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It wasn’t a dream-like replica of the Garden of Eden, but it could have been. Two Gardens of Eden perhaps.
But what it really was was the Joseph Papp Theater, where two of its theaters, Martinson Hall and LuEsther Hall, were truly and beautifully transformed by the magic wand of Robert Isabell with thousands of yards of white gauze falling from ceiling to floor, and thousands upon thousands of fragrant white flowers everywhere. Martinson Hall was the setting for the wonderful wedding of film director-producer Alexandra Shiva and writer Jonathan Sherman, son of Dr. Ronald Sherman and the late Barbara Daniels Sherman.
Perhaps the scene was more Cocteau than Eden. Even the lobby was draped in white gauze and there were four 10-foot tall arrangements of white snowball viburnum and lacecap hydrangea towering from huge urns. One knowledgeable guest likened the scene to a Christian Berard set from a Cocteau movie. The 20-foot tall columns were painted white and the entire room was splayed in white gauze that went on forever (very Cocteau). The gold distressed ceiling and the columns were overgrown with English ivy, which looked as if it had been growing for hundreds of years (very Cocteau). Eight 10-foot tall candelabra dripped with ivy and jasmine (too Cocteau for words). The floor was covered with natural sisal, and four gigantic white urns were filled with white lilac and white bridal veil spirea. The houppa under which the traditional Jewish ceremony took place was a bower of thousands of gardenias. The 13 bridesmaids wore classic cream-colored Marc Jacobs gowns with silver belts and carried cream-colored sweet peas. The bride carried a bouquet of lily of the valley.
About that bride. Alexandra Shiva, the lovely dark-haired dark-eyed daughter of Gil Shiva of New York and the late Susan Stein Shiva, wore one of the most romantic wedding dresses that ever came out of Chanel’s atelier, pure white silk net with a fitted bodice and a full skirt and long train, sparkling with silver flecks. Covered by her veil, her eyes never left the groom’s face during the entire ceremony, performed by Rabbi Chava Koster. The matron of honor was Sandra Shure and the bridesmaids included Alexandra’s striking sister-in-law, Anne Shiva; Samantha Bass; Marni Sherman; Tina Chai; Lithe Sebesta; Cyia Batten; Laurie Prince; Ginny Bond Donahue; Fernanda Niven; Alexia Landau; Michelle Gucovsky, and Tehzeeb Hoosenally.