Close friends and megastars only as Trump weds in style

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The Independent US

Pity poor Donald Trump. No cameras, he said, for his wedding last night to model Melania Knauss. No special deal with a magazine, he insisted, to cover his third wedding. This was to have been a private event, for close friends and guests.

Pity poor Donald Trump. No cameras, he said, for his wedding last night to model Melania Knauss. No special deal with a magazine, he insisted, to cover his third wedding. This was to have been a private event, for close friends and guests.

So how come so many details leaked out in advance of last night's ceremony in Palm Beach, Florida? How did we know that Melania would actually have two wedding dresses, that her diamond ring was worth $1.5m (£840,000) that the 350-strong guest list included the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas, Bruce Willis and Clint Eastwood?

A cynic might have presumed that Mr Trump, 58, actually enjoys all this publicity.

He has certainly made clear that he intends his relationship with Ms Knauss, 34, to work out, unlike his previous two marriages which ended with the same sort of publicity that this one has started with.

"I know her so well," Mr Trump said of his betrothed to the Palm Beach Post newspaper. "We've been together for more than five years, and we've lived together for three years. And she's a solid person. She was a very successful model. She made her own way."

On Friday night the couple attended a rehearsal at the Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea where their marriage ceremony was due to take place yesterday afternoon, local time.

After the service, the couple and their guests were to retire to Mr Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club resort for a weekend of celebration and merriment.

Even by the usual standards of hype surrounding Trump and his brazen self-promotion - most recently displayed in the reality television show The Apprentice - the interest in the real estate mogul's wedding has been extraordinary. Every detail about every possible aspect of the wedding has been snapped up by the gossip pages of the US newspapers, considered, commented upon and then regurgitated elsewhere.

It is known for instance - because Ms Knauss posed in it for Vogue magazine - that she was due to exchange vows in a strapless Christian Dior gown, made from more than 300 feet of material, which had a 13ft train and a 16ft veil. The gown is so big that Ms Knauss was expected to sit on a stool during last night's dinner because she would not be able to fit into a chair.

After the couple's first dance, she was due to change into a sleeker tulle dress by Vera Wang. She was expected to wear shoes by Manolo Blahnik, with the highest possible heel. Mr Trump, meanwhile, was due to wear a white tie and white cummerbund by Brioni.

Guests were expected to dine on a feast prepared by the New York chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, consisting of filet mignon with green peppercorn sauce. The wedding cake was 5ft high, covered with Grand Marnier butter cream and three thousand roses made from white icing.

Subtle it may not be, but that is the point with Mr Trump, who has never shied away from the cameras. Indeed, some reports suggested he was considering selling the television rights to his wedding for $25m until his Slovenian born bride ruled out such a move.

Oddly enough, the one place where last night's wedding appeared to have caused less of a stir was Palm Beach itself, an old-money community that for decades was the winter getaway choice for America's establishment elite. It seems that not all of this set are entirely taken with Mr Trump.

Agnes Ash, a retired society chronicler, told a reporter: "This is not a social wedding - it's a celebrity wedding. And news events like that don't always penetrate the rest of Palm Beach."

THAT WEDDING IN NUMBERS...

5: Foot is the height of the Grand Marnier-flavoured wedding cake. It will be decorated with 3,000 white roses made of icing.

24: Years is the age difference between the bride and groom, for whom Melania will be wife number three.

40: Dresses were ordered by guests from the Worth Avenue Boutique in Palm Beach, at a cost of up to $26,000 each.

500: Guests are expected to turn out, many of them America's wealthiest, most powerful, high society figures.

$700: Will buy you a replica of the wedding ring. A copy of the engagement ring comes in a little cheaper, at $600. The real thing cost $1.5m.

1,500: Rhinestones and pearls have been embroidered into Melania's wedding dress, leaving her unable to sit on a chair.

Chandra Fifield

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