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Posted at 10:29 AM ET, 09/ 9/2008

Celebrity Weddings: Subtle Trumps Splashy in 2008

By Liz Kelly

Ellen de Generes and Portia de Rossi had only 19 guests at their August wedding. (AP)

When it comes to the celebrity wedding, subtle is the new watchword. And with just a few scant months left in the year, 2008 may go down in history as the first year in recent memory in which we didn't get a major celebrity wedding over which to gawk. This index of "extravagant weddings" hasn't one 2008 entry. We may actually have to content ourselves with Jenna Bush's May wedding to Henry Hager as this year's benchmark. Gah.

You may not agree, recalling a fond moment spent in the pedicure chair perusing snaps from Ellen and Portia's recent nuptials, but as much as we love Ellen and Portia, they are no TomKat and a few strategically released pix of an intimate backyard gathering hardly counts as a voyeuristic jackpot.

Wedding Week 2008: Click for Special Report

Celebrities, unless so utterly grounded as to be covered in peat moss and earth worms, tend to be hams. Despite all that talk about paparazzi being a huge downer, they tend to wither if not given a regular dose of flash bulbs and "ET" segments. For some, that extends a bit further than the red carpet -- and so we are treated to InStyle spreads of Jennie Garth's home and the newest celeb must-have: baby pix sold off to the highest bidder so we can all delight in the first moments of Hollywood's next generation.

In recent years, we've also been treated to awfully good scoffing fodder from Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes -- whose fairy tale wedding basically took over the town of Bracciano, Italy; Eva Longoria and Tony Parker -- who stretched their highly-photographed nuptials out over a few days in Parker's native France; and the manic spree of weddings Pam Anderson and Kid Rock (since divorced) had back in the fall of 2006.

So why the sudden downsizing when it comes to celeb weddings? And is there any hope left for a big, juicy over-blown celebrity spectacle wedding this year?

Despite rumors that Brad and Angelina were thisclose to marrying back in March, the two remain happily unmarried and, considering the lengths to which they've gone to get a little privacy (Namibia and a remote French villa) I'm guessing they won't send engraved invitations to the press if and when they do decide to tie the knot.

Statistics, too, may scare some celebs away from breaking the bank on wedding day. Out of 20 couples on a 2007 list of most-expensive celebrity weddings, only 12 are still together and a few (sorry Madonna and Guy) are what we'd term "iffy."

And the weddings we have seen this year -- Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon, Beyonce and Jay-Z, Ellen and Portia have been low-key affairs. Sure, Hova and B may have spent top dollar on their fete, but kept the guest list small and the affair strictly private.

So, no, there isn't much hope that we'll get a spread like we did for Britney Spears's 2004 wedding to Kevin Federline -- People devoted several pages to detailing everything from their pre-wedding night ritual to their after-parties:

After dining on a menu of chicken fingers, Waldorf salad, barbecue ribs, cheeseburgers, and crab cakes, the 20 guests were all given Juicy track suits to wear -- the girls' were pink and said "maids" or "hot mama" and the boys' were white and said "pimps" or "pimp daddy." (Source)

That's enough to put anyone off big weddings, if not marriage altogether.

By Liz Kelly  | September 9, 2008; 10:29 AM ET
Categories:  Celebrities  
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Nothing says romance like a track suit with "Pimp" embroidered on it.

That's up there with the other "tradition" I don't get: the groom sticking his head up the bride's dress, pulling a stupid garter off her leg with his teeth, and then flinging it to a bunch of guys who will just watch it fall pathetically to the ground.
I wonder if Ellen and Portia did that?

Posted by: possum | September 9, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

What, no comments at all this morning?!?

And what's up with the tackiest-wedding, sorry, most-expensive-wedding, rehash when there's more Lynne Spears drivel to publicize? I'm too cynical to be shocked that her book is being published by a "Christian" publishing house, but that she still thinks of her adult daughters (who have now both made her a grandma) as "brave littel girls" speaks to some serious delusional thinking.

Posted by: BxNY | September 9, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I actually like the menu posted up there. Then they had to add the tracksuits. UGH!

I seem to remember a big deal being made of out Nick and Mariah.

