When it comes to love and the grand march down the aisle, we're fascinated with what charmed celebrities with unlimited money and show-stopping resources can do -- as well as where those charmed people can take a wrong turn and create something dreadful. We love to compare notes, get inspiration, or even squeal with horror when things go wrong. Here are my favorite celebrity wedding tidbits to entertain you, and perhaps inspire you, as you plan your own big day.
Nothing holds as much intrigue as the huge engagement rings that brides of Hollywood flash around tinsletown. By now, most of the world knows about J. Lo.'s 6-carat pink diamond from Harry Winston. But other ladies have equally enviable rocks. Kate Hudson, Goldie Hawn's adorable daughter, married rocker Chris Robinson in a whirlwind romance. He proposed to her with an old fashioned 5-carat Asher-cut diamond in an art-deco mounting.
For Brad Pitt, buying a ready-made diamond for Jennifer Aniston wouldn't do. He had one made to his instructions. (He also designed their wedding bands.) The Aside band in white gold with .18 carats of diamonds was the result. Of course, this isn't the first ring that Pitt has designed. Who can forget the sparkler he gave Gwyneth Paltrow when they were engaged? He also designed that ring, which had three small diamonds set into the band on the palm side, so every way you looked at it, it glittered.
Director Guy Ritchie put some personal thought into the Edwardian Ring he gave Madonna; the platinum Neil Lane ring had a decorative band and three large stores to symbolize their family.
Not everyone goes the traditional route. Colored gemstones are a stunning departure from tradition and often catch the eye more than plain diamonds. American Beauty star Mena Suvari chose to use her birthstones -- amethysts and citrines -- when she married her husband, cinematographer Robert Brinkmann. The stones are set in an asymmetrical design around a gold band.
All of Hollywood was buzzing when Catherine Zeta-Jones sported her 10-carat antique diamond engagement ring from Michael Douglas, reminding us of the days when Liz Taylor stunned the world with the Taylor-Burton diamond. Douglas and Zeta-Jones prove once again that in Hollywood, size definitely matters.
Often the true sentiment of the romance is captured by the inscription inside the ring. It's traditional for the date or the name of your future spouse to be engraved inside, but modern brides often like a little love note or personal joke instead. Courtney Cox and David Arquette reportedly have "A Deal's a Deal" engraved inside their rings. Among the current rumors swirling over possible engagement plans for Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake, is one that says that her engagement ring simply has his initials inscribed on a gold band.
Before their front page split, Liza Minnelli sported a teardrop-shaped 3.5 carat diamond ring from David Gest. They followed with a wedding where even the bridal party, which included Michael Jackson and Liz Taylor, were fodder for the paparazzi. The guest list was full of a-list and b-list celebs although Liza's own sister, Lorna Luft, had "a previous engagement." My inside scoop is that David Gest missed the rehearsal dinner! No wonder the wedding didn't last long.
While this is Liza's fourth wedding - and many brides don't even register for their second wedding - Liza and David registered for 389 gifts from Tiffany & Co., including 12 silver platters and new flatware and crystal. But the couple did give back to their guests. Along with a lavish wedding dinner and the pleasure of hearing Natalie Cole sing, guests got personalized favors. At the rehearsal dinner, guests received heart-shaped cookies with the couple's names written on top. The theme was repeated with the wedding favors of satin candy boxes that read "Liza and David 4 Ever."
But wedding favors can be more than a typical burned CD or a scented candle. When the couple takes the time to inject their own personality into their favors (be they hopeless romantics or jokesters), there is nothing cookie-cutter about them. As seen in In Style Weddings, John Stamos and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos created kitschy air-fresheners printed with a '70s style photo of themselves and the words "our love will last forever" -- then had the valets hang them in guests' cars.
Something as simple as flowers can set the tone for the entire wedding. In Style reported that in her wedding to Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston chose a fresh and simple bouquet of vendella roses and green hydrangea tied with a white satin ribbon. When marrying Charlie Sheen, Denise Richards chose to carry a classic bouquet of white and ivory polo roses. Debra Messing, on the other hand, opted for something minimal and stately -- a bouquet of tall calla lilies. True to her sweet, girlish nature, LeAnn Rimes opted to carry a bouquet of roses, sweet peas, hydrangea, and freesia.
When celebs choose to have a wedding at home, they often add luxurious touches. When Barbra Streisand married James Brolin, the swimming pool was decorated with hundreds of floating candles and pink water lilies. According to Britain's Daily Mirror, Emma Thompson and Greg Wise had their wedding at home this summer their holiday home on Loch Eck in Argyll, Scotland. The newlyweds generously gave champagne to the local villagers who came to wish them well. You might call model Mia Tyler and rocker David Buckner's wedding low-key and sort of an at home wedding - the pair wed in a surprise move onstage at dad Steven Tyler's Aerosmith concert.
Yet most celebs spare no expense, spending enough money in one day to buy the average couple 2 or 3 new homes. Aniston and Pitt's fairy tale wedding cost over $1 million, as did Beatle Paul McCartney's and Heather Mills's wedding. Purportedly, Zeta-Jones and Douglas spent between 1.2 and 1.5 million on their lavish feast catering alone cost Â£500 pounds per wedding guest and her dress supposedly cost Â£100,000 pounds. And the short-lived Minnelli-Gest wedding cost $3.4 million.
But surprisingly, what's supposedly the most expensive wedding ever wasn't a celebrity one. Multimillionaire Peter Shalson and wife Pauline spent Â£2 million to have Elton John perform at their wedding, plus another Â£6 million on opulent touches such as live parrots and the finest champagne and caviar for their 300 guests!
Even celebrities can feel overwhelmed by the burden of planning their enormously scaled weddings, even with the help of wedding planners. (Look at Ben and J.Lo current rumors are that they're planning a much more scaled-down nuptial after being overwhelmed by the planned gala event.) With all of their resources, many celebrities still fall under the charms of eloping to Las Vegas. Kelly Ripa and her soap opera star husband Mark Consuelos ran away to Sin City, as did Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton (back when they were both sporting their tattoos of each other's names). Suvari and Brinkmann eloped to California's Big Sur, supposedly disappointing her parents.
But in keeping with the typical celebrity desire to have it all, many are eloping for the more intimate vows, then returning for the media circus wedding. Ted Casablanca - the authority on celebrity gossip for E! Online - reported that Freddie Prinze, Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar eloped to Mexico to tie the knot in a private ceremony, before returning to the U.S. for the "official" ceremony. Liv Tyler and Spacehog frontman Royston Langdon married in Barbados with only a few friends and no parents, then returned to plan a family affair at New York hotspot Pastis.
And in the newest celebrity fad, the paparazzi are thrown off the scent with a fake, mock up wedding. Again leading the pack are Affleck and Lopez, whose original plans included hiring several decoy brides and staging fake weddings. According to Mark Armstrong, celebrity reporter for E! News, Brooke Shields and her writer husband Chris Henchy have already pulled off this stunt. While they married in a private location, they prepared an elaborate fake wedding, complete with mannequins as guests. about