A Sneak Peek Inside Christine Quinn's Wedding Venue

By Jill Colvin on May 17, 2012 9:16am 

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and her longtime partner Kim Catullo will wed Saturday at the Highline Studios in the Meatpacking District.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and her longtime partner Kim Catullo will wed Saturday at the Highline Studios in the Meatpacking District.
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Michael Appleton-Pool/Getty Images

CHELSEA — DNAinfo.com New York got a sneak peek inside the event space where City Council Speaker Christine Quinn will wed her longtime partner, Kim Catullo, this Saturday.

Quinn and her nearly 300 guests will celebrate their long-awaited union within her council district on the ground floor of Chelsea's Highline Stages, across the street from the Chelsea Market and within view of one of her signature projects, the High Line.

Details of the ceremony have been closely guarded. Without decorations and little furniture, the sprawling 6,000-square-foot "Stage D" room, which is better known for hosting Fashion Week runway shows and celebrity bashes than local pols, is rugged and industrial with exposed red brick walls, polished concrete and brick cobblestone flooring and exposed metal pipes.

Rows of large, industrial spotlights line metal shelves, and a garage-style door with frosted panels opens to the sidewalk for deliveries.

But while the space might give some hints about Quinn and Catullo’s vision for their nuptials, staffers there were tight-lipped about her plans.

"I absolutely cannot speak about the clients," the venue’s wedding coordinator said when approached for comment.

"Mum’s the word," echoed another employee outside on a smoke break.

The secrecy has only helped fuel speculation about the year's most talked-about wedding, which will include nearly 300 invited guests, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.

A few details have leaked out so far:

The officiant over the ceremony is expected to be retired state Judge Judith Kaye, who now works for top law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, and Flom LLP.

Quinn and Catullo’s fathers are expected to play significant roles in the ceremony, which Quinn’s office has stressed will be a private event.

"We’re very lucky to have both of our dads," Quinn described back in March. "It’s going to be a lot of friends and family and a lot of family involved in the event and in the ceremony."

The space City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has chosen for her wedding to longtime partner Kim Catullo this weekend.
The space City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has chosen for her wedding to longtime partner Kim Catullo this weekend.
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DNAinfo/Jill Colvin

Quinn is also expected to wear a bridal dress, which she joked in March had required a frenzied hunt.

"I’m a little bit feeling like I'm 22 years old again, running around, trying excessive numbers of dresses on and things like that," she said, adding that, while stressful, the experience had been especially poignant, given the circumstances.

"It’s been great fun picking out dresses for the flower girls and all of that kind of stuff you think of when you’re a little girl, and for some of us, we felt would never get to happen," Quinn said.

After the ceremony, the couple will cut a five-tiered chocolate chip and mousse cake from New Jersey’s Chocolate Carousel Bakery, which is run by Catullo’s old college roommate, Lisa Porado, a spokesman for Quinn confirmed.

The room will also be decorated with wildflowers, in a nod to the High Line, the spokesman added.

In lieu of gifts, the pair has created a donation fund at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in honor of their mothers, who were both killed by breast cancer when their daughters were teens.

Wedding planning Bernadette Smith, the author of Gay Wedding Confidential and a pioneer in same-sex wedding planning, said the couple’s choice of venue suggested the couple are aiming for a more contemporary ceremony.

"She could have chosen a different space which would have lent itself to a much more traditional wedding," said Smith, who is not working with the pair, but said she envisioned a contemporary theme, with lots of candles, wall drapings and flowers from local florists like Spruce in Chelsea or Fleurs in the Flower District.

If Smith were planning the ceremony, she said she would encourage the couple to focus on their story while also adding a political element to acknowledge Quinn’s status as the state's most prominent LGBT figure, such as readings excerpts from court rulings in support of marriage equality.

"I would really try to have her ceremony be very aware of that history and the political ramifications," Smith said. "You really make it about the story of them as a couple. But part of the story of them as a couple is the political history."

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