The chic wedding is back (and it’s crazier than ever)

I thought it was a yellow pages delivery, then I remembered it wasn’t 1993. Turns out the thud on my doormat was a very thick wedding invitation .

“Third lucky,” said the blue calligraphy on the back of the envelope, sent by my pals Miles and Lucy, who got engaged before the pandemic and have since had to postpone their wedding twice.

A few days later came another thick envelope from my friends Ella and Josh with a card that said “Change the date”, announcing that their wedding is now in July. Meanwhile, my brother-in-law is texting me to see if I want a hotel room for his wedding in May, and I’m planning a girls’ weekend for my friend Lilianne, who’s getting married in August.

Another friend tells me again that she has 10 weddings this year, not counting hers in December. Is 2022 about to be the craziest year for weddings, when they were already getting pretty crazy before Covid? (The expense! The size! The agony of deciding whether you should have a sponge cake or a cheesecake!)

It looks like it. After about two years of uncertainty, cobwebs are dusting from the marquees, champagne orders are pouring in, and I’m already wondering if I’ll be able to get by with flats for parties (no sinking into the grass; much easier to sprint towards a platter of canapes).

To chew on this important topic, I call “party architect” and wedding planner Johnny Roxburgh, the man to call if you’re recently engaged and have a few bobs lying around. Johnny throws the best, fanciest weddings and spices up our conversation by talking about dance floors floating above the sea in Sardinia and parties for 500 people in Istanbul.

It is, he acknowledges, absurdly busy at the moment and extremely difficult to find a venue if you haven’t already found one. At any one time, he’s juggling 30 very nervous couples and he’s got bookings through 2024. Heavens above.

Should I use his services now, even though I’m single and unlikely to get married anytime soon? Johnny laughs nervously.

The trend he sees, Johnny adds, is destination weddings. “Everyone is desperate to celebrate and travel, and suddenly it’s easier again, so three or four days abroad is what people are looking for.”

He gives me a possible itinerary: “Everyone flies to Venice on Fridays, and there’s a big dinner at the Gritti [Palace] tonight. The next day you all drive or sail to Trieste, to the most marvelous castle called Miramare, where you have the reception followed by a fireworks display over the Adriatic. What kind of money are we talking about? Johnny says it’s vulgar to discuss such things, but given that I canceled my £4.99 Disney+ subscription last week because I’m worried about my gas bill, it’s not probably isn’t for me.

He recently orchestrated a wedding in the UK for 60 people which cost £3.5million, so do what you want with it.

According to other wedding planners, this year’s trends also include vegan menus (a little apprehensive about the sound of those) and champagne towers, which seems like a waste, because why bother buying expensive things just to cascade all over the tablecloth?

Also, and I’m sorry to tell you, the “Regency aesthetic” inspired by Bridgerton. Apparently, this means bridal veils decorated with pearls; also gloves, dresses with puff sleeves and maybe a pair of thigh high boots for the leggings. You probably won’t catch me in a petticoat and a high-waisted satin dress in the Home Counties this summer, but they’ve gone for flat slippers, haven’t they, so a pair of those might come in handy.

Maison Estelle adds to the glut of members clubs in Mayfair

Do you know Maison Estelle? This is the newest members club in Mayfair, can’t get in unless you’re friends with one of the members, even if you’re a flattering journalist begging the PR team to take care of it ( I know, because a food-journalist friend begged them twice). Don’t ask me why Mayfair needs another members club. It seems to me that there are now more members clubs than hedge fund moguls in Berkeley Square and there were already too many.

A mole who’s been to the place, however, tells me that while it’s surprisingly beautiful inside, there’s a silly, strict rule that all visitors must have a sticker placed on the lens of the camera on the back of their phone, so they can’t take a single shot of the club or the punters. A new level of absurdity for this area, although very handy if you’re a politician meeting someone you shouldn’t be, or having an affair.

Who would have thought that an oligarch’s house could be tasteful?

I would have been very snotty about the houses of the oligarchs. Until this week, if you had asked me to describe one, I would have assumed it was wall-to-wall hot tubs with dodgy sofas, gold leaf wallpaper and chandeliers everywhere, even in the toilets. But when protesters broke into Oleg Deripaska’s £50million blunder in Belgravia last week and video footage emerged, I was miffed. Not a single hot tub.

Instead, a Barbara Hepworth sculpture, some antique mirrors, a Greek bust, a grand piano, a shelf with real books on it and not one but two atlas globes (which would suggest they have some idea of geography and borders?). True, there was a chandelier, but it didn’t look so bad. An oligarch with taste? How boring.

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