Two months later, Katja moved into Yolande’s house in Brooklyn, and they began planning their wedding. “We waited a year and a half to get married,” Yolande says, “because we were charmed by the idea of a hasty but long engagement.”
The invitation, a handmade clay plate with the date, came with two vials of custom scents—one for Katja and one for Yolande—that were meant to be applied together to represent their union.
They created a curated ceremony referencing the Black Forest folktales of Katja’s childhood in Germany and their shared love of nature that Yolande likens to “a visual, aural, and scented poem to one another and our community.”
Their Foxhill, which is where artist Tyler Hays started his furniture line BDDW and where Gabriel Garcia Lorca wrote his poems about New York City, was turned into an interactive art installation, inside and out, and decorated with marigold plants and fritillaries.
Yolande commissioned Zaldy to create her gown, hand-painted cape, and headpiece—a process that involved nine months of collaboration. “Zaldy isn’t the first artist who comes to mind for weddings, but his exceptional tailoring and profound gift for color and shape are uniquely special,” Yolande says. “We referenced historical couture, Shinto fox weddings, the Ballets Russes, and regional headdresses, and then we just went for it.”
She accessorized with Egyptian and Japanese jewels—including a bracelet with a fire opal of hundreds of carats, diamonds, turquoise, onyx, and lapis—from Silvia Furmanovich.
Katja opted for more conventional attire. Her bespoke royal blue tux by Bindle & Keep made of Holland & Sherry fabrics, Givenchy shoes, and Jaeger-LeCoultre wristwatch served as a counterpoint to Yolande’s exuberant selection.
On May 21, in the presence of 100 guests in the woods, Katja and Yolande gave a love performance: They sang their vows to each other while standing on powder that artist Thomas Little made from melted-down guns and then walked down a golden path to the beat of a specially commissioned sound work.
“Every part of the ceremony was created by artists who are friends,” Yolande says. As the guests disco danced in the woods to the music of DJ Nina Sky, chefs in 19th-century garb roasted locally caught orange-fleshed herbed trout and cooked duck with foraged-brambleberry jus over an old-fashioned wood spitfire.
“It was a beautiful and heartfelt party,” says Yolande, who changed into a paillette-embellished Funkanova jumpsuit, a gift from Katja. “We invited everyone to embellish and interact with the space.”
At midnight, the fabulous fairy tale in the forest came to an end. As the guests were saying congratulatory farewells, Katja and Yolande reflected, once again, on their good fortune in finally finding each other.
“It would have been sweeter had we met earlier,” Yolande says. But Katja reminded her that they can make up for lost time during the rest of their lives.