Pippa Mid­dle­ton:

Prince Ge­orge will be a page­boy, Princess Char­lotte a brides­maid and the $650,000 wed­ding re­cep­tion will be in a grand mar­quee. Royal writer Katie Ni­choll re­veals the plan­ning of Pippa Mid­dle­ton’s up­com­ing nup­tials.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - CONTENTS -

the plans for her lav­ish wed­ding

It can’t be easy fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of her fa­mous older sis­ter, the Duchess of Cam­bridge, es­pe­cially on her wed­ding day. Yet when Philippa Char­lotte Mid­dle­ton mar­ries for­mer rac­ing driver turned hedge fund mil­lion­aire James Matthews on May 20, all eyes will be on the blush­ing bride.

With the help of her mother, pro­fes­sional party plan­ner Ca­role Mid­dle­ton, Pippa has or­gan­ised a wed­ding fit for roy­alty and one that will be re­mem­bered as one of the most lav­ish so­ci­ety wed­dings of the year.

The 33-year-old Pippa, who has writ­ten a book on en­ter­tain­ing, has hired the most exclusive – and ex­pen­sive – baker in the posh London sub­urb of Bel­gravia to make her wed­ding cake at a cost of around $8000, while the Mid­dle­tons are be­lieved to be splash­ing out more than $650,000 on the re­cep­tion alone.

“No ex­pense is be­ing spared,” says a source close to the fam­ily. “The Mid­dle­tons are treat­ing the wed­ding like a se­ri­ous pro­duc­tion and it will be the best of ev­ery­thing. Months of metic­u­lous plan­ning have gone into the day. It’s go­ing to be quite some­thing.”

Save-the-date cards went out with the cou­ple’s Christ­mas cards, while the highly sought af­ter in­vites – printed by up­mar­ket pub­lisher Mount Street in May­fair, ac­cord­ing to one news­pa­per re­port – were posted to

350 se­lect guests nearly two months ago.

Among those sit­ting on the oak-wood pews at St Mark’s Church in En­gle­field, a small vil­lage in the county of Berk­shire in Eng­land’s pros­per­ous south, 11km away from the Mid­dle­ton fam­ily home, will be two fu­ture

Kings – Pippa’s brother-in-law, Prince Wil­liam and her nephew, Prince Ge­orge, who will be a page­boy. Prince Harry has also been in­vited, along with Princesses Beatrice and Eu­ge­nie.

The Aus­tralian Women’s Weekly has learned that in or­der not to up­stage the bride, Kate will be tak­ing “a de­lib­er­ate back seat” on the wed­ding day, leav­ing the spotlight to her younger sis­ter, Pippa. And con­trary to re­ports, Meghan Markle, Prince Harry’s new girl­friend, is un­likely to at­tend.

“Kate has been very in­volved be­hind the scenes right from the start, but when it comes to Pippa’s wed­ding day, she won’t be ma­tron of hon­our,” says the source. “She is likely to do a read­ing along with their brother, James. Kate wants this day to be all about Pippa and her groom, and if any­one risks up­stag­ing the bride it’s go­ing to be Ge­orge and Char­lotte for their cute­ness.”

Pippa, who is close to her niece and nephew, asked Wil­liam and Kate if they would al­low Ge­orge and Char­lotte to be a page­boy and brides­maid shortly af­ter her en­gage­ment last year.

We can also re­veal that Pippa has asked her old school friend, Alice Avenel, if her daugh­ter, Rose, would be a flower girl.

Sources close to the bride-to-be, who used to work for Table Talk, one of the UK’s most pres­ti­gious pri­vate events com­pa­nies, say she has planned a “thor­oughly tra­di­tional wed­ding” and has em­ployed the help of her for­mer em­ploy­ers to en­sure the day runs smoothly.

Known for its dis­cre­tion, Table Talk has re­fused to say whether it is in­volved, but one guest re­vealed, “Know­ing Pippa, it will be quintessen­tially English, classy and beau­ti­ful. She will in­evitably have asked Table Talk to help out be­cause they are bril­liant at stag­ing big events such as this.”

Sources say Pippa and James, 41, have shunned at least two lu­cra­tive media of­fers to pho­to­graph their wed­ding. Her spokesper­son has also said that there are

“no plans” to re­lease an of­fi­cial pic­ture of

the cou­ple on their wed­ding day, in­sist­ing

that they want to keep it pri­vate.

Of course, the cou­ple will want their day to be mem­o­rable and Pippa has con­sulted her sis­ter Kate, her­self a keen pho­tog­ra­pher, on which pho­tog­ra­pher to hire, while Laven­der Green Flow­ers, based in chic London sub­urb Chelsea, has been com­mis­sioned to do the spring­time bou­quets.

