1920’s Gatsby theme wedding: Cori + Zack

Categories   Real Weddings

Blue dress! Pretty blue dress + pretty blue eyes = beautiful wedding in Ithaca, NY. With a 20’s Gatsby theme. Zack is a philosopher and Cori is a poet so they were all about a creative wedding… while still maintaining an element of old fashioned glamour. They chose Stewart Park for their venue because they 1) met and fell in love while attending Cornell and 2) loved the history of the early film industry in Ithaca and Stewart Park in particular. Their reception space (the public pavilion next to Cayuga Lake) was originally the Wharton Brothers silent film studio in 1919.


But back to the dress. The women in Cori’s family never wear white to their weddings so to her it wasn’t an important tradition to follow. Cori found her dress on Bluefly and then took it to a local tailor to have the back redone in a more vintage fashion.





Cori and Zack exchanged letters and small gifts before the ceremony… Cori embroidered a poem on a pocket square for Zack and Zack gave Cori an ammonite fossil, because snails are a symbol of their relationship.



Their ceremony was super personal and focused on well written words and a reworking of tradition.

Listen to this one: “We put a bottle of wine, two glasses, and a set of love letters (written in secret and unshared) into a wooden crate and then sealed it with nails (each nail was hammered by a family member to show their commitment to supporting our marriage and then finally by us). The crate is meant as an act of reassurance, a romantic gesture–if ever our relationship is in peril, we are to open the crate, drink the wine, and read the letters before we make any decisions about our future.”

Um, shouldn’t we ALL do that for our weddings?? At the very least you end up with a lovely aged bottle of wine.


Cori’s sister and husband built the chuppah themselves, which was quite a feat since they had to travel to the wedding.


Their entire family pitched in to clean (literally clean the windows and floors) and decorate the public hall the night before the wedding. They made coffee filter garlands and used vintage player piano reels as table runners (CUTE!!). They wrapped the benches in deco designed kraft paper to hide the old paint. Every plate and piece of cutlery was compostable, and they used mason jars for glasses. They totally turned a semi-run down public space into an amazing early century dance hall!



They gave mums in vases with gocco-ed tags to guests as favors and decorated with old books and typewriters as a nod to meeting in grad school.




Beautiful, thoughtful wedding day Cori and Zack! Such a collaboration of your creative energy with your entire family. Thanks so much for sharing with us!

Photographer: Brion Hopkins – which is kind of a story in and of itself.

Cori and Zack entered the Featherlove free photography contest and came out as finalists. Since they couldn’t afford a professional photog, they asked a friend to do the honors. Until Brion contacted them, intrigued by their story, and offered to shoot their wedding for a plane ticket and accommodations. How amazing is that?? And in Cori and Zack’s words, he totally changed their wedding day, stepping in as coordinator when needed and generally bringing loads of enthusiasm and light to their wedding day.

Venue: Stewart Park, Ithaca NY / Dress: Tadashi from Bluefly / Shoes: Jeffery Campbell / Hair piece: NevaPlume / Bouquet: Sassafras Flowers / Flowers: Arranged by Cori’s brother-in-law, Neal F. Barman (Flourish & Thrive Landscaping) / Invites and paper: made by Cori and Zack / Their key theme was inspired by a poster from The Small Stakes / Catering: heavy hors d’oeuvres from Bluestone / Hair and makeup: Innovations Salon

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Social Love

Mandy on Feb 1, 2010

The free-spirited hippie in me loves everything about this wedding

Sarah N on Feb 1, 2010

what an amazing wedding - wish i knew the lucky couple so i could have been invited to see such a sweet reception hall. i love their idea of sealing the box.....

Emily Fullerton on Feb 1, 2010

Such a cute wedding! Brion did a great job, how lucky!

cara on Feb 1, 2010

The bride looks *stunning* in her blue dress! I think that's the bestest -- that, when I look at the photos, I don't just think, "Oooh, admiration for being a non-traditional bride!" but instead I think, "Oooh, she looks *gorgeous*!" And what a day filled with beautiful things, too!

Stacie Bryant on Feb 1, 2010

Such a beautiful colors, it looks like a story book. The details look simply magical and the photographs capture that couples true beauty. Congrats on an amazing event!

Micah on Feb 1, 2010

What a gorgeous wedding. I love the non-traditional blue dress. I love how the couple stayed true to their own style; wonderful.

Stephanie @ Geezees on Feb 1, 2010

I adore so many things about these photos...the cake is precious...and i love the reception photos!!

Danielle Hensley on Feb 1, 2010

The bride looks amazing and so classic.

Iris on Feb 1, 2010

I loved the radiant blue this bride wore for this wedding!! It looks amazinggg!! Have you heard about crate and Barrel and their wedding giveaway?? I can't believe they are giving away a $100,000! http://www.crateandbarrel.com/ultimatewedding/default.aspx

Jamie on Feb 1, 2010

Does anyone know a source for those glass jars used as vases on the tables? They are EXACTLY what I have been looking for, and it looks like she has lots that match, so I'm assuming they aren't a flea-market find.

