Maria Geyman and Evan Seftel first met nearly a decade ago after she moved from the east coast to Portland, Oregon, for graduate school. She was living in a “chaotic yet charming” communal house that Evan had previously inhabited. “We had big family dinners every Sunday with our friends and spent a lot of time together,” Maria remembers. But Evan was working with touring bands at the time, and he soon had to leave Portland; Maria eventually relocated to New York. In the fall of 2020, they reconnected and started dating again. Evan, who now works in hotel management, was based in Wyoming, while Maria is a naturopathic doctor who runs her tea company, Masha Tea, out of Brooklyn. The potential cross-country problem settled itself quickly. “I spent the winter in Wyoming, then we moved back to New York together,” Maria says. Then she found out she was pregnant. “We had been discussing our future marriage when we found out we were having a baby, so Maria picked out a ring and that was that,” Evan remembers. (Maria knew immediately who to turn to for her engagement ring: “The day after we decided to get married, we texted Alice Waese and asked if she would make the engagement ring. We went to her studio that week!”)
Evan had planned to officially propose during a trip to Martha’s Vineyard, but Maria was dealing with pregnancy sickness so it didn’t turn out to be the ideal day he’d hoped. The right moment arrived a few weeks later: “As we were settling into bed to watch a Kurosawa film after a perfect day at Fort Tilden beach, I got down on a knee next to our bed and told her how much I loved her and officially asked if she’d marry me.”
With a mid-September wedding date, they had less than three months to plan it all. “We made fast decisions but ones that were true to who we are,” Maria says. “For instance, my family is Russian Jewish so we decided on Russian food from a restaurant that has been in North Jersey for 26 years. Ev’s grandparents were active in their community in hiking and canoeing so Ev’s mom built a bar from her mother’s canoe.” The bride took the lead, with guidance and on-the-day assistance from planner Brianna Iannello. Friends were involved in all aspects of the day. “My best friend, Melissa Markert and her fiancé, Will Pasternak, are both NYC bartenders and so they created the cocktail program. We’re friends with the manager at our local wine shop, Dandelion Wine, so all wine came from there. Alexandra Hodkowski and Mosco Alcocer from our favourite coffee shop, Head Hi, offered to provide the coffee and, of course, we had Masha Tea. Essentially, we planned the wedding with our community’s help.”
When it came to clothing, Maria always wanted to go maximalist. She found most of her ensemble at Pronovias on the Upper West Side. “My sister noticed a layered tulle skirt which was perfect,” Maria remembers. She paired the sculptural, voluminous shape with a meringue-like Pronovias jacket and a white vintage top underneath. Pops of colour came courtesy of the bride’s tomato-red nails and Chanel lipstick. Her earrings and anklet were by Laura Lombardi, while her amber and gold necklace was passed down from her mother. “Maria had been deliberating for a while and when I finally saw her whole outfit put together on our wedding day I was blown away,” Evan says. “The pieces all fit together perfectly and she looked stunning, like a fairy-tale bride.”
With all guests confirmed vaccinated, the ceremony and reception were held outdoors at Evan’s mother’s lakeside backyard in Sparta, New Jersey. As everyone gathered by the water to the sound of a local string trio, an egret flew overhead. After the bridesmaids walked down the aisle, each carrying a single pale pink dahlia, Maria arrived with her bouquet – an arrangement of trailing cedar and dahlias by Allora Flowers – in hand. The couple’s close friend Chris Bott officiated the wedding, which was short and sweet beneath a birchwood chuppah – a mix of personal touches and Jewish traditions. “We had another friend read a Mary Oliver poem, wrote our own vows, exchanged rings, and sealed the deal with a smashed glass and a big kiss,” Evan says.
Afterwards, the couple greeted their guests at the top of the trail leading to the lake. When cocktails were underway, they snuck off for a quick paddle on the water. “Ev’s grandmother’s canoes are at his mom’s house and every time we visit, we take a canoe out, trying to see the egret, Evelyn, or the great blue heron, Hank,” Maria says. “On our wedding day, we wanted to take a few minutes just to ourselves, and being on the lake felt like the best way to have that.”
Maria changed into a crocheted green and white Bode top for dancing. The couple had their first dance to “You’re Just Too Good to be True”, performed by members of the wedding party Melissa Markert and Derek Brown. Then DJ Julie Allen started her set, and the dancefloor filled up between dinner courses. “Highlights were dancing the horah, the speeches, and the Russian food which is so comforting to me,” Maria says. “It was amazing to see our friends and family from all over come together to celebrate with us.”