Wedding Wars: Ivy Getty vs. Jennifer Gates
The heiress is... back?
Defining the current cultural moment feels challenging. The pandemic seems to be on a blessedly downward trend, the word “woke” has been co-opted by people over age 50, and Gen Z is elbowing skinny-jeaned Millennials out of the youth spotlight. The last nearly two years have been characterized by a specific set of revulsions: to tight pants, yes, but also, to privilege, to Facebook, to capitalism, to quarantining in mansions with infinity pools and sometimes — I know — topiary.
Are you ready to throw all of that away and go back to an uncomplicated time, when the ability to conspicuously consume was coveted, the heiress reigned, and “capitalism” was just a term you learned in a textbook? Let’s try it on like a new pair of bootcut jeans.
Recently America witnessed the weddings of two young heiresses: Jennifer Gates, 25-year-old daughter of Microsoft founder Bill, and Ivy Getty, 26-year-old granddaughter of Getty Oil Company founder J. Paul. Images of these nuptials have been splashed across Vogue.com, Instagram, and various tabloids, and are so spendy they practically make your phone smell like fossil fuel and horses.
We have been so starved of the wealth porn that was perfectly fine pre-2008 recession and then sort of fine again pre-pandemic that taking a big Instagram bath in these photos feels sort of OK? Or, at least it does to the people working in media who have to find things that click.
For no reason other than a loyal Back Row reader requested “Ivy Getty content,” here is the first, hopefully not last, edition of “Wedding Wars,” today matching up the festivities of young Getty and young Gates.
Getty married photographer Tobias Engel, whom she met at Paris Fashion Week; he proposed to her on the island of Capri. Gates married Nayel Nassar, whom she met doing equestrian stuff; he proposed to her on her favorite ski slope. NOTE: Winners are, obviously, entirely arbitrary. ALSO NOTE: Both events required guests to be vaccinated.
Getty: Ivy Getty’s wedding spanned three days in San Francisco.
On Thursday night, guests attended a “British Invasion Mod Party” at the Palace of Fine Arts. “It took [wedding planner Stanlee Gatti]’s team seven days to reimagine what normally feels like an airline hanger inside into a full-fledged nightclub, complete with shiny silver walls,” reports Vogue.com.
The next day Getty held a picnic lunch at the Log Cabin on Presidio, which overlooks the city and Golden Gate Bridge. That night, there was a rehearsal and dinner at Quince restaurant, which looks like the type of tasting menu-only place where sauces are foam and a course might be a single oyster sprinkled with tiny leaves and set upon a piece of doll’s furniture. The ceremony the next day took place at City Hall, and the reception at the Getty Mansion, the bride’s childhood home.
Gates: On the opposite coast, Jennifer Gates’s wedding began on Friday with immediate families gathered for a Katb el Kitab, the Islamic marriage ceremony. The next day, the main wedding took place.
Everything was held on the 124-acre farm Gates owns in North Salem, in Westchester County, New York. Both Gates and her husband are equestrians and in fact “met on the equestrian circuit,” per Vogue.com, hence the horsey location. Local newspaper LoHud reports:
The property, known as Evergate Stables, was acquired for 25-year-old Jennifer Gates for $15,825,000 in 2018 through a trust. According to New York State property records, the sale, which included three separate parcels on Mills Road, was completed on Jan. 5, 2018, by Robert Buote as Trustee of Wellington Trust.
A local resident told LoHud the pre-wedding hubbub was attracting “looky-loos” and that “it’s really looking spectacular over there.”
Winner: This is tough because on the one hand we have Getty’s big city extravagance — location, location, location, in the most literal sense, one after the other — and on the other we have fall farm picturesqueness. Getty had to shuttle her guests all over the place, while Gates just had to throw them in a bloc of rooms at the Radisson down the street. Because I am the type of person who hates pumpkin spice lattes but cannot resist that which is PSL adjacent, I’m going with Gates.
Getty: Well JFC John Galliano personally designed her dresses and went to the wedding to fawn over her and ensure its perfection. Getty called him her “favorite designer,” Vogue.com reports, having been exposed firsthand to his work over the course of her life thanks to her grandmother, who “always wore” his designs.
They first met over Zoom during the pandemic and Galliano asked her to create a “mood board,” so she did, including walnuts in honor of her grandmother growing up on a walnut farm (her grandmother died in 2020) and dancing elephants. “John and I were joking around, and he told me I could put anything on the veil—‘even dancing elephants’! Within that moment, I knew I had to include dancing elephants on my veil as a memento to John himself,” Getty said.
“A big percentage of the dress is real mirror, but because she has to walk in it, we created a substance that would evoke real mirror but weigh considerably less,” Galliano told Vogue.com, explaining he even had his jewelry team help make the gown. “The bottom layer is a full corset matched to Ivy’s skin tone with slightly padded hips to give that smaller waist," Galliano added. “The second layer is a tulle dress cut on the bias. The third layer is a white tulle dress, which creates a kind of filtrage. And the final layer is a mirror fragment dress, which isn’t fitted but hangs like a tunic from the shoulders.”
