According to a guest at the May 24 wedding of former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Judith Nathan, 17-year-old Andrew Giuliani, the Mayor’s son and best man, began his toast to the bride and groom with the words “It should be so and it will be so”-the catch phrase of his father’s 1994 inaugural speech, and the very words with which Andrew (then a pudgy, rambunctious 7) had hijacked the swearing-in ceremony by, at one point, blurting out the refrain before his father could get to it.
Nine years later, the guest remarked, the line “sounded a little different coming from this strapping, athletic, good-looking man.” Indeed, those who watched Andrew Giuliani at the wedding, or on the local news, standing outside Gracie Mansion in his Brioni tuxedo and wavy, gel-tamed hair, often remarked that the boy who once was regarded as the Dennis the Menace of the Giuliani administration had grown up into a poised, confident young man.
And perhaps Andrew’s metamorphosis reminded us that, like him, this city had also grown up under the leadership of Rudy Giuliani. First it had grown externally, in a boom economy that remade the city from the Hudson to the East River, and then internally, as the city endured Sept. 11 and its aftermath.
We’re not through it yet, but Mr. Giuliani, who’s now 58, led New York through the hardest part, and his wedding to Ms. Nathan, 48, who raises money for the Twin Towers Fund, seemed like an appropriate Hollywood-style epilogue to this often relentlessly gritty chapter of his public life. The bride wore a Vera Wang oyster-colored silk and satin gown with an 18-inch train and a diamond-and-pearl tiara; the groom wore a single-breasted Brioni tuxedo with a white pansy boutonnière, Ms. Nathan’s favorite flower. The wedding cake was an eight-tiered architectural wonder, while the guests included Yankees manager Joe Torre, developer Donald Trump, producer Brad Grey, 20/20 anchor Barbara Walters and New York Post columnist Cindy Adams. Even the cigars were special-Zino Platinums, aged four to five years apiece and provided by ad man and tobacco entrepreneur Peter Arnell.
“It was a magical evening for the couple and all of the guests,” Mr. Giuliani’s spokeswoman, Sunny Mindel, told The Transom. “I’ve known both for a while, and I have never seen them so joyful. It was as elegant as it could possibly have been and done in magnificent taste, reflecting the bride.”
There were also touches that reflected the groom’s bond to this multicultural melting pot of a city. During the wedding ceremony, at which Mr. Giuliani and Ms. Nathan promised to “love, honor and obey” one another, the Irish tenor Ronan Tynan sang “Ave Maria”-and later in the evening, according to one source, that Irish tear-jerking classic, “Danny Boy.” But some guests said that another high point of the evening occurred when FDNY chaplain Joe Potasnik and former Deputy Mayor Joe Lhota got the reception band to play a medley of Mediterranean music that began with the wild Jewish dance, the hora, then segued into a Sicilian tarantella and ended with the theme to The Godfather .
The Godfather and the tarantella, made sense, but … a hora?
Rabbi Potasnik said the idea was his.
“It was a beautiful wedding,” he said. “And I turned to Joe Lhota, [ Daily News owner] Mort Zuckerman and [New York Mets owner] Fred Wilpon and said, ‘A wedding without a hora, to me, is not a wedding.’ They agreed.” So the rabbi approached Mr. Giuliani and his wife with the idea. “I said, ‘Mr. Mayor, one hora-we’ll pick you up on the chair.’ He said, ‘No problem.'” Mrs. Giuliani agreed as well. So, as the band struck up the Jewish classic, chairs were delivered for the bride and groom. Rabbi Potasnik handed a handkerchief to the former Mayor, who offered the other end to his wife, and the newlyweds were hoisted into the air with the help of a group that included Mr. Lhota and Mr. Giuliani’s former chief of staff, Tony Carbonetti. “It was easier to hold the chair for Judith than for Rudy,” Rabbi Potasnik said, but added: “It got everybody involved. All of these people with diverse backgrounds-everyone was on the floor together. Henry Kissinger and Joe Torre.” The rabbi, who hails from Boston and thus remains a stubborn Red Sox fan, said he told the Yankee manager at the wedding: “Just give us this week.”
Mr. and Mrs. Giuliani’s first dance as husband and wife took place to the song “Deliver Me,” which was popularized by Sarah Brightman, but it sounds like plenty of V.I.P.’s were cutting the rug at various times that night, including former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld and the Mayor’s good friend, Bill Fugazy, president of the Coalition of Italo-American Associations, who danced a tango with his wife.
