebrate love feels more special these days than ever, even downright miraculous. And the betrothed have never been less attached to the old wedding handbook — or the need to please their great-aunt. So in a flurry of pampas grass and perfectly mismatched-to-match bridesmaid dresses, how do you pull off a non-cookie-cutter affair? For the answers, we decided to interrogate the cool couples whose weddings we would actually want to steal, right down to the tiger-shaped cake toppers.

Here, we spoke with Nino Le Luyer, a buyer and merchandising manager for French footwear brand Berluti, and Mercedes de Maria Genoveva Pedrero Setzer, co-founder and head of design at the ethical accessories line de Maria. Finding themselves uninterested in hosting and too busy to plan a huge wedding, they threw together a stylish affair for a close group of family and friends in all of two weeks. The celebration of their dreams kicked off last October at City Hall, a deeply romantic place for these two who made New York City their adopted home. 

Genoveva: I moved to New York in 2017, into this eight-person loft on South 5th in Williamsburg. People were coming in and out all the time, and my now-husband moved in in 2018.

Nino: We realized quickly we had a lot in common in terms of taste — movies, music, and fashion for sure. At some point, we were just together all the time.

Genoveva: We started seeing each other when we were roommates, and obviously I was like, This is a really bad idea. It just kept getting more and more intense.

Nino: She was literally becoming my best friend.

Genoveva: I moved out in April 2019 and in with some other friends, then the pandemic happened and he sort of ended up moving in with me again anyway. The fact that he’s so good with my family, that’s a huge, huge, huge plus for me. And how well he treats me. We can fight and we can get past it, which made me realize this relationship could last forever.

Nino: By summer 2023, we’d been talking about marriage here and there, but nothing too serious. She had this bucket-list thing that she wanted to be married by 30.

Genoveva: 2023 was unexpectedly crazy. I opened a pop-up, Tumbao, with a friend and it turned into a store we still have. I had kidney stones over the summer, and then September had all these Fashion Week events. In early October, we did a little staycation at the Bowery Hotel.

Nino: I decided to propose there. We love the Bowery, so I knew it’d be a special moment for us there.

Genoveva: I come from a very Mexican Catholic background, and everyone I know has these huge, 200-, 300-, 500-person weddings that are glamorous events. I’ve seen so many of my friends go through the process and be so stressed. It takes over their life. I don’t have time for that. And Nino’s more low-key, a doesn’t-like-birthday-parties kind of guy. He wanted something for just me and him.

Nino: I really liked the idea of having something quite small with our family and friends. After October, there would be a lot of work for me and for her, super-busy, a lot of travel. We realized that if we didn’t do it soon, we’d have to push it to much later, and then it would be this big thing.

Genoveva: We were originally just going to go to City Hall.

Nino: Her dad was traveling to New York the week of October 20.

Genoveva: I figured, Okay, if he’s coming, I can call my mom and see if some of my family members can make it. Let’s see how special I can make this in two weeks. We had to celebrate somehow.

Nino: The Grill was an easy choice for lunch because it’s one of my favorite restaurants in New York. We go there almost every year for my birthday. I love the mid-century aesthetic and the fact that Tom Ford did the uniforms for the waiters.

Genoveva: Every time I walk in there I’m like, This isn’t real. This is too good to be true. Especially the bathrooms there; I’m really obsessed with the chairs and mirrors.

Nino: For the party, we did Primo’s in Tribeca — again, the design element of it is really important to us. It’s a great place. It reminds me of Picasso somehow, with cubic shapes and very bright colors.

Genoveva: I wore one dress for the morning and one for the party. The first was made by a really good friend who has a brand called Costaiia. She works with artisans in Mexico and makes beautiful pieces out of organic materials. She had just released a collection and I saw a dress that I saved, like, One day, I’ll wear that for my wedding. A week later we were engaged and I immediately texted her, “Do you have this in my size?” She said, “Okay, but why do you need it so quickly?” It arrived two days before the wedding and fit perfectly. I wore a pair of boots of my own design, brown suede that I just covered with white lace because I did not have time to produce a whole new pair. Another designer friend, Mónica Santos, made a satin bow for my hair with these super-long ribbons. All of my community did whatever they could to make my day extra special.

Nino: I wore the same thing the whole day: a black, double-breasted vintage flannel jacket, Levi’s 501 black denim, and my boots. I work at Berluti, and my favorite boots are from the Haider Ackermann era, from fall-winter 2018. I’m in love with those boots.

Genoveva: The night before the wedding, we were both really anxious. We went to bed at 1 a.m. and our wakeup call was at 6 a.m.. My makeup by Micka Omura lasted all day, and my maid of honor, Regina Romero, did my hair. Before I put on my dress, she was like, “Nino, you can’t see her in the dress until City Hall! You guys have to leave before us.” So they left, and it’s raining, and I call the car and realize I’m going to arrive 15 minutes late for our appointment. I’m fully panicking that they’re going to cancel it, and we’re being pummeled by rain and wind. That was the “reveal”: me, panicking, running into City Hall like, “I’m here!”

Nino: City Hall is such a weird environment. It’s definitely an administrative building, nothing fancy about it. You are doing paperwork, but we and everybody else around us was super dressed up.

Genoveva: It’s like the DMV, but joyous. It was my dream, getting married at City Hall in New York. I’m from this small city in Mexico, he’s from this small town in France, and we both felt this pull from a young age to live in New York City one day. Somehow, we both achieved it, and our paths crossed.

Nino: A few people from both of our families came, but we couldn’t take too many people in with us so we had to choose: Genoveva’s brother Nicolas and Valentina, her business partner who is also a very good photographer.

