Inside Our Editor in Chief's Dreamy South of France Wedding

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675183780846-square

Welcome to Who What Wear Weddings, the destination for style-minded weddings. Expect insightful tips straight from the newlyweds, shoppable elements, and plenty of must-save imagery, as we share the nuptials of our favorite fashion people getting married.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1674863118807-image

(Image credit: Rasa J)

In February of 2007, my freshman year at UCLA, I got a random Facebook message inviting me to an acquaintance’s party. Fast forward to Saturday, and I put on my best dress (an Alice + Olivia LBD with batwing lace sleeves and a bodycon skirt) and dragged my roommate along to the notorious hotspot Les Deux. Zac, also a UCLA student, happened to be there for the same party. We danced late into the night and went on to date for more than a decade after. That same quarter, Zac also happened to meet a lifelong friend, Vadim. They were sitting next to each other in a film class and coincidentally were wearing the same shoes from a niche French brand. Over the years, Zac became like an extended member of Vadim’s family, and spent time with them every summer at their house in the south of France, and I was lucky enough to join several times, too. Vadim's family graciously hosted our wedding at their home, the place where we'd made some of our favorite summer memories over the years.

In the fall of 2019, Zac proposed in Big Sur. We rented an AirBnB on a goat farm for the weekend with a couple friends to see Animal Collective play at the Henry Miller Library. After we arrived, the host told us about a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the property. We made it just in time for sunset, and apparently just in time for Zac to ask me to marry him. Our friends sweetly snapped a couple pictures of the moment.

After being delayed a couple years thanks to the pandemic, we were finally able to wed this past August at Vadim’s family home in France. Here’s how the big day went down, from the homemade details to the dress I waited two and a half years to wear.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675140374775-main

(Image credit: Kat Collings)

We opted for digital invites, given the unpredictability of a wedding in a post-pandemic world. I took the photo of what would end up being our reception spot a handful years ago and watercolored the text and heart, which Zac photoshopped onto the image. Voilà! 

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675139172480-main

(Image credit: Clifford UsherKat Collings)

The wedding week began with a welcome party at our favorite beach club in Nice, Amour à la Plage, which is by the same group as Hotel Amour in Paris. Fitting name for a wedding event! The moment I saw this crochet dress by The Garment, I knew it was perfect for the occasion. It has the same energy as the dress Jane Birkin wore to the Artists Union Gala in Paris in 1969, albeit hers was worn backwards and held together with a brooch. I always get questions about these sunglasses, which our Editorial Director Lauren Eggertsen turned me on to. They have been sold out of their yellow lens version for ages, so I had an optician swap in yellow lenses. 

WWW Weddings Tip: If you plan to be outside a good bit in the days before your wedding, appoint someone to be your sunscreen steward (or bug spray backer if you live in a place with mosquitos!). I thought I reapplied enough, but alas, ended up with a raging sunburn on my back.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675139317611-main

(Image credit: Eric Lyle Lodwick; Getty Images)

The following day, most of our guests moved from Nice up the hill to a quaint village called St. Paul de Vence. There’s an incredible museum there we wanted to share with everyone called Fondation Maeght, which happened to be the setting for Louis Vuitton’s Cruise 2019 show. We spent the afternoon looking at art, and then a group of us gathered for rosé (which I swear is cheaper than water in the South of France) at a café with a views of the Mediterranean.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1674863297442-main

(Image credit: Clifford UsherKat Collings)

That evening, we had a very small rehearsal dinner at Colombe d’Or, where Zac and I were staying. How special is its rainbow cursive menu? As for my outfit, I initially had eyes on a Magda Butrym open-back crochet number with feathers at the sleeves and hem but ultimately decided a low-key look would better align with the vibe. A sculptural corset from Toteme was something I could wear again and again, which I paired with Marques'Almeida oversize jeans with a tonal floral print. As for the accessories, I couldn’t help but add a little razzle-dazzle with a gorgeous crystal-embellished bag a friend from Jimmy Choo gifted me and a strand of pearls my mother gave me years ago.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675140732209-main

(Image credit: Rasa J)

