By Galina Espinoza
March 05, 2001 12:00 PM

For the 60 guests who were inside Hollywood’s 360° restaurant to witness comedian Kathy Griffin, 37, host of MTV’s Kathy’s So-Called Reality, wed computer administrator Matthew Moline, 32, the laughs were an added bonus. Shortly after 3 p.m. on Feb. 18, as maid of honor Brooke Shields walked down the aisle in a black, knee-length Richard Tyler dress clutching a bouquet of white roses, the strains of the classical—uh, make that classic rock—song “Sister Christian,” by heavy metal band Night Ranger, filled the room. As the music reached a crescendo, Griffin emerged on the arm of her father, John, 84, a retired electronics-store manager, acting more headbanger than bride-to-be, in an ivory Tyler gown. Mouthing the 1984 tune’s lyrics (“Motoring/…you’re finding Mr. Right”) and wagging a two-fingered heavy metal salute in the air, Shields’s sidekick from the 1996-2000 TV series Suddenly Susan brought the crowd to its feet. “She captured what a wedding should be about,” says Susan costar Nestor Carbonell. “Not about pomp and circumstance but joy, laughter and intimacy.”

And, if you’re Griffin, about as few traditions as possible. “Matt’s mom bought the Martha Stewart wedding book,” Griffin says. And I kept saying, ‘You’re not going to have to crack that book open.’ ” Griffin and Moline, for example, stood before his father, Mark, 55, an Episcopal minister, and flashed ring tattoos instead of swapping gold bands. They then kissed under an archway woven with amaryllis, bear grass, tuberoses and English ivy while the Scorpions’ metal tune “Rock You Like a Hurricane” blared. “Half the time I was laughing,” says Griffin’s mother, Maggie, 80, a retired hospital administrator. “Half the time I was wiping away a tear.”

After exchanging vows, the couple opted for a break from the revelry—at Shields’s insistence. “I told Kathy, ‘I want you to take five minutes together,’ ” says Shields, 35, who’s engaged to TV writer Chris Henchy, 36. Otherwise, she cautioned, “you will never have had that differentiating moment when your lives have changed.” So as the reception’s 250 guests—including The Practice’s Camryn Manheim, Ally McBeal’s, Jane Krakowski and Politically Incorrect’s Bill Maher—began feasting on ahi tuna, beef loin and lamb chops, Griffin says she and Moline “sat on the couch, held hands and took a breath.”

They would hardly sit again the entire night. As disco balls twirled over-head, the couple and their guests boogied to ’70s music. “I told the deejay I wanted every song to make you go, ‘Oh my God, I have to dance to this!’ ” says Griffin, who had changed into Kenneth Cole white pants, black tank top and black flats. The outfit—like every other item used at the wedding—had been donated. In return, Griffin contributed to charity an amount roughly equivalent to the worth of the donated goods, so far raising $60,000 for amfAR, an AIDS research organization, and Planet Hope, which benefits homeless families.

But Griffin—who met Moline almost two years ago after befriending his 25-year-old sister Rebecca on a flight—wasn’t the only one trying to help others that day. “I’m stealing all the flowers and candles,” Shields whispered before sneaking off to Griffin and Moline’s Los Angeles house to decorate their bedroom as a romantic surprise. There was no need to rush: The couple stopped at Mc-Donald’s on the way home. “We were so busy during the reception,” Griffin explains, “we forgot to eat!”

Galina Espinoza

Elizabeth Leonard in Hollywood