Kate Crafton on Feb 1, 2010

Fabulous! What a fantastic event...so much personality!!! The images are completely gorgeous as well!

Callie Santos on Feb 1, 2010

This couple is so funky it makes me want to hang out with them! Gorgeous!

Taryn on Feb 1, 2010

Um, totally stealing the box idea. What an adorable concept!

Heidi @ Zenadia on Feb 1, 2010

Her dress is divine. Such a charming wedding.

Aunt Mary on Feb 1, 2010

It's Cori's Aunt Mary here - the wedding was amazing. She was so stunning - the dress in person is so magnificent. (by the way I got married in pink) The box part of the ceremony was funny as some people have problems with hammers, and yes the venue was perfect for C&Z.

The Professional Bridesmaid on Feb 1, 2010

The bride is beautiful. Her dress, the belt.....she has immaculate taste. Well done.

Nina on Feb 1, 2010

i love it when brides wear a colored dress. it's so fresh and modern.

sarah on Feb 1, 2010

Yes, yes and yes!! How awesome is that dress? Aunt Mary referenced above she wore pink? What a cool family and tradition. The crate and with the nails the family hammer symbolize their love for the marriage.. so special and unique. Congrats to everyone who helped make this union happen is such style and grace.

Tara Lee on Feb 1, 2010

Fabulous! Gorgeous! Love that dress! I would love to start a tradition like that. I don't think both of my little girls would go for that. Definitely the youngst though. I think this guest book box from my shop would have fit perfectly with this wedding: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=38861849

Emilie on Feb 2, 2010

Hi, Can i ask where the belt is from...I'm looking for one like that!!! Thank you and congrats on a wonderfull wedding.

Chloe on Feb 2, 2010

What a be-au-tiful wedding dress and details! I love it. So elegant and classy. I have wedding envy.

AmyPunky Photography on Feb 2, 2010

Oh that blue dress is amazing!!!! Gorgeous wedding!!!

Sarah Gunnison on Feb 2, 2010

I love this wedding. So sweet and meaningful, which is what I want for my wedding in April. The chuppah that her sister built is just what I have been looking for! I would love to know how they made it, if anyone has ideas... Metal rods, fabric and ballons??

Ashley on Feb 2, 2010

Beautiful wedding! Does anyone know where they got the cake topper from? Thanks!

samantha on Feb 2, 2010

looking for a pertty cake. thanks

Aunt Melinda on Feb 2, 2010

True to their unconventional spirit-the bride and groom also had set up an area where people could put on straw hats, fake mustaches, boas and sunglasses and have their pictures taken with a polaroid camera. Everyone loves to do dressup and fun was had by all.

hatandfeathers (cori, the bride) on Feb 3, 2010

Thanks for all your sweet comments everyone!! The belt was a previous season of Jcrew--I saw it in an old ad, found a swap site & posted a query for it. There are some similar ones on etsy now. The apothecary jars were found on craigslist—I think the woman got them from a science supply company (they may have been deadstock). Feel free to email if you have anymore questions, hatandfeathers@gmail.com. And thanks again for featuring us on this amazing site! It was so wonder-lovely to look back at our wedding amidst all this cold weather in London!

Chocolate Butterbean on Feb 3, 2010

I adore her dress - it's fantastic!!

Sarah @ Foglio Press on Feb 3, 2010

I love this wedding, and I love this couple! This is the kind of wedding that totally inspires me - so personal and just 100% beautiful. Congratulations Cori and Zack!

Janet - LimoHunt on Feb 4, 2010

The cake sparklers are very unique - Nice touch!

Lauren @ Every Last Detail on Feb 8, 2010

What an amazing wedding! I love all of the little touches, and how it was so intimate! Awesome!

Palladium Resorts on Feb 11, 2010

Absolutely beautiful blue dress. Love it!

cara @ lillian and leonard on Feb 17, 2010

How breathtaking is she in that dress? I gasped out loud when I saw the pictures.

Ivor Tetteh-Lartey on Feb 24, 2010

Great story telling and lovely cameo details.

Sue on Feb 28, 2010

Wow, I used to go to Stewart Park for picnics as an undergrad, and I barely recognized the barn! This is so sweet.

annie @ Perfect Postage on Mar 13, 2010

I love the L O V E candle cake - great photos!

Utah catering on Jul 6, 2010

I must say that's one of the most gorgeous weddings I've seen.

Kasia on Jan 16, 2011

Some lovely shots!! The blue dress looks great against the forest background. Kasia - Edinburgh Wedding Photography

Joanna on Aug 31, 2011

Love the dress,amazing colour!!!

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Alex on Nov 15, 2011

Looks like they had so much fun!

Moey on Sep 4, 2012

This looks like it was a beautiful wedding! I really love their colors. The last wedding that I went to was really nice as well. They chose yellow for their color and they had flour sack towels with their names embroidered into them.

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