Why Vogue Calls This Patagonia Wedding An Affair That Will Be "Difficult To Top"

Vogue was quite smitten with this wedding. So smitten that they posted it on their official Facebook feed maybe twice or thrice, and called it a wedding that would be "difficult to top." We all know that Vogue is the holy grail of fashion, style, and everything in between. So for them to adore a wedding like this, well it really must be quite something. Find out why through these photos.

<Photography by Isaias Miciu and Sergio Sandona through Vogue.Com>

Meet Rebellious Couple Sofia Sanchez Barrenechea (NY-based Art Director/Fashion Consultant/Blogger for accounts such as Vogue, Kohl's, Jimmy Choo, etc.) and Alexandre de Betak (French fashion and furniture designer). And they married last December in the most rebellious way possible. First, it was a 3-day celebration in the most far flung locations of Patagonia. Secondly, they threw-in some random Star Wars design elements in their otherwise very chic and elegant wedding, and Third, it is a wedding that by no means looked like any other templated cookie-cutter wedding...a wedding might not even be the right term for it. 

Chloe Malle of Vogue.Com writes:

Sofía Sanchez Barrenechea and Alexandre de Betak ring in the New Year with the wedding of the season. 

 It was hard enough for the Metropolitan Museum and Vogue to get men into white tie and tails for last year’s Costume Institute gala, arguably fashion’s biggest night of the year. Imagine, then, the eyebrow arching that ensued when the same dress code was requested for Sofía Sanchez Barrenechea and Alexandre de Betak’s December wedding, which took place at noon, on a deserted beach, in far-flung Patagonia. Then again, during the entirety of the three-day affair, sandwiched between Christmas and New Year’s, white and black tie were the easiest dictates of a quartet of dress codes that included Gaucho and Tango Smart. 

 “We struggled for eight months with people complaining,” explained the art director from her honeymoon in Fernando de Noronha, Brazil. “But Alex was very insistent on white tie. It was a very beautiful kind of absurd that he wanted, sort of the most opposite thing from what would be expected—like Darth Vader.” The Star Wars villain played an unexpected role of wedding mascot—Alex, a master events producer, is a longtime robot collector and space lover—as greeters wearing Darth Vader helmets handed out Maison Michel flower crowns to guests arriving via ferryboat to the dockless beach, and Argentine alpargatas printed with Darth Vader’s silhouette on the vamp were provided for those unwilling to ruin their white-tie footwear walking across the volcanic beach. 

 For the groom, whose Bureau Betak typically organizes events not in the wilds of Argentina but in the jungles of New York and Paris Fashion Weeks, the setting of the wedding was about highlighting the juxtaposition between unfettered nature and the high civility of floor-length frocks and white tie and tails (in his case, custom Berluti). The arrival of the bride, meanwhile, who emerged on the bow of the wooden speedboat like a living figurehead, veil whipping in the wind, was mirage-like for even the most jaded fashion folk in attendance. Her Valentino couture dress, which required 1,800 hours’ worth of bas-relief pearl and crystal embroidery, forsook the traditional bridal white for pale chalcedony tulle that blended seamlessly into the soft gray of the beach and the murky green of the Machete River beyond. 

 Preceded by a fleet of flower girls and boys—the girls in crisp silk organdy by Delphine Manivet, the boys in tiny, white traditional gaucho jackets and pants—Sofía approached the driftwood altar via a path in the sand leading from river’s edge to a close of towering coihue trees, under which sat the near 300 guests (including 41 children and one King Charles spaniel). “It was an amazing replacement for a cathedral,” she marveled. 

 “I never imagined myself getting married in a city,” explained Sofía, who grew up in Buenos Aires but spent vacations visiting family in Patagonia’s lake district. And so the bride and groom, who have homes in New York and Paris, selected a series of venues that represented Sofía’s own history in the region and revealed the most pristine and epic vistas of untouched nature, from the foothills of the Andes to desolate lakeside beaches. 

 On the first day this meant a gaucho-themed picnic. Between navigating volcanic ash and barely passable dirt roads, the event was not for the faint of heart—or footwear. Creative gaucho solutions included Anja Rubik’s embroidered poncho from her native Poland, and fellow model Constance Jablonski’s fringed and bead-embellished suede Pucci rodeo pants borrowed from a shoot a week earlier. 

 Argentine chef Francis Mallmann and his staff of 240 somehow managed to prepare feasts for three days in the middle of fields or forests without so much as the benefit of a kitchen. On day one this meant curanto-style fish and vegetables—a technique in which the food is buried underground to cook on fire-heated stones for six hours. For the wedding lunch the next day, sixteen whole lambs were cooked on weeping willow–branch crosses. Day two, back on the windswept shores of the Machete River, featured a post-ceremony luncheon served under the cover of a cluster of evergreens at the mouth of the forest, with each wooden table tented individually. “We were at the fish market in Venice a year ago, and Alex took photographs of the long tented tables and used those as inspiration,” the bride explained. 

 For that evening’s cumbia dance party, which took place in an erstwhile working barn in the lakeside town of Villa La Angostura, Rodarte’s Kate Mulleavy and Laura Mulleavy designed two dresses for the bride to revel in. “There’s definitely the princessy part of me and the dreamy, fairy part of me, and right away they got the dreamy part,” said Sofía of working with the sisters on the floor-skimming silk, tulle, and lace dress with diaphanous winglike sleeves and silver-and-cream embroidered flowers. Around 2:00 a.m., as Argentina’s most famous cumbia band, Ráfaga, took the stage, the bride changed into a short feather-embroidered white lace–and–iridescent sequin frock—a kind of disco version of her earlier dress. 

 The bride and groom returned to their house with the band and 30 or so friends and family at 8:30 a.m. to continue the festivities, which made that morning’s tango brunch slightly more challenging. However, despite a severe lack of sleep and a cumbia-induced sprained ankle, the bride looked perfectly the part in a slinky Anthony Vaccarello halter-neck dress and a large silk red rose in her chignon. The newlyweds’ months of tango lessons paid off, and together they moved forward in a perfectly synchronized embrace. ¡Adelante!

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