Move over Bumble, good old-fashioned matchmaking is back. Andrea Coen, a fundraiser for the San Francisco Opera, and Dr. Michael Neidert, a marketing strategist for Medtronic Coronary, were set up by Tawkify—a matchmaking company where people (instead of your iPhone’s GPS) pick your options. “I had looked into it, but ultimately decided not to move forward,” explains Andrea. “Apparently they still had my profile, because a year later they called to tell me about a client who was a ‘Renaissance man’—a lover of travel, brewing beer, baking bread, hiking, culture, and sports!”
Tawkify quickly set Andrea and Mike up on a blind date at a local bar, and they hit it off immediately. “Mike left the next day for a two-week trip to New Zealand, and he sent flowers and a postcard from across the ocean,” smiles Andrea. “The weekend he got back, he planned a ‘choose your own adventure’ date and presented me with a booklet of different ideas. From wine tasting in Napa to exploring Half Moon Bay, the options were all perfect, and the rest is history.”
The pair dated for just over a year before Mike popped the question in Paris. Though the engagement itself didn’t come as a surprise (the couple had already put a deposit on a venue), Mike, knowing that Andrea had studied gemology, had something special up his sleeve and hired jewelry consultant Alexis Vourvoulis of Bijoux Society to arrange private tours of various jewelry houses. “We started at an atelier that creates jewelry for many of the big names, then stopped by Waskoll, a family owned company. Next came an antique shop on the Rue de Rivoli, followed by the more contemporary Maison Dauphin. Our last stop was a privately owned store on the Place Vendome, Lorenz Baumer,” explains Andrea.
The duo decided to work with Lorenz Baumer, a former designer for Chanel and Louis Vuitton fine jewelry, as well as a one-time engineer. “Mike previously worked as a biomedical engineer and loved this aspect of Lorenz’s background,” says Andrea. “Plus, his recent work included creating a tiara for Princess Charlene of Monaco, so we knew we were in good hands!”
Although the design was swiftly finalized, the stone had to be sourced before the ring could be made. “Mike went back to Maison Dauphin to buy a surprise ring so I wouldn’t go home empty handed,” remembers Andrea. After celebrating with friends over dinner, the pair returned to their rented apartment in the Marais where Mike surprised Andrea with the ring. “It was 2:00 A.M., and the neighbors were banging on the walls because I couldn’t stop squealing I was so shocked,” laughs Andrea.
Andrea and Mike settled on a wedding date of June 25th at Hotel Villa Cimbrone in Ravello, a resort town in Italy that sits above the Amalfi Coast. “I saw photos of the grounds and instantly fell in love,” Andrea says. “There’s a faded elegance to it, and the property is covered in lemon trees. Plus, it used to be a home, so has the feel of a private estate.” Self-proclaimed foodies, the couple also loved that the restaurant on-site is Michelin-rated.
Multiple events over the long wedding weekend called for several different looks. “I wore a yellow Monique Lhuillier cocktail dress for welcome drinks at Palazzo Avino, a blue-and-white-striped number from Atelier Des Modistes in San Francisco for a day at Conca Del Sogno (a famed seaside restaurant), and a one-shoulder dress by Camilla for the rehearsal dinner,” says Andrea. When it came time for the main affair, Andrea slipped into a crème brulee gown by Monique Lhuillier. “The muted off-white color with a tad of pink or grey (depending on the light) was perfect for the venue,” Andrea says. “I also loved the romantic rose and antique gold beading detail.”
Andrea honored the well-known “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue” tradition, but with a slight twist. “Italian brides have been known to wear green on the eve of their wedding to bring good luck,” explains Andrea. “Instead of ‘something blue,’ my emerald engagement ring served as my ‘something green,’ a nod to the Italian custom.” Pieces of lace from her mother’s wedding gown and veil were incorporated to fulfill her something old, a sparkly purse that was a reminder of her beloved Chihuahua, Seymour, served as her something new, and an antique diamond bracelet (graciously loaned by a dear friend) was her something borrowed.
Andrea walked down the aisle to “Where Is My Mind” by Pixies (performed by Maxence Cyrin, the French pianist and composer). “We aren’t religious, but worked with our friend and Lutheran minister, Amanda Nelson, to create a weighty and meaningful ceremony,” says Andrea. To concluded the service, friends and family chanted “Auguri!” (best wishes in Italian).
After enjoying cocktails on the terrace, guests made their way to long banquet tables in the grotto to begin a three course meal: lobster cappuccino with potato cream and black squid dust, risotto flavored with Amalfi lemon (among other seasonings), and beef fillet in puff pastry. A table of sweets and mille-feuille wedding cake were offered as dessert.
Next, the party moved to the hotel’s yard where guests boogied the night away on a black-and-white-checkered dance floor that overlooked the Amalfi Coast. La Dolce Vita indeed!