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…

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 petting a goat and flashing the world’s brightest smile on the dating app Raya in 2018. Their first date was at L&E Oyster bar in Silverlake, CA. “We had oysters and hot toddies, and the date lasted over four hours,” she remembers. “Apparently, Jon called his friend as soon as the date was over to say, ‘I think I just met the woman I’m going to marry.’”

All of September 2020, the two talked about how badly they needed a break from dinners at home. “Somehow Jon tricked me into thinking it was my idea to dress up for a date-night out of the house even though he’d already had the whole thing planned,” Alexandra remembers. “I still don’t know how he incepted me. But at some point, I said ‘let’s go out; surprise me.’ He took me to L&E, where we’d first met, and because it was so close to our home, I thought nothing of it. He led me to the restaurant’s second floor, 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, ‘Will you marry me?’ I said ‘thank you’ instead of yes,” Alexandra remembers. “It’s fitting because I’m truly thankful for him every day. The full moon rose over us as we Facetimed 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 the moment when we decided to have our wedding in France or whose idea it was. It’s like it just always was. And it was so right for us; Jon’s grandfather was from France, and Paris is my favorite city. And we’d had a European trip canceled in 2020 and were itching to go,” Alexandra says.

They knew from the start that they wouldn’t be able to visit a venue before booking it because of the pandemic. “I found it very freeing to decide early into wedding planning that I was going to let go of as much control as possible,” Alexandra says. “It was the only way to keep from stressing over all the uncertainty that is planning a destination wedding during a pandemic. As much fun as I had day dreaming about wedding day details and having all our loved ones together in Europe, I made sure my motto was: As long as Jon’s there, it’ll be the best day.”

Three French wedding planners were interviewed via zoom, and Julie Mazzoleni of L’amour L’amour Paris was ultimately the one. “Before knowing us she seemed even more excited about our wedding than we were,” Alexandra says. “We felt like, ‘every logistical thing could go wrong but that is the energy we want for our wedding.’ All our guests still rave about her to us. My only regret is not getting a photo with her.”

In the lead up to the wedding, Alexandra had no idea what type of dress she wanted to wear. That said, “Instagram and Pinterest figured out pretty quickly that I was planning a wedding, and I couldn’t go online without being overwhelmed by ads and wedding photos,” she says. “After a few months, I saw Danielle Frankel’s Leona dress and booked an appointment at LoHo Bride to try it on. Christy and her team were the best. They had a playlist of my favorite band going while I tried on 11 different dresses. I still left with the Leona dress. Once I had solidified the dress, the rest of the look seemed obvious to me. I cut 6 inches of hair off, so I could have a little flip to show off the shoulders, and sent a photo of Audrey Hepburn’s bouquet in Funny Face to our wedding planner.” She also scoured eBay and Poshmark for the right shoes until she found pearl-studded Oscar de la Rentas in her size.

“Probably my best accessory was the lacy blue garter lent to me by Jon’s grandmother,” Alexandra says. “When she asked me if I wanted to wear it she said, ‘It’s a bit naughty, but I did marry a Frenchman you know…’ How could I say no?” To complete the traditional trifecta, Alexandra’s something old was the 100-year-old diamond in the engagement ring that’s been passed down in Jon’s family. Her something new was her dress, and her mom’s teardrop earrings were her something borrowed.

Jon was styled by Alexandra’s man of honor, Jacob Garber. He took Jon to Hall Madden to build a custom suit crafted with Loro Piana fabric. “It was a real bonding experience for them which also fed my soul,” Alexandra says. “Jon wore his grandfather’s Tiffany cufflinks, an Alexander McQueen tie, and socks that I’d embroidered with our wedding date.”

The ceremony and reception were at La Dîme de Giverny—a renovated, 13th century home down the street from Claude Monet’s house. “In searching for French towns, we were immediately drawn to Giverny, known for birthing Monet’s famous water lily paintings,” Alexandra explains. “I can’t remember where I first saw a photo of Monet’s stunning home. I only remember knowing right away that we had to go, and the rest of the wedding vision fell into place from there. The town is so tiny and walkable; all of Giverny felt like our venue.”

On the day of the wedding, Jon’s parents walked him down the aisle to Van Morrison’s “Sweet Thing” and Alexandra’s stepdad walked her down the aisle to Cat Stevens’s “Tea for the Tillerman.” The couple’s dear friend, writer Brian Chamberlayne, officiated, beginning the ceremony with a guided meditation. “I laughed and cried; he nailed it,” Alexandra says. “When Jon and I kissed, General Public’s ‘Tenderness’ played. I’m a big Clueless fan. Our family and friends tossed white rose petals on us as we walked back down the aisle. What a feeling!”

After the ceremony, the newlyweds went down the street to Monet’s house and garden, which is now a museum. “I’d never been, but just from photos I knew those unique colorful rooms would make for some dreamy wedding pictures,” Alexandra says. “It was fun having our wedding photos somewhere we’d never been before; you really see our reactions to the art and space, entering our new chapter together with wonder and awe.”

Guests were treated to a traditional French dining experience after cocktail hour. “Our friends still talk about the cheese course!” Alexandra says.

The bride changed into her second look after the first dance so she could avoid wardrobe constrictions while out on the dance floor. “My party dress was designed and hand embroidered by me, and constructed by Jocelyn Dungca, the angel who also altered my dress and built my veil,” Alexandra says. “It had two faces on the bodice and ‘I love Jon’ hand embroidered on the skirt. It was my first time designing a dress but because I knew what I wanted, and had just taught myself embroidery. I went for it, and loved it.”

The dancing went to 2:00 a.m. “Thank god for our photo booth, which gave us the opportunity to have little breaks,” Alexandra says. 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!”