By Peter Castro
October 07, 1996 12:00 PM

PETER COOK WANTED TO SURPRISE Christie Brinkley and had secretly asked all the church bells in town to toll as the two exchanged vows under a gazebo set in a broad meadow in Bridgehampton, N.Y. What the wedding party heard instead was the earsplitting racket of a paparazzi-hired chopper hovering directly overhead. “The wedding was spectacular,” recalls Jean Cook, the groom’s mother, “but it was just impossible to hear what they were saying.” Welcome to the wonderful world of celebrity, Mr. Cook.

What the ceremony lost in tranquillity it made up in splendor. As ex-husband Billy Joel and his girlfriend, artist Carolyn Beegan, looked on with 125 other guests, Brinkley, 42, walked down the aisle on the arm of her father, television producer Dan Brinkley, wearing a white Armani suit with a long skirt and train. Cook, 37, an architect (and a groom for the first time), met his bride in a black-crepe Armani suit, holding the hand of Alexa Ray, Brinkley’s 10-year-old daughter with Joel, and carrying Jack Paris, Brinkley’s 15-month-old son by her third and most recent ex-husband, real estate developer Ricky Taubman. Cook’s yellow lab Kaylie lay under the gazebo and slept through the ceremony. “Christie has been beaming ever since she met Peter [at a friend’s house last February],” says Brinkley’s close friend, art dealer Mindy Moak. “After the wedding she said, ‘Didn’t I just marry the world’s greatest guy?’ ”

Maybe so. At least Brinkley has basis for comparison. In 1974 her marriage to French illustrator Jean-Francois Allaux ended after seven years. Her nine-year union to Joel dissolved two years ago, and last December she split from Taubman, following an acrimonious court battle in which she accused him of not repaying a $1.5 million loan. But Brinkley, who left the day after the wedding with Cook for a two-week honeymoon in Italy, is forever the optimist. “She was thrilled to be getting married,” says her pal Jill Rappaport, a Today correspondent. “Her attitude was, ‘Let the party begin.’ ”

PETER CASTRO

MARIA EFTIMIADES in New York City

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