A Lonny Editor Ties the Knot
Trend maven Catherine Dash crafts a nuptial celebration that combines Southern tradition with more than a hint of New York edge
Some people travel the world in search of love; others needn’t wander too far afield. For Catherine Dash, it took a postcollege move from Georgia to New York City to find AJ Mapes, who had been right under her nose all along.
That a meeting didn’t happen sooner is confounding: the pair grew up less than 15 miles from each other in suburban Atlanta, attended the University of Georgia at the same time, and shared a close circle of friends. Still, it wasn’t until a night out in Manhattan that the two finally crossed paths. A conversation led to a date, a date turned into a courtship, and six years later, that courtship officially became an engagement at Dia:Beacon, the contemporary art museum in upstate New York. “We had saved the Richard Serra sculptures for last because they’re our favorite,” Dash recalls. When they reached the final piece, Mapes got down on one knee and proposed—a moment Dash describes as “magical.”
Once wedding plans were under way, the couple decided on a traditional venue for their reception: the historic Taylor-Grady House in Athens, Georgia, an antebellum classic with white columns and wraparound porch. “Neither of us was born in the South, but it informs a lot of our upbringing,” Dash says. “We feel just as connected to it as to New York.” So they set out to create a vintage-inspired celebration that would have roots in both locations. As a counterpoint to such details as ruffly flowers in blush-pinks arrayed in tabletop clusters of impromptu brass vases, Dash and Mapes, a graphic designer, made watercolor save-the-dates and invitations, as well as escort cards, menus, and dip-dyed table runners in muted shades of indigo. “It felt like us—a mix of our urban aesthetic and a 1920s garden party,” Dash says.
The mood of the reception followed suit. A Django Reinhardt–style band kicked things off as guests chatted between bites of pimiento cheese sandwiches. “I really loved the cocktail hour—standing up on that big wraparound porch with AJ,” Dash says. “It was the first time we were able to see all our guests. Forever and ever I’ll be able to come back to that memory and recall the way he looked and the way I felt. We were 100 percent in the moment.”