Who won the battle of the 2021 weddings? After a bumper year of society nuptials, FEMAIL reveals the 10 couple who stole the show – from Boris and Carrie’s surprise big day to Lady Kitty Spencer’s extravaganza in Rome
- Wedding season returned in full force in 2021, with aristocrats, royals and society beauties tying the knot
- Lady Kitty Spencer grabbed the world’s attention when she married Michael Lewis in a Roman extravaganza
- Princess Mako of Japan gave up a royal life to marry her university sweetheart in a Tokyo civil ceremony
- FEMAIL hands out the 2021 wedding awards to the couples who stood out from other brides and grooms
After months of cancelled caterers, rearranged dress fittings and overbooked venues, wedding season returned in in all its glory in 2021.
From Euro royals to hotel heiresses, scores of well-heeled brides and their dashing grooms exchanged vows in some of the world’s most desirable locations, from a Sicilian church (Irene Forte) to a sprawling family ranch in upstate New York (Jennifer Gates).
And while lockdown restrictions made 2020 the year of the micro nuptials, in 2021, the big white wedding reigned supreme.
Princess Diana’s niece Lady Kitty Spencer and fashion tycoon Michael Lewis spent an estimated £1million on their four-day Roman extravaganza, complete with a wardrobe full of custom D&G gowns.
Prince Philippos of Greece went so big, he had three different weddings to mark his marriage to Nina Flohr.
Of course, there are still some for whom ‘less is more’. When Prince Charles’s goddaughter India Hicks and David Flint Wood wed in September after 26 years together, they did so at a charming Oxfordshire church.
But, with so many weddings, who came out on top? Here, FEMAIL hands out its inaugural wedding awards to the year’s most talked-about, most sensational big days…
India Hicks and David Flint Wood: Tied the knot after 26 years and five children
Worth the wait: Prince Charles’s goddaughter India Hicks wed David Flint Wood, her partner of 26 years, in September
Family affair: India and David, who share five children, were joined by her mother, Patricia Mountbatten (in blue hat) and daughter Domino (second from right) at the service at Brightwell Baldwin Parish Church in Oxfordshire
Low-key: After the church service the congregation strolled across the road to the Lord Nelson pub for Bloody Marys, Pimm’s and lunch, pictured. The main celebration – dinner and dancing – had taken place the night before
After 26 years and five children together, India Hicks and David Flint Wood could have been forgiven for going OTT on their big day.
But instead India, one of Princess Diana’s bridesmaids, opted for a ‘very conventional service’ in her home village of Brightwell Baldwin, Oxfordshire, even choosing the church where India was christened.
The service ‘had all the English wedding trimmings, complete with a choir and an organist’, India wrote of the day.
Friends including Brooke Shields, Christian Louboutin and Sophie Dahl were among the guests, as were members of India’s well-connected family. Her grandfather was Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl of Burma.
The bride was driven to the service by her adopted son, Welsey, and walked down the aisle by her eldest son, Felix. Daughter Domino was chief bridesmaid and wore Emilia Wickstead, who also designed the wedding dress.
After the church service the congregation strolled across the road to the Lord Nelson pub for Bloody Marys, Pimm’s and lunch. The main celebration – dinner and dancing – had taken place the night before.
Lady Kitty Spencer and Michael Lewis: A weekend extravaganza with five D&G dresses
More IS more! From the breathtaking fireworks display to the A-list venue, Lady Kitty Spencer and husband Michael Lewis spared no expense when it came to their lavish wedding in Rome in July. For the long-weekend wedding, D&G created five different custom creations, including the breathtaking Victorian-inspired lace gown, pictured, she wore down the aisle
Designer wardrobe: The night before the wedding, Kitty wore a baby-blue tulle gown and cape embroidered with cross-stitched flowers also made for her by Dolce & Gabbana. The jewels were from the designer’s high jewellery collection, with the necklace thought to be worth at least £500,000 (left). There was also a a glitzy gold evening dress worn to party the night away (right). An expert estimates each of these looks would have cost in the region of £60,000, if not more
Keeping the fun going! On the Monday after the wedding, Kitty (right) joined some of her closest friends for lunch with a view
From the breathtaking fireworks display to the A-list venue, Lady Kitty Spencer and husband Michael Lewis spared no expense when it came to their lavish wedding in Rome in July.
One expert estimated the four-day extravaganza, which included a rehearsal dinner, day-after lunch and the main event at a £20,000-a-day castle, would have cost the bride and groom in excess of £1million.
The same is true of socialite Kitty’s stunning wardrobe, which is thought to have been worth more than £2.5million.
For the long-weekend wedding, D&G created five different custom creations, including the breathtaking Victorian-inspired lace gown she wore down the aisle.
