Temptation to crash Saturday’s California wedding of Sean Parker, dot-com buccaneer and renowned party guy, will be as mighty as the ravines and ridges of Big Sur where it will be held. Sadly the obstacles are daunting. If you are not dressed right, you will be spied at once and ejected (or worse).
All will be wildly extravagant as befits the founder of Napster, the once mighty file-sharing website, and the first president of facebook.com. The forecast today for the Ventana Inn & Spa (the very determined can Google the address) is for bright sunshine, 300 guests and suitable festivities costing $10m to stage. According to one report, meanwhile, the flowers and plants alone will be billed at $1m.
The groom apparently requested a Hollywood feel to his nuptials – recall he was played by Justin Timberlake in the film about Facebook’s beginnings, The Social Network. Hence the fevered construction that has reportedly been going on at the venue behind temporary fences these past few weeks. Guests will find themselves on a veritable movie set with a pop-up cottage, waterfalls, streams, a pond and fake ruins.
This is where the paparazzi and any other aspiring intruders face their biggest challenge. Mr Parker, whose bride is singer-song writer Alexandra Lenas, revealed in April that he had also hired the Oscar-winning costume queen Ngila Dickson who ran wardrobe for Lord of the Rings and Xena: Warrior Princess to dress everyone attending. That is to say every guest will show up in whatever garb she assigns them. Even the drivers of the limousine company ferrying them to and fro will be dressed to fit the chosen theme.
Exactly what that theme will be only the invitees know. And who they are remains a well-guarded secret, though the royalty of Silicon Valley will surely be among them. May we soon see smuggled snaps of Larry Page as Gandalf? Or Bill Gates as Gollum? Maybe not. Posting on Twitter last month, Mr Parker, 33, denied he meant to transform his friends and family into mythical gods, goblins or trolls. “Sorry to disappoint, but the wardrobe we’re giving wedding guests is essentially modern,” he revealed. “No swords or chain mail.”
The hubbub surrounding the Parker-Lenas wedding may have caused a few nervous shudders. The Silicon Valley aesthetic is usually more button-collar and ironed-chinos. Most threatening was news that the local authorities had begun poking around to see if the Ventana Inn had green-lighted construction for the grand nuptials without the proper permits and paperwork. That prompted talk that the whole shindig would be moved elsewhere.
But Mr Parker, who is a lead investor in today’s hot music-sharing site Spotify and whose net worth has been put at $2bn by Forbes, has apparently overcome all possible glitches and there is no stopping the extravaganza. And if some think it over-the-top, he is unlikely to be concerned. “Sean is so excited about the wedding he doesn’t care about the cost,” one unnamed friend was quoted telling the New York Post. A small army of security guards will form a human ring around the venue throughout today – just one more impediment for would-be wedding crashers.
The happy couple, who have a daughter, born in Januray, have for several months been staying at the Plaza Hotel in New York pending renovation of a townhouse, will doubtless also lay on high-bar entertainment. Mr Parker knows his music. His last big party thrown two years ago to celebrate the partnership between Spotify and Facebook featured performances by The Killers, Snoop Dogg and Jane’s Addiction.