Rachael Sage

Manhattan Romance

Kristin and Lisa planned a fairytale wedding, New York style, with incomparable design to celebrate their love—and a few surprises along the way.
When Lisa and Kristin Hurd talk about their wedding, one of the things they recall with a definite glow in their eyes is that they had orchids flown in from Hawaii for their special day. This detail, fondly remembered, signals the beginning of a beautiful life together. But this is a love story that started long before the orchids were ordered.

It began in 2008, when the last thing in both of their minds was to embark on a relationship. They had both embraced the single life and were ready to have a good time on their own when they happened to connect at a mutual friend’s party. Although they had heard each other’s names before, nothing prepared them for the whirlwind of emotions they felt upon finally meeting.

“I suddenly felt like my head was about to fall off my body!” Kristin remembers, while Lisa’s initial reaction was slightly less flattering. As Kristin stood there, stock still in a crowd of party-goers, drinking in the image of her perfect mate in a Valentino dress, Lisa was thinking, “that’s a really hot guy!”

Moments later, Lisa realized she was looking at a hot woman instead, a revelation that brought a wave of surprise and confusion. Lisa hadn’t been attracted to women up until that moment. A mutual friend introduced Kristin and Lisa—with no intention of matchmaking—and the two “totally hit it off. She was charming, sweet and funny. We didn’t miss a beat,” Kristin remembers. They chatted about dogs, their hometowns, vacationing in Cape Cod. “I just remember thinking, ‘God, she’s wearing Valentino, she is smart, gorgeous and so genuine. There has to be something I’m not picking up on—she seems too good to be real!” Lisa, on the other hand, was quickly developing a crush on Kristin.

“Despite the night going so great, and despite the fact that we were both totally into each other, I honestly didn’t think she was interested in me in a romantic sense,” Kristin says. “And Lisa thought the same.”

They took it easy after that, hanging out with groups of friends and getting to know each other without the pressures of dating. “I was figuring things out for myself,” Lisa remembers. “I didn’t want to rush into anything so it was very good to have this time to hang out and become friends.” When it became obvious that the attraction was mutual and the innocent flirtation was leading to the inevitable, they agreed to go on a “very romantic” date at Centro. “There was such a solid energy between us, it was amazing. [The date] lasted a long time,” they say. “Maybe it’s never ended!”

A little more than a year later they decided to take their love to the next level. Kristin and Lisa planned a couple’s getaway to Provincetown, Mass. in October 2009, but their romantic rendezvous didn’t quite go as planned—and the trip turned into a test of their love, endurance and ability to be a team.

They drove through a raging thunderstorm for nine hours and arrived at their hotel in the middle of the night. With their huge Bernese mountain dog Scout and their toy poodle Lulu in tow, they collapsed into bed. But sleeping was not in the cards for Scout, who, despite his size, was terrified of lightning. After a sleepless few hours, Kristin got up at 6am with a secret plan. She tied a small pouch around Scout’s neck and sent him back to bed with Lisa, who woke up to find a ring.

Amid tears of joy, they each said yes—and decided to elope in a private ceremony that New Year’s Eve. They returned to Provincetown, where they were married on a snowy evening at the Land’s End Inn with just the reverend, Scout, Lulu and the innkeeper as witnesses.

On June 25, 2010 they reprised their wedding, this time in front of 75 of their closest friends and family members. The beautiful ceremony took place in the penthouse of the gorgeous Cooper Square Hotel in New York’s East Village, where guests could enjoy the 360-degree view of the Manhattan skyline through floor-to-ceiling plate glass windows. Under the careful attention of planner and designer Howard Ash, who expertly crafted a quintessentially New York event, the two brides avoided any hint of last-minute disasters. The minimalist penthouse was adorned with cream and yellow floral arrangements and candles, while the outdoor deck featured cocktail tables covered in yellow skirts with lacy white overlays.

Kristin’s women’s tuxedo, designed by Elie Tahari, fit her preference for a “tux that was more like a piece of art than a tux.” Lisa was quietly resplendent in a knee-length, one-shoulder ivory sheath by David Meister. “Lisa didn’t want a traditional dress; she wanted something elegant and sophisticated. She found it with her dress,” Kristin says. Lisa’s hair was lifted into a gentle up-do by stylist Chuck Connoly and her makeup was designed by Jonathan Young.  The scene was beautifully captured on film by Photomuse.

And since the sky was the limit for this romantic couple, this is where the orchids come in. Kristin and Lisa wanted exotic blooms to complement their color scheme. Banchet Flowers, a chic floral atelier in the Meatpacking District, brought to the room exactly what the brides were feeling—joy, peace and love—by creating ethereal table bouquets and sprinkling ivory orchids on pools of water. The stage for a great romance had been perfectly set—and if flowers sing of passion, orchids are the sopranos.

“The orchids were so special, because they were a surprise. Howard Ash worked with Banchet on the design. The orchids were hung from a seven-foot birchwood tree—the piece was magnificent. We loved it not only for the amazing design, but because we weren’t expecting such a beautifully constructed piece. The surprise made us love the orchids that much more,” they recall.

The ceremony was officiated by a close friend and spiritual adviser who included a special poem that the brides felt described the journey on which they were about to embark. The Blessing of Hands began with the indelible lines, “These are the hands of your best friend/young and strong and full of love for you/that are holding yours on your wedding day/as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever.”

Last year they were reminded of just how important it is to stay strong through the tough times, and how wonderful it is to find comfort in the arms of a beloved spouse. When Kristin faced unexpected and scary open heart surgery, Lisa became her main source of support and hope. “You live life on life’s terms,” Kristin admits, and it was that exact philosophy that helped them through this very difficult part of their lives. By accepting what they could not change, and choosing to face it gracefully and courageously, they were able to cope with this frightening turn of events. Lisa stood by Kristin and wouldn‘t have had it any other way. “We had some pretty hard times but we stuck together, always,” she says.

Now, less than a year after her surgery, Kristin has new plans for her heart—namely, filling it with the kind of joy that mothers feel for their children. Prior to the surgery, the couple was contemplating growing their family, and is now taking the steps toward the goal of becoming mommies.

“We are the best of friends and we have so much fun together, there is so much love between us,” says Lisa. “I am very happy to think that we are embarking on this journey [of starting a family] together.”
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