Between blaring sirens and flocks of people, one out-of-town couple cleared traffic on a street in Soho to host their dream rehearsal dinner. A sense of serenity covered the cobblestone street as their guests gathered around a long table to celebrate the soon-to-be newlyweds.
Briget Bahl and Mike Chiodo began their love story in the same city they wound up saying, “I do.” Though the pair reside in Dallas, Texas, they craved a Manhattan celebration to reveal the beauty of the location to their family and friends. The creative director for The Bar, a trendy fashion brand, and her husband, a plastic surgeon, spilled the details of their enchanting wedding weekend in the Big Apple to Elle.
“We really wanted it to feel like us, really down to earth, but in a really nice setting. I’m from Pittsburgh, Mike is from Southern Illinois. We’re from blue collar families,” the bride confessed. “We fell in love and met in New York - that’s where our love story started. So we had to have a wedding in New York.”
Dr Chiodo noted: “Which they’re all going to complain about, we knew for sure.”
In partnership with Birch Event Design and wedding planner Laurie Arons, the determined pair brought their glitzy vision to life with four separate events over one weekend.
“We didn’t want it to be just this formal thing that our families would feel very uncomfortable at. We both come from these big, crazy families,” Dr Chiodo continued. “Every wedding that we’ve gone to, like any of our cousins or aunts or uncles, any of these things have been these big, fun, crazy parties that everybody loved being at. That’s what we wanted to create. But we just happened to want to do it in the middle of New York City.”
The festivities started with the luxe rehearsal dinner set at the foot of the Dior store in the South of Houston Street district. While the cobblestone road outside one of Manhattan’s more opulent streets to shop on is more than capable of hosting 40 people, it’s not easy to claim the road for the evening. Bahl’s vision to host their meal in the middle of the street elicited necessary permits that weren’t easy to get. However, Josh Spiegel, the creative director for Birch Event Design, never doubted his abilities for a second.
“He was telling us, ‘I know I can get it done. I know I can get it done. I know.’ We literally got the confirmation two days before. It was all on a prayer, but he was very confident he could get it done,” Dr Chiodo remarked.
Dinner was served out of a moving kitchen by Acquolina Catering and included three courses placed atop custom-crafted tablecloth by Arons. Bahl spoke highly of her time working with the planner. The ambitious organiser pushed Bahl’s ideas in a whole new direction.
“She was like: ‘Well, what’s something you always do in New York?’ And I named a few things we always do. And she’s like: ‘So, let’s not do any of those things. What’s something you haven’t done in New York?’” Bahl recalled.
The highlight of a wedding weekend varies, depending on the bride. But for Bahl, nothing would compare to the ceremony held at 620 Loft & Garden, a rooftop that overlooks Rockefeller Center. “It’s just this secret little hidden gem in the middle of Manhattan, and you’re right next to St Patrick’s. It’s beautiful,” she told Elle.
Her ethereal ceremony mirrored the delicate, strapless Oscar de la Renta spring/summer 2019 gown Bahl’s stylist Micaela Erlanger dressed her in. A voluptuous train with intricate adornments trailed behind her as she stood on the altar across from her beloved.
Bahl’s reception attire followed suit with the designer and structure. The gown had been the first one she tried at a Neiman Marcus trunk show back home. Of the dress, she noted: “I put it on, and I was literally obsessed with it. It needed no adjustments. It fit me perfectly. And I was like: ‘Oh my gosh, Micaela, I have to get it.’” The reception was held at the Plaza Hotel – a true New York affair.
But a banquet in the famed “Oak Room” wasn’t enough for Bahl and Dr Chiodo. Another outfit change and venue switch were necessary before they could cap the night. Back at the rooftop garden, an altar was swapped for a DJ and a dance floor. Bahl changed into her final look: a 1994 Dior corset dress plucked from Shrimpton Couture. Guests grabbed cabs outside the Plaza to take them to their final destination.
“They lined up outside and they were blasting music and they were all decorated. They said, ‘I Love New York,’ and they had bubble machines and all of these fun things,” Bahl explained. “Everyone just jumped on them. One of my best friends told me: ‘That was the best experience of my life.’ And she’s married with two children. I was like: ‘What about your kids?’ And she was like: ‘Nope.’”
“We were just driving down Fifth Avenue with all of our friends and family. Everyone was on the road next to each other. There were no cars. It was wild. Midtown at 11.30pm,” she continued.
Bahl and Dr Chiodo’s wedding sent the internet into a frenzy. Videos were posted to TikTok of New Yorkers walking out of work on 17 August to find the rehearsal dinner set up on the street in Soho. Being an influencer, Bahl took to her account to post edits from the festivities.
“The wedding I’ve been waiting for,” one follower said, while another added: “Imagine being one of the guests. Absolutely beautiful.”