During the COVID-19 pandemic, Vogue’s goal in our coverage is to celebrate responsible wedding planning, showcase a love story, and shed light on the questions that engaged couples are asking themselves now. For those who are wedding planning, be sure to comply with all applicable state and local laws, guidelines, and CDC recommendations to ensure safety and reduce the risk of contracting and transmitting COVID-19.
When Sofia Nebiolo, the cofounder and co-editor-in-chief of the biannual publication The Skirt Chronicles, decamped from her native Brooklyn to attend the American University of Paris in 2008, she had no idea that 13 years later she would still call the City of Light home. In fact, if it hadn’t been for the Parisian journalist and consultant Christophe Victoor, she may have been back in New York long before. “We met by chance when I was waiting for my coat,” Nebiolo recalls of their first encounter, which occurred a decade ago at the since-closed 10th arrondissement nightclub Le Pompon. In just three weeks’ time, the two boarded a flight to Tokyo. “It was there, amid late-night sushi and early-morning temple visits, that Christophe and I exchanged our first kiss,” she says.
Fast-forward eight years, and Nebiolo and Victoor, who launched their fashion consulting and production agency Great Consulting Co. in 2015, were returning from a hike in the Dolomites Mountains in South Tyrol, Italy, when Victoor proposed on a wooden bench in the middle of the forest. Unbeknownst to Nebiolo, he had with him a custom-made Marie-Hélène de Taillac engagement ring, which had been crafted with a century-old diamond that had once belonged to Nebiolo’s great-uncle. The couple soon set their sights on a 2020 wedding in Rio de Janeiro—the site of many of their happy memories—and even ordered invitations from the 18th-century Roman stationery shop Pineider. But when COVID-19 caused the U.S. to close its borders to noncitizens, Nebiolo and Victoor had to rethink their plans. Not only did their destination celebration have to be postponed, but without a marriage license, Victoor would not have been able to participate in their tradition of visiting Nebiolo’s family every Christmas.
“It was quite a difficult decision to get married without any of my family present, but my mom ultimately said, ‘I’d rather see you both [in New York] and be able to spend time with you than not,’” Nebiolo remembers. With just two weeks to spare, Nebiolo and Victoor then began planning a simple civil wedding—but not without help from their nearest and dearest. Over drinks at Café de Flore, on the last night before terraces were ordered closed, the writer Christopher Niquet helped Nebiolo track down a pleated crepe dress and quilted off-white coat from The Row’s spring 2020 collection. Thanks to the team at Beige Habilleur, Victoor, meanwhile, found a suit from the Japanese tailoring house Ring Jacket, which he paired with Belgian Shoes loafers and a Charvet shirt, tie, and belt.
So on a surprisingly bright, blue-sky November morning, Nebiolo and Victoor were joined by 10 friends—all wearing the white masks that had been embroidered by Kaori Konishikawa for the occasion—at the mayor’s office in the 11th arrondissement. (“At first we were told that we could have only six guests,” Nebiolo recalls. “We jumped for joy that we could enlarge our tiny little party a bit!”) There, the stylist Sarah de Mavaleix surprised Nebiolo with a Charvet scarf–wrapped bouquet of anemones from Castor Fleuriste. Meanwhile, the print designer Hélène Lauth had arranged the recording of the event for the couple’s families, and the photographer Marcelo Gomes snapped away. “We were the only wedding that day and had the entire place to ourselves,” says Nebiolo, who had treated herself the day before to an Elaine Huntzinger facial (complete with crystals and acupuncture). To complete the look, Nebiolo turned to a handful of Westman Atelier pigment sticks for a “fresh and bright” look, while the hairstylist Rishi Jokhoo masterminded her low chignon.
After the ceremony, the group of 12 sauntered over to Nebiolo and Victoor’s apartment, where they were met with rapid at-home COVID tests. With negative results in hand, their close friend, Vivant chef Pierre Touitou, then prepared a meal of sweet potatoes and cream topped with salmon roe, followed by a delicate risotto, which they ate at a long table decorated with more anemones, Astier de Villatte ceramic plates, and Citta di Kyoto candles from Santa Maria de Novella. “We drank natural wine and danced to a playlist created by Basile Khadiry of Beige Habilleur with the windows open, celebrating the unusually brisk weather and our fresh nuptials,” Nebiolo says.
Near the end of the afternoon, the newlyweds cut into their dessert, a “Mazel Tov” Jean-Paul Hévin cheesecake, which had been sugar-dusted with their initials. And “because two cakes are always better than one,” Nebiolo says with a laugh, they also served a traditional-style religieuse pastry from Stohrer, the oldest patisserie in Paris.
“We were definitely anticipating a different wedding, and it was not at all what I’d envisioned,” Nebiolo concedes, emphasizing how difficult it was to be separated from their loved ones, who live far and wide. And yet, many of them were there in spirit, having sent messages, bouquets, and bottles; one friend in Germany had even overnighted cinnamon rolls for them to enjoy on their first married morning. “At the end of the day, I’m so happy that we really made something beautiful out of it. There were little notes of everything”—and everyone—“that we loved.”
Below, an intimate look at Sofia Nebiolo and Christophe Victoor’s wedding.