These were paired with earrings, necklaces and rings from the label’s exclusive Alta Gioielleria high jewellery collection. Prices for these diamond and jewel-encrusted pieces are not publicly available but start from £25,000, and raise to approximately £510,000 for top-of-the-range necklace.
Guests in attendance including Emma, Viscountess Weymouth, Pixie Lott and designer Jade Holland Cooper and her husband, Superdry founder Julian Dunkerton.
The spending continued on honeymoon, with Kitty and Michael spending a month jetting across Europe, including weeks on the Amalfi Coast.
MOST TIMES DOWN THE AISLE
Prince Philippos of Greece and Nina Flohr: Three weddings in three countries
Three times the fun! Prince Charles’ godson Prince Philippos of Greece loves his girlfriend Nina Flohr so much, he married her three times in three different countries in less than a year. The biggest ceremony was in Athens in October, above
Royal guests: Jack Brooksbank, Princess Eugenie, Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi all attended the nuptials
Wedding No.1… and 2! The couple first wed last December in a small civil ceremony in St Moritz, Switzerland, left, with just their fathers present due to Covid-19 restrictions. They celebrated again in Cambridge in May (right)
Prince Charles’ godson Prince Philippos of Greece loves his girlfriend Nina Flohr so much, he married her three times in three different countries in less than a year.
The couple, who both boast ties to British royalty and aristocracy, first wed last December in a small civil ceremony in St Moritz, Switzerland, with just their fathers King Konstantin, 80, and Thomas Flohr, 60, present due to Covid-19 restrictions.
In May the couple celebrated their nuptials with a second low-key wedding hosted by Vogue writer Alice Naylor- Leyland and her husband Tom at their home of Stibbington House in Cambridgeshire.
Guests included Alice, who was named as one of Tatler’s ‘society swans’ of 2018, and her husband Tom, who is heir to one of Britain’s land-owning dynasties. His family has historic land and property across the country.
He is the son of Baronet Sir Philip Naylor-Leyland and the grandson of the late Lord Lambton and owns the 17th-century Talbot hotel in Malton, North Yorkshire near their rented farmhouse home.
Others invited to the event were magazine editor Violet Henderson and Princess Eugenie’s friend Caroline Rupert.
The crowning glory was the couple’s October nuptials at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens, which was attended by Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice, as well as Queen Sofia of Spain.
MOST DRAMATIC CONSEQUENCES
Princess Mako of Japan and Kei Komuro: Gave up her title to wed her university sweetheart
Giving it all up for love: The former Princess Mako of Japan, who renounced her royal title and position within the family to marry her ‘commoner’ university boyfriend, Kei Komuro. The couple gave a press conference after their marriage (above)
Apologies: After registering their marriage, the newlyweds held a press conference in a somberly-decorated hotel function room which they paid for, in which they apologised for any distress that their union has caused, above
From where the venue should be to who should make the guestlists, many couples find themselves compromising on their big day.
But no one had to give up more than the former Princess Mako of Japan, who renounced her royal title and position within the family to marry her ‘commoner’ university boyfriend, Kei Komuro.
There is a dispute over whether Komuro’s mother owes her former fiancé money. She claims he gave her an amount to put towards her son’s education as a gift, he says it was a loan that was not paid.
After announcing his engagement to Mako, Komuro published a statement defending himself, but it is still unclear if the dispute has been fully resolved.
After registering their marriage, the newlyweds held a press conference in a somberly-decorated hotel function room which they paid for, in which they apologised for any distress that their union has caused.
The couple have since moved to a one-bedroom apartment in New York, where Komuro works as a lawyer.
Carrie and Boris Johnson: Kept their plans secret until they said ‘I do’
Secret ceremony: Carrie and Boris Johnson surprised the world when they tied the knot in a ‘small ceremony’ at Westminster Cathedral on May 29, after the event was the subject of an extraordinary cloak-and-dagger operation to keep it quiet
Barefoot bride: Carrie wore a £2,870 Costarellos embroidered tulle gown with tiered skirt, fitted bodice, bell sleeves and latticework trims for the big day. Pictured, cuddling up to her casually dressed husband for a photo at Downing Street
Carrie and Boris Johnson surprised the world when they tied the knot in a ‘small ceremony’ at Westminster Cathedral on May 29, after the event was the subject of an extraordinary cloak-and-dagger operation to keep it quiet.
They kissed after exchanging their vows for Father Daniel Humphreys, who baptised Wilfred into the faith at the same cathedral last autumn. He also gave the newlyweds their pre-marriage instructions.
The service was followed by a ‘festival themed’ reception in the Downing Street garden, recently back in the headlines after the Prime Minister was photographed at a cheese and wine ‘work’ event, in the midst of lockdown restrictions.
