If you ask the editorial consultant and former Executive Digital Director of W magazine Sarah Leon how she and her current husband, photographer Teddy Wolff, got to know each other, she replies: “Do you want the long version or the short version?” Leon’s short version is a bit straight out a Rom-Com. In one of those perfect meet-cut moments, Leon and Wolff sat next to each other on Leon’s 25th birthday on a flight to Israel. “Although we’d both definitely say that we’re not the type to talk to strangers on airplanes, we talked and immediately clicked,” recalls Leon. They were both on their way to Birthright, the sponsored ten-day trip to Israel for Jewish young adults, and ended up traveling together for two weeks. But their home life was very different at the time: Leon lived in New York and Wolff lived in Washington DC So a long-distance relationship began and after about nine months of bus travel to and from each city, the couple moved to and settle in NYC.
Leon and Wolff were together for six and a half years before they got married. They knew they wanted to tie the knot, but a full-fledged white wedding with all the trimmings and a long guest list wasn’t in sight for either of them. Knowing that they wanted something small and simple, the two waited for the right moment to plan their celebration. That moment happened by chance in the midst of a pandemic, loss of family, and just before the holidays in 2020. As Leon explains, “After my grandfather’s death in September, we felt a new sense of time that was moving quickly and the world was changing.” They decided to get married on December 12th “a cozy Saturday morning at home” in Chinatown. They started googling wedding checklists and how to get a marriage certificate. Later that day, Wolff went to photograph her close friend, the chef at Cosme Daniela Soto-Innes, in the kitchen the night before last. “Teddy conspired with the chefs to write ‘Let’s Get Married’ on two tortillas that accompany the restaurant’s famous duck carnitas and surprised me with the message – and with dinner,” she recalls. “Neither of us have ever been a fan of elaborate proposals or proposals in general, but this surprise was just perfect.”
Next, they have their parents FaceTimed to bring them the great news. Leon and Wolff also told them that not only would they get married, but they would get married in two weeks, the day after Christmas. The family, along with the newlyweds, all jumped into action. Per New York’s COVID-19 guidelines, the couple compiled a guest list of exactly 25 people, including themselves, their official, a close friend and writer named Zachary Mack (who also owns ABC Beer Co in New York who owns some of the libations provided). ) and their photographer, also a friend, Eric Schleicher. “Each individual had a task,” explains Leon. “We hired a friend to set up the tables and another as a photographer. Not only did we know every single person on the premises that day, but they were all close friends we wanted to have there and could trust that they would be careful with COVID-19 precautions. ”The entire wedding was in planned exactly two weeks, from the engagement to the ceremony. They chose the backyard of their friend James O’Brian’s Popina restaurant and wine shop in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, and asked Soto-Innes to be their ring bearer. Sisters Estefania and Valentina Brito, Cosme’s former sous-chefs, would serve as flower girls.
When it comes to wedding fashion, Leon and Wolff opted for a chic wardrobe that comes exclusively from second-hand and vintage stores. “We had to act quickly,” says Leon about the process. “We also didn’t really feel comfortable going into stores and trying things on because of the pandemic. For the ceremony, Leon chose a silk coat with a dahlia print from Rocha’s Pre-Fall 2016 collection, which she bought on eBay last spring. Underneath, she wore a white A-line silk-cotton blend Marni dress that she had bought from The RealReal during their wedding week. She had ordered a pair of Manolo Blahnik white slingbacks on eBay for the occasion, but they didn’t arrive on time, so she swapped a pair of Manolo Blahnik black slingbacks that she already owned. Leon was born with a pair of silver Sophie Buhai earrings, which Wolff gave her on her 30. Her “something old” was a pearl necklace that had belonged to her grandmother, then her mother. As “something borrowed” Leon wore a pearl bracelet that Wolff’s mother lent her.
Wolff’s entire wedding day look was entirely second-hand as well, apart from a new white shirt and tie from Hermès. His Dries Van Noten suit was sourced from the East Village consignment store Tokyo 7, which he wore with a pair of Balenciaga boots from The RealReal. Both the bride and groom chose vintage gold Cartier rings from eBay and 1stDibs. And her dress code for the ceremony? “Dress warmly!” Leon says it was outside at the end of December. Leon and Wolff and their family and friends gathered on December 26th around 1:30 p.m. in the back yard of Popina. They placed a tripod and iPhone in the center of the room so their Zoom guests (who reached over 100) could watch the wedding from a distance. It was all cute and simple and short. The officer told their story, and Leon and Wolff shared their own written vows after a brief speech from Soto-Innes. Her parents shared comments as well, and Leon’s father gave the Jewish tradition of breaking the glass before the newlyweds said “yes” its own heartwarming twist. After kissing, the couple ended the ceremony by playing “I Love You Always Forever” by Donna Lewis. Then of course they popped a bottle of champagne.
Leon and Wolff didn’t have a bridal shower, but they called their brothers “Best Brothers” and asked them to make toast when lunch started after the ceremony. They ate grilled Blaupunkt oysters and crabs (a nod to Wolff’s hometown of Annapolis, Maryland), along with grilled leeches and Berkshire pork chops, and honey-nut squash with stracciatella. Everything was planned and prepared by Luis “Pav” Lares and Josue A. Sanchez, both chefs from Cosme. Leon’s father put together a playlist for afterwards that contained songs by David Bowie and The Spice Girls. For dessert, there were four different types of cake from Four & Twenty Blackbirds.
Despite the cold weather and the circumstances, Leon says that she and Wolff “felt very much loved by everyone who was there personally, virtually and spiritually”. And even if it was a real masterpiece to have a wedding, even a small one, in exactly ten days, it was important to them that the wedding ceremony on December 26th. took place. As Leon explains, “We liked the symmetry of the wedding date because it was followed by my parents and both of my grandparents’ wedding anniversaries. My father’s parents, Jack and Maureen (aka Mo) Leon, married on December 28, 1949; my mother’s parents, Abe and Rita Denowitz, married on December 31, 1957; and my parents Bobby Dacron and Debbie Leon got married on December 30, 1982. In this way Teddy and I will not only celebrate our love every year, but also the love that came before us and made us what we are. “