Genoveva: They call your number and take you to this private room where the judge is. You read the vows, “keep them in sickness and in health,” the typical spiel. “I do, I do, I do,” and that’s it, you’re married.

Nino: The whole thing took less than an hour.

Genoveva: For our rings, I asked another designer from our store, Ochio, a Venezuelan jewelry-maker here in the city, “I have this gold brooch my grandmother gave me. Could you melt it down and make two weddings rings … in two weeks?” She was like, “You’re crazy, but I can do it.”

Nino: When we arrived at the Grill, Genoveva’s father gave a speech to celebrate us, then handed it over to me and I did a small speech. They have two private dining rooms and we had the biggest, because we were 20 to 25 people. It was a set menu with two starters, two entrées, and two desserts.

Genoveva: I feel like I barely remember the brunch. I was in such a haze of like, Oh my God, I just got married, my entire family is here. What is happening? I want to say we had steak and potatoes. I’m making that up.

Nino: I got a steak, a filet, which was very delicious, as was the lemon pie. And we had really good wine, red wine.

Genoveva: I remember the dessert. That was amazing. We had the room for two hours and ended up extending it for another two, because —I don’t know how you say it in English, but sobremesa, when you finish eating and you’re just talking, with wine? Just quality time together. I thanked everyone for making it under these crazy circumstances.

Nino: We finished lunch around 3 or 4 p.m. and checked into the Plaza, because it was the most New York hotel and because it was near the Grill, in midtown. We took a nap and then headed back downtown to Primo’s. The day was really nonstop.

Genoveva: Through Tumbao, I’ve been able to meet all of these incredible Latin American designers that inspire me, like Alba Garcia, who makes these incredible corset pieces with her brand, Mariana. I really wanted to wear something from Chiapas, where I’m from in Mexico, and had this cream wool material my mom had bought for me at some point. I asked her, “Can we make a corset and a skirt out of this for a wedding look?” Obviously she only had two weeks, so I was so grateful that she agreed to it.

Nino: When you walk in, in the back is this blue door, and behind the blue door is a small private space with another bar inside. We had about 50 people between family and friends.

Genoveva: Even my 95-year-old grandfather was there. A lot of people I hadn’t seen in the two weeks leading up to it, so they were like, “Tell me everything! This is so crazy.” It was catching up and dancing. A lot of dancing.

Nino: There was no DJ. We basically gathered our top songs on Spotify and plugged the playlist into the sound system. We played a lot of disco, funk, and a bunch of reggaeton because Genoveva is Mexican and it is definitely the music that they will be anticipating.

Genoveva: At some point people started taking over and playing “La Macarena” and other silly typical songs they play at weddings in Mexico. Amy Yip makes the most stunning cakes. I had originally reached out to her for my 30th birthday and she made me a cake inspired by Luis Barragán’s architecture. Normally she doesn’t do things in two weeks, but I thought, I’ll just reach out, and she did have availability. I just wanted white and green.

Nino: We had a cake-cutting moment. I remember the aesthetic and I remember grabbing a bite, but I can’t tell you what the cake was like. Everything is kind of a blur.

Genoveva: At midnight, they had to open up the room for the rest of the people in the bar. When they took control of the music again, that’s when people were like, “Okay, I guess it’s time to go.” After we said “bye” to everyone, my husband and I had a moment, a drink, by ourselves. Like, Whoa, that was crazy. We slept all day Saturday.

Genoveva’s wedding dress was designed by a friend who founded the line Costaiia. “I am always in awe of her work,” says the bride. Photo: Valentina Pozo
The couple met as roommates in a Williamsburg loft. Photo: Valentina Pozo
As expats, both the bride and groom found New York’s City Hall to be a surprisingly “joyous” place. Photo: Valentina Pozo
“I do, I do, I do, and that’s it, you’re married,” says Genoveva of the ceremony. Photo: Valentina Pozo
Genoveva’s bouquet was made at Homecoming, a beloved florist-café in Greenpoint. “It was my anxiety touchpoint throughout the day,” she says. “I just kept touching it, like, ‘Everything’s okay.’” Photo: Valentina Pozo
City Hall restrictions dictated that they could bring in only two witnesses, so the couple’s families waited outside. Photo: Valentina Pozo
While their families jumped into cars, the newlyweds rode the subway to lunch, where fellow passengers congratulated them. Photo: Valentina Pozo
The day’s rain added stress to the proceedings, but the bride was happy that her hair and makeup stayed put all day. Photo: Valentina Pozo
A hearty lunch followed at the Grill, where their group took over a private dining room. Photo: Valentina Pozo
The bride’s father and the groom made speeches, and guests lingered for four hours. Photo: Valentina Pozo
That her grandparents were able to attend was a highlight for Genoveva. Photo: Valentina Pozo
Between lunch and the party, the couple was able to rest at the Plaza. Photo: Valentina Pozo
For the party, Genoveva changed into a corset and skirt custom-made for her by a fellow designer at Tumbao, Alba Garcia of the line Mariana. Photo: Valentina Pozo
Around 50 guests joined them to celebrate at Primo’s, a cocktail bar in Tribeca. Photo: Valentina Pozo
The stylish pair opted for this venue for its aesthetics, particularly the funky midcentury vibe. Photo: Valentina Pozo
Their calla-lily- and guava-studded cake was made by Amy Yip of Yip Studios. Photo: Valentina Pozo
The evening ended around midnight, when the couple enjoyed a drink together, just the two of them. Photo: Valentina Pozo

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This Effortlessly Cool Wedding Came Together in Two Weeks