Is there anything better than a really fabulously over-the-top celebrity wedding? I don’t think so, which is why I’ve written a novel about them. Laura Lake And The Hipster Weddings is a riff on the phenomenon of elaborately over-styled nuptials, from boho-chic woodland affairs with guests on haybales to castles, tiaras and ancestral carriages, or arty extravaganzas in Victorian loos in Shoreditch.

Wendy Holden by Laurie Fletcher

Wendy Holden by Laurie Fletcher

Writing it, I was inspired by a number of recent real-life unions of famousness. The twenty first century has marked a new high in hedonistic high jinks on a marital theme and long may this continue! Here are my top ten.

10. The bohotastic Charlie Gilmour nuptials when the bride and groom (stepson of Pink Floyd star Dave), wearing only the flowers in their hair, jumped starkers into a Sussex river in 2016 to join guests already in there. The first swim, rather than the first dance.

9. The 2016 Jamie Vardy bash complete with black diamond rings, a cake like a pile of hatboxes and an aisle whose every inch was flanked with huge, health-and-safety-defying floor-level pillar candles in glass containers. There was also one of those flower arches that footballers love (Frank Lampard and Christine Bleakly had one too)

8. Eva Longoria’s ‘intimate and private’ 2016 Mexican lakeside ceremony in which she married Jose Antonio ‘Pepe’ Baston and ‘showcased’ (love that word) no less than three wedding dresses (all by best friend Victoria Beckham) and received video messages from Hillary Clinton and President Obama.

7. Bo Bruce’s cosmic Celtic handfasting in Savernake Forest. Under a mighty oak called The King of Limbs, and watched by guests sitting on haybales and conveyed into the depths of the forest by tractor, The Voice star wed her best friend/bandmate/ Henry Binns in a ceremony involving their hands being bound together with ribbons. The magical 2016 nuptials were full of creative touches including an acoustic performance by Red Sky July, a trio including someone called Charity Hair. 

6. ECCLESTONE 1 Billionaire’s daughter Petra, sister of Tamara, married American businessman James Stunt in what was, no kidding, a stunt of a wedding. The lavish 2011 Italian ceremony, costing a rumoured £12 million, took place in Tuscany’s 15th century Odaleschi Castle (reported cost to hire: £315k). The bride’s £80k dress came courtesy of Vera Wang and the wine drunk by the guests came courtesy of Louis Roederer and Chateau Petrus. Entertainment came courtesy of Eric Clapton and the Black Eyed Peas.

5. ECCLESTONE 2 Not to be outdone by her sister, Tamara made it legal in an even-more-lavish three day 2013 French Riviera extravaganza. Brandishing a champagne flute and wearing three separate white outfits over the course of the celebrations, Tamara danced on the beach with a groom resplendent in white shorts. aviators, a big gold Rolex and blue deck shoes. A banging post-wedding beach set was provided by superstar DK Mark Ronson. Wedding singers were Elton John, Mariah Carey and Lionel Richie, who dedicated Endless Love to the couple, although it might as well have been Endless Money.

4.  BRANSON 1. It was a very special, private moment when banker Freddie Andrewes subtly popped the question to Richard Branson’s daughter Holly using an enormous, specially-ordered firework which spelt out the proposal message. It did the trick however and December 2011 saw 100 guests invited to Necker, Branson’s famous private island in the BVI, for four days of celebrations. Invitees received passports stamped ‘Freddie and Holly, Necker’ and a 12-page itinerary including kite-surfing, sailing, a Pirates of Carribean-themed party on the sand, beach Olympics and a White Night dinner. “We are world-famous when it comes to parties,” Holly Branson said. “To get ‘so Neckered’ is a saying for a reason.” Even so, there were natural limits; Holly’s plan to spend her wedding morning jumping off a cliff were derailed by the weather. A champagne hot-tub with her bridesmaids was the logical substitute, which must have been something of a relief. 

3. BRANSON 2 An elaborate invitation covered in gnomes and pixies summoned guests in fancy dress to the 2014 woodland party celebrating Richard Branson’s son Sam’s marriage to Isabella Calthorpe (the actual wedding, dubbed ‘The Nearly Royal Wedding’ had actually happened in South African the November before) The groom teamed a silver steampunk topper with silver-sprayed leather trousers, while the bride wore a fringed cut-out playsuit. Prof Brian Cox sported an embroidered Georgian suit and riding boots while his wife rocked a black tutu and pink fairy wings. Sir Richard dressed as Robin Hood and Sam’s sister Holly (see above), resplendent in a pair of black-sprayed stag horns threaded with lightbulbs, revealed that friends had sponsored two rhinos on the happy couple’s behalf. “As you, Sam and Bellie, grow old and saggy together, so will two fat-bottomed rhinos plodding about in the bush.”

2: Andrea Casiraghi and Tatiana Santo Domingo. An intimate 2013 ceremony in the stunningly understated location that is Monaco. The sunglasses-sporting groom’s arrival in an army jeep kicked off three days of celebrations including a party on Princess Caroline’s yacht. To wed the second in line to Monaco’s throne, Colombian billionaire’s daughter Tatiana sported her signature laid-back hippie-chic style; a bespoke crochet gown by Missoni and a simple wreath of flowers on hair styled in flowing waves. The couple’s Boston terrier dog Daphne was in attendance.

1: Will and Kate The splendid 2011 Westminster Abbey bash with Prince William and his brother in splendid red uniforms and Pippa Middleton’s famous bottom making its first appearance has yet to be equalled for sheer showbiz glamour. The cartwheeling verger, Princess Beatrice’s alien hat, the real trees in the cathedral aisle and David Beckham actually wearing his OBE are only some of the details that live long in the memory. Can Prince Harry’s rumoured forthcoming nuptials knock it off the number one spot?

Laura Lake And The Hipster Wedding by Wendy Holden, published in hardback and ebook by Head of Zeus