Carrie Symonds' woke wedding guide: From ethical dress to wild flowers

Carrie Symonds’ woke wedding guide: From the ethical dress to the wild flower bouquet (and a Lulu Lytle gift or two), how Boris Johnson’s bride could have the big day of her dreams

  • PM and Carrie Symonds have sent out save-the-date cards to friends and family
  • The wedding of Mr Johnson and Ms Symonds will be held in July 2022 
  • With sustainability being Carrie’s middle name, here’s our guide to what guests may expect at the big, fat, woke wedding

The save-the-date cards have been dispatched. Get ready for the social event of next summer’s calendar: the wedding of Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds in July 2022.

Boris is rather an old hand at the marriage game, having tied the knot twice before, to Allegra Mostyn-Owen in 1987 (when his current bride-to-be was just a babe in arms) and Marina Wheeler in 1993.

With sustainability being Carrie’s middle name, here’s our guide to what guests may expect at the big, fat, woke wedding.

A VENUE FIT FOR A PRIME MINISTER AND HIS BRIDE

Grand designs: The Prime Minister’s country residence, Chequers in Buckinghamshire, could be the wedding venue 

An early tip for contender is the PM’s Buckinghamshire bolthole Chequers — the 16th-century manor house has been the official retreat of serving Prime Ministers since 1921.

The 1,500-acre estate offers pristine lawns on which the happy couple could pitch a marquee — or even a trendy tepee or three. There’s also an indoor heated swimming pool — which could add an extra twist to the dress code.

Nobody has married there before, so it’s unlikely to be granted a wedding licence, meaning it’s likely to be suitable for the reception only.

Our hip young bride could also ask her bosses at the Aspinall Foundation, the conservation charity where she is employed, if she could use Port Lympne, a country house wedding venue in Kent with manicured lawns and a Moroccan-themed terrace.

GUEST LIST COULD BE A BIT OF A JUGGLING ACT

Only Boris’s father, Stanley Johnson — who, like Carrie, is an ardent conservationist — has made positive noises about her. Pictured: Stanley Johnson with Carrie in 2019

How will Boris and Carrie whittle down the wedding guest list with family lives that are so, well, complicated?

First there is the question of Boris’s children. Will the four he sired with second wife Marina be at the event? It is said they have not taken kindly to the new woman in his life.

Only Boris’s father, Stanley Johnson — who, like Carrie, is an ardent conservationist — has made positive noises about her.

Carrie does not have a close relationship with her father Matthew, who was a co-founder of the Independent newspaper. So, will he — or somebody else — give her away?

She is very close to her mother Josephine McAfee, a former newspaper lawyer who is constantly on hand to help care for their son, Wilfred, who is one.

And what of political guests? Expect the money men — former Chancellor Sajid Javid and current Chancellor Rishi Sunak — and her close friend and fellow eco warrior Zac Goldsmith.

Her closest female friend Nimco Ali, who campaigns against female genital mutilation, is expected to be the chief bridesmaid or maid of honour.

Dominic Cummings definitely shouldn’t hold his breath for an invitation.

INVITATIONS WILL BE WORKS OF ART

Watch out for the wedding invitations. Perhaps Carrie will be indulging in the current fashion for hand-painted watercolour designs, so much more chic than plain old printed ones.

Rosie Harbottle is the artist du jour, with her exquisitely unique packages ranging from £950 to more than £2,500.

ANYTHING BUT A JOHN LEWIS WEDDING LIST

The wedding guests could opt for a gift from Soane’s Lulu Lytle (pictured)

Carrie branded their No 10 apartment (decorated by Theresa May) as a ‘John Lewis nightmare’ — so that’s out.

But one option for the wedding list could be theweddingshop.com where couples can register for anything from KitchenAid food mixers to The White Company bed linen but also, more important, there are options for guests to donate to an array of worthy causes.

They could cobble together a list of items from her favourite eco-designer, Lulu Lytle. Carrie brought all that and more to the Downing Street flat when she spent tens of thousands of pounds on wallpaper and other furnishings from the brand. Her vases and lamps sell for between £3,000 and £5,000.

