A creative couple teams up with an A-list event planner to design a posh and personal wedding

After spending years designing books, objets d'art and other mementos for high-end events, Michael Beneville and Kimberly Wilkinson knew how they wanted their own wedding to be: simple and elegant. “And from the heart,” says Michael. Wish granted, with a little help from their friends. One offered her home for the day. Another got ordained as officiant. DJ-to-the-jet-set Donna D'Cruz and her Swarovski crystal headphones flew in from Monaco to preside over the dance floor. And Colin Cowie offered his services as party planner. “This really is the story of a group of artists coming together to take care of one of their own,” says Michael.

Following a short ceremony with custom wedding vows, cocktails were served in the garden. At dinner, partaken in a domed tent outfitted with hardwood floors and a sleek bar area, Colin was the ultimate emcee. “He kept everyone laughing,” says Kimberly. After dessert, the party really got started. “My eighty-six-year-old grandparents were on the dance floor all night!” says the bride. The celebration ended as it began, with loved ones gathered around the couple, this time to see them off. “Everyone who was there really wanted to be there for us. It was absolutely perfect. —Yolanda Crous

Our Favorite Things

Floral Float: Orchids bobbed in the garden pond during the cocktail hour, creating a fairy-tale effect.

Burning Plan: At sunset, giant bronze firepots were lit to alert guests that the cocktail hour in the garden had ended and dinner in the tent was about to begin.

Power Ballad: When the electricity went out during dancing, the intrepid groom (who has a background in showbiz) saved the day by serenading his new bride with “Leaning on a Lamppost” from the musical Me and My Girl.

Memory Keeper: To honor the groom's late father, Michael's uncle Richard wore one of his brother's suits to the wedding.

After becoming engaged at a party at the opening of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa, artists Michael Beneville and Kimberly Wilkinson received an extraordinary gift: Their friend Colin Cowie (left), who had masterminded the Winfrey party, volunteered to serve as wedding planner and emcee. “He ended up throwing us the wedding of our dreams,” says Kimberly.

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