The Wedding of ...
Victoria Balterman & Evan Gorenkoff
Ceremony & Reception: OHEKA CASTLE, 631.659.1400, www.oheka.com
Gown: Martina Liana
Bridal Shop: Wedding Salon of Manhasset
Tux: Martin Greenfield Clothiers
Photographer: Brett Matthews Gallery
Makeup: Valerie Leybie, Anne DeMarco Cosmetics
Hair: Liz Ash Marino, Dakotah Salon and Spa
Florist: Andrew Pascoe Flowers
Cake: Executive Pastry Chef Daniel Andreotti, Oheka Castle
Band: Bobby Attiko Band of Hank Lane Music
Lighting/Production: Ambient Events
Photo Booth: The Modern Photobooth
I met Evan the year before we started high school and we instantly became best friends. We earned our undergraduate and master’s degrees 1500 miles apart but remained close and often visited each other. The summer we graduated, we decided to take our friendship a step further and for our first date, he took me to the restaurant at Oheka Castle.
About five years later, Evan and I took our dogs to a dog park, as we often did. But this time our parents were hiding to secretly take pictures. Evan switched our dogs’ collars with custom ones reading, “Will you marry me?” When we got to the park, one of the dogs ran straight to our parents, potentially ruining Evan’s plan, but he quickly dropped to one knee and popped the question. He continued the surprises by arranging dinner for our families, a party with all our closest friends and family, and a night out at a rooftop bar.
Having our first date and anniversaries there, Oheka Castle was sentimental for us. I imagined getting married in the gorgeous setting of manicured gardens and breathtaking fountains, but even if it rained, I would be happy under the cathedral ceilings of Oheka’s ballroom. We had many out-of-town guests and loved that the castle included a hotel, allowing everyone to be on-site and to party late into the evening. Kelly Melius, the director of sales, answered all our questions and instantly instilled confidence. Throughout our planning, everyone at Oheka was eager to go above and beyond and an absolute delight to work with. Steve Kessler, the manager of the hotel, was extremely patient and responsive. Daniel Andreotti, the executive pastry chef, asked thoughtful questions to make sure he created the cake we envisioned. Max Louis-Jean, the groom’s attendant, and Kathy Thompson, the banquet manager, even coaxed our flower girl down the aisle.
I was raised Catholic and Evan was raised Jewish, so we had a non-denominational ceremony. My brother Scott officiated, which was very special to both of us. He wrote a thoughtful and humorous speech about us as a couple, and incorporated traditions from each religion. Evan and I wrote and recited our own vows and we had beautiful weather for our outdoor ceremony.
Our cocktail hour, in the grand ballroom with extra seating on the lawn, allowed guests to enjoy the sunset. Favorites were the seafood station, the pasta action station, and the sushi station. Waiters passed hors d’oeuvres, including lamb chops and crab cakes. Just before our reception, Darleen Hendricks, our bridal attendant, pulled Evan and me into the library to take a few moments to relax and eat.
We made the beautiful Terrace Ballroom our own, adding a white dance floor with our monogram in gold, a two-tier band stage, and uplighting that changed colors to the music. Our magnificent centerpieces had hydrangeas, roses, peonies, snapdragons, lisianthus, and cascading orchids in white and pale blue accents matching my bridesmaids’ dresses. For entrées, guests had grilled filet mignon, pan-seared Chilean sea bass, or pan-seared chicken breast. Evan and I received all three! With a waiter at each table and an additional bar in the ballroom, service was impeccable for our 230 guests. For dessert, the dining room became a dessert café. Favorites were the chef’s flambé station, the waffle and ice cream station, and our wedding cake, with alternating layers of pistachio and double chocolate. Our 10-piece band kept guests dancing all night. We had a photo booth with a lavish flower wall backdrop and towards the end of the night we gave out light sticks with our hashtag, #evanslovestory printed on them. Our after-party in Oheka’s restaurant and in the library had live music, sliders, mac and cheese bites, and French fries. As a parting gift, we had Duchess Cookies’ chocolate chip and funfetti cookies.
Thank you to the staff at Oheka and to our amazing vendors for ensuring our wedding came together beautifully. We are so grateful to our friends and family for celebrating with us and eternally grateful to our parents for making this day possible. We wouldn’t have had our fairy tale wedding without them!
OHEKA CASTLE, Huntington, NY