A destination wedding in Giverny, where Monet painted his water lilies
Actress and writer Alexandra Kyle immediately swiped right when she saw TV and film producer Jon Cohen pet a goat and flash the world’s brightest smile on the dating app Raya in 2018. Their first date was at the L&E Oyster bar in Silverlake, California. “We had oysters and toddy, and the date lasted over four hours,” she recalls. “Apparently Jon called his friend as soon as the date was over and said, ‘I think I just met the woman I’m going to marry.'”
Throughout September 2020, the pair opened up about how much they needed a break between dinners at home. “Somehow Jon made me think it was my idea to dress for a date outside the house, even though he had it all planned out,” remembers Alexandra. “I still don’t know how he welcomed me. But at one point I said ‘let’s go out; Surprise me.’ He took me to L&E, where we had first met, and because it was so close to home, I didn’t think about it. He led me to the second floor of the restaurant, and there was no one there but us. Alexandra followed Jon to the balcony where there was a single table draped in flowers and candles. “After his speech, when he finally asked, ‘Do you want to marry me?’ I said “thank you” instead of yes”, remembers Alexandra. “It’s fitting because I’m so grateful for him every day. The full moon rose above us as we called our families and friends who were waiting for our calls.
The two then set a date: April 2, 2022, Alexandra’s grandmother’s birthday, and a location: Giverny, France. “We can’t remember when we decided to have our wedding in France or whose idea it was. It’s like it’s always has been. And it was so good for us; Jon’s grandfather was French and Paris is my favorite city. And we had a trip to Europe canceled in 2020 and we were looking forward to going,” says Alexandra.
They knew from the start that they wouldn’t be able to visit a place before booking it because of the pandemic. “I found it very liberating to decide early on in the wedding planning that I was going to give up as much control as possible,” Alexandra says. “It was the only way to avoid stressing over all the uncertainty planning a destination wedding during a pandemic. As much as I had fun dreaming up the details of the wedding day and bringing all of our loved ones together in Europe, but I made sure my motto was: As long as Jon is here, it will be the best day.”
Three French wedding planners were interviewed via zoom, and Julie Mazzoleni from Love Love Paris was finally the one. “Before we met, she seemed even more excited about our marriage than we were,” Alexandra says. “We thought, ‘Every logistical thing could go wrong, but this is the energy we want for our marriage.’ All of our guests still love it for us. My only regret is not having a photo with her.
Before the wedding, Alexandra had no idea what kind of dress she wanted to wear. That said, “Instagram and Pinterest caught on pretty quickly that I was planning a wedding, and I couldn’t go online without being overwhelmed with ads and wedding photos,” she says. “After a few months I saw Danielle Frankel’s Leona dress and made an appointment at LoHo Bride to try it on. Christy and her team were the best. They had a playlist of my favorite band for I was trying on 11 different dresses. I still went with the Leona dress. Once I solidified the dress, the rest of the look was obvious to me. I cut 6 inches of hair so I could make a little flip to show the shoulders, and I sent a picture of Audrey Hepburn’s bouquet in Funny head to our wedding planner. She also scoured eBay and Poshmark for the right shoes until she found Oscar de la Rentas studded with pearls in her waist.
“My best accessory was probably the blue lace garter that Jon’s grandmother lent me,” says Alexandra. “When she asked me if I wanted to wear it, she said, ‘It’s kind of mean, but I married a Frenchman, you know…’ How could I say no?” Rounding out the traditional trifecta, Alexandra’s something old was the century-old diamond from the engagement ring that was passed down through Jon’s family. Her something new was her dress, and her mother’s teardrop earrings were something she had borrowed.
Jon was styled by Alexandra’s best man, Jacob Garber. He took Jon to Hall Madden to build a custom costume made with Loro Piana fabric. “It was a real bonding experience for them that also nurtured my soul,” Alexandra says. “Jon wore his grandfather’s Tiffany cufflinks, an Alexander McQueen tie and socks that I had embroidered with our wedding date.”
The ceremony and reception took place at La Dîme de Giverny, a renovated 13th century house located across the street from Claude Monet’s home. “While researching French towns, we were immediately drawn to Giverny, known for being the birthplace of Monet’s famous water lily paintings,” says Alexandra. “I don’t remember where I first saw a picture of Monet’s beautiful home. I only remember knowing right away that we had to leave, and the rest of the wedding vision fell into place. up from there.The town is so small and walkable, all of Giverny felt like our location.
On the wedding day, Jon’s parents walked him down the aisle to Van Morrison’s “Sweet Thing” and Alexandra’s stepfather walked her down the aisle to “Tea for the Tillerman” by Cat Stevens. The couple’s dear friend, writer Brian Chamberlayne, officiated, beginning the ceremony with a guided meditation. “I laughed and cried; he succeeded,” says Alexandra. “When Jon and I kissed, General Public’s ‘Tenderness’ played. I’m a big clueless fan. Our family and friends threw white rose petals at us as we walked down the aisle. What a sensation!”
After the ceremony, the newlyweds walked down the street to Monet’s house and garden, which is now a museum. “I had never been there, but just from photos I knew these unique colorful rooms would make dream wedding photos,” says Alexandra. “It was fun to have our wedding photos in a place we had never been before; you really see our reactions to art and space, entering our new chapter with wonder and awe.
Guests were treated to a traditional French dining experience after cocktail hour. “Our friends are still talking about the cheese course!” Alexandra said.
The bride changed her look after the first dance to avoid wardrobe restrictions while on the dance floor. “My evening dress was designed and hand-embroidered by me, and built by Jocelyn Dungca, the angel who also altered my dress and built my veil,” Alexandra explains. “There were two faces on the bodice and hand-embroidered ‘I love Jon’ on the skirt. It was my first time designing a dress, but because I knew what I wanted and I had just learned embroidery. I went there and loved it.
The dancing continued until 2 a.m. “Thank goodness our photo booth allowed us to take little breaks,” says Alexandra. At the end of the night, the couple’s photographer, Ashley, handed them a stack of Polaroids. “Jon and I flipped through them in bed until we passed out. I’ll never forget how we fell asleep feeling so accomplished!”