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INGREDIENTS

CEREMONY SITE Abyssinian Baptist Church (212) 862-7474

RECEPTION SITE Alfred Lerner Hall, Columbia University (212) 854-5798

OFFICIANT Rev. Calvin O. Butts III (father of the groom)

PHOTOGRAPHY Tiffany selected Ray Llanos, a professional acquaintance, because "his work and style has always been one that fit well with the results we needed for our archives and press submissions. He is excellent at determining the kind of shots that one would want without needing a lot of direction." Ray Llanos, www.printroom.com/pro/caribcamera

VIDEOGRAPHER AbyTech Video and Audio (212) 862-7474

CONSULTANT Angela Anderson, Angela's Exquisite Events (201) 832-2777, Northern New Jersey

GOWN, VEIL, AND SHOES Tiffany wore an ivory strapless organza ball gown. Vera Wang (212) 628-3400.

HAIR Tamara Taylor (646) 479-3684

MAKEUP Tia Griffin (917) 863-8127, Brooklyn

MAID OF HONOR DRESS Monica wore a copper-color double-faced taffeta dress by Lazaro

FORMALWEAR Albert Lam, First Custom Corporation (212) 226-2130

INVITATIONS AND PROGRAMS Design: Erica Carlson, Fenix Designs, [email protected]; Printing: Yan Blankinship, The Museum Press (212) 741-7700

FLOWERS "From seeing her past designs," says Tiffany, "I had requested calla lilies as the primary flower for all the arrangements and bouquets." Fellow Abyssinian Baptist Church member Saundra Parks, The Daily Blossom (212) 633-9000.

RENTAL EQUIPMENT ASAP Linen Inc. (800) 272-7154

CATERING Norma Jean Darden, Spoonbread, Inc. (212) 865-0700

MUSIC Ceremony: Imani Winds, book through Herbert Barrett Management (212) 245-3530; Reception: DJ Ernie D, Ernest Davidson, Entertainment Integrators (888) 344-2748

FIRST DANCE Tiffany and Calvin spun and dipped to "Spend my Life with You" by Eric Benet and Tamia.

ENTERTAINMENT Performers and stage help provided by a number of the couple's friends: production Manager Candace Jackson; actors Kyle and Kim Rivers; choreographer Felicia Swoope; dancers Matthew Rushing and Ebony Ruffin; and host Marta Effinger-Crichlow.

CAKE The cake featured original wedding portraits of Tiffany's parents, Calvin's parents, and Calvin's grandparents. Make My Cake (212) 234-2344

FAVORS "We wanted to provide guests with a practical gift that was memorable yet useful," says Tiffany. Each guest received a miniature jar of jam with a label that read, 'Tiffany & Calvin's Harlem Jam.' Oscar's Ltd. Corporate Gifts (412) 732-0238, Pittsburgh

TRANSPORTATION Lloyd's Lines (914) 663-0401

ACCOMMODATIONS 102Brownstone Boutique Hotel (212) 662-4223

HONEYMOON The newlyweds enjoyed an 11-day southern Caribbean cruise, reaching the islands of St. Croix, Antigua, Barbados, Dominica, St. Thomas, and Tortola, before heading back to "their favorite island," Manhattan. "After 11 days at sea," says Tiffany, "there's no place like home." Norwegian Cruise Line, booked through TheBigDay.com


PLANNING A WEDDING IN NEW YORK CITY?
Find your florist, caterer, reception site and more in The Knot New York resource directory.

Tiffany & Calvin: An Ode to the Harlem Renaissance in NYC

Following a midnight Mass on New Years Day, Tiffany hosted a party at her home for around 20 close friends and family eager to celebrate the prospect of a prosperous new year. It was there, in front of all their guests, that Calvin surprised Tiffany with a ring.

THE BRIDE Tiffany Ellis, 33, director of marketing and public relations
THE GROOM Calvin Otis Butts, IV, 33, advertising copywriter
THE DATE November 27
THE SCENE Ceremony: Abyssinian Baptist Church of Harlem; reception: Alfred Lerner Hall of Columbia University

THE INSPIRATION Insistent on having their event embody a celebration of Harlem -- its history, culture, and sense of community -- the pair chose sounds and traditions representative of African-American appreciation of the arts. From dinner tables named after significant persons or places that shaped their culture (Duke Ellington, Langston Hughes, and The Cotton Club, for instance) to live musical performances by jazz legends, Tiffany and Calvin's wedding resonated with the poetic nature of the Harlem Renaissance.

YOU'RE INVITED There were 600 people in attendance -- including Andre Leon Talley, editor at large of Vogue -- to witness Tiffany and Harlem-raised Calvin exchange wedding vows in a beautiful ceremony conducted by his father, Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III. The Abyssinian Baptist Church, which is located between Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. and Malcolm X Boulevards (named for two of our country's most prominent civil rights leaders), reverberated with sweet and sultry music. Imani Winds, an Afro Latin-influenced chamber group that includes the bride's sister Monica, a bassoonist, helped usher guests down the long aisle and to their seats. Once everyone was settled, the church organist, accompanied by the renowned jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis (he's also Tiffany's friend and former boss), set the tone for the Vera Wang-clad bride's big entrance.

EVERY LITTLE THING SHE DOES IS MAGIC "I had a very clear vision of what I wanted my wedding and reception to entail," says Tiffany, who earned an MFA in Theater Management from Yale School of Drama. The result: a dazzling celebration that was equal parts earnest and engaging. At the reception, there were heartfelt toasts (including one by New York City's mayor, Michael Bloomberg, that encouraged Tiffany and Calvin to embrace everlasting love with, "May today be the day that you love each other the least"); Southern traditions (a red velvet cake for dessert); and a performance-filled evening (the escort cards were crafted to look like theater tickets, and invited guests into a production titled, Tiffany & Calvin's Harlem Jam).

SCENE STEALERS The party, which nearly 300 guests attended, kicked off with cocktail hour that included 1920s jazz and viewings of famous Harlem Renaissance photographer James Van Der Zee's work. As guests made their way into the ballroom, a warm and inviting color palette (copper, bronze, and other colors reminiscent of a fall harvest) became evident. Amber, red, and golden theatrical lighting warmed the space from above; four-foot-tall copper-wire candelabra were bursting with roses and calla lilies; and copper-color gobo lighting reading Tiffany & Calvin playfully punctuated the dance floor.

SHALL WE DANCE? The jam session got underway almost immediately, beginning with a clip of I Remember Harlem, and followed by poetry readings from Harlem Renaissance writers Langston Hughes and Georgia Douglas Johnson. There was a dance segment to "Baby (You've Got What it Takes)" by Brook Benton and Dinah Washington, which was partly performed by Matthew Rushing, principal dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Then, the Wynton Marsalis Quartet took center stage, and Tiffany and Calvin stepped out to "Embraceable You." Later, a DJ, who in true New-York-City-That-Never-Sleeps form, spun tunes into the early hours of the following morning.

MOMENTS IN TIME Though Tiffany and Calvin slipped out of their reception around midnight, many of their guests continued to celebrate in tribute to the wedding that simultaneously honored the past and welcomed the possibilities of the future.

-- Allison Micarelli
photography © Ray Llanos

For the ingredients that make up this wedding, see the right-hand side of the page.

-- Allison Micarelli

See More: Real Weddings: Formal Affairs , Real Weddings: Theme Weddings