Synchronized swimmers were a special surprise at this chic black-tie wedding at a private villa in the South of France.
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Stephanie and Nikolaus met at a mutual friend's dinner party in Berlin in early 2014. After bumping into each other a few times over the next few months, Stephanie was surprised when Nikolaus asked her on a date in September of 2014, and even more surprised that the two hit it off so quickly.
About two years later, the couple was vacationing in the South of France for their anniversary when they stumbled upon a jewelry store on La Croisette in Cannes and decided to check it out. A stunning two-carat round-cut diamond in white gold caught Stephanie's eye and Nikolaus made his move. "It just burst out of me," he says, "I went down on one knee right then and there and asked her to be my wife. She was completely shell-shocked but immediately said yes!"
Keeping the anniversary trend going, the couple decided to tie the knot on September 16, 2017, just before their third anniversary. They invited 120 guests from 16 different countries to join them on the French Riviera for an elegant black-tie wedding at a private villa in Cap d' Antibes, France. The bougainvillea flower inspired the couple's fuchsia, pink, and purple color scheme because it's Nikolaus' late mother's favorite bloom, and, as a plus, they grew naturally at the venue. With the help of planners Kerry Bracken and Jennifer Rocher from Lavender & Rose, the couple pulled together their vision for the formal, outdoor affair.
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The Invitation Suite
The couple asked Christelle Teissier from Crème de Papier to incorporate hand drawn watercolor sketches of bougainvillea and their venue in the invitation suite. The final design also had a chic gold trim.
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It's only fitting that Stephanie and Nikolaus found their dream venue of in Cap d'Antibes, France—it was the first place they vacationed together as a couple, and they were eager to share this special location with friends and family. "We live in Hamburg, one of the rainiest cities in Germany, so we definitely wanted to treat our guests to a destination wedding in a sunnier climate," Stephanie says of finding the private villa.
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All Dolled Up
Stephanie and her bridesmaids wore plush robes while getting their hair and makeup done. Each bridesmaid was gifted a bold fuchsia robe with "Bridesmaid" bejeweled on the back, while Stephanie wore one in classic white that said "The Bride."
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Black-Tie Bride and Groom
Stephanie has hoped to wear a Pronovias wedding dress since she was 18, so when it came time to shop for the gown, she booked her one and only appointment at their salon. After trying on five stunning wedding dresses, Stephanie's bridesmaid pointed out a rack that had been overlooked—a collection straight off the runway in Barcelona. The gown she chose featured a demure high neck with stunning floral embroidery and a ruched bodice. She completed the look with Nicholas Kirkwood sandals, white gold and pearl Van Cleef & Arpels earrings, and a Kaviar Gauche belt.
Nikolaus admits he's not that into fashion, but he wanted to stand out on the wedding day in a unique smoking jacket. With some advice from his brother, who was also his best man, the groom chose a custom-tailored Thom Sweeney white dinner jacket and smoking jacket.
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Pretty in Fuchsia
Stephanie admits that it wasn't easy finding bridesmaids' gowns in the fuchsia shade in the wedding's color palette. "It took us ages, but we finally found three beautiful evening gowns at a department store in Berlin," she says. Their petite bouquets, by Mariella Aprosio, matched the vibrant hue.
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Wholesome in White
Nikolaus' four nieces, all wearing matching cap-sleeved dresses from Jacadi Paris, were the flower girls during the ceremony. Each girl wore loose curls in their hair and a fuchsia floral crown to add a pop of color to the look.
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The outdoor ceremony took place in the chateau's garden, where a vibrant fuchsia floral arch stood in front of breathtaking views. The arch featured hydrangea roses, peonies, and, of course, bougainvillea.
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Stephanie's mom escorted Nikolaus down the aisle, then the bride and her father followed. "Seeing Stephanie walk down the aisle on the arm of her father was my favorite memory," Nikolaus says. "I couldn't have been more proud that this amazing, beautiful person was going to be my wife."
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Illustrations of bougainvillea topped the program booklets, which were tied off with pink ribbons.
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The Bilingual Ceremony
Since guests has traveled from 16 different countries to attend the wedding, it was important to Stephanie and Nikolaus to be as inclusive as possible. The blessings and speeches by their officiant, Pastor Peter Madan, interchanged between German and English. The couple honored Nikolaus's late parents by dedicating two empty seats at the ceremony to them and having a live band sing Cat Stevens' "Morning Has Broken."
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At the end of the ceremony, the couple and their bridal party walked back up the aisle to a live version of Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," which the bride says was one of her favorite moments from the day.
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Guests moved to the pool area for cocktail hour, where Stephanie and Nikolaus offered an ice cream cart, a French cheese stand, hors d'oeuvres like foie gras and scallops, and their favorite Turkish coffee. "We wanted to create a typically French, sophisticated setting whilst incorporating some of our favorite foods and drinks," the bride says.
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The Synchronized Swimmers
Based on a suggestion from their planners, Stephanie and Nikolaus decided to surprise their guests with a 1950's-inspired synchronized swimming performance, complete with Marilyn Monroe tunes. "Everyone absolutely loved them, and it was such a unique touch that we still get asked about them," Stephanie shares.
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Escort cards were arranged on a table in the villa's entrance hall, which was decorated with an arrangement of fuchsia blooms and hanging spheres. Each reception table was named after a location where the bride and groom had special memories with their guests. For example, Nikolaus sat his childhood friends at a table called Cyprus (where he grew up) and Stephanie sat her college friends at Oxford.
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Under the Tent
The reception took place inside an oval-shaped tent. The couple opted to cover the wooden flooring with a beige carpet and the exterior poles of the tent were draped with white fabric for a more comfortable, indoor feel. With white leather chairs and cream tablecloths, the décor took on a traditional French style, while large fuchsia centerpieces in tall crystal vases provided pops of color on each round table.
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The bridal party was seated at the head table, or as they say in Europe, the top table. It had a floral structure above it showcasing roses, peonies, hydrangea, and bougainvillea with hanging glass spheres that held glimmering candles.
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The Place Settings
Each place setting had a pink glass charger and bread plate, a white porcelain dinner plate with gold trim, gold cutlery, and gold-rimmed tulip glasses.
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The cocktail bar at the reception was decorated with a neon"love" sign. Guests ordered their favorite drink, or one of their signature cocktails, including Whisky Sours and Espresso Martinis.
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The couple shared their first dance as husband and wife to "Have I Told You Lately" by Rod Stewart.
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The couple enlisted Made in Cake to deliver a five-tiered round wedding cake with gold accents and fuchsia bougainvillea cascading down the sides. The cake offered guests two flavor choices: carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, or chocolate with salted caramel. As another sweet treat, Stephanie and Nikolaus offered attendees fuchsia macarons by Ladurée printed with their wedding monogram as favors.
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For the couple's send-off, they chose to have a sparkler exit at the stroke of midnight. The pair later enjoyed a honeymoon exploring the Hawaiian islands.
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Photography, peachesandmint by Pia Clodi
Event planning, Lavender & Rose
Catering, Helen Traiteur
Flowers, Mariella Aprosio
Videography, JC Pieri
Stationery and Calligraphy, Crème de Papier
Cake, Made in Cake
Music, Vogue Live Band
Bride's gown, Pronovias
Hair and Makeup, Harold James
Earrings, Van Cleef & Arpels
Belt, Kaviar Gauche Bridal
Shoes, Nicholas Kirkwood
Groom's suit, Thom Sweeney
Flowergirl dresses, Jacadi Paris
Cocktail and Coffee Bar, Flair Evolution
Tableware, Maison Options
Technical Production, D&X Events
Tent, Organic Concepts