The bride, 33, who recently gave birth to daughter Romy, wore a £2,870 Costarellos embroidered tulle gown with tiered skirt, fitted bodice, bell sleeves and latticework trims for the big day. She later kicked off her shoes and cuddled up to her husband – who had an unbuttoned shirt collar and rolled up sleeves – for photos.
Their one-year-old son Wilfred attended the wedding, as did two official witnesses. Mr Johnson’s sibling’s Rachel, Jo and Leo Johnson are also understood to have been invited, along with his father Stanley.
Mr and Mrs Johnson, who now share two children, are reportedly planning a bigger celebration next summer.
Geraldine Guyot and Alexandre Arnault: LVMH scion married his seriously stylish bride
Fashion darling: Géraldine Guyot was stunning in a high collared, long-sleeved dress with an embroidered, figure-hugging bodice and full satin skirt to wed Alexandre Arnault, 29, son of LVMH founder Bernard Arnault in Venice in October
Understated chic: Géraldine’s look for the first ceremony in Paris in July was also breathtaking, with the bride choosing a simple, vintage-inspired dress by JW Anderson featuring a high collar, long sleeves, puffed shoulders, and floral embroidery
When the son of the world’s third richest man married a French fashion designer, it was destined to be a seriously chic affair.
Alexandre Arnault, 29, the second oldest son of LVMH chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault, wed Géraldine Guyot, founder of French accessories brand D’Estrëe, in Paris in July, followed by a second service in Venice in October.
Alexandre is the executive vice president of LVMH brand Tiffany & Co., having previously served as CEO of Rimowa. In May his father Bernard overtook Jeff Bezos to become the world’s richest man after his net worth climbed to $186 billion, but he has since been surpassed by the Amazon founder and Elon Musk.
The newlyweds, who announced their engagement at the start of the year, put on a typically elegant display at the ‘main’ Venice wedding, with Géraldine stunning in a high collared, long-sleeved dress with an embroidered, figure-hugging bodice and full satin skirt. The look was finished with an exquisite lace veil.
They had stiff competition from fashionable guests, including Jay-Z and Beyoncé, who appear in a new campaign for Tiffany.
Géraldine’s look for the first ceremony was also breathtaking, with the bride choosing a simple, vintage-inspired dress by JW Anderson featuring a high collar, long sleeves, puffed shoulders, and subtle floral embroidery.
The bride changed into a second number for the evening reception, with Alexandre sharing a photo of their romantic first dance on Instagram.
The pair are utterly besotted, with Géraldine posting after the wedding: ‘Oui pour la vie!’
BEST OUTFIT CHANGE
Lady Jemima Herbert and Hugo Davies: From prim and proper to proper party
Quite the lady: Prim and proper in a Victoriana-inspired gown and a family tiara, Lady Jemima Herbert was every inch the demure bride as she tied the knot with her insurance broker beau Hugo Davies in August
Party ready: Lady Jemima, the 31-year-old daughter of the late 17th Earl of Pembroke and Miranda, Countess of Pembroke, had swapped her heels for trainers and her covered-up dress for a dancefloor-ready two-piece
Prim and proper in a Victoriana-inspired gown and a family tiara, Lady Jemima Herbert was every inch the demure bride as she tied the knot with her insurance broker beau Hugo Davies in August.
The exquisite gown featured a high collar, semi sheer long sleeves and delicate floral embroidery at the waist. A relaxed, low bun completed the wedding day look.
But fast-forward a few hours and it was a very different story.
Lady Jemima, the 31-year-old daughter of the late 17th Earl of Pembroke and Miranda, Countess of Pembroke, had swapped her heels for trainers and her covered-up dress for a dancefloor-ready two-piece.
The white bias cut satin midi skirt with ruffle detailing flashed plenty of leg, while the matching asymmetric one-shoulder top gave a glimpse of her toned midriff as she partied the night away with pals including Lady Kitty Spencer.
The event, held at Wilton House, Wiltshire, which has been the family seat for 450 years, had been rearranged twice due to the pandemic.
Lady Jemima certainly knows how to let her hair down. In July she said goodbye to single life with a Legally Blonde themed hen do in London.
MOST STYLISH GUESTS
Belen Corsini and Count of Osorno: Quirky and fabulous looks for Spanish society royalty
Bridal party: The newlyweds were joined by bridesmaids and pageboys wearing casual summer ensembles
Dressed to impress: The groom’s brother the Duke of Huescar and his wife Sofia, arriving at the Spanish wedding in May
Fashion show: Enrique Solíis and designer Alejandra Dominguez (left) and Brianda Fitz-James Stuart, the Duke of Alba’s niece
Bright and beautiful: Interior designer Alejandra Corsini and Alejandro Munoz arrived at the society wedding hand-in-hand
Bold: Designer Ines Domecq pulled out all the fashion stops in a sky blue dress with exaggerated structured shoulders
No one wants to upstage the bride on their big day, but the guests at one of Spain’s high society weddings certainly came close.
