Artist and model Ivy Love Getty, the great granddaughter of J Paul Getty and one of the heiresses to the oil fortune he amassed, married photographer Tobias Alexander Engel in a ceremony officiated by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi at City Hall in San Francisco. The bride first met her groom through a family member, and they eventually ran into each other again at Paris Fashion Week. “I saw this cute guy who was taking photos of the event and of me,” she remembers. “I naturally went over, and we started talking. Quickly we realized that we had met before, the year before.”
While they were dating, the New York-based couple travelled often. On one of their trips abroad, Toby asked Ivy to marry him. “After attending the Unicef Ball, we went to Capri for three days,” Getty says. “Normally, I pick where we go out to eat, but this time Toby insisted he pick. This didn’t raise any red flags, but when I got to the restaurant, I thought to myself, ‘Oh, he really planned this. We had a table overlooking the entire island away from the rest of the restaurant. The waitress came, and we ordered our food. As the sun was getting ready to set, we went outside to take photos of it. Toby set his iPhone timer and got down on one knee. The timer went off at the perfect moment as we have the most incredible photo.”
Toby proposed with a sapphire engagement ring on a yellow gold band that’s reminiscent of Princess Diana’s ring. Diamonds from a necklace Ivy’s grandmother gave her when she was a teenager were added around the centre stone. “It is the most unique piece of jewellery and so sentimental to me,” she says. “I can’t help but smile every time I look down and see it!”
Because of the pandemic, the couple didn’t immediately start planning, instead biding their time a bit. They wanted their friends and family to be able to celebrate with them, especially as Ivy had lost both her grandmother Ann – the notable interior designer and philanthropist who raised her –and her father John Gilbert Getty in 2020. “When my beloved grandmother passed away, I knew I wanted to have the wedding in my house to honour her,” Getty says. “My grandmother interior designed each room of the house which allows me to feel as if she is there with me. I would be able to look around the room and see something that reminds me of her. Her presence is everywhere in that home. The theme of my entire wedding is the house and my grandmother.”
“I was lucky enough to have stayed in the house where Ivy and Tobias celebrated their wedding,” Vogue contributing editor Hamish Bowles (who has also recently been appointed the Editor in Chief of World of Interiors) says. “It’s one of the great treasure houses of America, suffused with Ann’s alchemical touch.”
Art and panels from the house were incorporated into the save-the-dates and invitations. “Growing up in that house and being around great parties my whole life, I never had to turn to Pinterest for inspiration,” Getty says. “I am fortunate that one of my best friends, who I’ve known my entire life, is event planner Stanlee Gatti. I also hired wedding planner Jocelyn Arelt of Arelt Events. I had the list of creatives surrounding me that I always knew would help plan my wedding. The process showed me how much planning and effort goes into a wedding, and I had so much fun doing it!”
The wedding kicked off with a British Invasion Mod Party at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco on Thursday night. Stanlee’s inspiration for the first night of festivities was Barbarella, the 1968 sci-fi film directed by Jean-Claude Forest. It took Stanlee’s team seven days to reimagine what normally feels like an airline hanger inside into a full-fledged nightclub, complete with shiny silver walls. “I knew the walls were silver the day before, I didn’t know anything else,” Getty admits. “I didn’t tell them anything specific. Everything has been a complete surprise.”
“I don’t do storyboards, proposals, or anything that formal,” Gatti says. “I put clay on the wheel and spin.”
Guests arrived on the scene in short, sexy sequins, go-go boots, and big half up, half down hair – ready to party just as soon as their vaccination cards were checked and their phones were locked and stowed away in pouches. Dancers put on a show in clear plastic bubbles while Mark Ronson DJed. Eventually, Earth Wind & Fire took to the stage. Ivy wore three looks during the course of the evening, all styled by Carrie Goldberg of CLG Creative. A vintage Emanuel Ungaro dress with coral and diamond earrings from Stephen Russell, a vintage Emilio Pucci dress and D’Accori shoes, and finally a customised vintage Norman Norell from Happy Isles in LA.
“It wasn’t hard to get inspired by each event, starting with the mod themed welcome party,” Goldberg explains. “We agreed that nothing should play it safe, and that we should focus on turning up the volume on the ’60s vibe Ivy’s so inspired by. We referenced iconic photos of Twiggy, Mary Quant, Jean Shrimpton, and more to set the tone.”
The following day, guests joined the couple for a picnic lunch at the Log Cabin on Presidio, overlooking the city – IV drips were at the ready for anyone in need of help recovering from the night before. “Butterflies are sentimental to Ivy, and so we incorporated them wherever possible,” Goldberg says of the bride’s look for this daytime event. “This archive Alexander McQueen gown from Pre-Fall 2016 had her name all over it: a black lace gown with an open back and a mock neck featuring dozens of hand-embroidered butterflies whose wings fluttered as she walked. It was all about dark romance, something soft but with a dose of edge – we paired it with Christian Louboutin platform sandals, Stephen Russell antique earrings, Chloé sunglasses, and a cheeky Romeo and Juliet clutch by Olympia Le Tan.”
That evening, an intimate group gathered for a ceremony rehearsal at city hall, followed by an intimate dinner at Quince restaurant. Ivy collaborated with her dear friend Paul Burgo of Factory New York on a custom look – a sequin midi dress in shades of fuchsia, black, and white, paired with a custom headpiece. “Accessories were kept sleek but undeniably Ivy,” Goldberg says. “Shoulder duster earrings by Material Good, Amina Muaddi pumps, and a crystal-edged, black satin mini bag.”
