Friday, July 22, 2011

Catsimatidis-Cox Wedding

by Barbara L. Dixon
photographs by Fred Marcus Photography & Jillian Nelson

The union of Andrea John Catsimatidis to Christopher Nixon Cox on June 4th at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral on Manhattan’s Upper East Side actually started long before this date. The couple was destined to be together. Theirs is not just a marriage made in heaven but also the bringing together of two people looking at life in the same direction.

Born and raised in philanthropic and political families, they see and experience life the same way. Their chemistry was undeniable from almost the moment they met, according to the bride’s parents, John and Margo Catsimatidis.

The couple’s paths first crossed in the spring of 2008 when Chris Cox was at the Hewitt School, where Andrea Catsimatidis-Cox was a senior at the time, for a political event that also included Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. Even though they didn’t get together until a period of time after that, the Congresswoman takes credit for introducing them. The couple admit they knew from their first date at the Blue Ribbon Bakery that “we wanted to marry each other because we had such a special connection.”

The bride and groom’s connection is deep seeded in their passion about their country and making a difference in the world, sentiments that are reflective of how they were both raised in families who have strong family values and have been committed to each for a long time. John and Margo Catsimatidis wed in 1988 in the same church as the newlyweds. Cox’s parents, Patricia (Tricia) Nixon Cox and Edward Finch Cox were married 40 years ago in a White House Rose Garden Ceremony.
Christopher Cox's parents, Tricia Nixon and Ed Cox on their wedding day 40 years ago.
Andrea Catsimatidis's parents, John and Margo Catsimatidis on their wedding day 22 years ago.
Both raised in Manhattan and homes in Westhampton, Andrea graduated Hewitt and is now about to enter her final year at NYU’s Stern School of Business. Active in numerous political and philanthropic endeavors, the bride is President of the New York University Republican Club and was nominated one of the 15 most influential students at NYU.

Chris graduated from Buckley, the Brunswick School, Princeton (magna cum laude in politics), and NYU School of Law. The groom’s political endeavors, to date, have included serving as Senator John McCain’s Executive Director for New York State during the 2008 presidential campaign, his pro bono work for the rights of New York State Small Business Owners in Albany, and running for Congress in New York’s First Congressional District in 2010 on the Republican ticket. Previously at the law firm of Weil, Gotschal & Manges, today he is at OC Global Partners, a firm he co-founded.
Clockwise from top: Andrea's Reem Acra-designed wedding dress; Her Christian Louboutin shoes were covered in Swarovski crystals; Christopher Cox getting ready for church; Andrea's engagement ring.
Jennifer Gorfine, Analicia Alexander, Mary Daphne Kostakopoulos, and Elizabeth Limberakis. Christopher Cox with John Catsimatidis, Jr. (Yianni), Dr. David Tukey, Gus Bilirakis, and Shahryar Oveissi.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Congressman Gus Bilirakis (Best Man) and Christopher Cox.
Ed Cox, Tricia Cox, and Chris Cox.
Mary Daphne Kostakopoulos, Analicia Alexander, Jennifer Gorfine, and Elizabeth Limberakis (Maid of Honor).
The wedding, reception, and dinner were attended by more than 700 friends from the worlds of business, philanthropy and politics.

As John Catsimatidis explains, “The Clintons have been friends for over 20 years and have known Andrea almost since she was born. We have always had politicians and philanthropists at our cocktail parties and dinners at our homes. The same goes for the Cox family.”

Flower girl Anne Delafield McCaghren wearing Andrea Catsimatidis Cox’s first diamonds.
Christopher is the grandson of the late President Richard Nixon, Tricia Nixon Cox’s father, and his father, Ed Cox is Chairman of the New York Republican State Committee. Among the guests were Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Former New York State Governor George Pataki and his wife Libby, Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and his wife Judith, Commissioner Ray Kelly and his wife Veronica, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett and his wife, former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, Senator Chuck Schumer, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, Congresswomen Nan Hayworth and Carolyn Maloney, Congressman Gus Bilirakis who was Best Man, Lally Weymouth, Former Ambassador to the European Union Boyden Gray, Larry Kudlow, Ernie Anastos and wife Kelly, Cindy Adams, Rick Friedberg and Francine LeFrak, Mr. and Mrs. Curtis Sliwa, Ed Nixon, Julie Nixon Eisenhower and her husband David Eisenhower, Rabbi Arthur Schneier, Muriel Siebert, Rita Cosby and so many more.