In May, Carlos Fitz-James Stuart y Solís, the Count of Osorno, wed his fiancée Belén Corsini at Liria Palace in Madrid, an 18th century estate that has been in Carlos’ family for centuries, bringing together two of Spain’s wealthiest families, the Albas and the Corsinis.
Belén looked breathtaking in a figure-skimming white gown by Spanish brand Navascués with playful puff shoulders, long sleeves and a delicate detachable tulle train topped with family heirloom fabric from her maternal grandmother.
Typically understated, the bride kept her beauty, hair and accessories simple, choosing a pair of diamond earrings and wearing her hair swept back into a bun pinned with a glittering hairpiece.
Meanwhile the groom Carlos looked dashing in the Gala uniform of the Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla (RMS), or the Royal Cavalry Armory of Seville, a chivalric order created in 1670 currently led by King Felipe of Spain.
But the faultless style extended to the guests, with a dazzling array of jumpsuits, dresses and suits on display as friends and family made their entrance.
Among the standout ensembles was the quirky orange and purple look sported by designer and artist Alejandra Dominguez, who attended with Enrique Solíis, and interior designer Alejandra Corsini’s purple floral co-ord.
BEST DESTINATION WEDDING
Irene Forte and Felix Winckler: A Sicilian celebration with fireworks and nods to local culture
Bellissima! Sir Rocco Forte’s daughter Irene celebrated her nuptials with tech whizz Felix Winckler in a lavish destination wedding in Sicily – a year after they tied the knot in a low-key ceremony in London
Little touches: Guests arrived on foot to a local stone church in rural Sicily, where they were greeted by a brass band
Nods to culture: The rural church, left, and the traditional horse-drawn carts, complete with ornate harnesses
Lighting up the night: The venue was decorated with Sicilian illuminations, similar to Christmas lights, which incorporated the couple’s initials. The night ended with a spectacular fireworks display
Sir Rocco Forte’s daughter Irene celebrated her nuptials with tech whizz Felix Winckler in a lavish destination wedding in Sicily – a year after they tied the knot in a low-key ceremony in London.
The Oxford graduate, 31, who is Wellness Director at her family’s £340million hotel empire and founder of Irene Forte Skincare, pulled out all the stops the second time around, treating guests including Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank to a beautiful wedding weekend packed with local culture.
Guests arrived on foot to a local stone church in rural Sicily, where they were greeted by a brass band and traditional Sicilian carts, finely harnessed
Inside, the aisle was lined with wildflower displays and Irene turned heads in a stunning cream lace gown with puff sleeves and a flowing antique white veil by designer Luisa Beccaria.
That night guests dined on an all-Sicilian dinner, based on macco di fave, prawns from Mazara del Vallo and mashed potatoes, the work of the famous chef Fulvio Pierangelini.
The venue was decorated with Sicilian illuminations, similar to Christmas lights, which incorporated the couple’s initials. The night ended with a spectacular fireworks display.
BEST WEDDING AT HOME
Jennifer Gates and Nayel Nassar: A lavish wedding fit for a tech heiress
Blushing bride! Jennifer Gates, 25, the eldest child of billionaires Bill and Melinda, wore an ivory long-sleeved A-line gown with hand appliqué French macrame lace by Vera Wang for her wedding to Nayel Nassar, pictured, in upstate New York
Second dress: Very Wang, known for creating wedding dresses for stars including Gwen Stefani and Issa Rae, shared two photos taken by wedding photographer Allan Zepeda, including this of Jennifer’s lace trumpet gown for the evening party
Microsoft heiress Jennifer Gates married Nayel Nassar, 30, in a beautiful ceremony in October at her home in Westchester, New York.
It was her second set of nuptials of the weekend having previously tied the knot with the Egyptian equestrian in a secret religious Muslim ceremony on Friday night, DailyMail.com has exclusively learned.
The private Muslim ceremony was held on Friday night in the garden of the family’s 142-acre estate in North Salem, New York where a much larger civil ceremony with 300 guests took place on Saturday afternoon.
After the wedding on Saturday, Jennifer and her father, Bill, danced to Elton John’s Can You Feel The Love Tonight.
Jennifer, 25, the eldest child of billionaires Bill and Melinda, wore an ivory long-sleeved A-line gown with hand appliqué French macrame lace for the outdoor ceremony in upstate New York before slipping into a lace trumpet gown with a square neckline for the evening reception.
Wang, known for creating wedding dresses for stars including Gwen Stefani and Issa Rae, shared two photos taken by wedding photographer Allan Zepeda and published by Vogue alongside a message wishing Jennifer and Nayel, 30, ‘a lifetime of happiness and joy’.
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