I got ready in my mom’s wedding dress, which I had converted into a dressing robe and embroidered with our initials and wedding dates. For the embroidery, I worked with UK-based Susie Cowie, who is the most tasteful and has the gentlest spirit. She absolutely nailed it. If I have a child who wants to continue the tradition, I hope it can become a family heirloom with generations of initials and wedding dates.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675140892512-main

(Image credit: Rasa J)

Here’s me in the dressing robe with my sister. I got ready with my mom and sister, who was such a gem dancing around the hotel room to loosen up any stress. I didn’t do an official bridal party, and thought I’d keep this part of the day simple. 

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675141102689-main

(Image credit: Rasa JKat Collings)

Neous is one of my favorite shoe brands, so I just gathered the white shoes I already had from them and figured one of them would work. I ended up wearing the pair in the middle. For my rings, I wore what we call my proposal ring, the vintage French diamond and emerald ring Zac proposed with, and my engagement ring, a recycled diamond in a signet setting we picked out together from the local brand Ceremony.

WWW Weddings Tip: Since Zac knows I’m particular about fashion, he had the brilliant idea to choose the proposal ring on his own so that when he asked me to marry him, it could be a complete surprise, and then also said I could choose an engagement ring too if I wanted. Spoiler: I most definitely wanted. Though I have to say the ring he chose for me is nearer to my heart. I think his strategy let me have the best of both worlds, and I figured I’d share in case any people looking to get engaged want to do something similar. 

My splashiest piece of jewelry was a gorgeous Or & Elle 6-carat diamond tennis bracelet from their collaboration with Jenni Kayne’s Chief Brand Officer. I wore the bracelet for a couple weeks leading up to the wedding, and honestly fell deeply in love with it. The elegant simplicity of the design plus the off-the-charts level of sparkle made it hard to part with post wedding! My pink beaded clutch is my grandmother’s, or Grandy, as we call her. She couldn’t be there in person, so I was so happy to carry something of hers on the wedding day.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675141151753-main

(Image credit: Rasa J)

On to the dress! After I got engaged, I only went to one spot to try on wedding dresses, Loho Bride in Los Angeles. Christy Baird, the founder and creative director of Loho has been a Who What Wear bridal contributor and has the best taste and eye for cool bridal. I tried on a handful of designers, and the ones by Danielle Frankel were my favorite. "I was so excited that Kat had a strong interest in Danielle Frankel, because we picked the line up hoping it would draw fashion-lovers alike,” says Baird. One look from the brand I had bookmarked was the finale from the designer’s Fall 2020 runway show. The sample was at Frankel’s studio in NYC, and I was able to try it on when I was in town for fashion week in February 2020. I was caught off guard how much I loved the fairy tale-esque dress, but Frankel assured me it was fitting. I was especially drawn to the tough leather belt-like strap with a metal tip juxtaposed with the pretty dangling pearls and hand-twisted organza with a wave-pattern lace underlay.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675141326067-main

(Image credit: Rasa J)

So it was decided, I would wear a runway version of the Danielle Frankel dress. Baird adds, " Kat really respected the runway-version of the gown. Many times these gowns are changed once going down the runway into ‘production-ready’ versions, but Kat was determined to keep the original intention, down to making sure the belt on the shoulder was perfectly stranded with the chain and pearls, and had the correct details. She is the only bride to have worn this exact version due to us customizing the shoulder detailing.” The only change? The brown belt of the runway would be a soft white to match the dress. Reflecting on the process, it was beyond special to work with Baird and Frankel, two women I admire immensely in the bridal space. 

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675141412183-main

(Image credit: Rasa J)

After getting ready, we snapped a few pictures at our hotel, Colombe d’Or. Here we are under the giant Calder sculpture that holds court over the pool.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675141500570-main

(Image credit: Rasa J)

Another poolside portrait.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675141529289-main

(Image credit: Kat Collings)

I honestly don't think I've stayed at a more charming inn. The history of the place is fascinating—in the '50s it was a renowned enclave for creatives like Hemingway, Picasso, Matisse, and Chagall. Many of the artists paid for their bill with their works, allowing the auberge to amass a stunning private art collection

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675136615958-main

(Image credit: Rasa J)

Everywhere you look there’s incredible art, but it all feels very personal and somehow low-key, like you’re in someone’s home.

