Newlyweds David Usdan and Howard ("Howie") Brenner say New York's 54 Below was a natural choice as a wedding venue given that musical theater featured prominently in their relationship from the start.
"We both loved show tunes and anything to do with Broadway, from classic musicals like 'Gypsy' and 'Mame' to more recent hits like 'Grey Gardens' and 'Next To Normal,'" the couple told The Huffington Post in an email. In fact, the pair met in 2003 at Marie's Crisis, a piano bar in Manhattan's West Village which specializes in show tunes. "We are big fans of Stephen Sondheim, Stephen Schwartz and Jason Robert Brown, too," they added.
On April 19, Usdan, 51, and Brenner, 45, tied the knot in a stylish ceremony at 54 Below, which bills itself as "Broadway's supper club" and has hosted performances by the likes of Patti LuPone, Brian d'Arcy James, Andrea McArdle and Matthew Morrison, among others. Last August, the couple got engaged at the same venue during a performance by Tony Award winner Alice Ripley.
Check out photos of David and Howie's wedding, then scroll down to keep reading:
Their nuptials marked 54 Below's first time as a wedding venue. True to form, Broadway was at the centerpiece, with singer-actress Liz Callaway serenading the couple with four songs and a signature cocktail, "The Meadowlark," created as an homage to the popular Stephen Schwartz ballad of the same name. Following the vows, the couple popped a bottle of Paul Georg champagne on stage to their guests' delight.
The binational couple had navigated a few hurdles early on, with Brenner, a BBC producer, hailing from London and Usdan, a psychologist, living in New York. Still, that didn't stop the pair from beginning a long-distance relationship at first.
"At that point we knew we wanted to marry each other but back then gay marriage was not possible, especially for foreign partners," they said. "So we decided to proceed as a couple for life, and although the odds were stacked against us, we somehow knew we would end up together for life!"
On May 19, 54 Below will also host a reception for the winners of the American Civil Liberties Union's "My Big Gay (Il)legal Wedding" contest. The event, which will be emceed by "Orange Is the New Black" star Lea DeLaria, will see five same-sex couples who reside in U.S. states without marriage equality legislation tying the knot.