Fashion Guru Joe Zee Marries Designer Rob Younkers in Stylish New York Ceremony
The fashion industry veteran exclusively reveals all the romantic details of his wedding day to designer Rob Younkers
Joe Zee is a married man!
The fashion guru, 49, exchanged vows with designer Rob Younkers, on Oct. 5 at the upscale farm-to-table restaurant, Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Tarrytown, New York, the couple tells PEOPLE exclusively.
The pair, who got engaged in 2015, said “I do” in front of 130 guests, including actress Julianne Moore and her family, celebrity hairstylist Serge Normant and Ariana Rockefeller.
“It was really a magical day,” Zee tells PEOPLE. “My favorite part of the whole day was to look out and see every single person that we wanted to come, sitting there in one room at the same time. I feel really blessed that everybody we wanted to come, came.”
They decided to chose the famed restaurant Blue Hill at Stone Barns as their venue after visiting the space for an anniversary dinner. “It’s not just a restaurant, it’s really a food experience,” Younkers says about the space, which is featured on Netflix’s Chef’s Table and serves customers what’s grown and raised on the farm.
The ceremony was extremely personal: Younkers’s aunt officiated and each groom shared vows they wrote themselves.
“The day of the wedding, I sat at a Starbucks at a train station in Scarsdale and wrote my vows,” Zee revealed. “Yes, it is a true sign of procrastinator but at the same time, I really feel like it’s from the heart. If you write it too early I feel like you spend too much time overthinking it and it gets stuffy, where this was genuinely really just verbatim and real.”
They kept the ceremony “fun, playful and light,” Zee said, and exchanged “I dos” in the same space where dinner was served.
“We weren’t walking down an aisle, nobody was being given away, it wasn’t that kind of a thing,” says Zee. “So we did it in our own modern, casual take on what a wedding was. There was certainly some indication of elegance about it, but it was also really casual.”
Every detail of the day was overseen by Younkers, who took on the role of wedding planner. “From seating to tables to designing the invite and the hostess cards and even working with the interior guy to design the room, that was all Rob,” Zee gushed. “When you walked in it was completely magical and beautiful.”
Younkers replied: “I’m a Virgo with OCD.”
Zee, the former creative director of ELLE magazine, author of That’s What Fashion Is and judge on the Canadian fashion competition series, Stitched, wore a custom single-breasted tuxedo by Isaia, which was made the week of the wedding. “I think I went to them on a Monday and we were getting married on a Friday,” Zee said of his last-minute fashion choice.
Younkers, a former Parsons’ Professor of Design and founder of the children’s fashion design camp Stitched Fashion Camp, took a little extra time to plan his outfit. “I shop for deals,” Younkers began. “I ended up finding an amazing Valentino tuxedo on sale online and bought that. Then bought a Givenchy shirt at the outlets in Woodbury, New York. And got my patent leather shoes from Amazon.”
To represent “something old,” Younkers wore his late grandmother’s pin on the inside of his jacket. Zee’s pocket hanky was fashioned from Younkers’ baby baptism bonnet.
“What’s important for me was that we looked classic, so that when we look at these picture in years to come, we don’t look too dated,” Zee said. “Also, at the same time, we wanted to feel special. I didn’t want to just put on a suit, shirt and tie…I wear that to work. There’s something about a tuxedo that just feels really Gatsby-like. We wanted to have that sort of throwback element at the same time.”
For their wedding bands, they returned to the same jeweler that designed Younkers’s engagement ring, Cartier. “I got him a ring at Cartier with a special inscription for the engagement so I knew when we got married I wanted to go back to Cartier and get rings for us and have a similar inscription,” said Zee.
They settled on the same style, but different metals; Zee’s is gold and Younkers’s is platinum.
The couple met on while filming Zee’s show All on the Line in 2011 and began dating after production wrapped. Zee popped the question on his birthday in 2015 during a romantic vacation in Mexico with Younkers.
At the time of their engagement, Zee told People, “I knew I was going to marry Rob since our first date. He’s a kind, generous, gracious and caring human being and he inspires me to be a better person every day.”
“When you dream your entire life about getting married and never thought it would be possible in your lifetime, but now that it is and I’ve found my soulmate, I knew I wanted to make it official. I just wanted to wait to for the perfect moment before I popped the question. And that perfect moment was my birthday under the stars at one of our favorite places. I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday gift.”
For more on Zee and Younkers’s wedding, check out this gallery of every behind-the-scene photo from their big day.