Since I gave significant real estate to my dress, it’s only fair to share the details of Zac’s ‘fit. He wears Japanese fashion almost exclusively, and wore an Issey Miyake jacket and origami tuxedo shirt, and Comme Des Garçons pants with a super high-waisted cumberbund-like panel.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675141977552-main

(Image credit: Rasa J)

Leaving Colombe d’Or to take a quick car ride up to the house to get married.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675136359268-main

(Image credit: Rasa J)

We didn’t plan on any "first looks,” but I love how this image captures my dad taking in my dress for the first time.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675142010836-main

(Image credit: Rasa J)

At traditional Jewish weddings before the ceremony, there is an over-2000-year-old practice of signing the ketubah, which is a marriage contract. There are a ton of styles, and I love the story behind our ketubah.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675142046905-main

(Image credit: Rasa J)

Here, our moms are breaking a plate, which is a custom that symbolizes the commitment of creating a new union. Just as the plate is changed permanently, so is the couple as they begin their marriage.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675142145081-main

(Image credit: Rasa J)

It was a relatively thick plate, so it took a couple tries, and everyone burst out cheering when it finally broke!

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675142301179-main

After signing the ketubah, the men gather for the tisch, which means table in Yiddish. They sing, pray, drink, and share stories around a table.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675142356771-main

(Image credit: Clifford Usher)

I love this picture of Zac flanked by my dad on the left and his dad on the right.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675142453600-main

(Image credit: Rasa JEric Lyle Lodwick)

Did I mention there is dancing too? It is a high-energy vibe. P.S. That's Vadim looking sharp in the dark teal blazer.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675142500501-main

(Image credit: Rasa J)

Meanwhile, I gathered in another room with my ladies, and snuck in a quick bridal portrait.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675142566164-main

(Image credit: Clifford Usher)

I’m reveling in the moment, surrounded by the best female energy. Prompted by Mushky on the right, everyone went around the room and shared a special sentiment about our relationship. As if the emotions weren’t already off the charts! My mom said it was one of her highlights.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675142596435-main

(Image credit: Rasa J)

Here, I’m giving my bestie Cory a piece of the smashed plate, which will bestow upon her and her partner the blessings of love from this day. I also gave my jewelry to close friends to wear while I was under the chuppah, or marriage canopy. Similarly, this transfers an extra charge of love energy to them and fulfills the custom for the bride and groom to get married wearing no jewelry. The thought is that the couple is marrying each other for who they are and not what they may own. The other image shows me giving a blessing to my friend Debra. We are considered closer to G-d on our wedding day, and thus there's a custom to give out blessings to the guests. I think I said something about her 2-year-old daughter growing into a strong woman.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675142652657-main

(Image credit: Rasa J)

Posing with one of the flower girls, our niece Stella.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675142723399-main

(Image credit: Clifford Usher)

Next, the men danced into the room, singing and clapping as Zac came over to me and placed the veil on my head. I love all kinds of veils (the drama!), but ultimately chose a birdcage veil, because it felt editorial and light, so the look wouldn't feel heavy with such a full dress.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675142789697-main

(Image credit: Rasa J)

My father and soon-to-be father-in-law gave me blessings, and it was just about time for the ceremony to begin.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675142836865-main

(Image credit: Rasa J)

But not before one last blessing from Zac's mom!

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675142896959-main

(Image credit: Rasa JEric Lyle Lodwick)

Thank goodness the wedding planner had the genius idea to bring parasols. It was beyond hot, but kudos to everyone for looking fresh and unwilted in these pictures!

WWW Weddings Tip: Speaking of wedding planners, for an international wedding, I think a local wedding planner is absolutely key. I'm not saying it's impossible to do it without, but we found it immeasurably helpful, and it made the extra layer of logistics that come with getting married in a foreign country absolutely manageable. 