While she had a num­ber of pos­si­ble wed­ding venues, in­clud­ing Scot­land, where the Matthews fam­ily has an es­tate, and the Caribbean is­land of St Barts, where the fam­ily owns a re­sort, Pippa was keen to get mar­ried in her local church. The cer­e­mony will be con­ducted by the par­ish vicar Rev­erend Nick Wynne-Jones, who says the church is big enough for 350 guests.

The ser­vice at St Mark’s Church En­gle­field, where the Mid­dle­tons, to­gether with the Cam­bridges, wor­shipped on Christ­mas morn­ing, will be tra­di­tional and at least two pews in the 12th-cen­tury church have been re­served for the Cam­bridges’ se­cu­rity. A team of at least six pro­tec­tion of­fi­cers will ac­com­pany the roy­als to the church, which will have been swept be­fore the cer­e­mony.

Ac­cord­ing to the Queen’s cousin, Lady El­iz­a­beth An­son, whose com­pany Party Plan­ners helped or­gan­ise the royal wed­ding in 2011, the se­cu­rity will be thor­ough but un­ob­tru­sive. “Royal pro­to­col is to sweep the church two hours be­fore the wed­ding and af­ter that the doors will be locked down un­til just be­fore the cer­e­mony,” she says. “The pro­tec­tion of­fi­cers will ac­com­pany the Cam­bridges, but they are trained to be dis­creet.”

When it comes to ar­rivals, there is also a strict pro­to­col when the royal fam­ily is in at­ten­dance. “The roy­als should be the last guests to ar­rive af­ter the bride­groom’s fam­ily,” ex­plains Lady El­iz­a­beth. “Mrs Mid­dle­ton should be the last per­son to ar­rive at the church be­fore the bride and fa­ther of the bride, and I imag­ine she will prob­a­bly be ac­com­pa­nied by her son, James.”

Pippa will be walked up the aisle by her fa­ther, Michael Mid­dle­ton, who was praised for his calm de­meanour when he es­corted Kate to the High Al­tar at West­min­ster Abbey. “Both Ca­role and Michael have been a lot more hands-on with Pippa’s wed­ding and they are far more re­laxed this time round, un­der­stand­ably,” says a fam­ily friend. “They are re­ally look­ing for­ward to Pippa’s wed­ding day, not least be­cause it’s their turn to shine and show off what they do best.”

Af­ter the cer­e­mony, cars will take guests back to the Mid­dle­tons’ $9.6 mil­lion her­itage-listed fam­ily home, Buck­le­bury Manor, just out­side the Berk­shire vil­lage of Buck­le­bury, where the wed­ding din­ner and party will take place in a grand pur­pose­built mar­quee. Big enough to serve guests a lav­ish four-course meal, the mar­quee will be trans­formed into a night­club later in the evening.

Although they run a multi-mil­lion-dol­lar on­line chil­dren’s party busi­ness, the Mid­dle­tons have called in the for­mal-event ex­perts for Pippa’s big day. As well as Table Talk, The Ad­mirable Crich­ton, which holds a royal war­rant and caters for Prince Charles, is said to be in charge of the food.

“It’s a chance for the Mid­dle­tons to show off their daugh­ter and their beau­ti­ful fam­ily home, and also to do what they love best, which is en­ter­tain­ing,” says a fam­ily friend.

“They have hired plenty of help, in­clud­ing cater­ers and event or­gan­is­ers, to over­see all the food, which will be sim­ple and very English, and the mar­quee is rather spe­cial.

“Pippa has over­seen all the de­tails, from the light­ing to the flow­ers. She loves to dance and there will be a band and a DJ, and she wants the party to go on late into the night.”

Ac­cord­ing to Lady El­iz­a­beth, home wed­dings are the pre­ferred choice for Eng­land’s up­per

Pippa has over­seen all the de­tails.

classes. “It’s al­ways prefer­able to get mar­ried at home, as long as one has a large and flat-enough lawn for a mar­quee,” she says. “It’s quite sen­si­ble of Pippa to be hav­ing her wed­ding re­cep­tion at home be­cause that way they can keep it com­pletely pri­vate.”

With seven hectares of land and a sweep­ing gravel drive which leads from a wind­ing coun­try road to the prop­erty, the manor is pri­vate and spa­cious. The Cam­bridges are reg­u­lar guests and se­cu­rity mea­sures are al­ready in place for when they visit. There is no pub­lic ac­cess to the prop­erty, which is sur­rounded by tall trees and is ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to pho­to­graph.

