You don't have to wear a crown to have a royal wedding. England's heir to the throne, Prince William, may have found his future queen, but Hollywood princesses are getting hitched all the time. Quite frankly, their unions often rival anything put on by the royal family.
While it's true that many Tinseltown marriages don't end happily ever after, the weddings are opulent, news-worthy bashes that only the highest-paid classes of movie star royalty can afford. From the aging movie queen who used Michael Jackson's estate to wed a construction worker 20 years her junior, to the Hitchcock screen siren who gave up her film career to become an actual princess, we'll examine 10 of the most luxurious weddings of Hollywood's leading ladies.
First, guess which A-list couple said their vows in a custom-designed Zen garden?
Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt
Despite what the tabloids would have us believe, Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt are officially over. But we'll admit that the superstars had the wedding of a lifetime.
Aniston and Pitt said "I do" al fresco on a cliff-top Malibu property overlooking the ocean. The site was designed to look like a Zen garden, with glowing lanterns, a canopied bridal walkway and lotus flowers floating peacefully in a large slate fountain that was specially constructed for the occasion. Candles made from brown sugar were imported from Thailand and used to illuminate the reception tent where the 200 guests, including Salma Hayek, Edward Norton, the majority of Aniston's "Friends" cast members and Melissa Etheridge (who also performed) were served peppercorn beef, lobster, crab, risotto and pasta.
After dinner, Aniston and Pitt cut into a six-tiered wedding cake, then treated their guests to a large-scale fireworks display. The estimated tab for the bash was more than $1 million.
Liza Minnelli and David Gest
Every bride wants to capture the attention of the room, but few go so far as to completely stop traffic on the street outside.
Yet, that's exactly what happened when Oscar-winner Liza Minnelli wed producer David Gest in 2002 at the famous Marble Collegiate Church in New York City. A fleet of limousines carried guests such as Lauren Bacall, Mia Farrow and Diana Ross to the service, all of whom had to navigate through a maze of tabloid photographers just to make it inside. Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor served as best man and maid of honor, and Tony Bennett crooned for the couple, backed by a 60-piece orchestra.
Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas
Yes, he's 25 years her senior, and though their relationship had been the subject of hushed whispers and tabloid speculation for several years, when Catherine Zeta-Jones married Michael Douglas, it was a classy, beautiful affair.
The $1.5 million wedding took place at the Plaza Hotel in New York City, which was filled with 20,000 cream-colored roses for the event. A 40-person Welsh choir sang during the ceremony, and Jimmy Buffett, Gladys Knight, Bonnie Tyler and Art Garfunkel provided entertainment during the reception.
The 350-person guest list included names such as Christopher Reeve, Martha Stewart, Jack Nicholson, Russell Crowe, Danny DeVito and United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan.
Elizabeth Hurley and Arun Nayar
When Elizabeth Hurley and Indian businessman Arun Nayar got married, one luxurious ceremony just wasn't enough. Instead, they decided to celebrate with two wedding bashes: one at the Sudeley Castle in England and the other at the Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur, India.
The English wedding was an Anglican ceremony attended by 300 guests, including Elle McPherson, Elton John and Prince Pavlos of Greece. It was a fairly low-key celebration (or as low-key as any wedding taking place at a castle and attended by celebrity guests can be).
Things became decidedly more festive during the Indian union. Millions of red chili peppers covered the walkways of the outdoor venue, and dancing white horses pranced about during the traditional Hindu wedding, which took place in a courtyard around a sacred fire.
Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban
Though she used to be married to another star on this list, the former Mrs. Tom Cruise's wedding to country star and fellow Aussie Keith Urban was a once-in-a-lifetime event.
Kidman arrived at the picturesque cliff-top church in a vintage Rolls Royce limo, while throngs of well-wishers and media snoops looked on.
Countless red flowers and candles were placed inside the chapel, and Australian celebrities Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman and Naomi Watts were in attendance, as was billionaire Rupert Murdoch.
Elizabeth Taylor and Larry Fortensky
You might be surprised to find a construction worker's wedding on this list, but Larry Fortensky is a special case.