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675142990893-main

(Image credit: Rasa J)

Our scribe who did our ketubah also created a logo for us that we featured on our wedding programs, photo booth prints, and prayer books.The two faces create an infinity symbol made of meaningful quotes and our names in Hebrew. I created the programs from this Etsy template and printed them out at FedEx the day before I left for France (jamming their printers several times with my thick paper!). I finished the project by tying the pages together with custom-dyed ribbon I got on Etsy too.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675143940215-main

(Image credit: Rasa J)

Why are flower girls one of the best parts of any wedding? Our niece, in a Self Portrait dress, and Vadim's daughter (basically our other niece), did a fabulous job. 

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675144044562-main

(Image credit: Eric Lyle Lodwick)

Zac’s grandfather's tallit, or prayer shawl, made the roof of our chuppah. The chuppah symbolizes the home we're building together, and it is open on all sides, representing how our home will always be open to family and friends.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675144110263-main

(Image credit: Rasa J)

It’s tradition to put the wedding ring initially on the pointer finger of the right hand because it’s considered closest to your heart. 

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675144223490-main

(Image credit: Rasa J)

Our rabbi flew all the way from L.A. to officiate, and he did such a tremendous job. He also revealed during the ceremony that Zac’s great great great grandfather introduced our rabbi’s great great great grandparents. Kismet. 

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1674866264210-image

(Image credit: Rasa J)

Crushed it on the first try! 

WWW Weddings Tip: I saw a nugget on TikTok that I thought was smart: ask your officiant in advance to step out of the way for the big kiss moment so you have a clear background for the photos.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675144345097-main

(Image credit: Rasa J)

Moments into being married.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675144446742-main

(Image credit: Joel FruhmanRasa J)

I love how these photos show the POV behind and in front of us.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675147711645-main

(Image credit: Rasa J)

I was so grateful my side of the family came from all over the U.S. to be there.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675147738373-main

(Image credit: Rasa J)

After many portraits, the Wolf family got a little silly with it. 

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675144507292-main

(Image credit: Rasa J)

Here we are with our soon-to-be neighbors. How cool is Dean’s beaded Bode shirt? He's a talented architect, and is helping us with our home.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675144530148-main

(Image credit: Rasa J)

We had a long enough cocktail hour that we could socialize with guests and still get plenty of pictures in. 

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675144595417-main

(Image credit: Kemp Collings)

We offered a few signature cocktails, including one with a local lemon verbena tea. The swimwear brand Bruna Malucelli made me the cutest custom swimsuit for the wedding, and I loved the detail of the birds with our names on it, so I asked her if I could use the art in other places like this cocktail sign, too.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675144765854-main

(Image credit: Clifford Usher)

The queen of the party and always gracious host, Vadim’s mother. This is her second look for the evening. Iconic. 

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675152033124-main

(Image credit: Eric Lyle Lodwick)

Getting a touch-up from the brilliant Margot Priolet.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675148343714-main

(Image credit: Rasa J)

In our daily life, Zac is always in head-to-toe black, and if I’m dressed monochromatically, it’s usually in all white. I love how our wedding looks felt like our usual outfit dynamic.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675148159557-main

(Image credit: Russell TandyRasa J)

I have to mention Zac’s Comme des Garçons Mary Jane shoes. For many years, Zac had this photo of Jean-Michel Basquiat walking for the S/S 87 Comme des Garçons show on his inspiration board. The whole outfit is beyond, but Zac loved the shoes especially. A few months before the wedding, he decided to do a search for them, and the exact shoes from that show popped up on Grailed. I got them for him as an early wedding present.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1674866464784-main

(Image credit: Eric Lyle LodwickRasa J)

Our niece and nephew made good use of the property, playing hide-and-seek and practicing gymnastics.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675145715484-main

(Image credit: Rasa J)

I was so lucky to have Lou Flowers come out to make all my floral dreams come true. She just gets it. I love how some flowers were stuck out at odd angles, and for the smaller arrangements, they felt like still lifes with shells she had collected and unusual touches like an artistically-placed green sunflower head.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675145756832-main

