Bride: Petra Ecclestone - daughter of Formula 1 President Bernie Ecclestone
Groom: James Stunt - British businessman
Venue: Odescalchi Castle, Lake Bracciano near Rome (where Katie Holmes
became Mrs Tom Cruise)
Date: 27th August 2011
Ceremony: The cobbled piazza leading to the castle was closed for the day
as guests made their way to the service. They congregated at 6pm for the twilight
ceremony, carried out by the Rev Nick Papadopolous from St Peter’s church, Eaton
Square, near to the home the couple share in London’s Belgravia. The castle grounds
had been transformed into what was described as a ‘magical world’ themed setting,
with air-conditioned, flower-filled canopies to keep guests cool.
Guests were greeted by an 18-piece string section from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, led by renowned conductor Nigel Short, who performed a 40-minute selection of classical music. During the service they also performed three hymns chosen by the couple, Dear Lord And Father Of Mankind, All Things Bright And Beautiful and an uplifting version of Sir Hubert Parry’s Jerusalem. Accompanying them was the 20-member Tenebrae Choir, described as ‘one of the greatest choirs in the world’.
Once pronounced man and wife, the newlyweds were serenaded by Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, who performed his hit Time To Say Goodbye then Somos Novios, ending with Can’t Help Falling In Love.
Dress: £80,000 couture white strapless wedding gown by designer Vera Wang.
Flowers: Petra carried a traditional Italian decorated black fan in preference
to a bouquet of flowers.
Jewellery: Beautiful diamond tiara and drop earrings.
Hair: Blonde hair left loose around her shoulders in tumbling curls.
Bridesmaids: Older sister Tamara was Maid of Honour and close friends Skye
Mellar and Ines Raddock were bridesmaids.
Groom’s attire: The groom and best man and ushers wore black tuxedos with
white shirts and white bow-ties. They had white handkerchiefs in their top pockets,
but no button hole flowers.
Wedding Car: The bride set out from her suite in the Hassler Hotel in Rome
30 miles away in a white Rolls-Royce Phantom but switched to a Vintage Rolls-Royce,
with former Formula 1 driver Jean Alesi at the wheel for her grand entrance.
The three days of lavish celebrations had started the night before the wedding with a banquet hosted by the bride’s father at the 17th century Villa Aurelia, in the heart of Rome. The family were given a police escort through the city as they made their way to the black-tie dinner in a fleet of Rolls-Royce Phantoms. Guests were also taken to the venue in 80+ black cars. Celebrity chef Alain Ducasse with three-Michelin stars, created an Italian-themed meal of Beluga caviar.
Something New: James gave his bride a Rolls Royce Ghost as a wedding present
worth £260,000. He left it outside her Beverly Hills Hotel, with a large white
Reception: At the reception, guests toasted the happy couple with vintage
Louis Roederer Cristal champagne and £4,000-a-bottle Chateau Petrus wine and enjoyed
caviar canapés while watching fireworks and an elaborate acrobatic show. However,
the groom is teetotal – said to have an aversion to drink following an incident
at the age of 14, when he became drunk on two bottles of his father’s Dom Perignon.
Petra is also tee total.
Guests dined on calamari, spinach ravioli, lamb chops and chocolate ¬pudding with ice-cream
Eric Clapton’s provided the music for the couple’s first dance free of charge and was followed by the Black Eyed Peas who performed for a reported £1.5 million fee, Alicia Keys and DJ David Guetta who charged £500,000.
The evening finished in truly breathtaking style with another fireworks display at midnight. Later that night, the drunken best man staggered into the newly weds hotel room and ended up getting into bed with them!
Honeymoon: After a brief stop over in London, the couple resumed their
honeymoon in LA
Cost: Originally estimated at £5 million. The father of the bride Bernie
Eccleston, later discovered his ex-wife Slavica and daughter had spent a staggering
£12 million on the nuptials, including £310,000 for the hire of the castle and
a quantity of Chateau Petrus wine, costing £4,000 a bottle. The entertainment
cost over £2 million.
The orchestra and choir flew in on Friday, with three of the cellos requiring their own seats on the plane, at a further cost in excess £100,000.
Preparing for the event, Petra and her family occupied the £2,300-a-night Hassler Hotel suites for 2 nights.
This was probably one of the most expensive weddings ever; if you don’t count the £20 million it cost to police Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge’s marriage in April 2011.
Here’s just part of Bernie’s eye-popping bill:
£1.5 million The Black Eyed Peas
£800,000 Vintage Wines
£600,000 Alicia Keys
£500,000 David Guetta, DJ
£400,000 Additional costs including security and wedding planner
£310,000 Odescalchi Castle
£250,000 Gifts for wedding party and special participants
£250,000 Royal Philharmonic Orchestra fee plus transport costs
£150,000 Andrea Bocelli
£150,000 Food for guests
£140,000 Alain Ducasse
£140,000 Hire of all 122 rooms for guests at Rome’s Hotel De Russe
£100,000 Firework displays
£100,000 Bridesmaids and maid of honour dresses
£80,000 Vera Wang wedding dress
£50,000 90 rooms at the Hassler Hotel for guests
£9,200 Two suites at the Hassler Hotel for family
£1,000 Phantom Rolls-Royce hire
NO CHARGE Eric Clapton
Number of guests: 250 VIP guests
Special guests: Paris and Nicky Hilton, Sarah Ferguson and daughters Princesses
Beatrice and Eugenie, Former Renault Formula One boss Flavio Briatore, Actor David
Arquette, British socialite Tamara Beckwith,
Engagement: James proposed on Wednesday 30th March 2011 after asking Petra’s
father, Bernie Ecclestone for her hand in marriage. Their engagement party took
place in Battersea with singer Rihanna paid £250,000 to perform.
Where did they meet? The couple met on a blind date five years ago. Petra
is said to have fallen in love with him straight away.