Exclusive: Inside Influencer Steph Frosch's Garden Rooftop Wedding in New York City
Few phenomena are more magical than a double proposal. When lovebirds Stephanie (Steph) Frosch and Melissa Barnett set out for Cape Cod for a summer vacation in 2021, both women had rings in their pockets. “We went on a trip to our favorite small beach town, unaware that we were both planning on proposing (actually, that only applies to me. Melissa knew since, apparently, I am a horrible liar),” laughs Steph.
During a sunset stroll, Melissa began regaling her girlfriend with all the reasons she loved her. Endearingly, her nerves took over. “She actually forgot to ask if I would marry her. She handed me the box with the ring and said, ‘I want you to have this.’” Steph explains. “I was so happy that I began to ugly cry. I was crying so hard: I’m pretty sure everyone on that beach thought I was getting dumped,” Melissa clarified that, yes, this was indeed a proposal. “I then realized—in typical lesbian fashion—that she used THE SAME EXACT JEWELER that I’d used for her ring! I proposed to Melissa the next day while slow dancing in the kitchen of our Airbnb.”
As wedding novices, the couple knew they had to assemble a talented team of vendors. “Thankfully, we connected with Jason Rhee of Rheefined Company while on an influencer trip for The Knot in Guatemala last year, and we immediately hit it off. We knew there was no one better to help us plan our special day,” says Melissa.
Prior to this chance encounter, Steph set her sights on The McKittrick Hotel in New York City—her dream wedding venue after attending the popular immersive theatre experience Sleep No More at the hotel. However, when the couple first got engaged The McKittrick Hotel didn't seem like it would work out to be their wedding venue, or so they thought. “After meeting Jason, he told us that he wanted to expand his business to New York City, as one of his close friends was the event planner of a venue that wanted to start hosting weddings. The only issue was that he did not have a couple. He then said, ‘It’s an incredible venue called The McKittrick. Have you heard of it?’” The couple was stunned. They explained that it was, in fact, their ideal venue, and Jason’s jaw dropped to the floor. “It’s been a year since we had that conversation and I still get chills every time I think about it. It’s like all of this was fate,” describes Steph. It was kismet: a chance connection with their dream venue led them to the perfect venue that had once seemed out of grasp.
On a bright spring day, the brides readied themselves to say, “I do" at Gallow Green at The McKittrick Hotel, home of Sleep No More. In another twist of coincidence, Steph had fallen in love with a particular gown designed by Grace Loves Lace. After their engagement, the boutique reached out to the pair, offering to gift Steph a dress. “It was another jaw-dropping, ‘the-universe-works-in-mysterious-ways’ moment. I wore their Poppy gown in ivory, a dress I have adored for years.” Melissa donned a stunningly chic blazer with a flowing skirt in all-black.
While Melissa was escorted down the aisle by her parents, Steph chose to walk half the aisle on her own, meeting her almost-wife in the middle so they could finish the journey together as their guests and wedding party looked on. “Since our bridal party consisted of men, women and non-binary folks, we wanted to create a title that was more inclusive than ‘bridesmaids,’ so Steph came up with the idea of ‘bridesmates,’” shares Melissa. “We each had about six bridesmates, and we let them wear whatever they wanted as long as it was black. Our priority was that everyone wore something that made them feel comfortable and confident.” The couple exchanged vows under a flower-adorned chuppah in a semi-covered, alfresco space with a backdrop of verdant greenery hanging from the beams and rising from the ground.
Personalized details abound during the newlyweds’ reception. Small glass jars offered buttons showcasing different pronouns (“Please Use They/Them Pronouns,” etc.) were available to all guests. Cupcakes featuring the Progress Pride Flag and rainbow colors filled the dessert table. When bellied up to the bar, friends and family ordered signature cocktails named after the couple’s two cats: Nugget’s Sleep No More and Oscar Wilde’s Spicy Margarita. Attendees dined with the new Mrs. and Mrs. at long tables sporting black chairs, black chargers, gold flatware and lush runners of greenery and white blossoms from Something Borrowed Blooms. Each table featured sparse candles, and the scene sat underneath string lights, creating a romantic, low-lit aesthetic.
The newlyweds danced the night away with their nearest and dearest, looking back on their special day with fulfillment. Of their personalized wedding, Steph says: “I wouldn’t say we chose to ‘break’ with tradition. I would say we created a new one.”