DESIGNER DRESS WILL BE SUSTAINABLE CHIC

Boho bride: How Carrie might look in wedding dresses — she is likely to favour a simple style in sustainable, organic fabric. Pictured: What Carrie might look like in a dress designed by Savannah Miller (sister of actress Sienna) with her silky, slip-dress styles

Forget a fussy meringue, planet-friendly boho-chic is the insider bet for this wedding gown and Carrie is a fan of designer Isabelle Fox, who recently made a bespoke bridal gown using ultra-fine Italian silk chiffon.

Then there’s Savannah Miller (sister of actress Sienna) with her silky, slip-dress styles. 

Or London designer Indiebride, which is known for its sustainable and organic fabrics, using British spun ahimsa silk — made using a ‘non violent’ process, in which the silk moths are not harmed. A dress would cost £1,700 to £1,900.

Rita Colson also uses only responsibly sourced fabrics with dresses costing around £1,500. 

Or London designer Indiebride, which is known for its sustainable and organic fabrics, using British spun ahimsa silk — made using a ‘non violent’ process, in which the silk moths are not harmed. A dress would cost £1,700 to £1,900

Rita Colson also uses only responsibly sourced fabrics with dresses costing around £1,500 

For a cheaper option, there’s Sister Organics, a Devon-based bridal company that specialises in dresses made from organic and sustainable fabrics. 

Its 70 per cent ivory hemp silk wrap dress (pictured top right) costs £350 — which would suit Boris’s budget.

Jessica Turner Designs is a London-based ethical company focusing on slow fashion. Jessica draws her inspiration from plant textures, colours and shapes. Prices start at £1,500.

TASTEFUL ORGANIC & NAUGHTY NEGRONIS

One of the daily food deliveries from Daylesford delivered to the back of No10 by a butler on a Boris bike and collected by a member of staff

Who better to cater the big day than Daylesford, the organic farm shop that kept Carrie and Boris topped up with £27,000 of healthy takeaways during lockdown?

Owner Lady Bamford is married to Lord Bamford, the owner of the JCB construction equipment giant. His firms have given an estimated £10 million to the Tories.

Jade Beer, former editor of Brides magazine, says: ‘The 2,500 acre Daylesford estate, — so loved by the Chipping Norton set — has recently acquired a licence to host weddings.

‘If Carrie went with this option, she would have its organic food, patisserie, wine, floristry, cutting gardens and Bamford spa and wellbeing facilities at her disposal. The latter would even be able to create a bespoke scent for Carrie’s wedding day.’

Their ‘firepit’ menu includes a host of smoky delights from lemon and thyme chicken to whole lamb, along with a line-up of dazzlingly virtuous salads using kale and quinoa and the like. And to wash it all down? The bride-to-be just loves a negroni.

WILL THE CAKE BE A LITTLE CHEESY?

Perfect taste: A cheesecake may be Boris’s choice given his love of cheese so Carrie could go with the modern trend of having a tiered cheesecake

Carrie could follow in Meghan Markle’s footsteps and use Claire Ptak, of London bakery Violet for her wedding cake. Provenance, sustainability and flavour are her trademarks.

But, given Boris’s love of cheese, Carrie could go with the modern trend of having a tiered cheesecake instead.

A five-tier cheesecake will normally feature a mixture of hard, blue and soft cheeses and can feed up to 300 people for around £500.

POWER OF FLOWERS IS IN THEIR SIMPLICITY

English rose: Carrie may choose a relaxed, hand-tied posy by Wild At Heart, from £110 (pictured)

Forget huge, elaborate trailing bouquets and ostentatious table centre pieces — when it comes to today’s modern eco-conscious bride, less is more. Carrie’s bouquet is likely to be a simple hand-tied affair featuring a small selection of seasonal flowers.

Flora Starkey, who has provided flowers for Victoria Beckham, has a London studio and also a 30-acre farm on the Dorset/Devon border. The land features woodland and meadows where Flora cultivates flowers and plants for cutting.

For table decorations, you can’t beat wild flowers in simple mismatched (recycled) jamjars tied with twine and designed to look quirky and homemade — but actually cost a small fortune from a bespoke florist such as JamJar Flowers, a favourite of designer Stella McCartney.

Wild At Heart, based in London’s Notting Hill, are famous for their dramatic arrangements in bright colours. Flowers for a ‘simple country wedding’ can cost as much as £20,000 or up to £100,000 if Carrie wants a decorative floral arch.

After the wedding, to avoid waste, Carrie may choose to donate her blooms to Floral Angels. A charity, with the Duchess of Cornwall as patron, they redistribute flowers to care homes and hospices.

