Sep 19, 2017
Five Years of #hknyweddings: Howie + Hakeem

Howie and Hakeem are one of those romantic stories of a serendipitous meetings. Their romance was forged from random circumstance (or fate) of sitting next to each other in a crowded bar on a Friday night. Five years later, Hakeem surprised Howie on their "meetiversary" with an engagement ring tucked inside a picnic basket. (She always wanted to have a picnic date.) They wanted an intimate wedding of close friends and family, and found the second floor of Haven's Kitchen the best and only setting for the occasion.




How did Hakeem propose to you (assuming he was the one that proposed)? 

Since we'd been together, I would always mention how much I wanted a picnic date and he'd always say, "Okay babe," but our picnic date never happened. Every year, we celebrate the day we met and have coined that day as our ",eetiversary." On our fifth "meetiversary," Hakeem totally forgot about this significant date. Or, that is what genuinely thought. During conversations throughout the day, he was so nonchalant and never acknowledged the date. Of course, I'm annoyed, until, he surprised me with sushi from my favorite restaurant. After dinner, he presented me with a beautiful picnic basket set and tucked inside this beautiful picnic basket: an engagement ring! One of the best nights of my life.


What was the most important part of the wedding planning process for you?

When we began the wedding planning process, the most important thing was making sure we found the perfect venue that would be able to accommodate our small number of guests and provide on-site catering. It was also important for us to choose a venue that required little decoration. Because Haven’s Kitchen has so much character with a vintage feel, we didn’t have to worry about decorating the ceremony or reception space.

We wanted to make sure that everything from the music, food, décor and all around vibe, mirrored our personalities both as individuals and as a couple. We wanted everything to look effortless and Haven’s Kitchen did an amazing job of capturing that.

Finding out that Haven’s Kitchen was also a cooking school was the icing on the cake.


howie_hakeem-bar-700Hakeem loves bourbon, especially Woodford, so the Old Fashioned was an important cocktail on their menu.

How did you plan the menu?

Menu planning was one of our favorite things throughout the whole planning process. Because one of us is the clear foodie and one of us is a bit more sensible when it comes to food choices, we wanted to make sure that our menu reflected that as well.

We decided to honeymoon in Italy so naturally we wanted our guests to experience cuisine from that region, but also able to create a menu option for our guests that had dietary restrictions. During the menu planning process, David (Haven's Kitchen Culinary Director) was genuinely interested in hearing our suggestions and thoughts on the menu and we really felt included during the process.

We wanted our family and close friends to feel like they were attending an amazing intimate and romantic dinner party and Haven’s Kitchen put a menu together that reflected who we are as a couple.


What were some of the details you were excited to see come to life as part of your wedding?

While we couldn’t wait to see everything pulled together, I was mostly excited to see the space and breathtaking flower arrangements that were personally created by the owner, Alison Cayne. The ambiance was one of romance and enchantment. It really was everything that we wanted and could not imagine at the same time. It was such a special night for us.   


howie_hakeem-mantle 960Haven's Kitchen owner Alison Cayne did the florals for the wedding including this opulent garland above the marble mantle. 


What have you learned about yourselves and each other in the last year as you’ve put together your wedding?

I think we’ve both learned to trust each other’s instincts more. There were times when we were indecisive about aspects during the planning process; but in the end we relied on one another to make the tough decisions.   




Venue / Food / Event Management: Haven's Kitchen 

Photographer: A Guy + A Girl Photography          

Her Dress: Christina Rossi    

Her Shoes: Badgley Mischka

His Tux/Suit: Hugo Boss       

His Shoes: Johnston Murphy

Flowers: Haven's Kitchen  

Her Hair: Shaniqua Jenkins

Her Make-Up: Janice Lindo

Cake: Empire Cake   

For more photos from Howie and Hakeem's wedding visit our new Instagram @weddingsathavenskitchen.



Sep 06, 2017
Five Years of #hknyweddings: Amy + Ted

Amy and Ted loved the idea of a winter wedding. They liked the feeling and aesthetic of its cool starkness in contrast with the desire to feel warmth and fire. The challenge was how to use the idea of winter without conjuring Christmas. With the help of the Haven's Kitchen events team and the artistic direction of Patrick Clayton, they relied on the minimalist loft-like third floor space to evoke the vast whiteness of winter with a fireside intimacy. 


What was the most important part of the wedding planning process for you?

Amy: Haven's Kitchen was actually the only place we looked at. A lot of the "big" decisions and moments in our relationship have come naturally to us like settling on Haven's Kitchen as our venue. They believed as we did in "forming communities through the pleasure of cooking and eating." With our wedding, we would be forming a new community. We're not really "wedding" people so it was vital that our venue give us a feel of comfort and home.

