Big Jazzy Bash in Tribeca

Danielle Dorsainvil & James Jean
Saint Emeric’s Church and Tribeca Rooftop
September 9, 2007

James proposed on the Seine in Paris, with the help of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116. “He had quite an audience: My sisters, my mom and dad, my niece and nephew, my grandmother, and James’ mom were all on that boat with us,” says Danielle. The couple, who are both Haitian and lived in New York before expatriating overseas, planned their entire wedding blind, using online recommendations, friends’ assurances, and late-night, in-between-time-zones phone calls. “I wasn’t even at the tasting! My girls made sure there would be plenty of spicy food for the Haitians—as well as a martini bar, a raw bar, a sushi bar, and a dim sum station.” Planning from afar required a lot of creativity, “Pre-Cana in Baghdad? Kind of hard. Enter the army chaplain!” And compromises: “My cousin didn’t call for the limos until a month before. Let’s just say the pickings were slim.” No matter, they weren’t high on her “do-not-budge-on-this” list.


Bride’s Gown: Jim Hjelm at Kleinfeld
Groom’s Suit: Hugo Boss
Event Designer: Meredith Waga of Belle Fleur
Music: D.J. Powermix and Belle Image
Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Watters & Watters
Invitations: Inklinations

At my final dress-fitting, I felt too exposed on top for the church. That was my one Bridezilla moment: I nearly bought a new dress with three weeks to go. But they added that bit of doily-lace on top and it was enough.

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Photographs by Daphne Borowski

The reception started to go overboard, so I thought marrying in this Lower East Side church, instead of on the venue”s rooftop, would bring things down a notch.

Flowers took up the bulk of our budget; at the mock-up two weeks before, I felt nervous about having so much orange, but it turned out nicely.

Not everyone was RSVPing. In Haitian culture, people are like, “Just assume I”m going!” Or, I”d get an RSVP that would read, “”Me and my friend.” No names! I had to call people on the phone in order to finalize the guest list and the seating chart. Before that, I had entertained the idea of having a miscellaneous table for all the people who just showed up.

I had eleven bridesmaids. James wanted groomsmen, but a total of twenty-two? That would”ve been overkill. So he didn”t have any. I chose a two-piece outfit in chocolate brown for the girls. They weren”t very happy with the color, but I pushed for it.

We hired a Haitian D.J., this guy who is an NYPD cop by day. He played a mix of pop, hip-hop, reggae, jazz, and Haitian music.

Big Jazzy Bash in Tribeca