During their first year of dating, Jonathan Velez surprised Arissa Chonis with a weekend getaway at a famed Montauk resort over Presidents’ Day Weekend. It was so special to the couple that it became a tradition to spend each year at the property on that weekend. After purchasing their home in East Hampton, hotel stays turned into drinks or lunch at the onsite restaurant. On one such occasion, the manager asked if they wanted to view the newly renovated deck. As Arissa approached the deck, she was surprised to see the site adorned with roses and marquee letters spelling “Will You Marry Me?” Following Jonathan’s sweet proposal, they celebrated with their families, who ran from the nearby bar to congratulate the engaged pair. “It was the best moment of my life!” smiles Arissa.
Since the bride and groom wanted to host their wedding in the state where they both grew up, they selected Oheka Castle – a stunning historic hotel on the Gold Coast of Long Island in New York. Desiring a romantic theme for the nuptials, the French-inspired chateau featuring manicured gardens and exquisite décor provided the ideal setting for an unforgettable celebration surrounded by 240 friends and family members.
The ceremony took place in the Grand Ballroom, Arissa’s favorite room in the castle. Loved ones took their seats atop golden chairs with crisp white cushions facing a fireplace bedecked with candles and floral arrangements comprised of ivory roses and quicksand roses accented with greenery. The bride made her way down the aisle, which was lined with candles and flower petals at the base of each cluster, to an instrumental string rendition of “Firestone” by Kygo.
She was gorgeous in a long-sleeve gown highlighting sheer illusion details, rebrodé lace appliques on the bodice, and a sleek crepe skirt as she met her groom for the Greek Orthodox ceremony performed by the bride’s family priest, who took time to explain the meaning of each tradition to all guests.
“I love neutral colors and not a lot of color, and I wanted to portray this throughout the wedding style... I wanted it to be fun and chic, but also keep that romantic vibe.”
Once Arissa and Jonathan were pronounced husband and wife, they joined their attendees in the Terrace Room for an elegant reception. Desiring a romantic style with plenty of candlelight and greenery, the couple was in awe as they entered the space. “I love neutral colors and not a lot of color, and I wanted to portray this throughout the wedding style,” confirms the bride. “I wanted it to be fun and chic, but also keep that romantic vibe.” Perfectly fitting the pair’s vision, the room was transformed with stunning floral arrangements showcasing shades of white and ivory with accents of fresh greenery, gilt elements on each tablescape, and sophisticated patterned linens.
Attendees found their seats at round tables embellished with high and low centerpieces displaying delightful vanilla-toned roses and hydrangeas with eucalyptus leaves and additional verdure. “My florals were just as I envisioned!” affirms the bride. Each guest’s place setting showcased a gold charger topped with a white matte menu featuring the dinner selections in bullion-hued lettering nestled in a napkin that complemented the champagne-toned linens. Loved ones also discovered a small bottle of olive oil affixed to white sugar-coated almonds, or koufeta, wrapped in tulle by the mother of the bride to honor their family’s Greek heritage.
To further pay tribute to their upbringings, the pair incorporated special music throughout the soirée. Following Arissa and Jonathan’s first dance to “I’ll Be” by Edwin McCain, they went straight into the traditional Greek bridal song and invited their immediate family to the dance floor, followed by “Vivir Mi Vida” by Marc Anthony to honor the groom’s Puerto Rican culture. Guests were then served slices of a striking confection boasting dulce de leche, mint chocolate chip, and red velvet cake decorated with ivory fondant, gold brushstroke detailing, and fresh pink roses with eucalyptus leaves.
With the memory of their exceptional day at the castle and the love of friends and family that surrounded them, the newlyweds confirm they would not change a single thing about their nuptials. They encourage other couples planning their celebrations to stay true to their vision throughout the process as the wedding day only happens once and goes quickly. “Enjoy every minute of it with your husband!” smiles the bride.