Posted by: EricS | September 9, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

You hit on the reason in your post Liz. Expensive weddings are out as a means of publicity. The in thing is selling the baby pics. You don't even need the wedding first. No celeb wants to be behind the times by throwing a big lavish wedding spectacle now.

Posted by: ep | September 9, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Ellen's a$s is HUGE!

Posted by: Hit the gym | September 9, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

We still have Spears wedding number # 2 which is suppose to be coming up this year, correct.

Posted by: MGC | September 9, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Nothing wrong with hot pink crepe paper, balloons, a keg and a good DJ

Posted by: hodie, still happily married | September 9, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

We still have Spears wedding number # 2 which is suppose to be coming up this year, correct.

Posted by: MGC | September 9, 2008 10:55 AM

Federline was hubby #2.

Posted by: Tee hee | September 9, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

We still have Spears wedding number # 2 which is suppose to be coming up this year, correct.

Technically, MGC, that would be Spears wedding #3, because Britney has already had two. Her first was in Vegas to a former schoolmate named Jason Alexander (no, not the "Seinfeld" actor), which she allegedly did on the spur of the moment just to see what being married was like (the marriage only lasted a couple of days, and was annulled).

Posted by: Nosy Parker feels smame at remembering such details clearly | September 9, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Spears #2 = Jamie Lynn. Not Britney getting married.

Posted by: ep | September 9, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Spears #2 = Jamie Lynn. Not Britney getting married.

Posted by: ep | September 9, 2008 11:12 AM

Spears #3

Posted by: Anonymous | September 9, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

The Fall Out boy and Ashley Simpson. Wasn't their wedding a big shindig? I recall something about rare roses or something.

Posted by: petal | September 9, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I am holding my breath for neither Jamie Lynn Spear's nor Brisol Palin's wedding.


Cynical Curmudgeon

Posted by: Curmudgeon will believe it when she sees it | September 9, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Re: Mudge's comments: Jamie Lynn might be able to skip the I Do's, but not Bristol Palin. Not with Mom running for vice president on a ticket aimed at attracting morally conservative Protestant Christians. Because nothing says "sinner" quite like a never-married mother raising her child by herself...

Posted by: BxNY | September 9, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, don't minor children lose health insurance coverage via a parent if they marry? In Bristol's case, even if Levi already has health insurance (which I don't know that he does), would it cover a pre-existing condition, namely Bristol's pregnancy?

Posted by: Nosy Parker | September 9, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I did infact mean Jamie Lynn. Also, I believe Brit's 1st marriage was annulled not, a divorce, so technically her marriage to K-fed was her first.

Posted by: MGC | September 9, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Right you are, MGC, in a legal sense, although Britney's had two wedding ceremonies (even if the first one later didn't count).

Posted by: Nosy Parker | September 9, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse


If Mom Palin doesn't win the election (pray god), Bristol and Levi will be off the hook to marry, I think.

I still want to know where the Palin's get their money.

Woe betide Levi should he ever fool around on Briston if they do marry. (Levi with a set of moose antlers up his butt - not a pretty sight.)

So, perhaps the celebrity wedding fad is ending with the celebrity baby bump fast on its heels.

Posted by: Curmudgeon hates it when she doesn't believe in Tinkerbell | September 9, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

**Bored starts counting down the hours until some celeb blames the economy on their lack of an overdone wedding**

Posted by: Bored @ work | September 9, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Pat Robertson was right. I blame the gays. If they weren't too busy planning their own perfect little weddings, they'd have more time to run up the bills for all the straight celebrity weddings.

Posted by: MoCoSnarky | September 9, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

No hyphen with -ly adverbs, Liz. Stop it.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming of celebritology yumminess...

Posted by: enough | September 9, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

During the summer of 2007 my hubby's cousin asked both our kids (ages 4 and 6) to be flower girl and ring bearer at their wedding. We happily accepted. We were looking forward to visiting Charlotte, NC for the first time and seeing the rest of the family.

Many months later (it was December, to be exact), and after I had already bought my daughter's flower girl dress (which the bride picked and cost $124), the happy couple informed us that the kids will not be invited to the reception. My hubby and I were both, excuse me? Did we hear that right? No kids, even if they are members of the wedding party?

