MR O.K Grooms: Henry Lyon
Henry Lyon is the founder of the PR agency, Halcite.
Henry met Erica by chance on the corner of Jane and Greenwich in Manhattan’s West Village in 2011. She was working at the Pace Gallery and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, he was a PR juggernaut working for restaurants like Grand Banks and Freeman’s. They spent their first hours together debating the merits of the Maurizio Cattalan at The Guggenheim and five years later, in the fall of 2016, he proposed to her at Walter de Maria's Lightning Fields in New Mexico. “It goes without saying that the arts are critical to our lives,” says Henry. Today, the newlyweds live across the street from the Brooklyn Museum.
What style of wedding ring did you choose, and why?
I wanted to incorporate four small diamonds from my wife's family on the inside, so I opted for a MR O.K 6mm half round in yellow gold, with a smooth matte finish.
What was your first dance song and how did you choose it?
“As” by Stevie Wonder. It was a long, fun process. We knew what we didn't want based on the other weddings we had attended—this eliminated a lot of classics we loved but also avoided redundancy. Then we made a short list of favorites. While we were keen on doing something from our lives, we found that the best love songs were made when our parents were falling in love. We listened to a lot of music, and the most heartfelt, meaningful songs were made by Stevie Wonder. Practicing the dance was next, and we loved the message of "As". I won't bore you with the lyrics but you should listen to it. We also ended up with a triumphal "Signed Sealed Delivered" as our recessional—like Obama in 2008.
Tell us about your DJ...
One of our best friend’s fathers is in a cover band called "The Prowlers" and we are so grateful they were able to play our wedding. We've had some of the most fun nights of our life together at their shows, playing benefit events or other weddings. Erica's childhood Saxophone teacher also led a trio during the ceremony which was amazing—he played woodwinds on Van Morrison's Astral Weeks record and was so kind to play his version “Sweet Thing” for Erica's processional.
How did you choose your photographer?
Genevieve Huba and her husband Tyler Mintz were recommended by one of my groomsmen, Johnny Fogg, who also happens to be a photographer. They were phenomenal and we've become friends since–they live down the street from us in Brooklyn. We couldn't be happier with their work, and as a duo they captured every moment of the 72-hour wedding weekend.
Where did you get married? Tell us a little bit about the venue.
The Clark Art Institute, Williamstown Massachusetts. It's a private museum in the Berkshires where Erica and I both have had meaningful experiences—we are also big art lovers and when it came up as an option we knew we had to make it happen. We were married in the new wing of the museum that was designed by one of our favorite architects, Tadao Ando. The entire museum campus is a perfect blend of classic and contemporary practices with a private collection of objet d'art and a robust new wing to house traveling exhibitions from around the world.
What did you gift your groomsmen?
Custom blue velvet bowties from J. Mueser to wear on the wedding day—they came off pretty quickly after dinner. Also, what's the point of having good guys in your life without passing a flask around and cutting it up? They each got a Wentworth pewter flask in varying shapes and sizes so no one could confuse theirs filled with diet-conscious tequila, for the rowdy bourbon topped vessel.
Tell us about choosing your suit...
We wanted to have a formal wedding. It's not every day you get married, and when we were planning the day, our feeling was that we should absolutely look the best we ever have. Participating in an immemorial ceremony, we thought we should channel the traditions of western dress, so I wore a silk and satin tuxedo, a white shirt, ivory silk suspenders, a black bowtie, silver and onyx cufflinks and shirt buttons, with velvet slippers (no socks).
The rehearsal was a different vibe, my dad had a bolo tie made for me from a piece of abalone he found on the beach near his house in northern California. I wore that with jeans, a linen shirt, and a navy blazer.
Was it difficult to find what you wanted? Any advice to other grooms looking for their ideal suit?
Jake at J. Mueser really hooked up my whole look. He did everything for me from head-to-toe. Not hard to find what I wanted since he presented me with almost every imaginable option. Jake and I had been working on my tuxedo for about a year and a half, getting it just right and waiting until the last minute to make the final tweaks so it fit my wedding-fit self. The shoes were the icing on the cake. Jake had them made for me in Valencia—I didn't see them until about a week before the wedding.
I would advise a groom to have a friend who knows what they're talking about, trust their instincts and try not to ape another man’s wedding look. Also, have an extra shirt and bowtie on hand in case there's an accident—my first bowtie broke when I expressed a little too much nervous aggression adjusting the length.
Advice you wish another groom had given you before the big day?
I got a lot of advice but I think one of the most crucial elements, that I think can go unnoticed, is to have an officiant that you love.
What was the most important thing to you in the planning process?
Knowing we had a honeymoon and the rest of our lives together afterwards. Outside of that, my answer would be: meaningful ceremony, food, drink, images, location, graphics, architecture, friends, family, music, dancing, more food, and of course a big bed to share with my bride at the end of the night. I thought it was going to be good weather, but when it started raining 30 minutes before the ceremony the magnitude of what we were doing with our lives really struck us both.
What did you obsess over the most when planning your wedding?
Printed matter. Getting the language just right, the graphics, lettering, addressing, timing of communiques. I think we nailed it in the end but it was a tough go. I don't have a hard time asking friends for advice or for hooking things up when I really need them so my friends Eric and Todd handled the printed matter for us, and even designed a custom label for the brewery to slap on the giveaway growlers at Bright Ideas brewing at Mass MoCa where we had brunch on Sunday.
What was the hardest/easiest part about planning your wedding?
Maintaining balance and communication with my bride-to-be. I think I worked the hardest at letting her know that it would go down perfectly—helping her to make the decision that would make her happiest.
Creating the ceremony and vows with our friend and officiant Casey was heart-wrenching. It was tough to set the framework, as none of us had ever done this before. Once we kind of set up the structure we wanted, it all made sense.
What was the most unexpected challenge/delight on your wedding day?
It rained, the chairs were set up outside, and our friend Jack who's a TV producer and used to wrangling lots of people took the reigns and made sure everyone found their seats inside when needed. Trusting the process, and seeing it all unfold was amazing. Casey's control over the room during the ceremony was awe-inspiring—he made it fun, moving and wholly complete.
Looking back now, what was the highlight of your day?
When it started raining Erica relaxed into the inevitability of everything and our friends and family holding us in their presence as we joined our lives. Trips to the bathroom together (a good moment to find relief and reflection together), impromptu cake in the face, shoes off on the dance floor.