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A Minimalist Wedding with a Garland of Bay Leaves

July 13, 2015

Whether a lazy meal on blankets in the grass or a jazzy affair with candlelight and dancing, entertaining should be a delight—here's a little inspiration. 

Today: Michael Mosca, lifestyle blogger at A Curious Palate and a guest curator for the Food52 Registry, shares pictures of his wedding at Haven's Kitchen in N.Y.C. 

Michael Mosca Wedding Food52

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My husband, David Melançon, and I met in Washington, D.C. twenty-four years ago. When we decided to get married—and quickly decided against the City Hall option—we had a great time creating a space and ceremony that celebrated all the years leading up to it.

Michael Mosca Wedding Food52
Letterpress invitations on a double thick card stock with a loose calligraphic font from Greenwich Letterpress.

We never even considered a wedding planner. I had a perfect picture of our wedding in my head, and it felt like too much work to translate that to someone else. Instead, we trusted the recommendations of friends—and our own instincts—to find the best partners for venue, food, flowers, music, and photography.  

Michael Mosca Wedding Food52  Michael Mosca Wedding Food52

Because we enjoy entertaining in our homes and because we wanted to keep the guest list pretty tight, we approached the wedding like we were throwing a great dinner party. We wanted to be sure that everything, from the menu to the lighting, felt familiar to our friends and family, felt like “us.”  It was going to be a sharp Manhattan wedding, but it couldn’t be fussy in any way.   

Michael Mosca Wedding Food52

The idea of “elegant woodland” was really appealing to us. I envisioned lots of foliage and soft candlelight that would create a warm and welcoming space for an early winter wedding. 

Michael Mosca Wedding Food52  Michael Mosca Wedding Food52

Emily Thompson, who designed the flowers, created several magical arrangements, including hundreds of feet of bayleaf garland that served as the sole floral ornamentation for the ceremony.

Michael Mosca Wedding Food52

Paula West, a close friend and talented jazz vocalist, performed during the ceremony. During the ring warming ceremony, she sang Adele’s rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love" and selected Burt Bacharach’s “This Guy’s In Love” for our first dance.

Michael Mosca Wedding Food52

The ring warming ceremony allowed everyone to be a part of our wedding: The rings were passed to every guest to make a wish or a blessing before we exchanged them with each other.

Michael Mosca Wedding Food52  Michael Mosca Wedding Food52

We chose Haven’s Kitchen, a carriage house in Chelsea, for its charm and because they serve only sustainable, seasonal food. 

Michael Mosca Wedding Food52One of our specialty cocktails was called The Brooklyn, a mix of Bulleit bourbon, lemon, and sweet vermouth.

Michael Mosca Wedding Food52
The salad was a toss of roasted and shaved baby beets, kale, red onions, toasted almonds, and vegan caesar dressing.

Michael Mosca Wedding Food52For the main course, we served pan-seared striped bass family style, over le puy lentils, piquillo peppers, roasted fennel, crushed hazelnuts, with a sherry brown butter sauce.

Michael Mosca Wedding Food52Housemade Ricotta Crostini with pickled red cabbage were passed around as canapés.

Michael Mosca Wedding Food52Panna cotta with cranberry compote and spiced shortbread was served for dessert. 

Live moss runners designed by Emily Thompson, several dozen vintage brass candlesticks that David and I foraged for during the weeks leading up to the wedding, and herbs from our Maine garden for the napkin rings were all woven into centerpieces.

Michael Mosca Wedding Food52  Michael Mosca Wedding Food52

The weekend before the wedding, I drove a car-full of topiaries from Snug Harbor Farm in Kennebunkport to Manhattan. We'd discovered the topiaries in the summer, and I knew immediately that we had to create a mini forest of them for the escort and cake tables. Multiple “Sweet & Salty” salted caramel chocolate cakes from Baked (and embellished by Emily) were perched on cake stands of varying heights.

Michael Mosca Wedding Food52  Michael Mosca Wedding Food52

The highest compliment our guests paid us was, “We never wanted the evening to end.”    

Michael Mosca Wedding Food52

Photos by Khaki Bedford Photography

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • angelitakarmalita
  • joan
  • Gary  Penton
    Gary Penton
  • Nancy Garcia
    Nancy Garcia
  • Dawn


angelitakarmalita June 19, 2016
so beautiful...
joan March 29, 2016
Gary P. August 4, 2015
Simple and perfect wedding. Wedding are a memorable day in one's life and everybody wants to make this day special. The most important thing in a wedding is the venue we choose. Here, venue is amazing and other things are also planned properly.
Nancy G. July 18, 2015
Perfection - because the two of you are perfect!
Dawn July 13, 2015
Magnificently memorable evening from start to finish. It was beautifully orchestrated wedding (and weekend) and we were thrilled to be there with family/friends that love you both. I agree with Cathy, it was a gift to all.
danielle July 13, 2015
Laura415 June 18, 2016
Seconded! I want that crostini recipe with ricotta and pickled red cabbage.
Cathy J. July 13, 2015
I was so honored to be a part of this incredibly beautiful weekend with such cherished friends. Truly a wedding to be warmly remembered always....a gift to all!
AntoniaJames July 13, 2015
Never heard of ring warming - such a lovely way to draw your guests into the essential purpose of the gathering. ;o)
BrooklynBridget July 13, 2015
I had the same reaction! Just lovely. I want to remember that idea.
boulangere July 13, 2015
What an utterly lovely story. Very best wishes.
Matilda L. July 13, 2015
Sweet and beautiful. Congratulations!