This #ZolaCouple has a real NYC love story. Leanne and Lio met at a karaoke night at a bar in the Lower East Side. Their fourth date was shacking up for a couple of days during Hurricane Sandy. They weathered the storm, and a long distance relationship between New York and London, all to get engaged at their favorite restaurant on the Bowery a year and a half later. They have built an inspiring registry perfect for a small city apartment, so we reached out to them for some advice on wedding planning, moving in, and registering.
How did you meet?
Leanne: I met Lio on a Monday night in October 2012 at Arlene’s Grocery’s live rock band karaoke in the Lower East Side of New York City. I was too shy to sing that night, but Lio got up on stage and sang with the rock band, and we started dancing and sharing our love for great rock and roll music. We went on some amazing dates for the next couple weeks, until hurricane Sandy hit New York City and Lio was forced to evacuate his temporary accommodation in Battery Park. He was living in London at the time and only working in New York for a couple months, so despite only knowing him a couple weeks I told him he could stay with me and my roommate to weather the storm. We spent the following three days together without electricity or hot water and managed to keep smiling and falling in love through the canned food, card games, and guitar playing… quite an interesting fourth date! Eventually, Lio managed to impress his New York colleagues so much that they offered him a work visa to move to the US.
How did you get engaged?
We decided to treat ourselves on a random weeknight in March 2014 at one of our very favorite restaurants in NYC, Saxon + Parole, where Lio had taken me for our first dinner-date. I thought Lio was just being his romantic French self while he was reflecting on our first date there, the exciting beginning to our relationship, and the long 10 months we spent flying between London and New York to visit each other before he could move… so I was very surprised when he got down on one knee and proposed! It was a dream come true.
What was the first thing you did after you got engaged?
I think the first thing I asked him was, “Can we have the Arlene’s Rock n’ Roll Karaoke band at our wedding?!” I called my family right after dinner to tell them the wonderful news. A few days later we flew to France to share the news with his parents and spend a few days traveling and celebrating together in Paris and Bruges.
Any tips for balancing wedding planning with your everyday busy life?
We both have pretty demanding jobs so it certainly isn’t easy and I was very stressed out about wedding planning in the beginning. I was resistant to letting people help me at first but realizing that we have family and friends who love us and really want to help has made all the difference. So I’d say focus on the top couple of things that are the most important to you as a couple, don’t sweat the small stuff, and for the rest let your loved ones help you.
Most difficult part of registering?
Lio was hesitant about registering at first because registries are not common in France and we live in a small East Village apartment. We love entertaining friends at home, so it was more exciting when we thought about how we would share these gifts with our friends and replace our old hand-me-down things with beautiful new ones we love.
Did you move or are you moving? If so, how did you figure out how to combine your stuff?
We moved in together less than 2 years ago when Lio moved here from London. I had some furniture and he didn’t have much he was willing to ship across the ocean, so he showed up with a suitcase full of clothing and two boxes. We had it pretty easy! Lio has always kept it simple with his “stuff” and that attitude has rubbed off on me and keeps our home a happy one.
Items you’re most excited about from your registry?
It’s so hard to choose because we really love everything in our registry.
Leanne: The Le Creuset Round French Oven in marseille/blue because we love to make a cozy stew or shepherds pie in the winter (and it’s so pretty!), and the Godinger Dublin Double Old Fashioned Glasses, Set of 4 because I can mix a mean Manhattan cocktail.
Lio: My favorite item is the Kinto Carat Coffee Dripper & Pot. We’re not big coffee drinkers but we love cooking breakfast home on Saturday mornings… and making drip coffee is a little ritual that truly marks the beginning of the weekend for me. And the coffee tastes pretty great too!
Any registry advice for other couples?
Think about the things you love to do together and the kind of home you want to have together and the rest is easy!
See some of our favorites from Leanne and Lio’s registry below and make sure to check out their entire selection here.