Photography by


Bess Castagnello & Sim Fern

September 17, 2017. New York, New York


Ceremony Location: The Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue New York, NY; Reception Location: American Museum of Natural History New York, NY; Event Design and Planner: Barbara Esses Design New York, NY; Floral Design: Atlas Floral Decorators New York, NY; Wedding Dress: Pnina Tornai; Bridal Salon: Kleinfeld New York, NY; Groom's Attire: Salvatore Ferragamo; Engagement Ring and Tiara: Kwiat; Entertainment: Sunny Spot Productions New York, NY
 
 
Bess and Sim met on a breezy, crisp fall night at Tribeca Rooftop in Manhattan, where they were celebrating a mutual friend’s wedding reception. Sim recalls the sense of calm he felt upon meeting Bess and was also taken with her striking sense of style. Bess could sense his warmth and authenticity; and, feeling as if she had known him for years, invited him to a rare scotch tasting the next night. An effortless match made in Heaven, the two have been inseparable ever since.
 
After weeks of searching, researching, and designing the perfect engagement ring with Bess’ mother, Sim managed to pull off a surprise proposal in a spectacular setting. The couple was on a private balcony overlooking the Western Wall in Jerusalem when he got down on one knee and popped the question. For Bess, it was such a surreal and magical moment that it took a few minutes to register what was happening.
 
As a bride-to-be, Bess felt like the luckiest girl in the world to have her future husband involved in their wedding planning process. Not only did Sim have a matching sense of style, but he even attended floral design meetings – not just the food tastings that excite most grooms.
 
Sim and Bess were married days before the Jewish new year, so they could begin the year together as husband and wife. A traditional Orthodox Jewish ceremony was held at the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue located on Central Park West, right around the corner from the bride’s childhood home. Surrounded by incredible architecture and walking down a red carpet to the chuppah, the bride and groom felt like royalty as a live chorus sang from the balcony overlooking the guests. 
 
The ceremony was followed by a black-tie reception at the American Museum of Natural History, where the iconic Hall of Ocean Life was transformed into Bess and Sim’s vision of an enchanted forest hidden under the sea. Dinner included a “Sea Course” and a “Land Course,” and guests dined and danced all night under the museum’s famous 94-foot blue whale.
 
Celebrating in the Hall of Ocean Life was especially meaningful for the bride, as she lost her father at a young age. Bess’ father would bring her to the museum as a little girl, and her happiest memories as a child were laying down on the museum floor and staring up at the blue whale for hours. For Bess, hosting her wedding in such a special place was a dream come true.
 
After the big day, the newlyweds spent their honeymoon in Big Sur, California, followed by an epic trip to Hawaii, island hopping around Kauai, Maui, and Lanai.
 
>Written by: Lauren Malamala