Others in the crowd that evening included News Corporation owner Rupert Murdoch, radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, former Yankee catcher Yogi Berra, Fox News Channel chief Roger Ailes and former opera singer Beverly Sills, as well as Admiral Robert J. Natter, who commands the Atlantic fleet of the U.S. Navy; former Deputy Mayor Randy Mastro; Brillstein-Grey executive John Liebman, who worked with Mr. Giuliani in his days as a U.S. attorney; Solicitor General Ted Olson; and Omnicom Media chief executive John Wren.
The Post ‘s Ms. Adams said that Ms. Nathan was “stunning. Julia Roberts didn’t have such a put-together look,” she added, noting that the event unfolded like “a Hollywood production.”
It was a production that included heavy security-guests needed to present both their invitations and a photo ID-and staff lining the steps that led from Gracie Mansion to the lawn where the tent had been pitched. There was even a male staffer stationed “on each side of the steps to help women up and down the steps,” said one impressed guest.
Not surprisingly, the list of people and companies who helped orchestrate the event is about as long as the end credits on a big-budget Hollywood movie. Coordinating the soirée was Esterow Events and Consulting, whose founder, Jennie Esterow, worked for Mr. Giuliani as an executive assistant before starting the business a couple of years ago. Meanwhile, Matthew David Events decorated the tent with calla lilies, viburnum branches and pansies, as well as designing the lighting and a lounge on the porch of Gracie Mansion. The band for the wedding ceremony featured a harpist, two trumpet players, a bassist, a violinist and an oboist from Stafford-Horne Music. The reception orchestra that segued so effortlessly from hora to tarantella to more contemporary dance music was The Bob Hardwick
Sound. Dinner was prepared by Great Performances and included waiter-distributed hors d’oeuvres of seared foie gras on gaufrette potatoes, ginger-shrimp lollipops, Mediterranean figs and, for the entrée, a choice of truffle-crusted wild striped bass or herb-roasted rack of lamb. Dessert was something called “falling chocolate torte,” although the piece de resistance was apparently the eight-tier wedding cake created by Francine Bové of Bové Pastries. Even Ms. Mindel, who doesn’t impress easily, seemed awed by the soaring yellow butter cake filled with vanilla butter cream and decorated with all sorts of confectionary orchids, hydrangeas, pale roses and, yes, pansies. “It was a structural wonder,” said Ms. Mindel. “I wish I had support as beautiful and elegant as that cake.”
Lending support of another kind were the children of Mr. Giuliani and Ms. Nathan from previous marriages. Ms. Nathan’s daughter Whitney sang “On My Own” from Les Misérables , and Andrew Giuliani toasted the couple. “He spoke eloquently of his love for his father,” recalled one wedding guest, who said the speech didn’t deal with any of the milestones of Mr. Giuliani’s Mayoral reign. “This was not from the son of the Mayor; this was from a son,” said the source. Andrew’s 13-year-old sister Caroline was also present, and a number of guests said that Andrew brought a date to the wedding.
Later in the evening, Ms. Nathan’s father, Donald Stish, who had given her away earlier in the evening, gave a musical tribute of his own to the couple. Mr. Stish grabbed a trumpet and played “When the Saints Go Marching In.”
It was around that time that Mr. Arnell’s gift to Mr. Giuliani-a humidor containing 400 Zino Platinum series cigars, a co-venture of the ad man, Interscope Records chief Steve Stoute and Davidoff-was broken out, and the smell of cigar smoke wafting across the tented lawn at Gracie Mansion reminded those present that times had changed indeed.
-Additional reporting by Alexandra Wolfe
Binn In Love
Jason Binn, the boyish, apple-cheeked publisher of party-photo-filled magazines Los Angeles Confidential , Gotham and Hamptons , and co-publisher of Miami’s Ocean Drive , has chosen a queen to help him rule his glossy realm. She is Haley Lieberman, the lithe 27-year-old daughter of Alan and Diane Lieberman, Miami hoteliers and philanthropists.
“She loves everything about me!” the 35-year-old Mr. Binn told The Transom by cell phone from L.A., when asked to just take a minute from his busy day to say one nice thing about his bride-to-be. “She loves me unconsciously. If you ask her what my downsides are, she’d have nothing to say!”
