Condé Nast director of international fashion Lyndsey Natale and Edouard Pénot met through mutual friends at a dinner party in London, where they’re now based. After a year together between Switzerland and New York, he proposed in her apartment before they drove to her family’s home for Thanksgiving. “I was in shock and immediately asked him if he had asked my dad,” Lyndsey says. “He then told me about how he actually arrived that morning, spent the afternoon with my dad, asked for my hand, then saw my mom and bumped into my siblings all before coming back to New York to surprise me.”
“In Edouard’s culture, it is customary to propose with a ring but then design the engagement ring together,” Lyndsey explains. The bride ended up with an oval stone set in a thin gold and platinum solitaire setting by Jessica Namdar Jewelry, which became more meaningful than she could’ve ever imaged, when the two were separated during the pandemic. “It gave me a daily reminder of hope knowing there was so much ahead of us.”
The engaged couple had planned for a New York wedding in late August, but three months before the wedding, they cancelled their traditional event. “The largest factor was that the groom, his family, and guests live in Europe and were not allowed to travel to the U.S.,” Lyndsey says. “We knew regardless if COVID numbers decreased and it was safe for our guests that the travel ban was our biggest hurdle.”
Lyndsey and Edouard also decided it made the most sense to plan two micro-weddings—one in New Jersey with her family and one in France with his. But even before they could start planning, they had to legally get married in order for Edouard to enter the States, since he was in Switzerland. The two met in Bermuda and eloped after being apart for five months. “We took many Covid tests and spent a lovely week together,” Lyndsey reminisces. “It was only the fourth time we saw each other after getting engaged!”
Once Lyndsey got approval for her husband to travel to the U.S., they had four weeks to plan the New Jersey micro-wedding. “We were so grateful to have our wedding planner, Matilda Diaz of Noble Diaz, who truly understood our aesthetic,” the bride says. “Having that relationship and trust allowed us to focus on finding a way to see one another while she created magic and turned my parents’ house into a wedding venue in only a few weeks! I wanted the day to feel like a Nancy Meyers film.”
Everyone involved in planning became family, and the couple even decided to have their family’s restaurant cater, which added an even more intimate feeling to the day. Their photographers, MASHAIDA, only met the couple the day before the wedding, but they felt more like guests and fit right in.
Thankfully, Lyndsey finished dress shopping for her wedding before the pandemic. It was actually the mother of the bride who picked out her Peter Langner dress, and Lyndsey worked with Peter to add the capelet for a one-of-a-kind look. She adds, “I always loved the romance of an illusion top, and when I had it on, it reminded me of Edouard.”
On September 19, 2020, the bride got ready with her beauty team to create a more polished version of her everyday look. After only one trial with hairstylist Jeelan Aleem and makeup artist Natalie Lageyre, she knew she could trust them because they were so collaborative and added to the fun, optimistic vibe of the morning.
The groom wanted to have distinct looks for the ceremonies in the U.S. and France. Having lived in England for most of his life and having an English mother, Edouard wanted an English tailor to fashion his suits. He ended up using the same tailor that Lyndsey’s brother used when he got married in England to his English wife. And to pay homage to his family, who couldn’t attend the micro-wedding, he wore his Cartier watch, which he bought with his late aunt who worked for the iconic jewelry company, and his grandfather’s gold cufflinks.
Lyndsey also wanted the bridal party to choose dresses that they felt their best in. Her sisters and friends chose a mix of styles from Markarian, Jonathan Simkhai, Asceno, Coco Shop, and Reformation. And the mother of the bride embroidered ribbons with the bridesmaids’ monograms for their bouquets, “Happy Tears” handkerchiefs for the wedding party, and personalized pocket squares for Edouard and Lyndsey’s father and brother. “I don’t think she will ever understand how special it was to have her add these details to my wedding,” Lyndsey says.
Walking down the aisle with her father was a moment that Lyndsey had dreamt of as a little girl and a motivating factor in going ahead with a micro-wedding to ensure they could share that experience. “I remember the conversation and our nervous laughs, as we tried to hold in our tears,” the bride reminisces. “As soon I walked out of our front door, I looked right down the aisle to lock eyes with Edouard.”
The aisle was decorated with boxwoods and lavender, as a nod to Edouard’s English and French heritage, and the couple worked together to write their vows. Lyndsey surprised Edouard by opening hers in French, and his family were delighted to watch via a livestream. After being announced as husband and wife, guests cheered, and “Everlasting Love” played, which solidified the feeling of being in a Nancy Meyers movie.
After the ceremony, the new Mr. and Mrs. took a few family photos and then rode in Lyndsey’s father’s vintage ivory 1986 560 SL Mercedes Benz. “It was so nice to have a second with Edouard after the ceremony,” the bride remembers. “When we got back we rushed to say hello to our guests, I remember running up to my friends and giving them all a big hug! I missed them so much, and they were so supportive; I could not wait to show off my husband!”
Cocktail hour led into a seated dinner under the tent. Lyndsey was surprised with a topiary French Bulldog, which represented her pup, Lilo, and the space was filled with other personal details to help Edouard feel at home. Guests found their seats via personalized napkins that the mother of the bride had embroidered.
And to make their grand entrance, the new Mr. and Mrs. walked in to guests standing up and waving their napkins in the air, while On The Move Entertainment pumped up the small crowd. “Edouard proudly took my hand, and we danced and twirled into the reception,” Lyndsey remembers. “It is hands down my favorite memory!”
Looking back on everything now, the couple feels so grateful to be together and that they had their micro-wedding. Lyndsey adds, “This experience has been so unique to Edouard and me, and we look forward to telling our children and grandchildren how we overcame so much for our marriage.”