Among the VIP guests, who will be asked not to use their mobile phones on the day, will be ten­nis cham­pion Roger Fed­erer and his wife, Mirka, who are close to the Mid­dle­ton fam­ily, and UK TV pre­sen­ter Ben Fogle and his wife, Ma­rina. Pippa’s close friend Ge­orge Percy, son of the Duke of Northum­ber­land, Read­ing Foot­ball boss Sir John Made­jski, and brother James Mid­dle­ton’s girl­friend, Donna Air, have also been in­vited. It will be the first time Donna has joined the Mid­dle­tons for a for­mal oc­ca­sion and she will be seated with James at one of the top tables.

English ten­nis star Tim Hen­man’s par­ents, Tony and Jane Hen­man, who are close friends of the Mid­dle­tons, have also been in­vited, along with many of their friends from Mus­tique, where the fam­ily hol­i­days an­nu­ally, who were guests at the royal wed­ding as well.

Pippa and James’ wed­ding is also be­ing seen as an op­por­tu­nity to heal fam­ily rifts. The groom is re­ported to have asked his 27-year-old brother Spencer Matthews – who starred in the re­al­ity TV se­ries Made in Chelsea and once ad­mit­ted to be­ing on steroids – to be best man, while Pippa has in­vited her un­cle

Gary Goldsmith to the wed­ding and asked his daugh­ter, Tal­lu­lah, to be a brides­maid. Ca­role fell out with her brother af­ter the now de­funct News of the World news­pa­per ex­posed Gary’s he­do­nis­tic life­style in Ibiza where he owned a home called “La Mai­son de Bang Bang” and where Wil­liam and Kate stayed be­fore they were mar­ried.

“He is ab­so­lutely de­lighted to be go­ing as he is very fond of his nieces and nephew,” says a source close to Gary. “It’s lovely that Pippa has asked her cousin to be a brides­maid and it’s typ­i­cally in­clu­sive of her.”

When Pippa walks up the aisle it will, ac­cord­ing to those in the know, be in a very dif­fer­ent dress to the one she wore on her sis­ter’s wed­ding day. The fig­ure-hug­ging Alexan­der McQueen brides­maid gown she wore in 2011 turned Pippa into an overnight sen­sa­tion, with the media crown­ing her “Her Royal Hot­ness” and fo­cus­ing on her toned der­rière.

Friends say Pippa, who once claimed she’d like to get mar­ried in ten­nis whites, wants a more classic and con­ser­va­tive wed­ding dress, with a fuller skirt, and may opt for a flower gar­land in her hair in­stead of a tiara or veil. Shortly be­fore Christ­mas, Bri­tish de­signer Giles Dea­con was seen leav­ing the Mid­dle­tons’ fam­ily home car­ry­ing an over­sized dress bag, fu­elling ru­mours he has de­signed the dress. The de­signer is known for his über-glam cre­ations and cites Yves Saint Lau­rent and Chanel as in­spi­ra­tions.

“Pippa was rather sur­prised by all the fuss that she in­ad­ver­tently gen­er­ated at her sis­ter’s wed­ding,” ex­plains a friend. “She ac­tu­ally has very sim­ple tastes and is de­ter­mined that peo­ple should be look­ing at her happy face and not her bot­tom when she is mar­ried. She has cho­sen what she says is a very classic dress, but wants it to be a sur­prise.”

In that case, she should def­i­nitely ask Kate – who kept her dress a se­cret un­til the last minute – for ad­vice.

Pippa and James’ wed­ding is be­ing seen as an op­por­tu­nity to heal fam­ily rifts.

Pippa’s fi­ancé James Matthews. LEFT: Pippa was dubbed “Her Royal Hot­ness” af­ter sis­ter Kate’s wed­ding.

ABOVE, FROM LEFT: Guests in­clude ten­nis star Roger Fed­erer and wife Mirka; James Mid­dle­ton and girl­friend Donna Air; Princesses Eu­ge­nie (left) and Beatrice; TV ad­ven­turer Ben Fogle and wife Ma­rina; the Duke and Duchess of Cam­bridge, and Prince Harry.

BE­LOW: St Mark’s Church in Berk­shire will be swept by se­cu­rity be­fore the cer­e­mony, in which Prince Ge­orge and Princess Char­lotte will have big roles.

ABOVE, FROM LEFT: Par­ents of the bride, Ca­role and Michael; the bride and sis­ter Kate; Buck­le­bury Manor; the en­gaged cou­ple and the ring worth an es­ti­mated $411,000. BE­LOW: The brides­maid dress that made Pippa a star.

The happy cou­ple at Wim­ble­don last year. Pippa once said she’d like to be mar­ried in her ten­nis whites – “shorts with no pleats or frills”.

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