How today's super-rich tie the knot

Wow, what a way to wed: From £50k dresses to £150k on flowers (and Italian lemons)…how today’s super-rich tie the knot

  • Jade Beer reveals the top trends for luxury weddings with the wow factor
  • Chris Murphy of Tuck Box Cakes, says individual cakes for guests are popular 
  • Charlotte Boston of Cornwell Manor, says one couple are having a three-dayer

Wedding season is almost here, and after such long delays the well-heeled want their bashes to really go with a bang. JADE BEER reveals the top trends for luxury weddings with the wow factor.

EATING ALL HOURS

‘Couples want five-course formality and tasting menus, or those that reflect their favourite London restaurants that were closed during lockdown,’ says Adamantia Leonidopoulou, of The Ned hotel in London.

Companies like Maison Margaux can make every element of the table setting bespoke. ‘We’re doing a wedding this August for 120 guests where we’re hand-painting all the plates and embroidering all the napkins with the couple’s monogram,’ says director Louisa Preskett Mobbs. ‘Afterwards, they’ll keep the entire dinner service.’

Jade Beer explores the top trends for luxury weddings (pictured) with the wow factor, as Adamantia Leonidopoulou, of The Ned hotel in London, reveals couples want five-course formality and tasting menus

‘Couples are saying no to prosecco, and yes to Ruinart with a fresh seafood bar,’ says Georgina Griffith-Jones of Moriarty Events, whose weddings start at around £1,000 a head. ‘It’s not one cocktail after dinner, they want the picante, the whiskey sour and the espresso martinis.’ They’d also like it served by a model. ‘It’s very common to hire models for parties now,’ says Griffith-Jones. ‘But they need to be styled — for a luxe feel, they should be wearing something you’ve chosen.’

THE THREE-DAYER

‘We’ve extended this year’s season by two weeks and 2022 is almost full too,’ says Charlotte Boston, of Cornwell Manor in the Cotswolds, where a wedding for 120 guests costs between £70,000 and £140,000.

One wedding Charlotte is hosting this year will start on the Friday evening with a cocktail party, campfires, and an Indian field supper. Fifty guests will stay on site. For the Saturday wedding, it’s tuxes and gowns for champagne and oysters, then cocktail hour and dinner before a late-night bash to herald in a pizza pool party so guests can relax before leaving on Sunday.

HEIRLOOM DRESS

Chelsea-based couture bridal designer Phillipa Lepley is designing for 50 weddings this year. ‘People are spending more money and wanting more special things,’ she says. Many of her brides opt for a £25,000 strapless crepe dress with two interchangeable overlays: one in embroidered tulle for the daytime and another more sparkly or short for the evening. But at the higher end, it can cost up to £50,000 for a fully hand-embroidered dress, which can take up to two years.

Bespoke embroidery and personalisation are also a trend.

Chelsea-based couture bridal designer Phillipa Lepley said many of her brides opt for a £25,000 strapless crepe dress with two interchangeable overlays

She says: ‘One bride wants 20 initials of her closest family members embroidered onto her dress.’

And designer Catharina Eden reveals: ‘I’m working on a dress for one bride who wants over a hundred pearls to be sewn on to her dress.

‘She’s chosen each pearl herself.’

THE MED AT HOME

Couples want their weddings to feel like the Tuscan or Provencal countryside, even if they’re not travelling abroad.

One couple have decided to use the budget they’d allocated for hiring a Venetian palazzo to bring Italy to the UK. Party planners will create mini canals with battery- powered gondolas running down 30ft-long tables, while luxe caterers Rocket Food will create a menu with lemons flown in from the Amalfi coast, tomatoes from Ischia, and 100-year-old balsamic from Modena.

Sue Barnes, the creative director of Lavender Green, the florist for Pippa Middleton’s wedding, says: ‘Multi-sensory decorating is key. We’re displaying fruit and olive trees, thyme and lavender in beautiful French anduze pots, hand-thrown terracotta courtyard stoneware or huge rustic baskets.

Chris Murphy of Tuck Box Cakes, said individual cakes for guests have become popular

‘We’ll use stone fountains and water-filled lead troughs to add the sound of cascading water.

‘We can be seen wafting huge bunches of tuberose, just before the bride enters a room.

‘Or we cut rosemary and scatter it on the floor, underneath tables.’

Luxury florist Amie Bone has seen her client’s budgets swell in recent months. ‘Plenty of people who pre-Covid had a £20,000 budget for flowers now have up to £50,000. We have clients spending in excess of £150,000. They come to me because they know I can deliver something highly creative.’

STRIKE A POSE

Forget cheesy catching-the-bouquet shots. The hottest pictures this year are from fashion photographers.

The top pick? Paris-based Greg Finck, who costs 20,000 euros, and also shoots for Elie Saab and Balenciaga.

Society jewellery designer Kiki McDonagh, said a diamond tiara can  be worn to lift the face and give stature 

‘Brides want me to duplicate that look and feel on the wedding day. The images won’t be stiff, I bring some movement, nothing is shot straight into the lens, all techniques you learn from working with a model.’

CAKE FOR EACH GUEST

‘Individual cakes are so popular now,’ says Chris Murphy from Tuck Box Cakes. ‘They can double as wedding favours and place names with guests’ names iced onto them.’

THEATRE STARS FOR KIDS

‘People really want children at weddings now,’ says Victoria Pearce, founder of Notorious Kids. ‘But you have to entertain them. A lot of our performers work in the West End, one is in Mary Poppins and Matilda before that — others have skills like acrobatics and juggling.’

Kiki said a very simple diamond tiara would cost £5,000

TOP OF THE TIARAS

Society jewellery designer Kiki McDonagh says: ‘The ultimate luxury without question is a diamond tiara. They lift the face and give you stature. You stand taller. It takes three to four months to make one. Something very simple would cost £5,000 and from there the sky’s the limit.’

NO INVITE YET?

Don’t feel too bad — they might have decided to elope! The pandemic has kickstarted a trend for some couples to skip all the hoopla and tie the knot quietly.

Nick Walley of Cornwall’s Fowey Hall Hotel says: ‘We’ve had a lot of enquiries for our elopement-style weddings from couples who have decided they don’t want a huge wedding, but do still want a luxurious experience from start to finish.

‘We have a range of intimate rooms and can even supply witnesses!’ While big weddings at Fowey Hall can easily climb to £50,000, elopement packages start at a more calming £1,295.

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