It was a whirlwind romance for fashion lawyer Katherine Neifeld and financier Robert Neukomm, who first met at Fedora, a bar in New York’s West Village, and ten days later found themselves hopping on a plane to Paris together. Only a year and a half later, Robert slipped an emerald-cut diamond on Katherine’s finger while they were having dinner, and just six months after (two years to the date of their Paris escapade) the two tied the knot in the City of Light.
Since Robert’s family is based in Switzerland, and the bride had many family members in the U.K., France seemed like the natural midpoint for their wedding destination. “Truth be told, though, it was really my all-consuming Francophilia which informed this choice,” Katherine admits. The morning after Robert proposed, she emailed the Rodin Museum and was thrilled to find out that it was available during Labor Day weekend. “Robert and I visited the Rodin Museum on our first trip to Paris. The gardens are truly the ne plus ultra for a topiary-obsessive like me, to say nothing of the sculptures.”
For help with the overseas planning, the couple quickly hired Nancy La Tart of Fête in France. And Katherine, a paper fanatic, went straight to work on the save-the-dates, sourcing antique postcards sold at French booksellers. As for the invitations and menus, she worked with Sophia Thacker at Smythson in London.
Rather than choose a traditional wedding gown, Katherine had resolved to wear a ready-to-wear dress from one of her favorite fashion houses. During a shopping trip in Paris with her mother, they stopped by Dior and Chanel, before arriving at Giambattista Valli for a quick look. “There it was, hanging with near insouciance—a cream ruffled tulle high low confection that I chose with indecent speed,” she says.
For their rehearsal dinner at Brasserie Lipp, Katherine wore a Dior dress, which Robert had bought for her during a trip to Paris before he proposed. “The dress is the checkerboard pattern from their spring/summer 2018 collection, which was inspired by the black and white floor of the Musée Rodin,” she explains. “Being worn the night before the wedding was a marvelous bit of foreshadowing.”
Meanwhile, the groom, in addition to a wedding tuxedo by Battistoni, picked out a ruffled shirt at Charvet on the Place Vendôme, Krugerrand cufflinks from Katherine’s grandfather, and patent opera pumps from George Cleverley. Robert’s nephews, who served as ring bearers, wore matching polka dot bowties from Ralph Lauren and navy suits.
The day of the wedding, the bride and her mother watched the beginning of the ceremony from the museum building. Her favorite waltz, “On The Blue Danube,” was played on strings throughout the processional. When the doors of the museum finally opened, the bride and her parents walked the length of the Rodin gardens to “Moon River.” The ceremony was officiated by the couple’s rabbi, who delivered the Ketubah in three languages: English, Hebrew, and French.
The reception inside the Musée Rodin followed, where guests enjoyed a traditional French meal seated at four long tables, each incorporating an element of the museum building—marble, boiserie, verdigris, and topiary—and featuring place settings arranged by Madame de la Maison. “It’s impossible to do justice to the final result with a mere description, so I will just say that Ajiri Aki [founder of Madame de la Maison] and floral decorator Chantal created topiaries made of flowers for each table,” says Katherine. “It was truly inspired.” For dessert, the couple cut into a pistachio raspberry wedding cake, topped with marzipan and served with a dark chocolate mousse.
Katherine was initially hesitant about making a “grand entrance” into the museum as newlyweds, but after reading about the Duchesse du Maine’s grand entries into her own parties, she thankfully changed her mind and that moment remains one of her favorite from their reception. “I won’t soon forget the feeling of descending the stairs from the museum’s first floor with Robert, the aerial view of the black and white floor below, the surreal sight of the artwork after dusk, and our friends and family seated for dinner.”
After the reception wrapped, Katherine changed into a Paco Rabanne disco dress and the newlyweds departed to Le Montana nightclub en masse. The couple’s first dance was to “More Than a Woman,” by the Bee Gees, and they remained there with friends until nearly five in the morning. As for how they signed off on their spectacular Parisian night? Watching the sunrise over the Tuileries from the terrace of Le Meurice with an order of frites. La vie en rose, indeed!