The happy couple reiterated the no-kids policy, wedding party members or not, but that we shouldn't worry because they were renting a hotel room in the same place where the reception will be held, and that they are hiring competent sitters and ordering kid-friendly food.

I was peeved to say the least. The children, whose presence necessitated my family's traveling to this wedding in the first place, was now being disinvited to the reception?

We asked the happy couple very gently but very firmly to reconsider, citing our personal affront of their choice. The money didn't matter to us; the travel time didn't matter. But the exclusion of members of the wedding party from the reception deeply offended me and my husband. My kids are members of the wedding party. They should be invited to the reception, end of story. If they didn't want kids period, why have ring bearers and flower girls in the first place?

The ending of this story was that the bride and groom ended up excluding ALL children from the reception AND the wedding itself. I don't know how many bridges they burned there. Suffice it to say we didn't get a Christmas card from the happy couple this past December.

Aaaaahh...the joys of wedding planning. Why does it have to be so painful?

Posted by: Karmela | September 9, 2008 1:15 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | September 9, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

all i could think about is what would happen if someone's kid was hurt because of a drunk driver.

Ah, maybe:

a) Not have an open bar?

b) have the bar open only for a limited time?

c) hire a fleet of taxis?

d) hire 2 cops with breathalyzers (not to do the test but just to stand at the exits as a reminder.)

e) NOT inviting your lush "friends' to a free party?

Posted by: What a piece of work! | September 9, 2008 1:52 P

Posted by: Anonymous | September 9, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I just love that Forbes magazine ranks these things! They pretend to be all high-minded and intellectual, but they are really just a bunch of starstruck fans after all.

Didn't the Pete Wentz-Ashlee Simpson nuptuals have an Alice in Wonderland theme? Maybe rather than trying to top that, other celebs are wisely waiting until '09.

Posted by: 44west | September 9, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

check out the comments at 2:05 and 2:13 on the OP blog. finally shut some of the blow hards up. good stuff!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 9, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

If a troll drops a turd in the forest and no one is around to smell it, does it still stink?

Posted by: the old philospher | September 9, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Army brat really is a "blow hard", in every sense of the word..............

Posted by: Anonymous | September 9, 2008 4:18 PM

No wonder Sasquatch on the celeb blog keeps calling AB a blowhard! we just didnt understand the context.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 9, 2008 4:29 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | September 9, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

If a troll drops a turd in the forest and no one is around to smell it, does it still stink?

Posted by: the old philospher | September 9, 2008 4:30 PM

Ummm, how would one discern the difference between a troll and a turd?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 9, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Yknow, I really don't want registration on the blog - I prefer the increased anonymity of making up handles as we go along - but I do wish someone could drop by every now and then and delete the troll posts.

Posted by: h3 | September 9, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse

I think Liz is saving up all the troll turds in her doggie doolie and doing some DNA analysis that will provide WaPo with the ability to do a very large and painful enema.

Posted by: FOLiz | September 9, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse

I have to agree with h3.

I don't see what registration brings to the table. I fail to understand how it would stop trolls from posting gibberish.

Just because WaPO would know who Curmudgeon says she is really isn't helpful and wouldn't solve any of the cross-posting and non sequitur goings on.

An enema requires an a-hole and all of those are regulars elsewhere.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 9, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

If I may dddddddrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaggggggg the conversation back to the topic du jour, we need to be having the biggest celeb wedding of all: Prince William and Kate Middleton. Now that's one I could really get excited about! Cause you know there'd be no simple, subtle ceremony there, nosirree.

Posted by: Snarky Squirrel, who loves that royalty thing | September 9, 2008 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Snarky Squirrel, some of us are old enough to recall Chuch & Di's wedding, & later Fergie & Randy Andy's.

Posted by: aged lizard | September 9, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Chuck, not Chuch.

Posted by: arrggghhhh! | September 9, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

My comment on OP took all of 4 minutes to travel over here? Wow! What do people do? Switch between all the Washpo blogs and crosspost all day? (No, don't really answer that one.)

My comment was written for OP purposes only. I don't know to be offended or honored that it went elsewhere. Nonetheless, if you want to do so, read the original post on OP at 1:34 that I was writing a reply to. It really works better if you know the whole context.

Posted by: What a piece of work! | September 9, 2008 8:17 PM | Report abuse

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