The seventh spouse of Elizabeth Taylor (and her eighth marriage), Fortensky was perhaps the most unlikely partner for the screen starlet, who's 20 years his senior. They met at the Betty Ford clinic in 1988 and wed in 1991 at Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch. The ceremony was quite the spectacle, as Jackson himself gave away the bride and Taylor's hair stylist was Fortensky's best man.
Guests included Liza Minnelli, Eddie Murphy, Brooke Shields and former first lady Nancy Reagan (her husband was scheduled to attend, but he didn't show). Most of the guests were unable to hear the bride and groom's "I dos" because of the clamor caused by a dozen or so uninvited helicopters spying on the proceedings from above. In fact, one photographer parachuted into the ceremony just to snap a few pictures, though Jackson's 100-man security force quickly evicted the errant shutterbug from the premises.
Tori Spelling and Charlie Shanian
She may be better known for her roles on the small screen, but Tori Spelling had a now-legendary Hollywood wedding when she and Charlie Shanian became man and wife in 2004.
The 1920s-themed event was held outdoors on her father's estate. Certainly you've heard of super-producer Aaron Spelling? The lawn we're talking about here shoulders a 56,000 square-foot mansion.
Guests included everyone from Tori's "Beverly Hills, 90210" costars Jennie Garth and Ian Ziering, to her dad's pals Bob Newhart and Ed McMahon. The couple's two pugs served as ring bearer and flower girl for the dual-faith service (Spelling is Jewish, Shanian is Christian), and celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck catered dinner for the 350 attendees. Michael Feinstein made a surprise appearance and even sang a few songs for the newlyweds.
Salma Hayek and Francois-Henri Pinault
Movie stars are handsomely paid, so when they get hitched, it's usually an upscale affair. But consider when Salma Hayek said "I do" to her on-again, off-again beau billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault in 2009. "Upscale" doesn't begin to describe the wedding -- excuse us, weddings.
The first union was a small, intimate affair in Paris on Valentine's Day. The second ceremony, (technically a vow renewal) took place in April in Venice, Italy, and was a much grander, weekend-long affair.
After a rehearsal dinner/masquerade ball, the couple recited vows again at the opera house Teatro La Fenice. The reception was held at the Palazzo Grassi, where Hayek and Pinault first met. Guests were invited to wear Venetian masks, and the morning after, everyone was treated to a farewell brunch.
A-list stars like Woody Harrelson, Antonio Banderas, Melanie Griffith, Penelope Cruz, Charlize Theron and Bono celebrated for three days with the now twice-vowed pair.
Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise is one of the biggest movie stars in the world, so it's not surprising that when he and the baby-faced Katie Holmes (who's 16 years his junior) announced their engagement after only six weeks of dating, people had their doubts.
But the excitable actor leaped off Oprah's couch and into one of the most talked-about weddings of the decade when he and Holmes exchanged vows in 2006 at the Odescalchi Castle in Bracciano, Italy.
Holmes wore a couture silk wedding gown by Giorgio Armani, and after the double-ring Scientology ceremony, Cruise made his bride swoon by crooning a rendition of "You've Lost That Loving Feeling," a la "Top Gun."
Celebs such as Will Smith, Jennifer Lopez, Jim Carrey and David Beckham attended the nuptials, and they enjoyed a five-tiered white chocolate mousse wedding cake and a state-of-the-art fireworks display.
Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco
Grace Kelly lived the fairy tale that girls dream about. She was already an Oscar-winning princess of the silver screen, but when she married Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956, she became actual royalty.
After a small, private civil ceremony the day before, Princess Grace (as she was known henceforth) had what many believe to be the wedding of the decade, if not the century. She wore a couture gown composed 300 yards of lace, 25 yards of taffeta and 98 yards of tulle. It sparkled with more than 800,000 sequins, a smattering of rhinestones and 1,500 pearls.
The entire population of Monaco -- more than 3,000 people -- attended the Catholic ceremony, and the event was filmed by MGM and shown in U.S. movie theaters.
Americans don’t have a royal family, but are fascinated by royalty. HowStuffWorks looks at five Americans who married into royalty.
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