Deidrea Miller and Jens Knudsen met during the pandemic, and when the couple began planning their wedding, they wanted it to have all the things that quarantine didn’t—mainly, togetherness, dancing, and an overall sense of fun. “We’d been locked down, we hadn’t really all been together,” Miller says. The couple and their guests danced like they hadn’t in years. “I wanted to get sweaty and just be alive in the moment.”
The two were married at the Danish Seaman’s Church in Brooklyn and held their reception at Ludlow House, a members’ club in downtown Manhattan that had a “‘70s, Romper Room vibe” that Miller loved. “When we found this space, we fell in love and felt it really matched what we were looking for. I think it just all kind of came together then,” Knudsen says. The celebration reflected the groom’s Danish nationality, the bride’s Alabama roots and Black identity, and their shared love of music. As the head of communications for Christie’s America, Miller’s life is filled with art and culture. “I travel a lot for work and I’m very immersed in it. You wouldn’t believe how many threads from me professionally really came through,” she says.
Miller was walked down the aisle by both her father and her 10-year-old daughter Beatrix, who was her maid of honor. For Miller and Knudsen, Beatrix was by far the most important guest. “I really wanted her to be front and center. My father was there to give me away, but really, she’s the one who had the veto power over all of this,” Miller says. The wedding incorporated pinball machines, songs by Elton John, and ABBA’s “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” because they’re things Beatrix loves.
The Welcome Party
The pair greeted their guests, many of whom had traveled from Denmark or other parts of Europe, with a Friday night party at the Brooklyn bar Sunny’s, one of their favorite spots. The bride brought in oysters, her favorite food, from Oysters XO. When guests asked what the dress code would be, they were assured that Sunny’s is a famously casual, come as you are establishment. (Miller wore a Fendi romper.) Miller and Knudsen, who is a senior counsel for Pinterest, were thrilled to see their friends and family starting to bond with one another.
The wedding service was officiated by former New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, who Miller previously worked for as a deputy communications director. Earlier this year, de Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray revealed that they had separated but continued to live together and share many elements of their lives. “Given the headlines over the past summer, we felt like they showed a great deal of love and respect for one another. They brought to our wedding [the idea] that even when things don’t work out the way you think they’re going to, you still love that person and you still treasure that person and I couldn’t think of a better person to speak and to bring us together because there’s a lot of compassion that he brings,” Miller says. “He talked about how I grew up in rural Alabama and Jens grew up in rural Denmark, and these shared values that we both have and how we found each other. One of the things I found really touching was that he said we don’t have to get married. I have my own career, we have our own lives, but we’re choosing to be together, to go through life together. He didn’t tell us that he was going to say that, but it really meant a lot, especially given that it was my second marriage.”
A year ago, Miller came to know the Abyssinian Baptist Church choir when they performed at a reception for Christie’s Andre Leon Talley sale. The group reminded her of “going to these cacophonous beautiful rich church services with big choirs when I was a kid,” and she was thrilled when they agreed to perform at the ceremony. She had a special request for them. Knudsen absolutely adores David Byrne and loves to sing “Everybody’s Coming to My House” with Beatrix. “When they sang it during the wedding ceremony, it was almost like a revival. People were stomping their feet and singing along. I think of any moment in the wedding, that was when I almost cried,” she says. “It was so beautiful. Everybody was singing and clapping their hands and stomping their feet. We’re in this Lutheran Danish tiny little church. It was just a very different energy. I felt so alive and I felt connected. It just meant a lot to us to share that with our family.”
When Miller began thinking about her wedding outfit, she remembered a Kelly green silk dress and pants set by Rosie Assoulin that Solange wore in 2016. She went to look at the designer’s bridal line and was thrilled when Assoulin herself agreed to create a similar look for her in cream. “It was this beautiful hybrid of being very modern and sleek, and it had this ’60s silhouette,” Miller says. She paired it with Loewe heels with a balloon on them. Later on in the evening, she changed into a cropped T-shirt from Molly Goddard and Christian Louboutin oxfords. “I turned 40 right before the wedding, so I wanted something that was sleek and sexy but also really conveyed where I am in my life. I’m a mother and a leader in a company. I was joking that I wanted to look like a grown-ass woman for my wedding,” she says. Knudsen and Miller’s father wore suits by Dreu Beckemberg, a Brooklyn-based Jamaican designer that Miller met while working at the mayor’s office, when she recruited him to make custom tuxedos for de Blasio and his son Dante for the Met Gala in 2021. Beatrix wore a shirtdress by Oscar de la Renta. “I can’t tell you how invested she was in her outfits,” Miller says.
Miller and Knudsen loved the idea of transporting the guests from the church to the reception on yellow school buses, which was exciting for many of the international attendees who’d only seen yellow buses on TV. Danish weddings typically have a toast master. The couple opted instead for two co-MCs, with Miller’s co-worker Seth and Knudsen’s high school friend Meik Wiking, author of The Little Book of Hygge, doing the honors.
Per Danish custom, the couple’s first dance was a waltz. Immediately after, the groom’s brothers and friends lifted him up and cut the toe of his socks off, a tradition believed to ensure a husband’s fidelity.
Miller brought in another special music moment at the reception. “I wanted to have these little personal touches,” she says. “We love—I’m talking love—ABBA. “We saw the hologram show in London with my daughter. We pretty much sing it the entire summer when we’re in Denmark. My daughter is a big fan of “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” and so I searched high and low for an ABBA tribute band.” She was thrilled to find the New York group ABBA 4, led by Katie Martucci.”
“There was a lot of the love in the room,” Miller says. “My ex-husband even came to the reception and stayed the entire time. It was so open, and I don’t think we knew it when we started planning, but I think it was the music. There was something about the music that connected with people.”
Miller and Knudsen adhered strictly to the mandate for fun. When they asked Ludlow House whether they could have a ping-pong table, they were told “‘I don’t know if you should do that because there’s going to be a ping-pong ball flying around,’” Miller recalls. “We responded like 12-year-old kids, we were like, ‘Awww, really?’ We ended up with pinball machines.”
The couple served tacos and chose not to have a seated dinner. “Every single person who came said they loved that there wasn’t a sit-down dinner because they were able to talk to people and dance and sing,” Miller says. “It just brings the pomp and circumstance down.”
The dancing went on until late in the night when even Miller, so committed to all-night dancing, felt her energy flag. “I heard a lot about how it’s hard to enjoy your wedding because you’re going to be so stressed, you’re going to be worried, but both of us had so much fun,” Knudsen says.
Adrienne Gaffney is the features editor at ELLE and previously worked at WSJ Magazine and Vanity Fair.