Leona Lewis and Dennis Jauch were surrounded by their loved ones when tied the knot at a stunning Italian wedding last weekend. In this week's HELLO! Magazine, Leona exclusively shares her romantic wedding album after tying the knot at Sting's stunning 16th century estate in Tuscany. The singer, songwriter and actress married German-born creative director Dennis on 27 July, watched by 180 friends and family members, including Sugababes singer Keisha Buchanan and The Voice winner Jermain Jackman, who sang at the ceremony.
Leona Lewis got married in a beautiful ceremony in Italy
"It was just the most beautiful day, full of love," Leona exclusively told us. "It was so special to be able to bring together everyone we love. There were a lot of tears." Leona walked up the aisle in a full-length white gown by Israeli designer Mira Zwillinger, teamed with Cult of Coquette shoes and a delicate white veil over her elegant up-do. It was the first of three looks the former The X Factor star showcased throughout the celebrations, to the delight of guests including former Sugababes singer Keisha Buchanan and The Voice winner Jermain Jackman. Fuelled by Italian food and wine and plenty of tequila, music and dancing, the fun didn’t stop until 7am the following day. However, it turned out very differently to how the couple had planned. The 5pm ceremony was supposed to take place in the sun, overlooking the vineyards and olive groves of the 865-acre Il Palagio estate, but it had to be moved into the chapel at the last minute when a massive electrical storm hit and continued for the rest of the night. Far from being disappointed, Leona, 34, and Dennis, 31, believe the strange weather – locals said they'd never seen anything like it – was a sign from Dennis's father Lutz, who sadly died just three weeks before his son's wedding.
Leona looked stunning on her wedding day (Photos: La Dichosa)
"It was the craziest storm I've ever seen," Leona said. "It was completely unexpected and went on all day. We had already considered marrying in the chapel, but it wasn’t big enough for all our guests. But everyone crammed inside and it felt so intimate and special and brought us all so much closer together. I could see every single person's face, my friends were crying and the acoustics were incredible. I feel like we were meant to be in that space." She continued: "Dennis and I have been through so much these past couple of weeks and feeling all the love in there was so intensely overwhelming and powerful. There was so much energy in the room and everyone was rooting for us. We felt Lutz there with us and we knew that he wanted us to go ahead and do this." Dennis told us: "There couldn’t have been more of a sign. Dad made sure we all knew he was there."
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With its breathtaking views of cypress and oak woods, Il Palagio felt like the perfect place for their wedding, said Leona, who lives with Dennis on a small ranch in California with their animals, including two rescue goats called Pierre and Perla. "We wanted to marry somewhere that felt like home and that’s how this place feels," the singer told us. "It's so beautiful and surrounded by nature." The couple even received a note from Sting and Trudie wishing them "a lifetime of happiness". "I haven't met Sting yet but I’m a huge fan of his music," Leona said. "This is his and Trudie's home and they have done a spectacular job. I feel like we share a lot of the same morals and values – family, home, spirituality, looking after nature."
Both Leona and Dennis, together with their guests, who travelled to Italy from the UK and Germany, as well as from as far afield as Australia, Los Angeles and New York, were able to enjoy Il Palagio’s beautiful surroundings at an outdoor dinner the night before the wedding, for which Leona wore a sheer lace ruffled dress by Jonathan Simkhai. For the wedding, Dennis made his way to the chapel in a custom handmade black suit by Italian label Isaia, accompanied by his mother Karin and the cheers of the guests. After a selection of Leona's favourite classical pieces were played by a string ensemble, the bride entered to Ave Maria, on the arm of her father Joe. "The doors opened and I saw this gorgeous angel walk in," says Dennis. "She looked exactly as I’d pictured. She looked beautiful, gorgeous, understated – as she always is." Leona's gown was "literally the first dress I tried", she says. "It's all handmade with so much love and it’s very light." The ceremony, which was conducted by the singer's aunt Laurette Josiah, was a mix of traditional vows and heartfelt words written by the couple.
