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1920’s Gatsby theme wedding: Cori + Zack

February 1, 2010

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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