Elizabeth Hurley’s March 3 wedding was a decidedly English affair. There was the picturesque setting at Sudeley Castle in the Cotswolds, where a row of torches lit up the pathway to the medieval estate. Then there was the fleet of Bentleys that ferried guests like Elle Macpherson and Valentino (through a steady drizzle, naturally) to the castle’s chapel, where the exchange of vows was performed by a local vicar. And then, of course, there was the bride herself, who looked every inch a princess, wearing a diamond tiara and a gown with a 2-ft. train as she walked down the aisle accompanied by 16 children, including her breeches-clad son Damian, 4, who carried the rings on a purple cushion.
In fact, the only British detail Hurley, 41, seemed to have forgotten as she wed longtime beau Arun Nayar, 42, an Indian businessman, was that famous stiff upper lip. “The couple looked radiantly happy,” says close friend David Furnish, whose husband, Elton John, gave away the bride. (Hurley’s father died in 1996.) Adds Furnish: “It was a very emotional service, and Elizabeth cried during her vows.”
Let’s hope Hurley kept the tissues handy: The 90-min. religious ceremony (which followed a small civil ceremony the day before) was merely a prelude to a week’s worth of nuptial celebrations in India. Among the scheduled festivities: a March 5 bash at a posh Taj hotel in Nayar’s hometown, Mumbai (to which Hurley wore a custom-made red satin Dolce & Gabbana frock) and, on March 7, an all-day cricket match and dinner reception at the lavish Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur (see box below).
Hurley was first introduced to Nayar by mutual pals in 2003. “They said they had a very nice friend, very good looking, who just separated from his wife,” recalled Hurley—who had dated Hugh Grant for 13 years and then had son Damian with ex Stephen Bing—to Germany’s Vanity Fair recently. She and Nayar began dating and quickly meshed their lifestyles, spending time in both Mumbai, where Nayar owns a software company (his holdings include the Web site for Hurley’s swimwear line), and Gloucestershire, England, home to her 400-acre farm, where “I take Damian out on the tractor,” Nayar told PEOPLE in 2005. “And we spend hours walking through the woods.”
That low-key country life certainly stands in contrast to the couple’s lavish English reception, where the 250 guests were greeted with champagne before dining under a marquee “with twinkling stars on the ceiling,” Furnish says, and dancing to two numbers performed by John, including a special version of his classic “Your Song.”
It wasn’t until 3 a.m. that the party finally ended, with the newlyweds retiring to a room in the castle. But the memories are sure to linger. “Elizabeth really was the most beautiful bride,” says one of the evening’s guests. “She was so happy—they both were. You could feel it.”