Chic Weddings/Real Weddings

Luxurious Couture Wedding Filled With Peonies (At Home!)

Luxurious Peony Filled Wedding At Home – Katie Julia – Lily and Sage 6

Luxury, couture, peony-filled, floral walls, black-tie, lush – these are all words we often find swirling around palace weddings and royal affairs. But today, we find all of these elements styled in the most elegant fashion in a bride and groom’s own home.

How could such a feat be done? First, you hire the best of the best wedding planners (UK brides, meet Lily & Sage) and creative florists. The expert team put together a lush wedding design of peonies (swoon!), garden roses, glass mirrored-elements, trendy lucite, and pretty white details to match this stunning winter wedding.

Of course, it takes a style-savvy bride and groom to match this luxurious at-home wedding. Gemma designed her own dream wedding gown, couture-made and undeniably sexy her custom gown is jaw-droppingly beautiful. Her bride tribe dressed in black, and the groom and his crew in black-tie attire were quite the stylish group.

Luxurious Peony Filled Wedding At Home – Katie Julia – Lily and Sage 41
Luxurious Peony Filled Wedding At Home – Katie Julia – Lily and Sage 34

Our Love Story

Mark and I first met in 2006 when Mark’s friend and business partner, Rob, was dating one of my best friends, Krystyna. Rob and Krystyna’s relationship didn’t materialise into anything serious, but our friendship developed over a six-year period and in Spring 2012 we eventually got together. We moved in together later that year and got engaged in September 2015 during a 3-week trip sailing around the Grenadines.

With the help of the crew and several friends, Mark organised an incredible proposal. It took place on the island of Mystique and the proposal involved a romantic walk down the beach in the sun to a gorgeous cove where a simple picnic blanket with a bottle of champagne chilling in an ice bucket and two glasses were waiting for us. As we arrived and got comfortable, Mark got down one knee and presented me with a beautiful pear-shaped diamond ring. I burst into tears and instantly said ‘yes!’.

We spent the next hour relaxing and reminiscing about our years together so far, before watching the sunset and stars come out. We then went back to the yacht where the crew and our friends were waiting for us to pop more champagne before all going for dinner at the island’s famous Firefly restaurant, where we partied and danced around the grand piano until the early hours.

Luxurious Peony Filled Wedding At Home – Katie Julia – Lily and Sage 24
Luxurious Peony Filled Wedding At Home – Katie Julia – Lily and Sage 17
Luxurious Peony Filled Wedding At Home – Katie Julia – Lily and Sage 33

The Dress & Attire

I wore an Italian lace cathedral length veil, Gianni Zanotti heels in blush pink and large diamante earrings with a matching bracelet. My dress was bespoke but based on a Ronald Joyce design. It was designed by me, with the help of Shama and Denise from Maison de la Bride who made the final gown.

Mark wore a black velvet tuxedo jacket with slim-fit black cotton tuxedo trousers. His shoes and black button slim fit white tuxedo shirt came from Gagliardi too. He wore black patent pointed lace-up brogues and his Patek Philip annual calendar timepiece with matching gold cufflinks.

We adopted a neutral colour palette of white, dove grey and blush to create a dreamy look and feel. We asked our adult bridesmaids to choose a long black gown of their choice, some opted for silk, others velvet and sequins. The groomsmen were asked to wear black tie – both parties looked glamorous!

Luxurious Peony Filled Wedding At Home – Katie Julia – Lily and Sage 11
Luxurious Peony Filled Wedding At Home – Katie Julia – Lily and Sage 26
Luxurious Peony Filled Wedding At Home – Katie Julia – Lily and Sage 30
Luxurious Peony Filled Wedding At Home – Katie Julia – Lily and Sage 1

The Photography

Our photographer is a personal friend of mine so no one else was ever going to be in running! Katie Julia is extremely talented and completely understood my wedding day vision from the outset.