His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America officiated at the 4 p.m. ceremony with the Rev. Fr. Alexander Karloutsos, Rev. Dr. Frank Marangos, and Fr. Mark Arey. Father Alex Karloutsos and his wife, Presb. Xanthi Karloutsos are the godparents of the bride. The Maid of Honor and Best Man were Elizabeth Limberakis and Congressman Gus M. Bilirakis. Bridesmaids and Groomsmen included Analicia Alexander, Mary Daphne Kostakopoulos, Jennifer Gorfine, Shahryar Oveissi, David Tukey, and John Catsimatidis, Jr. (Yianni), the brides’s brother who the day before graduated from Loyola School in New York City. Keegan Baureis, the Ring Bearer is the bride’s cousin on her mother’s side and the Flower Girl, Anne Delafield McCaghren is the groom’s first cousin once removed. She looked especially adorable wearing Andrea’s first set of diamond earrings and necklace given to her by her parents.
Andrea John Catsimatidis with her father.
Rudy and Judith Giuliani with Henry Kissinger.
John Catsimatidis, Jr. and Margo Catsimatidis.
Margo Catsimatidis, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney.
The entire wedding had the same sparkle, glamour and romance. As famed wedding designer Preston Bailey explains, “When it came to designing this very elegant wedding, I took inspiration from the couple who were looking for a twist on a traditional motif with a modern spin. Ultimately, it was a pair of white doves that set the mood, providing a palette of white and cream with hints of crystal to add a bit of sparkle.”

Nadine Jervis of Living Turkoise who was responsible for overseeing and implementing Bailey’s design from the church through to the after party echoes Andrea’s vision for their wedding. “It was classic Preston Bailey enhanced with Andrea’s passion for pink and lots of sparkle. The final outcome was traditional and sexy or one could say, traditional with energy!” The love birds were throughout from the amazing three-dimensional larger than life floral doves that greeted the guests that were sculpted out of cymbidium orchids to the love birds above the stage and the boubonnieres that Margo Catsimatidis had made in Greece—two silver love birds kissing, perched on a silver nest filled with the Greek tradition of white almonds.

The silk wedding invitations that were enhanced with silver also had the love-bird motif, even down to the custom-designed stamp. Andrea has always loved birds and had her bird, Valentine since she was six. As Chris explains, “Since love doves are good luck and a symbol of our love, Andrea wanted to have them as a theme for the wedding.”
The wedding dress also had Andrea’s touch. She had been drawn to a gown Reem Acra had designed for Eva Longoria and knew she was the designer who could interpret her vision of the perfect wedding dress. As Acra says, “It was magical to work with Andrea. There was an instant connection between us on what her dress was going to look like. I loved working with her.” The dress was sculpted with the right amount of ethereal romance, sparkle, and what Acra is known for, regal designs of luxurious fabrics and elegant materials developed with a modern aesthetic. Even her peep-toe Christian Louboutin shoes were covered in Swarovski crystals. Margo Catsimatidis’s Vera Wang dress also exuded elegant glamour, but understated. “It was my daughter’s day, and I wanted everything to be about her and to be her choice. She chose my dress from two that had been picked out.” Margo also wore Louboutin shoes and carried a Jimmy Choo purse in keeping with the gold coloration of her dress. Tricia Nixon Cox wore Valentino and the bridesmaids wore dresses from Priscilla of Boston. The groom wore a Tom Ford tux.

The day started early for the bridal party who were all at the Waldorf to get ready. The Catsimatidises had all stayed there the night before as did many of their out-of-town guests as the wedding reception was also being held there that evening. Rodolfo Valentin who has been doing the Catsimatidises’s hair for many years made sure everyone was beautifully styled. Makeup was then done by Asif Zaidi.
The brde and groom with her family.
The bride and groom with his family.
Front row: Kristen Baureis, Tammy Baureis, Margo Catsimatidis, Jeannette Catsimatidis, Sharla Castellanos. Back row: Donny Colwell, Keegan Baureis (young boy), John (Yiani) Catsimatidis, Jr., Amanda Baureis, Andrea Catsimatidis Cox, Christopher Cox, John Catsimatidis, Sr., Theresa Vondersaar, and Victor Vondersaar.
Front row: Mary Daphne Kostakopoulos, Jennifer Gorfine, Anne Delafield McCaghren, David Tukey, John (Yianni) Catsimatidis, Jr. Back row: Analicia Alexander, Elizabeth (Coco) Limberakis, Andrea Catsimatidis Cox, Christopher Cox, Gus Bilirakis, Shahryar Oveissi, and Keegan Baureis.
When everyone arrived at the Waldorf after the church ceremony, a lavish reception welcomed the guests. Here, the décor was bright shades of pink with a Japanese influence as Andrea has an affinity for everything Japanese since her studies at the Japan Society. The food, however, catered to every taste. There was a raw bar and all fresh seafood, a sushi station, a duck station, an array of vegetables, pastas, and cheeses and hot and cold appetizers passed throughout the numerous rooms as 12 violinists played.

