How Claire Distenfeld from Fivestory Got Ready for her Dream Wedding

From a big breakfast with all her best friends to one very special Giambattista Valli gown.

By: Emily Ramshaw
Photography: Brian Marcus of Fred Marcus Studio

Claire Distenfeld is one of those women who is pretty consistently flawless. It helps, of course, that she owns Fivestory in New York, which stocks a roster of designer labels, from Aquazzura and Self-Portrait to Balmain and Rosie Assoulin. She’s one of those extremely polished, never-a-hair-out-of-place women who inspire intense curiosity as to what primping and prepping (and general getting ready activities) might look like. Especially when Distenfeld is getting ready for her wedding—one that might just be the most glamorous we’ve ever seen on Instagram. Confession: it caused a half-hour office shut-down on a Monday morning not so long ago to methodically stock the hashtag (#olshanorbust—do it now).

So what exactly happened before she walked down the aisle in her custom Giambattista Valli gown? You know, the morning after her Slim Aarons-inspired rehearsal dinner, where you better believe guests like Sabine Getty, Dianna Agron, and Leandra Medine stuck to the dress code with stunning results. Here, straight from Distenfeld herself, is what happens before a fantasy wedding.

“My husband and I slept separately. I slept in my hotel room with my best friend. We didn’t see each other until right before the ceremony.

The morning of I was actually extremely calm, obviously VERY excited, but also very mindful and appreciative for everything that was to occur over the next few hours.

I woke up early at 7 AM and had a huge breakfast with eight of my best girl friends. It was the last calm before the storm and it was perfect. [I ate an] egg white omelet with a bunch of stuff in it, coffee, and tons of almonds throughout the day. After that I went straight into hair and makeup for the next four-ish hours. I didn’t even think about exercise!

I got ready at the Jean Audrey House at the Parker Hotel where the wedding was, starting around 10 AM. We started pictures around 2 PM. I wore a custom Morgan Lane Pajama set with my new last name on it. While I got my makeup and hair done, my friends came and went throughout the day to keep me company. I also got the best advice from a close friend of mine who is very spiritual. She told me that a bride on her wedding day is the holiest she will ever be in her life and that whatever higher power there is, that on that day she has a direct line of communication to it. That being said, I spent most of the day thinking about the health of my family and friends. I was thinking about pregnant friends and hoping that they will have healthy babies; thinking about single friends and hoping they will find true love; and just thanking the universe for everything it has given me. I have to say that that created such an amazing dynamic for the day. It allowed me to be present and appreciative, and allowed me to stay completely calm.

Alexa Rodulfo, [my hair and makeup artist], is nothing short of an angel. We work so well together and she’s very talented at just feeling the moment and going with it. We had discussed some things here and there before the wedding, but she really came up with the whole concept on the day of the wedding! I wore my hair up in a sort of french braid and we added orchids (that we stole from the ceremony) to the side of it. Alexa did a touch up after the ceremony and then a few hours into the dinner…after that point a bride should just let her hair down and not care!

[When it came to putting on the dress], I did most of it myself. I did have my favorite person from the Giambattista Valli team (GBV made the dress), Matthew Gebert, come and help me with my dress and make sure it was steamed and properly put on. I got so attached to him through the process that I forced him to stay for the whole wedding!

When I put on the dress I felt very ready to go! I honestly wasn’t thinking about ‘the dress’ or ‘the hair’ at all. It all became less important to me when I was in the moment. I just wanted to get married! But I was obviously dressed and ready an hour before everyone else. I hung out with the photographer and did a ton of portraits until my husband was ready.

Right before I walked down the aisle, I felt very connected to the day and the moment. I felt extremely calm and at ease and overwhelmingly grateful.”

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