Luxurious Peony Filled Wedding At Home – Katie Julia – Lily and Sage 32
Luxurious Peony Filled Wedding At Home – Katie Julia – Lily and Sage 28
Luxurious Peony Filled Wedding At Home – Katie Julia – Lily and Sage 5

Favorite Moments

Holding the wedding at home was one of the best decisions we made – everything was exactly as we wanted it and it completely unique and personal to us.

The timing of the wedding unfolding was one of our favourite aspects – ensuring guests were constantly entertained! We worked hard to develop a well-timed plan of activities to keep the evening fresh and exciting – whether it was a harpist, a jazz band, a bespoke Gin bar, a spectacular firework display or an exploding sparkly confetti ball over the dance floor, we kept it sophisticated but fun!

Having Soraya, an extraordinary harpist who has played for the royal family entertain our guests with her tunes during our wedding breakfast was very special.

The main best man’s speech was absolutely amazing! Days of thought and hours of preparation had clearly gone into making it so unique – it was clever, extremely funny and lovely all at the same time.

Luxurious Peony Filled Wedding At Home – Katie Julia – Lily and Sage 25
Luxurious Peony Filled Wedding At Home – Katie Julia – Lily and Sage 12
Luxurious Peony Filled Wedding At Home – Katie Julia – Lily and Sage 37
Luxurious Peony Filled Wedding At Home – Katie Julia – Lily and Sage 35

The Flowers & Decor

Although the wedding was designed with a couture theme in mind, it was still very personal and romantic. Hundreds of tasteful glass and mirrored candleholders in all different shapes and sizes containing pure white candles flickered away to create warmth. Large yet tasteful glass candelabras towered over the wedding breakfast tables creating a dramatic effect and simple but incredibly beautiful flower arrangements in mirrored cubes helped create a sophisticated but dreamy feel.

The bar area included a statement mirrored bar with a huge flower cube full of gorgeous peonies, garden roses and foliage. Seating consisted of a big semi-circular white chesterfield sofa, mirrored cubes as coffee tables and white French Renaissance style bar stools with matching high tables. The interiors were divine and so fitting for a white winter wedding!

Luxurious Peony Filled Wedding At Home – Katie Julia – Lily and Sage 40
Luxurious Peony Filled Wedding At Home – Katie Julia – Lily and Sage 39
Luxurious Peony Filled Wedding At Home – Katie Julia – Lily and Sage 15

The Reception

As our guests arrived, waiters and waitresses in classic black and white banqueting attire offered tasty canapés and glasses of sparkling wine. As people entered the first of three areas, they were greeted by a large sparkling chandelier, another smaller mirrored fronted bar and a stunning 2.8m h x 2m w flower wall which was surrounded by a chic seating consisting of a blush velvet bench, matching poufs and mirrored cube coffee tables. It was heavenly!

Luxurious Peony Filled Wedding At Home – Katie Julia – Lily and Sage 10

Advice to Other Couples

Set a budget then reduce it by 10%, as there will always be last minute items you require or things you wish you still had the budget for.

Definitely hire a professional, reliable wedding planner – one you like who is recommended by others you trust or have spoken to.

Finally, have at least two hair and makeup trials if you can.

Luxurious Peony Filled Wedding At Home – Katie Julia – Lily and Sage 14
Luxurious Peony Filled Wedding At Home – Katie Julia – Lily and Sage 21
Luxurious Peony Filled Wedding At Home – Katie Julia – Lily and Sage 43

The Honeymoon

We chose a 12-day honeymoon three weeks before our wedding. We went to South Africa on Safari and stayed at the wonderful Kapama private game resort in Karula – a 10/10 venue and experience!

We did it this way round to come back feeling rested and refreshed and to gain some colour before our special day. It also gave us a chance to reflect on Mark’s speech, spend quality time together and take stock before a very busy week began. We both highly recommend doing it this way around, but only if you are thoroughly organised and all the important decisions and wedding preparation are complete before getting on the plane, otherwise it could be very stressful!

Luxurious Peony Filled Wedding At Home – Katie Julia – Lily and Sage 2
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