Just before Dorit Lemel’s grandmother passed away, the gentle 87-year-old promised to bring the New Yorker her beshert, or soul mate, and then, Paul Kemsley turned up in Dorit’s life. Originally from London, Paul lived in Los Angeles, but traveled to New York on business where the two met through friends. When Paul invited her on their first official date, Dorit declined. She was headed to Hong Kong for work.
“He asked me to postpone my flight,” says Dorit, who would not think of it. But then, a feeling that her grandmother was telling her something convinced her to change her mind. “We went out and have been inseparable from that first night,” says Dorit. Six months later, Paul moved to New York.
“I WAS FILLED WITH LOVE AND COMPLETELY EUPHORIC.”
When both Dorit’s and Paul’s parents were in town, it was not unusual for the group to dine at the couple’s favorite local spot. On this night, Paul seemed anxious and began talking about their relationship. “I’ve done a lot of things wrong in life,” he said, “but this one I’m absolutely sure is right.” As he stood and dropped down to one knee, the entire restaurant erupted in cheers. She answered “yes,” and lots of “tears and champagne” followed.
With a hectic work, travel and social engagement calendar, they would have to “squeeze” in the wedding somehow by now living in Los Angeles and the parents of a baby boy, Paul and Dorit chose New York for their celebration. It was a city they loved, an easy flight from England for Paul’s family and Dorit’s family lived close by.
After surveying 10 venues, they visited the recently refurbished iconic Rainbow Room. “It was everything we wanted,” says Dorit, “elegant, warm and luxurious with spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline.” That backdrop, a mirrored wedding canopy and twinkling candles made for a warm and spiritual traditional Jewish ceremony. “This was not a business event,” says Paul, who is known for throwing legendary parties. “We were surrounded by people we love and who love us.”
The couple amplified the classic ambiance of the Rainbow Room to full advantage for the reception, adding art deco touches like feathered towers and “wow factor” florals. As Dorit and Paul descended the graceful stairway, the band handed them microphones for an impromptu rendition of Bruno Mars’ “Marry You.” Then they danced to “My Eyes Adore You” from the musical “Jersey Boys,” which they saw on their first date.
Speeches by Dorit’s dad, the best man, Paul and a business partner elicited warm smiles and laughter, while the London-based band had everyone dancing. Good friend Boy George upped the entertainment ante by singing for the couple and their guests. “I felt like I was floating outside my body,” says Dorit. “I was filled with love and completely euphoric.”
A honeymoon in Bora Bora was intended to help them disconnect from their “crazy” lives. However, a hurricane bearing down on the island shifted their plans to Anguilla, where they were joined by Boy George and other friends. According to the new bride, this is par for the course. “At some point we’ll escape for a real break,” says Dorit, “but for now, every day is like a honeymoon with Paul.”
Location: Rainbow Room, New York, NY; Event Design and Planner: Banana Split PLC, London, England; Floral and Event Design, Linen: David Beahm Experiences, New York, NY; Lighting: Bentley Meeker Lighting & Staging, Inc., New York, NY; Cake: Sylvia Weinstock Cakes, New York, NY; Ceremony Dress and Veil: Oscar de la Renta; Reception Dress: Naeem Khan; Groom’s Attire: Tom Ford