A Romantic, Modern Wedding at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in New York, New York

Planning a wedding is a big task, even when you have time on your side, but for Joanna Karatzios (27 and a fund-raiser) and Ruben Leavitt (28 and a senior director of account management), the heat was really on—the couple had only 90 days to plan their entire wedding. The couple met by chance at a wine tasting they were both attending during their master's program at Oxford University’s St Anne’s College and dated long distance for a year after Ruben had to return to the US. When Joanna went to New York City for an extended visit, Ruben popped the question at the Brooklyn Museum. That’s when things got tricky. After waiting for 18 months for her fiance's visa to approve, the couple had 90 days to tie the knot.The couple pulled off a fun-filled, intimate affair with undeniable New York City charm. Joanna and Ruben kicked off the day with a ceremony on the rooftop of their Queens apartment building in Long Island City, New York, surrounded by their closest family members and friends. “It has spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline and was perfect for us—a backyard wedding for people who live in the city,” Joanna says. For the reception, they headed across the East River to Housing Works Bookstore in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood for a night of great food and lots of dancing. “We loved that it was such a quintessentially New York space and that it was right in the heart of downtown,” Joanna says. “We also appreciated that the profits are put back into the charity and that they serve farm-to-table food.” After their florist pulled out at the last minute, Joanna did all the flowers herself and enlisted the help of her aunt to put together the place settings and candy-jar favors for guests. Before hitting the dance floor, the newlyweds and their guests enjoyed a buffet dinner of poussin, steak and chickpea cakes, followed by booze-infused cupcakes from local icon Prohibition Bakery. A tip from Joanna: “Do what you want. Don't let anyone railroad you into doing anything you aren't 100 percent happy with, and stick to your guns over the guest list and venue.”