Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Keep It Simple, Keep It Real - remembering what it's all about

I was lucky enough to witness the moment when Sir Paul McCartney and his bride Nancy Shevall arrived at Marylebone Register Office, waved to the crowds and then headed inside to say their vows.  When I say "witnessed,"  I acutally mean 'caught on the BBC News 24 channel'.  This very rarely happens to me - being just in time to catch a significant moment - and I can't helped but feel a little proud of this.

The other thing you couldn't help but notice was how happy he and his bride looked.  My belief is that not only were they in love, they didn't have many of the hang-ups of a big wedding with lots of photographers, media attention, and general hullabaloo that weddings seem to attract.  Paul and Nancy had it sussed - they invited only 30 of their closet friends and family to witness their marriage.  They then had a party at home with food and music exactly as they wanted it.  No bending to specific venue suppliers, fussy caterers or overbearing magazine photographers trying to get as many celebs as possible in the one shot.  Perfect!

Having a quiet wedding when you're a celeb is not easy.  Madonna and Guy Richie's nuptials in December 2000 had the world's media circus clamouring at the doors of Skibo Castle in Scotland.  Yet ultimately, all the disruption was for nothing.  Photographers and fans alike were left disappointed by the complete no-show of the happy couple.  Some fans even felt let down that they were not permitted a teensy glimpse into their favourite singer's big day.  Many locals felt peeved at having so much upheaval and disturbance, particularly in the run-up to Christmas, with no reward.  At least Kate Moss had the decency to send everybody in Southrop a bottle of champagne to say sorry for the disruption!

Perhaps the best way to handle public interest in a wedding is by doing it the way that Zoe Ball & Norman Cook, Abbey Clancy & Peter Crouch, and Ed Milliband & Justine Thornton did it: by keeping the celebrations strictly behind closed doors, but posing for fans and photographers for just a couple of minutes.  The public gets what it wants and the couple can party in relative peace.  Alternatively, when Macca married Heather Mills in 2002, they issued one official photograph from their day which was sold to media agencies in exchange for a donation to their chosen charities.

Thankfully, press control is something few of us will ever have to worry about.  However, if you're planning to marry quietly, 'just us two', you may want to consider hiring a good photographer, selecting one image and sending it out a print - an 'official' photograph - to your friends and family who weren't there to give them a little taste of what the day was like.  It will probably help to heal any sore wounds caused by a missed opportunity to party.

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