We asked for more, but Mr. Binn balked.
“You said I just had to say one thing!” he said.
This will be the first marriage for Mr. Binn (né Binstock), who is originally of Roslyn Harbour, Long Island, and is the son of multimillionaire Moreton Binn, founder and chairman of Asian Business Solutions and Atwood Richards, both international bartering companies. Mr. Binn’s mother, Penny Binn, died in 1997.
Mr. Binn and Ms. Lieberman, a Manhattan real-estate broker and condo developer, met in the summer of 2001 at a Bridgehampton polo match. Mr. Binn knew Ms. Lieberman’s father because he had advertised in Ocean Drive .
“Before the polo races that year, I knew who [Jason] was vaguely, but I didn’t know anything about him,” Ms. Lieberman told The Transom by phone before rushing out to talk to Vera Wang about dress options. “He said he had first spotted me a year earlier, but my father told him that I had a serious boyfriend at the time. But then in 2001, I was single, so …. ”
Mr. Binn asked Ms. Lieberman to marry him during a Passover Seder in front of 30 family members and friends at Ms. Lieberman’s parent’s Miami home on April 17. The proposal followed the elaborate presentation of a framed, blue-print-style rendering of the engagement ring he had selected-a husky Bulgari pear-shaped diamond with two trillions set in platinum.
“On the picture he’d written: ‘Haley, will you marry me? Love, Jason,'” Ms. Lieberman said. He then got the ring from his father, who’d been storing it for him. “I was totally surprised. I knew he hadn’t brought a ring with him, because I’m the one who packs his bags!” she said.
The couple lives together on lower Fifth Avenue and also share a Southampton home, where they just hosted a lavish Memorial Day party.
“They’re cute together, very affectionate,” said Radar editor Maer Roshan, a longtime friend of Mr. Binn’s. “Jason lives in this kind of whirly, madcap world where everything is moving all at once and [Haley] is like this nice, calm center.” He described Ms. Lieberman as “petite and pretty and fair. Very youthful and energetic.”
“We’re really low-key, if you can believe it or not,” Ms. Lieberman said. “We don’t like to party-partying is just his job. He doesn’t drink at all, doesn’t do drugs. He works, I do yoga.”
Many roll their eyes at the cell-phone-wielding, hobnobbing Mr. Binn-who has been known to label everyone from Donald Trump to Madonna to Michael Caine as his “best friend”-but Ms. Lieberman attests to a softer, more spiritual side of the budding mogul. “He’s just an eternal optimist. Always happy and looking at the positive,” she said. “He has a great energy.”
She’s imagining the wedding, to be held next Dec. 6 at the Fountainbleu in Miami (not one of her parent’s places), to be small and intimate.
“But you never know what will happen with Jason,” she said.
“I imagine it’ll be pretty elaborate,” speculated Mr. Roshan. “He always does everything with a flourish.”
Mr. Binn, however, said he doesn’t really care.
“I’m just going to be a guest,” he said. “I’m not planning this one.”
-Anna Jane Grossman
Fit to Be Tanned
Judith Nathan’s Fred Leighton 19th-century jeweled tiara wasn’t the only thing that made her shine at her May 24 wedding to former Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Before being dressed by Vera Wang and styled by Frederic Fekkai, she was tanned by the Beach Bum tanning salon above the Hot ‘n’ Crusty at 86th and Lexington. On her big day, Ms. Nathan’s made a pit stop at the tanning salon at 4 p.m., just before she headed over to Gracie Mansion to meet Ms. Wang, who helped her get ready. She parked her Explorer below the fluorescent Beach Bum sign and ran up the rickety puce-green staircase for a quick bake.
This was not the first time she had visited the beds at Beach Bum. She also strapped on her eye goggles on the morning of May 19th, the day she and Mr. Giuliani obtained their marriage license. Dressed in khaki pants, a black T-shirt, black mules and dark shades, she asked for a 15-minute bed, but did not want to tan her face. The man behind the counter asked, “Are you Judith Nathan?”
“No,” she said.
“Really, you look like her!” he countered.
“Well, yes, but don’t tell anyone!” she said as she turned toward the couch in the waiting area. But as she went to sit down on the low black leather couch, she slipped off. Another tanner tried to console her. “That happens all the time,” she said. It didn’t help. Ms. Nathan glared back and answered with a terse, “This is a lawsuit waiting to happen!”