When Libby Duke and Zach Hilty exchanged their vows in front of an Elvis impersonator at the Graceland Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas last March, they had no idea that over the course of the next few months they'd be leaving NYC, the place they met and fell in love, and spending almost the first year of their marriage in quarantine in Arkansas. Not that they would have had it any other way - their kitschy-cool wedding turned out to be the perfect last hurrah just before the pandemic came to town.
Libby, the Senior Director of Execution and Impact at Thrive Global, and Zach, the founder and CEO at Dry County Capital Group, first connected on Tinder (pro version) in 2018 - at 4 am. "We met later that day at 'Fuck Me, Fuck You,' Sarah Bahbah's first NY solo show at the Castle Fitzjohns Gallery, which led to spicy watermelon margaritas at Forgetmenot, followed by dinner at Mission Chinese, and have spent almost every night together since," Libby recalls.
A year later, she was ready for him to pop the question and thought he'd do it on their upcoming trip to Barcelona. But on Friday, December 20, 2019, Zach had already gotten approval from Libby’s parents (Jody, Libby’s mom; Pat, Libby’s dad; and Patricia, Pat’s partner), as well as from her closest friends, Sally and Ryan. Libby went on a long, freezing walk with her dad over the Williamsburg Bridge, and when Libby returned to the apartment she and Zach shared, Zach said he had a surprise, and that Libby should pack an overnight bag. It was a short drive from their apartment to their destination: The Ludlow Hotel. Libby is obsessed with glamorous bathtubs, and thought that Zach was being a really great boyfriend by planning this staycation in advance of holiday travels. During a luxurious bath, while listening to the Elvis Christmas album, Zach got on one knee and proposed.
It's really only fitting, then, that the King should have ended up marrying them - but the Las Vegas nuptials weren't always always part of the plan.
"The trip to Las Vegas was all Barb’s (Zach’s mom’s) idea. She and her sister Mary Jane wanted to meet my mom, Jody, and so the five of us started planning the trip. Everyone joked that we should just get married in Vegas, and it didn’t take long for it to turn into a reality. My brother Nate, Zach’s sister Maggie, and Zach’s Aunt Liane and Uncle Rob joined as well," says Libby. "We were super untraditional and just wanted to have a blast as a family. On the evening before our wedding, we went to Cirque du Soleil’s The Beatles LOVE show."
On the big day, the pair got ready in their room at The Venetian and were driven to the chapel in - what else? - a pink Hummer limo.
"We were of course inspired by Elvis and Priscilla Presley’s Las Vegas wedding, and by other glamorous icons who have tied the knot in Las Vegas, like Bette Midler and Jon Bon Jovi."
Glamorous with a funky twist could also describe the bride's ensemble for the occasion. "For the wedding I wore a Valentino ivory tweed suit from the '90s. I purchased it on 1stDibs for $248.69. I love it because it reminds me of style icons Jackie Kennedy, Lauren Bacall, Mia Farrow, and Jane Fonda. My shoes were Prada Stitched Wedges, reminiscent of punk-style creepers. My pearl necklace was a gift from Zach’s mom, Barb. I purchased my wedding suit and my shoes with help from my colleagues at Thrive Global."
Following the ceremony, the newlyweds and their families enjoyed a meal at Blue Ribbon, and later on brought the party to Zach's dad's house in Pennsylvania, where the celebration continued with close friends.
Click through for a peek inside Libby and Zach's seriously unique special day!