The first time Noah Wunsch first caught sight of Kelly Connor, she was engaged to be married by night’s end. But not to him. Kelly was the Denim Editor of Vogue at the time, in February 2015, and hosting a dinner for Levi’s in Los Angeles. Noah, a guest, was immediately smitten, but Kelly’s colleague and co-host Emma Morrison advised him to stand down—she was taken. Noah instead struck up a friendship with Kelly’s aunt Marcia, also at the dinner party, and hers was the only number Noah left with.
Cut to a few years later, at a mutual friendsgiving dinner in Manhattan, and not only was Kelly single, but now it was her turn to be smitten. She had more luck than Noah did back in 2015. They were soon a couple, and engaged to be married on Noah’s birthday in March 2020.
Kelly and Noah spent their engagement living in lockdown with his family in East Hampton before deciding to elope on November 30, Kelly’s birthday. They narrowed in on Big Sur, booked one of the best rooms at the aerie-like Post Ranch Inn, and invited a small group of West Coast friends to join for a celebratory dinner outdoors.
Pandemic precautions taken—Noah himself checked negative test results—the couple ensured that their COVID wedding wasn’t short on style or considered details, even if it was short on guests. Kelly outfitted almost every single person in a specific look from Thom Browne, for whom she is now Director of Brand Relations, because she is, in her own estimation, “insane.” Noah wore a made-to-measure burgundy suit Browne made the same color of Ruby, his newly launched hibiscus water beverage, and hand signed. Kelly dipped into the archive to find a hand-beaded, wood-grain patterned look from Thom’s Fall Winter 2018 collection, which she paired with a blue diamond bracelet, a gift from Noah’s mother Susi and also “something blue,” as well as Manolo Blahnik heels, though she shortly abandoned them for her Converse. “I will never forget being this snatched,” she says. Her Biedermeier-style bouquet was a nod to Noah’s German heritage, its white English roses tied into the English lace of her dress, and wrapped in dove grey Thom Browne grosgrain. (Officially, the dress code was “Don’t Fuck This Up.” It remains unclear whether this was an homage to RuPaul or simply a threat!)
Nearly each of the guests had a nuptials-related duty. Pippa Bianco, the film director who is also Noah’s oldest friend, officiated the private moment in which Kelly and Noah took vows at Windandsea House, a private home tucked off of Highway 1 that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. Photographer and best friend Daisy Johnson may have caught some of the ceremony, but the rest of the party observed from a terrace more than a hundred feet away. (Cheers erupted when we saw them kiss from afar.) Kelly’s sister, known professionally as Holistic Chef Niki, prepared a plant-based feast, but broke her own regimen to include a special tri-tip roast procured from Seaside Market in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California, near where the Connor girls grew up. Artist and creative director Philippa Price designed a tablescape that included antique uranium glass that glowed green under her lighting design (which mercifully included heating lamps). Sam Harris, the lead singer and guitarist of X Ambassadors, was the musical entertainment for the night, and played “Baby” by Donnie + Joe Emerson for the first dance around the fire. A few guests pitched in by doing the dishes at the end of the evening. Perhaps the only person without an official duty was the mother of the bride, affectionately known everywhere as Queenie, who wore a truly killer necklace by Picasso, and earrings by Calder.
With a wedding party so small, brunch the following morning was more akin to Sunday breakfast at a friend’s house, playing Codenames, rather than the morning after a landmark life event. As everyone departed for drives up and down the California coast, and back to the reality of a global pandemic, it settled on all the guests how grateful that we were to escape, safely, if only for the night.