Vivi Fellig & Mendy Wilansky
March 30, 2016 in Miami, Florida
When 21-year-old Vivi Fellig left her home in Miami to attend a yearlong college program overseas, she never dreamed it would be the catalyst for a lifelong romance. Being close friends with her New York dorm-mate, Sara Wilansky, it was Sara who relentlessly started nagging her older brother Mendy Wilansky, who was 6,000 miles away.
“You have to date this girl,” Sara insisted. “She’s the one.”
Mendy, a South African native who had moved to New York with his family at the age of seven, had been too busy with studies to think about marriage. But months later, when he was back Stateside, he and Vivi agreed to meet. Over four intense months, Mendy gave Vivi a romantic whirlwind tour of the city. The two scaled the Empire State Building, stood solemnly at the Freedom Tower, laughed at Broadway’s Matilda, and kayaked down the Hudson River.
When Mendy was ready to pop the question, he took his then-girlfriend to a secluded gazebo in Long Island, which was strung with colorful lights and strewn with rose petals. Getting down on one knee, he glanced toward a nearby table. On top of it was an oversized bouquet, champagne, goblets and five personalized vintage Coke bottles, each featuring one word – “Vivi,” “Will,” “You,” “Marry,” “Me?”
Since the couple was still completing their bachelor degrees in New York, Vivi was happy to give her Miami-based mother the green light for planning the wedding décor. Her mother also enlisted the help of NYC-based wedding expert, Birch Event Design, who would plan and produce the entire event.
“My mom has an incredible eye,” says Vivi. “When it comes to style, we’re like two peas in a pod. And we’d both been following Birch’s Instagram for years, so I knew I’d be thrilled.”
As she expected, Vivi was thrilled when she was presented with the wedding décor plans. A breathtaking pairing of textured whites and bold golds would be complemented by thousands of floating orchids cascading over Aurelian, angular furniture and accents. To add a pop of color, a vibrant entrance foyer with delicate votive candles and vivid bouquets offered guests a warm welcome.
A week before the wedding, as per their family custom, Vivi and Mendy said a temporary goodbye with no texting or communicating. It was a relief when the big day arrived, and 350 loved ones from South Africa, Australia, and New York began to gather for a beautiful ceremony. The wedding day culminated with an epic celebration, taking place in a magical reception space.
“I’d seen the plans,” says the bride, “I knew it would be magnificent. But when I stepped into that ballroom, I felt like I was dreaming.”
With guests booked at that same hotel, nobody was in a rush to go anywhere. The Birch Event team had designed a unique afterparty lounge with a casino-esque vibe, where partygoers were treated to an exquisite display of desserts laid out on custom-built gold buffets. Fueled by live music and entertainment, the newlyweds and their guests danced the night away.
“Everyone was having such a genuinely good time,” says Mendy. “We felt enveloped by these amazing vibes. There was so much love in that room.”
>Written by: Michal Eisikowitz