Michael Stillman says he knew Allison Levine was the one the minute he saw her at a friend’s dinner party. “But with lawyers,” he jokes, “you have to play it cool!” His charm won her over and soon they were dating.
“He made everything more fun and interesting,” says Allison, “and before long, I realized I didn’t ever want to be apart from him.”
“THAT WEEK WAS THE BEST OF MY LIFE...I WISH I COULD RELIVE IT EVERY YEAR!”
Following a first birthday party for Allison’s niece in August of 2010, Michael planned a surprise detour for the couple: a private, sunset sailboat ride around Manhattan complete with a gourmet picnic. Just before the sun set, he proposed. “We sailed around New York City and I remember thinking how something so vast and vibrant could feel so intimate,” says Michael. “It was one of the most tranquil moments of my life.”
Marrying a restaurateur made wedding planning pretty easy for the bride-to-be. Allison left most of the work up to Michael—he and his father, Alan, founded Fourth Wall Restaurants, which includes upscale spots like Smith & Wollensky, Quality Meats and The Hurricane Club—and celebrity event planner Mindy Weiss.
Knowing that many family members and friends may not be able to travel to the couple’s destination wedding, they decided to hold an engagement party in August of 2011 at Michael’s Park Avenue Summer restaurant. More than 300 guests enjoyed a pizza bar with shave-your-own summer truffles, mini bites of sweet summer corn and two bottle hosts.
For the October nuptials, guests were treated to four nights of fabulous events in Hawaii. Chefs from both Park Avenue Summer and The Hurricane Club restaurants were brought to the island and worked alongside the Four Seasons’ chefs. On Wednesday, guests enjoyed a sunset catamaran cruise along the coast of Lana’i. A beach luau followed the next evening: think roasted pig, a local reggae band and lots of rum-infused cocktails.
Friday’s festivities included a dinner party under the stars, moonlight putting and a movie complete with candy and a popcorn cart. Michael surprised his fiancée with custom bottles of rosé wine bottled by Long Island’s Lieb Cellars, which included their family crest and a special note to Allison. Custom steak knives engraved with their names, the date and “love hurts” were another unexpected token.
Following the pre-wedding festivities at the Four Seasons Resort Lana’i at Manele Bay, its sister property, The Lodge at Koele, played host to Saturday’s wedding ceremony, reception and after-party for the couple’s 160 guests. Allison’s personal and professional mentor from while she lived in Honolulu for a judicial clerkship, Judge Richard Clifton, performed the ceremony.
Dinner and dancing took place under a clear-top tent decked out by the house florist for Michael’s restaurants and Weiss. “They did an unbelievable job,” recalls Michael. “It looked like ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ meets the garden in the Tim Burton movie ‘Edward Scissorhands.’ It was romantic and otherworldly.”
While each day was unbelievable, Allison says it was having their closest friends and family together in such a special place that was truly amazing. “That week was the best of my life,” she adds. “I wish I could relive it every year!”
Location and Cake: Four Seasons Resort Lana’i, The Lodge at Koele Lana’i City, HI; Photography: John & Joseph Photography Inc., Santa Monica, CA; Caterer: Four Seasons under Park Avenue Summer and The Hurricane Club; Event Planner and Design: Mindy Weiss, Beverly Hills, CA; Floral Design: Yassmin Haje; Tuxedo: Belvest; Wedding Gown: Vera Wang