There are a lot of competing forces out there when it comes to getting married and having a wedding. Our plans for what we wanted for our wedding day has shifted a couple of times over the two years we were planning, but, at every point, Halle [Haven's Kitchen Events Director] was there to give guidance and help us keep the day entirely ours.



Amy's bouquet was done by event designer Patrick Clayton.


What were some of the details you were excited to see come to life as part of your wedding?

Amy: You know, every bit of it was exciting to see come to life. We loved working with Patrick (Clayton) on the decor for the third floor. Prior to guests arriving we took a quick look to see what he had created and we were blown away by how beautiful his work was. Minimal yet elegant. Exactly what we wanted.

There was a point during the evening when I was standing near the bar and I looked out into the room and was filled with a sense of peace and contentment. Everything we had worked for and wanted was right there in front of us. 



It's winter, not Christmas! Clayton used candles and winter greens to spruce up the third floor loft space to create a contrast of winter minimal and fireside cozy.


What have you learned about yourselves and each other in the last year as you’ve put together your wedding?

Ted: I came to realize Amy's capacity for compromise. Having a wedding was something that I was invested in and Amy is more the elopement kind. Through this experience I came to see how much we give and care for one another. We find our own happiness in the happiness of the other. We managed to find ways to make the wedding important for both of us and be honest to who we were as individuals and a couple.


Amy: I always knew that Ted was supportive and that he really considers my thoughts and feelings, but through planning the wedding I felt all of that more deeply. As he noted, I'm not really a wedding girl and could have done without it. But through his patience and working together while planning, I realized that I did want it. He opened my eyes in a way I wasn't expecting. As long as we were true to ourselves, it would indeed be a celebration of our love and commitment to each other and nothing else.


2016-12-Amy-Ted-FoodInstead of a traditional seated meal, Amy and Ted opted to do a cocktail-style reception. Amy's friend, Rachel Conemeyer did the desserts including these coffee pate choux. 


Anything you would change about your experience?

Amy: It was perfect. Truly perfect. At any point where we needed help, Halle was there. If it wasn't for her we wouldn't have found our photographer or event designer. And the two of them fit us and our dreams seamlessly. The ease at which we fell into our relationships with them and HK is something we'll never forget. Obviously not every part of wedding planning is peachy, but without a doubt we wouldn't change any bit of how it went for us. In fact, we'd do it again every weekend if we could.


Venue / Food / Event Management: Haven's Kitchen

Photographer: Sarah Bode-Clark Photography

Décor / Flowers: Patrick J. Clayton Productions     

Dress: Sarah Seven    

Her Shoes: Sam Edelman     

Hair & Make-Up: Glam Squad

Groom: The Black Tux

His Shoes: Hugo Boss                   

Wedding Cake: Cakes & Confections by Rachel Cronemeyer Flatley       

For more photos from Amy and Ted's wedding visit our new Instagram @weddingsathavenskitchen.

May 24, 2017
Five Years of #hknyweddings: Helena + Peter

Helena and Peter's look was inspired by tropical flora. Large palm leaves were complemented by white blooms for a refreshing departure from many of the weddings we host here at Haven's Kitchen. They highlighted the simplicity of the space, creating a vibrant and sunny atmosphere — perfect for early summer. 


Helena-EP-Beverage-700Helena and Peter couldn't decide on which cocktails they wanted to serve, so they chose all three that they tasted. Pictured are Rome with a View – Campari, dry vermouth, and Lime Picante Punch – Tequila, Pineapple, Jalapeno

What was the most important part of the wedding planning process for you?
The guest list and having an open bar.


How did you plan the menu?
Grandma's tastes and dietary restrictions.



What were some of the details you were excited to see come to life as part of your wedding?
The flowers. The space.


What have you learned about yourselves and each other in the last year as you’ve put together your wedding?
I am a micro manager, Peter is more big picture.


When you think about Haven's Kitchen….
Loved it for its intimacy, every option presented to us was spectacular which made picking hard and sometimes we chose to have everything, like all three cocktail options — our guests really enjoyed that.


Photographer: Khaki Bedford Studio
Dress: Lovely Bride, Williamsburg Seamster
Her Shoes: Stuart Weitzmann
Suit: Bindle & Keep
His Shoes: Cole Haan
Flowers: Adore NYC 
Calligraphy: RaeChild 
Ceremony Music: "Baby I Love You" The Ramones
Wedding Cake: Momofuku Milk Bar

For more photos from Helena and Peter's wedding visit our new Instagram @weddingsathavenskitchen.