The wedding day started with a pyjama party. “We have the whole mezzanine level,” Getty explains. “There’s a styling room with all of the extra clothes, and there’s two hotel rooms that they removed all of the hotel furniture from and then there are these individual Margiela boxes with all of the bridesmaids’ names engraved on them.”
“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 – I made an exception. Before I knew it, the bridesmaids numbers reached 14! 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 4am 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 greys and lilacs, with lamés woven to echo those colors.”
Ivy got ready with cousin Vanessa Waibel and actress Anya Taylor-Joy in the penthouse suite at the Fairmont Hotel. She wore her John Galliano for Maison Margiela Haute Couture down the aisle, paired with a couture veil and headdress. Christian Louboutin shoes, designed in collaboration with John Galliano, completed Ivy’s look, along with pieces borrowed from her grandmother’s jewellery collection.
“John has been talking about the dress for months,” Bowles says. “And he’s understandably obsessed with Ivy who is not only beautiful but the acme of cool and charm.”
Stanlee and his team carpeted the entire rotunda of City Hall with bright teal and pink Persian rugs, completely transforming the space. “We draped all the archways on the second floor and first floor with turquoise and rose pink velvet drapes with 12” long gold thread fringe,” he explains. “We hung in waterfall fashion off the grand staircase railings, from top to bottom, thousands of pale pink Dendrobium orchids. Large stone urns on pedestals filled with pastel roses were through the rotunda and a top the staircase. I wanted to channel Ann,” Gatti says. “The colours, patterns and fabrics were a nod to Ann.”
The bridesmaids filed in first, wearing their Maison Martin Margiela Haute Couture by John Galliano dresses. Groomsmen were followed by the flower girls in their butterfly wings. “The whole wedding party looked amazing, with the bridesmaids dressed like Vestals in cloudy grey gauze and bias satin, and the flower girls with butterfly wings,” Bowles says. “Ivy looked incredible in all those mirror shards that tinkled as she walked up the steps and the wedding veil embroidered with all those symbols that had so much resonance for her and represented the beloved people in her life. John was involved in every aspect of how the party would look, establishing the hairstyles and so on, and the result was incredibly beautiful and poetic.”
Guests were asked to mask up before Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi entered the room and took her position at the microphone. The groom proceeded to recite vows he’d written himself: “Faith in us has changed my world, captured my heart and tamed my soul. Your belief in me and in us has been the biggest gift of my life,” he said. “I treasure it every day. My love for you is an intrinsic part of me. This day symbolises a new beginning of our journey together. I think of you, happy to know I am yours and you are mine.”
Music composed by Gordon Getty was performed, then best man Frederic Trohler and Ivy’s rescue Chihuahua mix, Blue, supplied the rings at the request of Speaker Pelosi. The couple was pronounced husband and wife. They embraced to kiss, and somewhere amid all of the excitement Ivy’s crown toppled off. Within seconds, Raffaele Ilardo on Galliano’s team was up on stage to recreate her look. Cue Myra, the singer known for her hit in The Princess Diaries – she started playing “Miracles Happen” from the balcony, and the bridal party, led by actress Anya Taylor-Joy, broke into dance. It was a surreal moment that could well have taken place in Genovia.
“San Francisco’s City Hall is designed to inspire awe – a symbol of the city’s power and resilience after the devastating 1906 earthquake and fire, with its white marble detailing and soaring dome that looms more than 300 feet overhead,” Hamish notes. “But despite the architectural magnificence – and the panoply of state, with Nancy Pelosi officiating and Governor Newsom and Mayor Breed in attendance – the ceremony managed to feel extraordinarily intimate and personal, with Tobias’s charming vows and his passionate kiss that dislodged Ivy’s crown!”
Guests then piled into black cars and shuttles headed for the Getty Mansion. A Latin band and the Pena Pachamama dancers took over one room, there were bars and buffets tucked away throughout, and a rose garden was erected for the DJ dance party. The bride wore a second couture look by Maison Margiela with a draped aquamarine choker that worked perfectly with the raw edge neckline of the gown for the reception. “Ivy’s reception dress was exquisite,” Bowles notes. “Like a tattered Madame Vionnet gown in wisps of delicately embroidered pale pink chiffon and tulle, it was like a breath and moved so beautifully for the first dance.” As guests mingled from room to room sampling various buffets, there were moments – like when the couple cut the cake, toasted their guests, expressing how grateful they are and remembering those loved ones who are no longer with us – that felt like a typical family wedding at home, complete with eccentric cousins and all. But then one remembered the setting and its significance: Ann and Gordon Getty amassed a museum-quality collection of European antiques, Venetian paintings, French textiles, and Russian chandeliers over the years. Rooms are covered in gold-framed Impressionist paintings by artists like Matisse, Degas, and Cassatt, to name a few, and decorative pillows made from Lyon silks and embroidered Chinese brocades are strewn across deep sofas. So while Bon Jovi’s wedding ballad “Living on a Prayer” was played, at this wedding, the bride was jumping up and down with John Galliano on the dance floor while guests chanted, “Woah, we’re halfway there!” It felt opulent and fun, elegant but also wild. “It was exciting to see the collision of rather grand San Francisco society and all the couple’s contemporaries – beautiful, free-spirited rebels being their authentic selves in that amazingly operatic setting,” Bowles says. “They were all astoundingly charming and engaged and engaging. It gave one hope for the future! The party ended at around 1:00 in the morning, but as the ceremony had been so much earlier it seemed far later. The intrepid headed off to the penthouse at the Fairmont.”
“It’s just like everything I could have dreamed of and more,” Getty says. “So it’s wild when something so magical comes true because you’ve thought about it but didn’t actually think it would.” Miracles happen.