From the black Vera Wang bridesmaid dresses and red-and-black wedding colors to the chandeliers dripping with crystals and 10,000 black magic roses flown in from Ecuador, the wedding of singer Ashlee Simpson and Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz may have looked like the ultimate rocker event. But for the couple and their 150 guests, it felt more like a sweet fairy tale. As soon as the bride, clad in an ivory lace Monique Lhuillier gown and a cathedral-length veil, started walking down the aisle on her father’s arm to a string quartet playing the Beatles’ “Blackbird,” the tears of joy began to flow. By the time she reached the altar, her sister and maid of honor Jessica was wiping her own wet cheeks. “We kind of lost it,” says Ashlee, 23. “It was like a dream walking into that room.” Adds Pete, 28: “She looked like a girl right out of a movie.”
Make that a really romantic movie. After Ashlee’s father, Joe, performed the nondenominational ceremony, during which the couple’s mothers lit a unity candle, the newlyweds shared their first kiss as husband and wife. “I went ‘November Rain’ a little too much,” says Pete, referring to the over-the-top Guns N’ Roses video. “I went the opposite of churchy.” Adds Ashlee: “It was a long kiss and then we were like, ‘Oh, wait, can we have another one?’ So we had another one.”
With its blend of quirky (the couple’s English bulldog, Hemingway, decked out in an Elizabethan collar, served as ring bearer), whimsical (the wedding cake was in the shape of a top hat decorated with a teapot, a stopwatch and a flower pot) and romantic touches (the couple stole kisses all night), Ashlee and Pete’s May 17 wedding was anything but ordinary. “It was a perfect reflection of them as a couple,” says wedding planner Mindy Weiss, who organized the Alice in Wonderland-themed event in the month and a half between the couple’s engagement and the big day.
The guest list included Nicole Richie and Joel Madden, CaCee Cobb and Donald Faison, as well as the groom’s dad, Pete, and mom Dale. And contrary to reports that Jessica and her boyfriend, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, had split days before the event, he was there as Jessica’s doting date for the evening. The guests entered a wedding wonderland underneath a massive white tent erected in the backyard of Ashlee’s parents’ Encino, Calif., home. Says Pete: “We wanted people to feel like they stepped into a topsy-turvy world.”
After cocktails (guests munched on sushi and drank miniature bottles of tequila labeled “Drink Me!”), the newlyweds were introduced as Mr. and Mrs. Wentz. Their first dance, to Bright Eyes’ “First Day of My Life,” was “so sweet,” says Ashlee. “We were singing the words to each other.”
As the reception got under way, the bride changed into another Monique Lhuillier gown—this one made of black silk tulle—and with the help of hairstylist Ken Paves tied her hair in a sideswept ponytail before sitting down to a three-course dinner (including spicy tuna tartare, Snake River Farms New York steak and mini baked Alaska with raspberry sorbet) catered by chef Wolfgang Puck. The newlyweds, who first met in London at a Top of the Pops taping in 2006 and were friends before they started dating later that year, sat in heart-shaped chairs at a table decorated with giant teacups, teapots and saucers filled with red roses and hot-pink hydrangea by L.A. florist Mark’s Garden.
Maid of honor Jessica, 27, got the tears flowing again during her speech, in which she said she was excited to welcome Pete as a brother. “She always takes good care of me,” says Ashlee. “She was excited and proud of her little sister. It meant the world to me.”
At the reception, Jessica and Romo kissed, held hands and took the lead on the black-and-white checkered dance floor. “They danced the night away!” says Pete. “They actually, I think, had a blast.”
Certainly, so did the bride and groom. “I was skipping around all night,” says Ashlee, “Like, oh my God, I’m a wife!” As guests left with boxed cookies, the groom had a final surprise for his new wife: For their wedding night, he had set up a custom safari tent on a hill behind the Simpson estate, complete with a chandelier, initialed pillowcases on the bed and ingredients for making s’mores. “The whole night was amazing,” says the bride, who plans to change her last name to Wentz and use Simpson-Wentz professionally. As for the pitter-patter of little feet? Though sources say Ashlee is already expecting, she has not confirmed the pregnancy. “We would love to have a big family one day,” she says. Adds Pete with a laugh: “A big soccer team or a band!”