Why Pippa Middleton Did Not Want a 'Royal' Wedding — and How She Got Her 'Dream'

"This is the wedding Pippa and James dreamed of," a close source tells PEOPLE in this week's cover story

A royal family wedding! Read all about Pippa’s gorgeous dress and how George and Charlotte stole the show. Subscribe now for exclusive details from Pippa’s big day — only in PEOPLE!

Unlike her sister, Princess Kate, Pippa Middleton didn’t have a royal wedding — instead, she had the wedding she really wanted.

When the world’s most famous bridesmaid tied the knot with financier James Matthews on May 20 in Englefield, England, after months of intense planning, the day went exactly as she’d designed.

“This is the wedding Pippa and James dreamed of,” a close source tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story. “They said all along they wanted it to be a private family wedding at home in the beautiful countryside with their closest friends and family.”

Highlights of the big day included a custom gown created by British designer Giles Deacon, Prince George as a page boy and Princess Charlotte as a bridesmaid and Kate reciting a prayer during the service at St. Mark’s Church in Englefield (near the Middletons’ hometown of Buckelebury).

The wedding of James Matthews and <a href="https://people.com/tag/pippa-middleton/" data-inlink="true">Pippa Middleton</a>, Englefield Estate, Berkshire, UK - 20 May 2017
Wedding Of <a href="https://people.com/tag/pippa-middleton/" data-inlink="true">Pippa Middleton</a> And James Matthews
Samir Hussein/WireImage

“Grace of God, spirit of life and love, we ask your blessings for Pippa and James and their life together,” the royal mom, 35, read to the congregation. The couple’s wedding program featured a sketch of the church drawn by Kate herself: “It is beautiful,” says a local. “Really stunning.”

After the new Mr. and Mrs. Matthews left the church as husband and wife, the 150 ceremony guests relocated to the nearby Englefield House for a midday reception, where they dined on mini haggis, deer carpaccio with mushroom, fresh langoustine claws and asparagus with Hollandaise sauce.

“You could see everyone was thrilled to bits,” says local Sue Fidler.

An afternoon break came before the evening celebrations, which were held in a glass palace shipped all from Belgium and erected on the Middleton family property for the occasion. Starting at 7 p.m., 350 guests — including Prince Harry and Meghan Marklearrived for the evening reception.


Guests sipped champagne while watching a light show filled with projections of Middleton and Matthews’s love story on the side of the Middleton family home. And tennis pro Roger Federer took on William and Harry in a doubles game of Ping-Pong.

FROM PEN: Raising a Little Princess: All About Charlotte’s Amazing Childhood

“It was a wonderful, memorable evening,” says guest Gemma Billington.

Even with the world watching, a guest tells PEOPLE that Middleton, 33, and Matthews, 41, were able to hang onto their original hope for a special day with their nearest and dearest.

As a guest told PEOPLE: “It was just a beautiful wedding in the countryside with some very famous guests!”


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