(Image credit: Rasa J)

We had so much food! I asked the caterer if we could cut back a few weeks before the wedding, because it seemed like too much, but I was met with the very French response, "Ce n’est pas possible!” It was abundant, to say the least! I went for a buffet over a served dinner because I like to have the freedom to eat more of my favorite dishes and figured guests might too.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675145824364-main

(Image credit: Rasa JRussell Tandy)

I embroidered 85 lace-edged napkins I ordered from Amazon with just me, myself, and my embroidery machine before the wedding. It was a labor of love but so absolutely worth it and actually more affordable than renting plain napkins (if you don’t count my endless hours of crafting, of course). I licensed the image of the flower and shell from Isabelle Feliu. A huge plus of doing napkins like this is I didn’t have to worry about a seating chart display or name cards. Plus, people loved taking them home as a souvenir.

WWW Weddings Tip: My friend Alyssa got married around the same time and also did napkins customized with names, but she was smart enough to have a plain napkin underneath the embroidered one. I heard some people didn’t use the ones I made, because they didn’t want to get them dirty!

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675145887954-main

(Image credit: Rasa J)

Near where where we signed the ketubah, there's a cereus or "Queen of the Night” plant, and it only blooms once a year for a single night. It happened to make its appearance for our wedding night!

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675145930599-main

(Image credit: Clifford Usher)

Being lifted on a chair was one of the moments of pure delight I remember perfectly. There’s nothing like it. 

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675145975797-main

(Image credit: Rasa J)

What's a wedding without a few great speeches?

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675146023330-main

(Image credit: Rasa J)

My dad was an animal on the dance floor. He had more energy than most of our friends.

WWW Weddings Tip: If you’re going to have a band, consider having them start after dinner. While being serenaded with "La Vie en Rose” while dining was incredible, you’ll get more time dancing to a live band if you stick to a playlist while everyone eats.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675146344690-main

(Image credit: Clifford Usher)

On to second look. A month before I was due to depart for France, I saw some images of the Resort 2023 collection of one my favorite designers, Anna October. A patchwork dress with gloves caught my eye, and I asked if it was possible to borrow it for the wedding. I couldn’t believe it when the team created a new one for me using deadstock fabrics in Kyiv. The story of how the collection came together despite Russia’s invasion makes me so proud to have worn this dress. The Anna October team describes the dress as a "metaphor of the female form, shades of lingerie and skin in one piece.” It’s a piece I know I’ll have in my closet forever.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675146366106-main

(Image credit: Rasa J)

I don’t care if espresso martinis are overplayed—they’re the best for keeping people lively into the wee hours of the night. We danced until around 4 a.m., and then collapsed in a bedroom a few steps from the dance floor.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675146376374-main

(Image credit: Rasa J)

Just two gals in white dresses.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675146757545-main

(Image credit: Russell Tandy; Rasa J)

After the band finished, one of our friends took over the DJ booth and kept everyone on their feet. You couldn't get me off the dance floor, but a whole contingent also took a late night dip in the pool.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675146444173-main

(Image credit: Clifford Usher)

Zac and I went back and forth about where we’d sit and ultimately landed on a sweetheart table. It felt like it sidestepped seating chart politics, and honestly, I don’t think we sat for longer than 10 minutes all night! 

WWW Weddings Tip: Unbeknownst to us, our friend had a mini Polaroid camera and was snapping pictures throughout the day. She left an arrangement of them along with a sweet note on the table, and it was a gesture I’ll always remember. Especially because it usually takes a beat to get pictures back from the official photographer. 

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675146846814-main

(Image credit: Rasa JKat Collings)

A couple more pictures from the dance floor, and one more shout-out for the flowers—I love how roses look with flipped out petals.

kat-collings-wedding-who-what-wear-305242-1675146459805-main

(Image credit: Rasa J)

Fin!

Photographer: Rasa J

Super 8: Russell Tandy

Hair and Makeup: Margot Priolet

Flowers: Lou Flowers

Food: Dany’s Traituer

Music: G.Star Events

Wedding Planner: