No bride and groom wants to be left scrambling for a venue just weeks away from their big day.
But such is the dilemma facing Boris, 58, and Carrie Johnson, 34, as they prepare to celebrate their wedding with a Champagne-soaked soiree.
The couple had planned to toast their marriage at a party at Chequers, the Prime Minister’s grace-and-favour country home, later this month but have been forced to change their plans following Mr Johnson’s resignation yesterday.
A source said they would now be looking at other venues, insisting: ‘Nothing had been 100 per cent firmed up’. The PM’s spokesman later confirmed that there would be no party at Chequers, adding: ‘As you’ll know, taxpayers don’t cover prime ministers’ personal expenditure.’
Wedding woes: Carrie and Boris tied the knot in a secret ceremony at Westminster Abbey in May 2021, followed by a small reception in the garden at No. 10 (pictured). They had planned to celebrate their marriage at Chequers later this month but have been forced to change venue
Change in plans: The couple have been forced to change their plans following Boris Johnson’s resignation. Pictured, Mr Johnson with Carrie and children Wilfred and Romy after the speech
The couple tied the knot in a secret ceremony at Westminster Abbey in May 2021, followed by a small reception in the garden at No. 10. Just a handful of guests was allowed due to Covid-19 restrictions that restricted weddings to just 30 people.
A change in venue means other details, such as the catering, flowers and entertainment might also have to change. The recent turmoil in Westminster means the guestlist might also need a rapid rewrite.
So, what can we expect from Mr and Mrs Johnson’s big day? Here, FEMAIL takes a look at everything from Carrie’s sustainable wedding dress to where they might go on honeymoon…
THE COMPLICATED GUEST LIST
Carrie’s BFF: Nimco Ali, a prominent anti-FGM campaigner who is godmother to Wilfred. The Somali-born campaigner is one of Miss Symonds’ closest friends
Gotten the call up? It was previously reported that Carrie had already chosen her bridesmaids. The first in line is said to be Emma Barr, pictured, a former government special adviser
Bridesman? Carrie might also choose to break from tradition and have her closest male friend, Henry Newman, as part of her bridal party. Pictured, Carrie and Henry with Dilyn
Their save-the-date cards went out last year, but given that a host of Boris’ Conservative MPs have called for his resignation in recent weeks, several invitees may soon find out their presence at the wedding bash is no longer desired.
‘The party is still going ahead, but the guestlist will be a headache,’ a Downing Street source said.
‘Boris and Carrie sent the ‘save the date’ cards last year but obviously recent developments mean a few of the people they sent them to would not now be as welcome as they once were.’
ROLES FOR WILFRED, ROMY AND DILYN THE DOG?
Boris and Carrie may well want their children and beloved dog Dilyn to be involved in the big day some way.
Wilfred, now two, could totter down the aisle as a pageboy, but seven-month-old daughter Romy would need to be carried by another member of the bridal party.
Whatever their roles, hands-on mother Carrie is almost certainly going to want to keep her little ones close on the big day.
The other boy in Boris and Carrie’s life, Dilyn, could also get the call up as a ringbearer.
However the rescue dog might need a little more training after reports he ‘humped Dominic Cummings’ leg’, is not properly house-trained and has destroyed expensive artefacts at Chequers.
Role for Dilyn? The other boy in Boris and Carrie’s life, Dilyn, could also get the call up
While Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid might no longer make the cut, Boris devotee Nadine Dorries is sure to attend, as is Carrie’s close friend Zac Goldsmith.
Definitely on the list will be Stanley Johnson — who, like Carrie, is an ardent conservationist, and has made positive noises about his daughter-in-law from the start.
Then there are Boris’ children Lara, Milo, Cassie and Theodore — from his 26-year marriage to barrister Marina Wheeler — who are understood to be back on good terms with their father following his divorce from their mother.
Carrie does not have a close relationship with her father Matthew, who was a co-founder of the Independent newspaper, but is very close to her mother Josephine McAfee, a former newspaper lawyer who reportedly provides childcare for Wilfred.
When news of the engagement first broke, it was reported that Carrie had started choosing her bridal party.
As one might not have been suitable for 2021’s intimate wedding, it is possible she might find a way to single out those closest to her this time around.
The first in line is said to be Emma Barr, a former government special adviser who was signed up as a producer for GB News. She worked as a Tory press officer under Carrie and has publicly accused her critics of ‘jealousy’, gushing: ‘She was a wonderful boss and has always gone out of her way to support me.’
Also likely to be in the running is Nimco Ali, a prominent anti-FGM campaigner who is godmother to Wilfred.
The Somali-born campaigner is one of Miss Symonds’ closest friends and was pictured with her on a trip to Venice in 2020.
Carrie might also choose to break from tradition and have her closest male friend, Henry Newman, as part of her bridal party.
The pair rose through the Conservative Party ranks and have formed a bond that goes beyond politics.
Mr Newman defended Miss Symonds when her relationship with Mr Johnson became public, tweeting: ‘Carrie Symonds coverage too often reflects a misogyny that attractive women can’t also be talented. I’ve known her for years. Proud to call her my friend.’
The pair frequently tweet each other about their shared love of ABBA, and danced along to the band’s records at Miss Symonds’ 30th birthday party in 2018.
