An Enchanted Fairy-Tale Wedding at the Cleveland Botanical Garden in Cleveland, Ohio

Lindsey Vandevier (30 and in theatrical and event design) and Robert Figueira (29 and a motion graphics artist) met at Carnegie Mellon University when they were getting MFAs in theatrical design (the bride in costume design; the groom in lighting design). Even though they live in New York, they got married in Ohio because it made sense in terms of cost and logistics (many guests live in Ohio). Lindsey drew on her event design experience to plan a “storybook enchanted garden” wedding at the Cleveland Botanical Garden in the University Circle neighborhood, with hotels, public transportation and other Cleveland attractions nearby. The botanical garden was the perfect choice, not only for its stunning outdoor space but because the indoor space (in case of inclement weather) was beautiful too. “ We didn’t want to have our reception in a tent just as a safeguard against bad weather,” she says. The fairy-tale theme came naturally. “I have always been obsessed with fairy tales, an obsession that—as an adult—has become more sophisticated,” Lindsey says. “Ultimately I wanted to create the feeling that you were in our real life fairy tale, taking place in an enchanted garden.”  She wore a princess-like gown with seven layers of netting (including white, beige and pink), her hair swept to the side (Rapunzel-esque), a delicate organic floral hairpiece, a bouquet of roses, peonies, astilbes and ranunculus, and sexy heels that she splurged on. “They were actually a pipe dream in the beginning” of the planning stages, she says of the four-inch Swarovski-crystal-encrusted Christian Louboutins. After much obsessing, she went for it. “If I were a shoe, this is the shoe I would be,” she says, adding, “This was my Cinderella moment.” She designed the satin bridesmaid dresses after finding the perfect fabric in New York. “In the sunlight of the ceremony, the ombre skirts looked almost like they were glowing,” she says. Lindsey walked down the aisle to “Song to the Moon” from the opera Rusalka, her grad school thesis project—an opera based on the mythical world of a water nymph and her love, the prince. A string quartet played during cocktail hour in the restorative garden, where guests enjoyed duck confit crostini and specialty cocktails: a traditional Sazerac for Robert; a rosemary peach Bellini for Lindsey (a salute to her love of Italy). The party then moved to long banquet tables, where guests dined on hors d’oeuvres and a four-course dinner. Lighting helped set the mood, from candles to lanterns to string lights and custom lighting design by the groom—colored LED lights changed throughout the evening (Robert controlled them with an app on his phone). The fairy-tale theme continued with the couple’s first dance to the waltz from Tchaikovsky’s ballet "The Sleeping Beauty," beginning with the first verse from “Once Upon a Dream” from the Disney movie version, then segueing into the classical orchestral version. Keeping in true to their prince and princess style, Lindsey and Robert performed a beautifully choreographed Viennese waltz. At the end of the evening, guests received homemade lemon liqueur favors with the label “Drink me.” Even the gift that Robert gave Lindsey was perfectly suited to this theme, a first edition In Powder and Crinoline (an anthology of fairy tales) from 1913. Planning the perfect wedding in Ohio—while living in New York—was a labor of love, Lindsey says. “If I wasn’t trained in production design or a type A personality, I don’t know that I could have pulled it off,” she says. Creating that whimsical, enchanted feeling took a lot of research and attention to detail. “My dad likes to joke, ‘It takes a family to raise a wedding.’ In our case, this was especially true,” Linsey says. Since many loved ones donated their time or talents, the couple were able to devote more of their budget to flowers, fashion, food, decor and lighting “to create an elegant wedding that looked like a million bucks.” And they lived happily ever after. —Chrissy Sorenson