Galliano and his team then flew to Los Angeles for fitting one, Getty flew to Maison Martin Margiela’s HQ in Paris for fitting two, and then to London for fitting three with her bridesmaids, whom Galliano also dressed, reports Vogue.com:
“Normally, I don’t do bridesmaids dresses because bridal gowns alone take up so much of my time,” Galliano says. “But as I was so bewitched by Ivy and her stories of these women she had grown up with—her bridesmaids—made an exception. Before I knew it, the bridesmaids numbers reached fourteen! [sic: I count 13] And these girls are the Gen Z babies. I dressed their mothers and their aunties! Creating the bridesmaids’ dresses wasn’t easy with the current travel situation, but bravo to Ivy, Alexis [Roche], and Auntie Vanessa for coordinating everything. You can’t imagine getting these girls all together at Claridge’s at 4:00 a.m. in the morning, walking around in peignoirs for 48 hours to do their fittings. They were so lovely and such fun. Some of the dresses have taken on a more bias-cut influence, and some have taken on a double-layering technique played out in pale, thunderous grays and lilacs, with lamés woven to echo those colors.”
Wait — can you hear that? That’s the sound those bridesmaids dresses you once had to purchase from David’s Bridal laughing at you from the deepest recesses of your closet.
Gates: Obviously her dress was custom-made as well, but by Vera Wang. Vogue.com describes it as an “ivory long-sleeve A-line Vera Wang Haute gown with hand appliqué French macrame lace on the bodice, sleeves, and flowing onto a light ivory and champagne Italian tulle skirt.” That’s Vogue-speak for “it was sheer, lacey, and floaty.”
Winner: I like both women’s dresses but, experientially, is it even a contest? Ivy “Filtrage" Getty.
Wedding Party and Officiant
Getty: What’s a girl without her squad? If a girl gets married without her squad, does she even get married? (Has the word “squad” also been co-opted by people over 50?)
Anyhow, each bride got married with a support squad of ‘maids in matching dresses (swipe through to see).
Getty had 13 young women in coordinating, but not perfectly matching Galliano gowns, which is a move I support since each girl can have a chance at looking her best instead of having to just stuff into whatever pastel after-thought her friend picked out for her. Getty’s maid of honor was Queen’s Gambit star Anya Taylor-Joy, who, in her congratulatory Instagram, called Getty “LIL SPICE MONKEY!” Additionally, Getty’s Chihuahua mix was the ring bearer and wore an elaborate evening look.
Note how Getty posed with her entourage, and how someone instructed them to sit on the stairs at her feet while Nancy Pelosi officiated her ceremony. Like, I am getting married in my John Galliano haute couture dress by Nancy Pelosi and my attendants for whom I also procured Galliano couture can sit on the floor, gaze up at me, and feel grateful. What a vibe!
“The ceremony was facilitated by a longtime family friend, and we both wrote our own vows. It was a really special and intimate moment,” Gates told Vogue.com.
She had a modest bridesmaid figure at just nine, and appears to have put them into the same emerald dress except for the girl on the right in the above photo with long sleeves. It’s unclear who designed the ‘maids dresses but she tagged Dolce & Gabbana and Vera Wang in the photo. Though they don’t appear to have been forced to watch the ceremony seated in what was probably damp grass (unless when you’re this rich you can have it blown dry by your grounds staff and support hairstylists in advance of an event), she did put them in their place by having at least three, potentially five of them carry her dress and veil behind her.
Winner: With that unforgettable stair moment, it’s Getty.
The Mod-themed party was DJ’d by Mark Ronson and had a live performance by Earth, Wind & Fire. At the picnic the next day, guests could sit on giant lawn throw pillows and have an IV hangover treatment if they had gone too hard the night before, as surely all of us would have.
Getty cites three outfit changes for the Mod party, and it looks like she had two dresses for the wedding itself — the mirrored one and this other gown that is one delicious sigh.
Her reception also took place in the Getty Mansion where “[r]ooms are covered in gold-framed Impressionist paintings by artists like Matisse, Degas, and Cassatte, to name a few, and decorative pillows made from Lyon silks and embroidered Chinese brocades are strewn across deep sofas,” per Vogue.com. A rose garden was specifically erected for the dance party. Galliano was among the celebrities — including Taylor-Joy and Olivia Rodrigo — living it up on the dance floor. Also, the cake looked like an objet that belongs in a museum.
Gates: Let’s start with the plants.
You had flowers being birthed from some sort of futuristic architectural structure above them, three perfect trees behind them that looked to have been carted in for the occasion, and gobs of flowers on the floor back there that look to be overtaking the place like a fog rolling in.
Let’s also pay special attention to the details below. This is the tent erected on the property but it looks like a full-blown building thickly padded with flowers. LoHud reported it had glass walls:
We also have a floor printed like a bedspread, and a second wedding gown. The cake was your run-of-the mill white-and-floral affair, a mere six tiers, yet created by Sylvia Weinstock for Laudurée, which was a high-end baking collaboration I had no idea existed, the Fendace of cakes.
Winner: Gates. This one was tough but the sheer amount of construction that went into the Gates wedding tips the scales. Plus, on top of the temporary giant structures they built on this huge property, situated in a county where people pay some of the highest property taxes in the country, they were in the milieu of horses. Horses are the Birkin bag of pets.
Art and panels from the house were incorporated into the save-the-dates and invitations.
“I put clay on the wheel and spin.”
Dancers put on a show in clear plastic bubbles…
“This archive Alexander McQueen gown from Pre-Fall 2016 had her name all over it…”
Guests were asked to mask up before Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi entered the room…
“Like a tattered Madame Vionnet gown…”
It felt opulent and fun, elegant but also wild.
Gates: Vogue.com did one story on Gates’s wedding. Here are my favorite parts:
She is also the founder of Evergate Stables, which is now co-managed by the couple.
Nayel also recently developed and launched Jumpr, a new app for show jumping results and statistics.
“Planning a wedding while I was in medical school rotations and Nayel was preparing for the Olympics was no small feat,” Jenn admits.
…the hairstylist behind her half-up, half-down style.
Well that was a fun and morally confusing exercise.
I leave you with this tweet:
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