SUSTAINABLE WEDDING DRESS
Sustainable style: Carrie might turn to her favourite online rental service, My Wardrobe HQ, which provided the wedding gown she wore for the official nuptials last year. The website stocks pieces by big name designers including Monique Lhuillier, pictured, and Savannah Miller, whose exquisite pieces are available to rent at a fraction of their original price
Eco chic: Stella McCartney would be a fitting choice for an eco-minded bride like Carrie
ORGANIC CATERING – WITH A NEGRONI TO WASH IT DOWN
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.
Jade Beer, former editor of Brides magazine, previously told the Daily Mail: ‘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.’
Carrie is also said to be a fan of Negroni cocktails – made of one part gin, one part vermouth rosso, and one part Campari, garnished with orange peel – so they could be on the cards for the drinks reception.
Forget a fussy meringue, planet-friendly boho-chic is the insider bet for this wedding gown.
She might turn to her favourite online rental service, My Wardrobe HQ, which provided the wedding gown she wore for the official nuptials last year.
The dress, by Greek designer Christos Costarellos, would have cost £2,830 if she bought it new. Instead Carrie borrowed it for just £45 a day.
The website stocks pieces by big name designers including Monique Lhuillier, Savannah Miller and Halfpenny London, whose exquisite pieces are available to rent at a fraction of their original price.
Or there is the option of choosing an eco-friendly label.
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 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.
Designer Stella McCartney, who created the Duchess of Sussex’s evening wedding dress, would also be a fitting choice for the bride.
VENUE WITH WOW FACTOR
A venue with ‘wow’ factor: Chequers might be off the cards but fortunately Mr and Mrs Johnson’s phonebooks are bursting with well-heeled contacts who might be willing to lend them use of a country pile or city mansion for the big day. Lord Bamford, the owner of the JCB construction equipment giant, whose firms have given an estimated £10 million to the Tories, owns Wootton Lodge, in Staffordshire, pictured
… Or something a little wilder? The other contender is Port Lympne Hotel and Reserve, in Kent, which is run by conservation charity the Aspinall Foundation, where Carrie Symonds works. The estate is home to rhinos, gorillas and zebras and boasts several potential venues
Chequers might be off the cards but fortunately Mr and Mrs Johnson’s phonebooks are bursting with well-heeled contacts who might be willing to lend them use of a country pile or city mansion for the big day.
Lord Bamford, the owner of the JCB construction equipment giant, whose firms have given an estimated £10 million to the Tories, owns several properties that would be fit for the Johnsons’ champagne-soaked soiree.
First there is Grade I-listed Daylesford House, in Gloucestershire, which boasts spectacular gardens. Or Carrie and Boris might opt for the imposing Wootton Lodge, in Staffordshire.
Another contender is Port Lympne Hotel and Reserve, in Kent, which is run by conservation charity the Aspinall Foundation, where Carrie Symonds works.
The estate boasts several potential venues, including The Bear Lodge, which can host an evening reception for up to 180 guests, and the Moroccan Courtyard, which is ideal for a more intimate drinks gathering for up to 40 guests.
Guests can also enjoy a private safari to see the giraffes, zebras, rhinos and gorillas that live on the reserve.
A DESIGNER GIFT LIST
Designer buys: The couple 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.
Carrie branded their Downing Street apartment (decorated by Theresa May) as a ‘John Lewis nightmare’ — so the couple are not likely to turn to the British high street stalwart for their wedding list.
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.
More likely, however, is that Carrie and Boris would ask guests to donate to one of the causes close to their hearts. She has worked for The Aspinall Foundation and marine life charity Oceana.
A trendy staycation: So-called ‘minimoons’ – a mini break taken in the days after a wedding – are growing increasingly popular for brides and grooms who need to delay a longer honeymoon. For such a trip, Boris and Carrie might opt to return to hotel chain The Pig. Pictured: The Pig In The Wall in Southampton
Private getaway: The Prime Minister reportedly proposed while on holiday in Mustique shortly after his party won an impressive majority in the December 2019 General Election. So it is possible the couple will want to return to the luxury holiday destination for their honeymoon
AN ABBA TRIBUTE ACT?
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.
The Prime Minister reportedly proposed while on holiday in Mustique shortly after his party won a majority in the December 2019 General Election.
So it is possible the couple will want to return to the luxury holiday destination for their honeymoon.
The Caribbean paradise island is accustomed to welcoming everyone who is anyone, from rock stars to royalty, along with every aristo and captain of industry in between.
It is perfect for couple’s looking for a publicity-free getaway.
In the past, paparazzi snappers hunting celebrities have hired boats and positioned themselves off shore with long lenses.
But if they attempt to set foot on land, they know they will immediately be handed over to police because Mustique is a private island.
However, it is also possible the couple might forgo an international getaway in favour of a shorter staycation.
So-called ‘minimoons’ – a mini break taken in the days after a wedding – are growing increasingly popular for brides and grooms who need to delay a longer honeymoon.
For such a trip, Boris and Carrie might opt to return to hotel chain The Pig.
The couple spent Mother’s Day at £215-a-night The Pig In The South Downs, the latest outpost of the celeb-approved brand. There are several across the UK to choose from.
English rose: Carrie may choose a relaxed, hand-tied posy by Wild At Heart, 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.