WHO WILL SNAP THE HAPPY COUPLE?

Old Harrovian Hugo Burnand is apparently known for both ‘charm and discretion’ and for his most high-profile gig, the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, he arrived for the job on a bicycle.

Tatler magazine’s society photographer for more than 20 years, he has taken portraits of Bill Clinton, Mikhail Gorbachev and Margaret Thatcher.

If Carrie feels more comfortable sharing the preparations for her day with a woman, there’s Lara Arnott, who says on her website: ‘I’m driven by my desire to be an authentic storyteller, so I work with a natural style, aiming to reflect emotion, personalities and to capture the true spirit of the occasion.’

ABBA TRIBUTE ACT? THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT

Given the age gap, there may well be a generational split on the musical preferences. But perhaps the happy couple will shun woke in favour of nostalgia and go for an Abba tribute band.

Tongues began wagging in earnest about their growing closeness when Boris attended Carrie’s Abba-themed 30th birthday house party when she was a Conservative spin doctor.

While the younger generation of cool Tories (including Carrie, stunning in an elegant party dress) danced the night away in the living room, older Cabinet ministers, including the then Environment Secretary Michael Gove and Home Secretary Sajid Javid, jiggled around the edges.

AND WHERE WILL THE HIPSTERS HONEYMOON?

The couple could end up going to Costa Rica for their honeymoon. Pictured: Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge in Costa Rica

Mustique may be out after a row over who paid for their last trip there, but what about a rainforest eco-lodge experience in Costa Rica — £4,800 for a week in an executive suite in Origins Lodge?

Honeymooners can ‘dive right in with medicinal plant tours, waterfall hikes, horseback rides, lagoon fishing, yoga, chocolate making at a local cacao farm, organic treatments in the open-air spa and shooting the rapids in Tenorio National Park,’ says Brides magazine.

Or perhaps something conventionally luxe, like a £4,500-a-week stay at Six Senses Laamu in the Maldives where ‘sustainability and sumptuous luxury unite at this remote, private island’.

WHO IS GOING TO PICK UP THE BILL…?

With her relationship with her dad said to be ‘difficult’, it looks like the bride and groom will be footing the bill. Time to look into another charitable fund, Boris?

Plan Boris Johnson’s big day? He left us in the lurch says wedding expert

By Harriet Line, Chief Political Correspondent for The Daily Mail 

Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds were warned yesterday that they may struggle to find anyone to work at their wedding due to anger at the Government’s failure to ‘treat the sector seriously’.

Wedding planner Sarah Haywood claimed she would not do it even if she was paid a million pounds.

The Prime Minister and his 33-year-old fiancee have sent ‘save the date’ cards to family and friends for a celebration on July 30, 2022. But with the wedding sector still awaiting an announcement on whether the 30-person cap will be lifted on June 21, the news sparked anger.

Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds were warned yesterday that they may struggle to find anyone to work at their wedding due to anger at the Government’s failure to ‘treat the sector seriously’

Mrs Haywood said the ‘decimated’ industry was ‘paralysed’ and needed certainty.

‘Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has been able to send out announcements for his own wedding,’ she said. ‘The priorities are a little bit skewed here.

‘I’ll be surprised if he can actually get anyone to work for him on his wedding day – he could pay me a million pounds and I wouldn’t do it.’ She added weddings is ‘the forgotten sector that isn’t treated seriously’.

She also accused Mr Johnson of breaking a promise made earlier this month to make an announcement on weddings ‘within 28 days of June 21’. 

Mrs Haywood said: ‘We just need to know – are we ordering the food? Can we order the flowers? These things need planning.’

The Prime Minister, 56, and Ms Symonds, 33, have sent out save-the-date cards to friends and family for the event on July 30, 2022

Couples are ‘nervous’ and are ‘dithering’ over paying the final balance – which is usually settled 30 days before the celebrations – because of the uncertainty, said Mrs Haywood. And at least 29 days’ notice has to be given to register offices, while churches require three Sundays for the banns to be read out.

Ministers delayed an announcement on which rules will be relaxed because of concerns over the Indian variant. Government sources said a statement will not be made until next week.

Downing Street declined to comment on the Prime Minister’s wedding plans. But Mr Johnson’s official spokesman said the Government was looking at the data and wanted to make an announcement ‘as soon as possible’.

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