Billionaire Google founder ties knot in uncharted waters

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The Independent US

How does the world's richest bachelor get married in style? In the case of Larry Page, the co-founder of Google who is tying the knot today, on a private island in the Bahamas owned by his friend and best man, Sir Richard Branson.

Hundreds of guests including politicians, rock stars and other luminaries are expected to attend the ceremony on Necker Island, a tiny blob of land in the Virgin Islands with room to house just 28 people.

Most of the guests will be staying on another private island, Virgin Gorda, which is a 10-minute boat ride away. Hotel space on Gorda has been booked up for months, and the entire place is expected to be given over to Googlemania.

The guest list includes Bill and Hillary Clinton, who are expected to attend even though Hillary is falling behind in the polls less than a month away from the first primary in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Also attending will be the U2 frontman Bono. Al Gore was invited but had to send his regrets because he will be travelling to Oslo to pick up the Nobel Peace Prize one of the better no-show excuses in the etiquette book.

Mr Page is marrying Lucy Southworth, a doctoral student in biomedical informatics at Mr Page's alma mater, Stanford University, in the heart of Silicon Valley south of San Francisco. They have been dating for more than a year.

The wedding was supposed to be completely hush-hush, with even wedding guests left largely in the dark about where they were heading. Invitations offered only a date, and a stipulation that everyone should have a valid passport.

When a man is worth $20bn, however, certain secrets are impossible to keep. On Wednesday, the New York Post revealed the location and the expected number of guests 600. It appears the guests will fly into St Thomas, the biggest of the Virgin Islands, then take smaller planes and helicopters to Virgin Gorda, a 40-minute ride.

Necker Island is so small and exclusive it does not intriguingly even appear on the Google map service. (A consequence, perhaps, of Mr Page's friendship with Branson.) The island's website, however, reveals that each of its 14 Balinese-style houses, blessed with pools, jacuzzis, private chefs and other luxuries, costs $46,000 (23,000) a night when available.

Mr Page met his Google co-founder, Sergey Brin, when they were both graduate students at Stanford in the late 1990s. The search engine they developed together rapidly became the most popular on the web. The company went public in 2004, making them both instant billionaires, and its value has increased sevenfold since.

Mr Page clung on to his single status a little longer than his partner. Mr Brin married his longtime girlfriend Anne Wojcicki in June, also in the Bahamas.

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