With tears in her eyes, Leona told her groom: "You love without expectations, you give without taking. You are my rock without wanting anything in return. I told you years ago that before I met you, I dreamt you. My love, you are my dream come to life." She added: "May we continue to leap into oceans in the safety of our love." Equally emotional, Dennis said: "Being with you has been my greatest treasure; being surrounded by you my greatest inspiration." There was also laughter when Laurette's service featured a message about weathering storms together. "Everyone was laughing and clapping because literally that’s what we were doing," said Leona. "It was so symbolic. When you pull together, you can make anything happen. Whatever the situation, we're going to be there together and that’s what marriage is about."
Following a performance from Jermain, who sang the Donny Hathaway hit For All We Know, the white gold and diamond wedding bands were passed among the guests in a "ring warming" before they were exchanged. Then, to cheering and clapping, the couple were pronounced husband and wife and Jermain brought the house down with a rendition of Stevie Wonder's Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours, accompanied by Leona’s musical director, Alex Montaque.
Leona's good friend Simon Cowell, who signed her to his record label Syco and released her platinum-selling album Spirit after she won The X Factor in 2006, was not able to be at the wedding because of his schedule with Britain's Got Talent. He did, however, tell HELLO!: "I'm really thrilled for Leona and Dennis. Leona is such a great person and I wish them all the best for their journey ahead."
"He really wanted to be there," Leona told us. "Simon is a very good friend of mine; I love him. We've been hanging out a lot this year and he has always been so supportive. He's such a good guy and he has his family now, which is beautiful to see."
Leona Lewis and Dennis Jauch got married in Sting's stunning home in Tuscany (Photos: La Dichosa)
After the planned alfresco meal was abandoned, the newlyweds left the chapel hand in hand and headed to Sting's recording studio – a rustic wooden building with vaulted ceilings and open fireplaces that, thanks to Cindy Salgado Wedding Design and Events, had been quickly kitted out for dinner with tables decked with candles and flowers by Dario Benvenuti Florals, who also designed Leona's bouquet. "It was really romantic and very Tuscan," said Leona, who changed into a blush pink embellished tulle gown by Inbal Dror at The Wedding Gallery London for the reception.
"The energy from that studio was pretty special. Sting has created five albums there, which makes for a great vibe." Guests were serenaded by an Italian tenor as they enjoyed pasta with aromatic herb pesto sauce and sweet tomatoes, risotto with asparagus cream and Jerusalem artichoke, as well as vegan chicken parmigiana with baby spinach, raisins and pine nuts. Around midnight, the rain subsided long enough for a spectacular firework display, which the wedding party watched from the terrace to a soundtrack including Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
Bride and groom then moved to the courtyard, where they put the finishing touches to their wedding cake before cutting it, helping Sicilian chef Marco Failla create a millefeuille extravaganza – puff pastry, salted dark chocolate cream and Sicilian caramelised almonds. And then it was time for the first dance, a waltz to the 1960s hit Unchained Melody, before Leona changed into a crystal jumpsuit from Yousef Aljasmi and DJ Charles Prince got the party jumping. To Leona's delight, Dennis, a former hip-hop world champion and winner of the German version of reality show So You Think You Can Dance, took to the floor with his groomsmen for a surprise routine filled with flips and lifts.
With guests enjoying bespoke Casamigos cocktails made by bar director Leo Robitschek, the party continued with a performance from New York drag queen Kizha Carr, who belted out hits from Mariah Carey, German opera and even Leona herself. Following the excitement, Leona’s dad Joe paid an emotional tribute to his daughter, saying: "Leona has grown into a beautiful, conscientious, compassionate, loving, caring young lady and I’m so proud of her. When I look at Leona and Dennis I see two very special people that bring out the best in each other. You make a wonderful couple."
Father and daughter then took to the floor to Love Train by The O'Jays – the rest of the guests joining them going around the room – and Dennis and his mum danced to the Roy Orbison classic Pretty Woman. Dennis's favourite tattoo artist from Germany was also on hand to give a permanent reminder of the day, with the groom getting a chest tattoo reading: "Ti amo [I love you]" and the date of the wedding. After dancing until dawn, the newlyweds started their married life with a "mini-moon" driving around Italy before returning to LA. "I feel with everything we've been through, our wedding has brought us and our families even closer together," Leona said. "Dennis's dad was there the whole time and we cherished it even more. "Now we can't wait for the next chapter of our life," she continued. "A new adventure."
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