By People Staff
May 22, 2000 12:00 PM

In the emergency room of TV’s most popular prime-time drama, life for Noah Wyle’s Dr. John Carter has lately been slipping out of control: After barely surviving a brutal stabbing, he has suffered severe insomnia, huge mood swings and job insecurity. But beneath the blue skies in California’s lush Santa Ynez Valley last Saturday, everything was exactly as Wyle, 28, and his makeup-artist fiancée, Tracy Warbin, 32, had planned. Four years had passed since his love-at-first-snowball-fight encounter with Warbin on the Bethel, Maine, set of his feature film The Myth of Fingerprints. As Wyle told PEOPLE last year: “I jammed her face in the snow like an 8-year-old who’s not quite comfortable around girls. She took it like a man, and we were off and running from there.”

And so began a romance that on May 6 found the twosome driving about 10 miles from their secluded $2.5 million Santa Ynez ranch to the Andrew Murray Vineyards in Los Olivos. Never before had the 200-acre winery been used as the setting for a wedding—and it almost didn’t happen at all. After booking the locale nearly a year ago, they canceled, deciding they’d rather have their closest friends—as well as their menagerie of dogs and cats—witness an intimate ceremony on the grounds of their own 45-acre spread, which Wyle bought from Bo Derek last year. They began fixing it up to prepare for the fete, but by April work was still incomplete.

According to an Andrew Murray employee, Wyle called a few weeks back and said, “Can we change our minds?” Wyle and Warbin were delighted with their last-minute fix. Says Wyle’s close friend, actor J.P. Manoux: “It was very quiet and very private.” Indeed, starting at about 2 p.m., shuttle buses began going up and down the winding 3.5-mile gated drive to the vineyard, carrying more than 100 guests, including ER costar Eriq LaSalle, actor Lou Diamond Phillips and members of the bicoastal extended families: Wyle’s L.A.-based father, electrical engineer Stephen Wyle, and his wife, Deborah; his nurse mother, Marty Wyle, and her husband, Jim Katz; his younger brother, agricultural engineer and best man Aaron; Warbin’s Massachusetts-based father, Douglas Warbin, and his wife, Kathleen; and the bride’s mother, Sharon Belongie, and her husband, Craig Belongie. Outside the rustic wood-framed winery, a violin, flute and harp trio played before guests sampled the vineyard’s red and white wines. At about 3 p.m., Wyle, in a black Kenneth Cole suit, took his place beneath a handwoven Jewish chuppah (though several members of Wyle’s family are Jewish, the ceremony was nondenominational). Warbin, in a silk Vera Wang gown, “got choked up as she was walking down the aisle,” says Manoux. Even before the two exchanged vows, he adds, “Just about everyone was ready to burst into tears. It was really magical.”

As was the Morocco-themed setting, where Phillips, who starred in 1987’s La Bamba, sang the movie’s title song for the newlyweds and a six-piece band performed R&B oldies. “There were hanging lanterns and billowing red and purple drapes and lots of chaise longues,” says Manoux. Not to mention, as one guest puts it, “a lot of beef.” Partyers feasted on steak and ribs and vanilla wedding cake with fresh raspberries before departing around 10 p.m. But for a handful who drove to Wyle’s 5,000-sq.-ft. home, the celebration continued past midnight—and through to Sunday evening. As one wedding staffer observed, “This was a very tight-knit gathering.” Befitting a very tight-knit couple. “We always knew where we were going to end up,” said Wyle of his intentions toward Warbin. No surprise, it was his mom who was overheard best summing up the day. “It was,” she said, “unbelievably perfect.”