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A Sophisticated Island-Chic Wedding on 11/11 in Mauritius

By Cathleen Freedman | Photography by 

Beata Albert

A mutual friend suggested that Founder and Creative Director of sustainable premium resort wear line ALICIA SWIM, model, and author of Fresh Island Style by Rizzoli Alicia Rountree should collaborate with Arnaud Zannier of Zannier Hotels. After Arnaud saw Alicia’s designs, he immediately bought her collection for his hotels. Even though they made excellent partners in business, both Alicia and Arnaud knew they could be something more. “We became inseparable,” she says. 

The two started dating, and one year later, found themselves stuck in London’s COVID-19 lockdown. Alicia had just purchased a stylish new evening gown but had nowhere to wear it, so she arranged for the two to have a formal dinner at home. But Arnaud had plans that evening too. While sipping champagne, Alicia discovered that their dog had Arnaud’s mother’s engagement ring tied around his doggy bowtie.

Alicia knew that the wedding should be hosted in Mauritius, the beautiful island where she spent her idyllic childhood. “The aesthetic was effortless island-chic with a sophisticated twist,” she elaborates. “All three days took place in different areas of the island, as we wanted to show our guests the diversity of this special exotic place!”

Ever since Alicia met Arnaud, she noticed the synchronicity of 11.11 appear all around her. When someone sees “11.11,” this means they are on the right path and following their destiny. The number even holds spiritual significance, alluding to one’s soulmate and twin flame. Naturally, they decided to have their wedding on November 11.

Alicia and Arnaud planned the wedding themselves, paying close attention to how they could make the experience more magical and completely transport their guests. Alicia even designed the flowers herself, collaborating with a local florist. For the finishing touches, they worked with a local planner to pull the last details together.

For her bridal look, Alicia dreamed of something non-conventional yet timeless. Her short one-shoulder silk Oscar de la Renta gown with a detachable cascading shoulder train was exactly that. “When I tried this one on, I simply fell in love!” she boasts. While trying to find a veil, she soon realized nothing matched her vision. She turned to Oscar de la Renta and designed a short, 1960s-inspired veil.

Alicia already knew she could rely on her sister, Founder of Oceano Pearls, for accessories. Together, they made custom baroque pearl chandelier earrings. After years of modeling, Alicia trusted her own expertise with beauty and applied her natural and timeless wedding day makeup look.

Arnaud originally envisioned a dark classic tuxedo for himself, but he liked Alicia’s suggestion of an ivory-colored Tom Ford tuxedo so much that he changed outfits last minute. “I bought it for him as a gift just before the wedding,” Alicia says. “He loved it, and it suited the summery setting of the wedding—and my dress—perfectly!”

The weekend kicked off with a reception cocktail party at Warwyck House in Phoenix, the center of the island.

On November 11, 2021, guests congregated in the tropical garden of Alicia’s family’s home. A talented local singer, Annega, serenaded the crowd while friends stepped forward and read speeches. Alicia adds, “It was unconventional and so special.”

Guests joined the newlyweds on a drive down to the cliffs for the following reception. There, they found a large tent outdoors with an adjacent dance floor. “Mauritius has such an array of amazing cuisines due to the rich blend of diverse cultures,” Alicia explains. “We focused on Indian, Creole, and Chinese influences.” The buffet-style menu boasted variations of the local heart of palm, ‘mine frit,’ a local noodle dish, Roti, and vegetable and rice dishes. Both the bride’s and groom’s families prepared thoughtful toasts, which quickly became quite emotional.

Continuing with the couple’s “non-traditional” wedding aesthetic, the cake by La Clef des Champs was a large single-layer coconut genoise, adorned with white flowers. As soon as the cake was cut, Arnaud and a barefoot Alicia hit the dance floor for Annega’s rendition of Sacha Distel and Brigitte Bardot’s “Le Soleil de Ma Vie” and grooved all night long. The reception DJ, Arnaud Bailyu, came from Belgium to spin tracks. She laughs, adding, “I don’t think I have ever danced so much in my life!”

On the last day of the wedding festivities, Alicia and Arnaud took their guests to a private island called Ile des Deux Cocos. Here, they all celebrated with a farewell party.