After sharing 26 years, five kids, and one fairytale-worthy wedding together held last September in England, there is another chapter to India Hicks and David Flint Wood’s love story that remains untold. On December 27, 2021, the couple hosted an intimate yet incredibly sentimental (and now not-so-secret) sequel ceremony on Hibiscus Hill, their home on Harbour Island in the Bahamas.
The location felt all the more fitting, considering that this is where they raised a family and created countless memories, not to mention a shared design aesthetic that bonded them in the earliest stages of their relationship. Writing in her book, India Hicks: Island Style, “Our island life and decorating sensibility [is] a combination of our traditional British past and our richly flavored Caribbean present, all mixed up with our own eccentricities.” Together, their nuptials reflect the international couple’s multidimensional nature.
While India grew up in Oxfordshire (where she and David had their wedding in September), she fell in love with the island long before laying eyes on David. She was three years old when she first traveled across the bay to Harbour Island from the neighboring Windermere, where her family spent annual holidays as one large group, often including a certain godfather, Charles, Prince of Wales. A daughter of Lady Pamela, India is a descendant of the Mountbatten family and a relative of the British royal family. A second cousin to the Prince of Wales, India’s mother is a first cousin to the late Prince Philip and former lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth II.
India went to school in Scotland, studied photography in Boston, and modeled for Ralph Lauren, among many others. Today, she is a world-renowned designer, a New York Times best-selling author, and a dedicated philanthropist, which includes executive board member for the Global Empowerment Mission, and ambassador to The Prince’s Trust, a charity founded by Prince Charles that tackles the global youth unemployment crisis. However, her first unofficial gig was “professional bridesmaid” with nine times under her belt—most notably, at the age of 13 when Prince Charles wed Lady Diana Spencer while 750 million viewers watched, putting India on the world stage.
By then, India had already met a young David, who was her older sister’s friend. She was 11 or 12 when she developed a schoolgirl crush on him. Years later, they had a brief romantic encounter at a charity gala in Nassau in the Bahamas that ended with a goodnight kiss on the porch steps where she was staying with her mother. Nearly a decade went by before they saw each other again, this time on Harbour Island. David was working at a local hotel, and he calls this their Casablanca moment—à la “of all the gin joints in the world, you had to walk into mine.”
Four months later, India was pregnant, and that’s when they discovered Hibiscus Hill. The two-story house built in the 1950s sits on three acres of rolling garden that stretches inland from the top of the dunes, with jungle on two sides and a valley of coconut palms on the other. Peering through the windows, India says it was love at first sight, while David recalls her saying: “It feels like home.” Over the years, they enjoyed transforming Hibiscus Hill together, injecting their distinct style and DNA into every room while filling it with treasures of their journey as a couple—which now includes a ceremony to celebrate their wedding with the same “humor and love” that India says continues to define their relationship.
Family is at the heart of everything they do, and that includes their recent decision to make it official. “Let’s get married,” India suggested to David one night after dinner with the kids at home. “It wasn’t terribly romantic, because it was me,” she says with a laugh. “David would have done it much more nicely.” He proposed, “rather gallantly,” after India became pregnant with their eldest son, Felix, but in her fiercely-independent woman phase, she never accepted. This was coupled with the fact that she always led a fairly unconventional life.
But 25 years into their partnership, and 18 months into a pandemic that shook her to her core, India had a longing for reassurance and stability. “As a family, I thought it would be good for us to do something very grounded, anchoring, and normal. Suddenly, I thought, ‘Why don’t we get married?’ Not just for me, but also to give my kids some security, so they could see some sense of normalcy in the world again.”
India is known for her undone, gloriously bohemian decorating style and her nuptials are a perfect example. “I never wanted an over-the-top wedding,” India said. “I wanted this to be something special where the details felt meaningful, and at the heart and soul of it, this was about David and me, and us making a commitment to each other.” The carefree yet considered nature also carried over into the bride’s wardrobe: A Zimmerman style that nodded to the Emilia Wickstead dress from her English wedding but with an island twist. It was tea-length, full-sleeved, and nipped-in at the waist, only covered in white wildflowers. In India’s words: “Wedding-y but a little extra.”
Still, she is quick to admit: “It was quite hard to find a dress that works for dancing, a tropical location, and an older bride.” When India, accompanied by her daughter Domino, visited Zimmerman’s showroom in New York City, the Australian designer’s beach-chic pieces trimmed with tassels and shell embellishments were tempting. “Then I thought, ‘I want something that I can pass down to my daughter.’ That I can say, ‘This is the dress I wore when we celebrated our wedding on the island.’ It’s very much the kind of dress you want someone to inherit.” Zimmerman also felt close to home, considering India has long since stocked the label at the Sugar Mill, an impeccably edited boutique she co-founded on the island in 2005 filled with global brands discovered on her travels.
The reception was a true island celebration. Guests gathered underneath a canopy of string lights and a crescent moon. Multiple bars were tucked throughout the garden, while long tapered candles, lanterns, and votives created a magical mood. A buffet nestled between two palm trees was dressed in a custom tablecloth hand-block printed in India with white on cream and gold thread around the edges, created as part of India’s collaboration with Pomegranate Inc, plus lovely linen napkins to match.
It was one of many ways that India wove her signature aesthetic into the evening. Her design sensibility encompasses a thoughtfully sustainable approach, and both occasions included a conscious effort to involve as much local talent as possible. In lieu of a formal dinner, guests enjoyed light and breezy cocktails and canapés. Fresh buns from baker Kendra Wells were served alongside piping hot honey-baked sausages prepared by the family’s beloved cook, Claire Baldwin. Affectionately known as “Top Banana,” she boils the ham in Coca-Cola (see the recipe in India’s book An Entertaining Story). “We also had loads of different cheeses,” India adds. “Sweet and simple.”
India frequently uses natural textures in her tablescapes (a term coined by David Hicks, the bride’s late father who is by and large considered the most influential designer of his time). That meant all of the florals were from the island, from palm fronds to white hydrangeas. Night blooming jasmine from the couple’s garden encircled a four-tiered wedding cake, which the couple cut with a sword from David Flint Wood’s uncle for a fun crowd-pleasing moment, just as guests were treated to a firework show that lit up the sky. It was a gift from India’s friend Michelle King Soffer, which dazzled everyone, including the bride. “Normally, I always get to the bottom of the surprise, but I had no idea!” India gushes. The spectacular backdrop set the stage for DJ Robert Johnson and the couple’s favorite local High Rock Band who played Calypso and other Bahamian tunes that kept that party going into the wee hours. “It was brilliant to have everybody together,” India says. “We danced, danced, and danced all night underneath the stars.”