Byline: Aileen Mehle
A beautiful, traditional society wedding in a church with a lovely bride floating down the aisle, tiara and sweeping train in place, surrounded by angelic little children, with her smiling groom waiting for her at the altar, makes it impossible not to believe that, on that day anyhow, God’s in His heaven, all’s right with the world.
At Saint Bartholomew’s Church at noon on Saturday, Elizabeth Cutting McFadden (called Lisa), the daughter of Topsy Taylor and George McFadden of New York, married George Leon Melas of Athens, with family and friends filling the pews. The couple had first married two months earlier in Athens, where they will live, but Lisa wanted a wedding here, too, where she grew up and where so many of her loved ones live. Her doting parents were only too happy to give her what she wanted. What she got was an exquisite ceremony and a dream reception reminiscent of something you might come upon in the Garden of Eden, perhaps?
The designer Bob Evans dressed the bride in beauty. Her gown, silk duchesse satin with a skin-tight bodice beaded in Austrian crystals and a scoop neckline, was made with a full box-pleated skirt from which fell a long train. Her silk illusion veil was held in place by a glittering tiara. Her mother looked stunning in a Mary McFadden suit with a robin’s-egg-blue quilted jacket and a multicolored, heavy lace skirt. She was escorted down the aisle by Andreas Kjekstad, the adorable three-year-old son of her business partner, John Kjekstad. Among other adorables in the wedding party were Pia Getty’s and Rena Sindi’s tiny tots and the bride’s six-year-old McFadden half-sister and her two-year-old McFadden half-brother, scene-stealers all.
The wedding reception that night was a Garden Ball at the fabulous, flowery New York Botanical Garden with everyone turned out in full fig and the young girls looking prettier than the perfect peonies in full bloom.
The theme of the party was “Fantasy Topiary Garden,” and it was all of that and more. Bill Tansey set up a huge lilac tent big enough to hold the hundreds of guests and centered it with a grand white chandelier. Its multiple arms reached a 10-foot span and overhung the elegant white dance floor that was bordered in black. At the entrance to the tent, Tansey had set up two 12-foot-long dachshund topiaries (everybody in the family is just crazy about dachshunds, you see) and there were other over-scale topiaries decorating the perimeter of the tent in the shape of stylized trees and classical garden urns. Metal gazebos flanked the floor to create a garden folly in the midst of the magic. The centerpieces were more luxurious topiary trees rising nine feet above the tables at the base of which lilac and pink roses bloomed in profusion. The table linens were extraordinary, a variety of unique silver organza overlays richly embroidered and beaded with crystals. The chair covers were lilac organza, and monogrammed linen napkins were the perfect finishing touch.
Again the bride’s mother looked wonderful in another Mary McFadden confection (Mary is her former sister-in-law) with a lilac lace top shot with silver thread and a hand-painted full skirt, made fuller by petticoats. She and her daughter, now wearing jeweled pins designed by Nelson D’Leon in her hair, were stand-outs — as they should have been — in a crowd of beautiful women. Glorious Food catered the dinner and Bob Hardwick and his orchestra kept them dancing till long after midnight. Topsy Taylor master-minded the entire wedding and reception, and Susan Bell, the star party planner, pulled it all together. What a feat.
Who was there? Well, among the hundreds were the Greek titan George Livanos with his beautiful wife, Lita, and beautiful daughter Marina; Chantal and Robert Miller and their three striking daughters, Crown Princess Marie Chantal of Greece with her husband, Prince Pavlos, Pia Getty with her husband, Christopher, and Alexandra von Furstenberg with her husband, Alexandre. Then there were Jackie and John R. (Nicky) Drexel IV; Anne Ford; Jamie Niven; Jamie Figg; Emilia and Pepe Fanjul; Lourdes and Pepe Fanjul, Jr.; Teddy Forstmann; Hilary Geary and her heavy English beau, Peter Green (they’re giving a big party in London in mid-June); Gay-Gay and William Gerry; Liz and Damon Mezzacappa; Marina and Francesco Galesi; Genevieve Faure and Alessandro Marchessini; the groom’s mother and father, Mr. and Mrs. George Melas; lovely Carol (the present Mrs. George) McFadden; Pauline and Bill Pitt; Carolina and Reinaldo Herrera; Carroll Petrie; Nicole and Derek Limbocker; Serena Boardman; Samantha Boardman; Rachel Peters; Betty Blake from Newport; Maria and Raymond Floyd; Wendy Vanderbilt; all the Zilkhas, Cecile, Ezra, Bettina, Donald and Valerie; Mario Buatta; Barbara and Tommy Bancroft; Arianna von Hohenlohe and Dixon Boardman; Eliza and Alexander Bolen; Hilary and Joe Califano; Catie and Donald Marron; the George Bakers; Gigi and Roone Arledge; Barbara and Henryk de Kwiatkowski; the Harry Bensons; Duane Hampton; Marie-Josee and Henry Kravis; Kay Meehan; Mary McFadden; Eugenie Radziwill; Alexandra and Taki Theodoracopulos; Rena and Sami Sindi; Judy and Alfred Taubman, and hundreds of other New York and Newport swells too numerous to mention.