The dinner itself started with a shrimp appetizer followed by a choice of beef, which Andrea knew was her father’s favorite, or Chilean sea bass. Nothing was left out. Even John Catsimatidis said that the food bill alone at the Waldorf almost “broke his Black American Express card!” And then there was the 70-inch tall Sylvia Weinstock wedding cake. This was after guests had enjoyed Greek deserts from Astoria, Galaktobouriko, kaitaifi, and cookies.
A pair of white doves that set the mood.
“It was classic Preston Bailey enhanced with Andrea’s passion for pink and lots of sparkle."
And then there was the 70-inch tall Sylvia Weinstock wedding cake.
Violinists serenade the guests into dinner.
George Pataki and wife in the foreground during the reception.
George Perez, Rodolfo Valentin, and Dennis Oliver.
John Catsimatidis and Senator Charles Schumer. Curtis Sliwa, Ed Cox, and friend.
Ed Nixon, Commander Everett Alvarez, and Sandy Quinn.
The bride and groom enter the dance floor.
A traditional Greek Dance with the family.
Christopher Cox dancing with his mother, Tricia Nixon Cox. Margo and John Catsimatidis.
The bride and groom.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney with the bride.
Edward Finch Cox and Tricia Nixon Cox.
David Eisenhower, Julie Nixon Eisenhower, Tricia Nixon Cox, and Ed Cox.
The wedding couple with the Honorable and Mrs. Dean Skelos.
The wedding couple with Sally and Reince Priebus (Chairman of Republican National Committee).
The bride's parents deliver the toasts.
Congressman Gus Bilirakis (Best Man) and Elizabeth Limberakis (Maid of Honor) deliver their toasts.
Seated: Mrs. Victor (Theresa) Vondersaar, Jeannette Vondersaar, Tammy Vondersaar Baureis, Margo Vondersaar Catsimatidis, Kristen Baureis, Amanda Baureis. Standing: Donny Colwell, Alma Salazar, Victor Vondersaar, Sharla Castellanos, and Carol Rose Minasi.
The bride with Somers Frakas and a friend. Shelly Goldberg of NY1 and John Catsimatidis.
Rick Friedberg, Francine LeFrak, JAC, Sr., Rita Cosby, and Tomaczek Bednarek.
Commissioner Ray Kelly with wife Veronica. Ernie and Kelly Anastos.
John Catsimatidis, Rabbi Arthur Schneier, and H. E. Archbishop Demetrios
Eric Shawn, Fox News, & wife Christopher and Yianni.
Carol and Earle Mack with Former Ambassador Boyden Gray and Lally Weymouth.
Honorable and Mrs. Andrew Spano. Hon. Dan Donovan and Margo Catsimatidis.
Bob Meyer, Margo Catsimatidis, and Frank Seabrook.
Nicholas and Voula Katsoris.
Olga Paladino, Karen Mehiel, and Bill and Rhea Grous.
The bride and groom with Howard and Irena Laks.
No matter how full everyone was, they could not pass up a bite or two or three of the cake nor the goodies that awaited at the Viennese table and after party that went on to almost 3 a.m. By then, the bride and groom had changed into less formal attire, where the bride chose a fitting white Herve Leger dress. Throughout the evening, music that kept everyone on the dance floor was played by the Harris Lane Orchestra. A DJ spun tunes into the early hours of the morning.

This day was like no other. Even though the bride’s mother is known for making sure every detail is beautifully taken care of, she outdid herself when she took on overseeing the entire wedding event from beginning to end. The couple even commented on how Margo Catsimatidis made sure everything came together and made their wedding memorable. “We were so happy that so many of our good friends could share in our love on such a special day,” Andrea and Chris further commented.
Jeannette Vondersaar (aunt) and Andrea Catsimatidis Cox. Annette Hemingway Cranford and Randy Cranford.
Eva and Gus Bilirakis.
Margo Catsimatidis, Jeannette Vondersaar, Victor Vondersaar, Sharla Castellanos, and Tammy V. Baureis.
Spiro Catechis and Scott Lalley.
The bride is the daughter of John Catsimatidis, a Greek immigrant who came to the U.S. with his parents after World War II. His grandfathers had come through Ellis Island in 1911 and 1913 respectively while his father remained to care for his mother and sisters. Today, Catsimatidis, Sr. is a billionaire, a well-known philanthropist and a political activist. His business interests incorporate the Red Apple Group, Gristedes Foods, United Oil Refining, an aviation company and real estate. His wife, Margo Catsimatidis is just as active in the business, philanthropic and political worlds. She is co-publisher of The Hellenic Times, which she joined in 1979, founder of MCV Advertising Associates, and is active in numerous charities. She has served as Chairman of the National Alzheimer’s Association Dinner, on the Executive Committee of New York Hospital and the Police Athletic League, on the Board of the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, a member of the Leadership 100 for the Greek Orthodox Church, and Vice-Chairman and founder along with her husband and Nick Katsoris of the Hellenic Scholarship Fund, which two weeks before their daughter’s wedding celebrated its 20th Anniversary at its Gala Dinner with over 1,200 people.

The happy couple has just returned from a honeymoon in California and Hawaii.

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