THE PAGES OF THE CITY OF Westminister’s marriage registry in central London bear mute testimony to the pairs of signatories who over the decades have departed there as man and wife. On May 14, Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas added their names to the list, and registrar Pretti Vara, 20, who presided at the half-hour civil ceremony uniting star and star, is happily chatty. “There was definitely something there—love,” she says. “They were very sweet.”
The British have had ample opportunity to observe the couple, publicly kissing their way across two continents ever since Two Much, the comedy that united them last spring when Griffith’s (second) marriage to actor Don Johnson was collapsing. And Banderas—who never announced his divorce in California last month from first wife Ana Leza—has been in London wrapping up the filming of Evita.
But Vara got a closer look than most. Banderas, 35, in his dark, tailored suit, “looked pretty swish,” she says. (In England, that’s praise.) Griffith, 38, wore “a long, flowing dress.” Her engagement ring “was really nice”—according to USA Today, he paid $160,000 for it at Garrard and Co., the Crown jeweler—”but I think the wedding bands were plain gold.” Before the service ended, 10-year-old Alexander Bauer, Griffith’s son with another ex, actor Steven Bauer, unexpectedly shouted, “You may now kiss the bride!” The 15 guests, including Evita producer Robert Stigwood and Griffith’s daughter Dakota Johnson, 6, applauded.
So, from afar, did the bride’s mother, actress Tippi Hedren, 60. Noting that her daughter’s baby is due in September, Hedren observed simply, “It’s much nicer to be married than not married.” Paparazzophobia kept away Hedren and Banderas’s family, who are in Malaga, Spain. Melanie’s father (and Hedren’s ex), former Realtor Peter Griffith, talked to the bride by phone from his New Mexico horse ranch. “She sounded great,” says Griffith, 62, who describes his new son-in-law as “down-to-earth, no big ego, no nothing.”
No honeymoon, either. Evita’s shooting schedule is tight, and the groom was due back on the set within 48 hours.