Apr 26, 2017
Five Years of #hknyweddings: Anna + Rob

Many of us will probably never be lucky enough to visit Anna WIntour's garden in the Hamptons, but if you were one of the lucky guests who attended (or worked at) Rob and Anna's verdant wedding, it seems like it would be a pretty close experience.

Their whirlwind planning took three months of solid planning. Working with the creative team of Rye Workshop and Haven's Kitchen, they created a wedding that began with an intimate ceremony for family members and close friends, and celebrated as newlyweds with an intimate dinner party.



Anna and Rob held an intimate ceremony in front of 12 guests before the celebratory dinner - reception for about 80 guests.

What was the most important part of the wedding planning process for you?
We did not want a traditional wedding, or to have a large affair that our parents had in mind. Rob and I don’t love being the center of attention, we didn’t want to stand in front of hundreds of guests or be formally announced and forced to dance into our reception. Our favorite thing is to eat delicious food with our family and friends, so it was a no brainer to go in this direction for our wedding.

It was challenging, but, with a lot of assistance from Haven's Kitchen and Rye Workshop, our families were blown away by the simple beauty of it all.


It seems that your families were against the idea of bucking the traditional format, how did you navigate their expectations and your own desires?
Our families were great with the concept of something non-traditional, until they realized that we only had 40 guests on each side, leaving them with barely any friends to invite. It took a lot of long phone calls, but Rob and I remained firm. Ultimately we were able to select only our very closest circle, which meant every guest was someone who we really wanted to share the day with.

At the end, my parents hosted a casual BBQ in their backyard at the end of August so they had a chance to celebrate our nuptials with all of their friends and extended family.


How did you plan the menu?
We wanted the menu to be light enough for guests to enjoy in the middle of summer, while still having room to indulge in dessert. Haven's Kitchen interpreted this into a cohesive Mediterranean-inspired culinary experience. At the tasting, Chef David Mawhinney and the kitchen staff spent three hours with us explaining their dishes and inquiring about our preferences. We were able to give them feedback on everything down to the size of the entree and level of sweetness and saltiness. Following the meal, they packed us up a box of tiny chocolate tarts to enjoy at home.


What were some of the details you were excited to see come to life as part of your wedding?
Rob has a passion for gardening—a zucchini he grew when he was seven years old won second place at the Monmouth County Fair! We always talk about one day leaving the city to have a garden to tend and cook from. It was fitting that our wedding would come to life as a vegetable and herb garden. I'm an illustrator, so I did the herb illustrations and a monogram that was printed on menus and a mural flanking the head table.



Anna designed the mural that was mounted to the wall as vinyl. Event design was done by the dynamic duo from Rye Workshop.


What was the creative process on doing the illustrations for your wedding?
I come from a family of artists and am an illustrator at heart and by degree. I could not imagine getting married and not having my work be an integral part of the day. Halle (the events director at Haven's Kitchen) and Molly at Rye Workshop really encouraged me to make my drawings a key part of the décor and helped with printing. Rob and I were both so excited about how the elements came to life.



Anna also illustrated the table numbers. 

Where did you find your inspiration for the look and feel of your wedding?
We wanted the reception to feel like we were hosting a beautiful dinner at our home. The presentation of the food like the boards of crudité and flatbreads made the night feel warm and homey.

The big picture inspiration came naturally from the space at Haven’s Kitchen. It’s how we determined our white and charcoal palate with pops of yellow.

Thinking back, the aesthetic was taken from some of our favorite places like ABC Kitchen, Terrain, and a tiny garden store in Westport CT called Gilberties. I searched my childhood home for knick-knacks and antiques in yellow and white to fill the niche shelving with framed photographs of our childhood and relationship.



Yellow and white antiques and knick-knacks found in Anna's childhood home filled the niche shelving.


What have you learned about yourselves and each other in the last year as you’ve put together your wedding?
We went from engaged to married in just three months. During the process it became evident how aligned we were in our vision and taste for the wedding. We embraced the challenge of the short timeline with fervor—ultimately and thankfully the process united us instead of causing tension.


What made you decide to have a short engagement? (It's very romantic.)
We wanted to be able to get married and then enjoy being together as soon as possible. For us spending 18 months agonizing over flatware and guest lists seemed too stressful and exhausting. The short time frame also forced us to make really quick decisions—both our families were stunned at the speed, they couldn't keep up so we really planned it all on our own with Halle and the team at Haven's Kitchen.


Her Dress: Alexis

Her Shoes: Via Spiga

His Suit & Shoes: Zegna

Decor & Flowers: Rye Workshop

Photographer: Blue Jar Photography

Ceremony Music: Bon Musique

Hair and Makeup: Glam Squad

Wedding Cake: Momofuku Milk Bar

For more photos from Anna and Rob's wedding visit our new Instagram @weddingsathavenskitchen.