With the scent of gardenias and roses around them at the Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea in Palm Beach, Fla., Donald Trump, 58, wed Melania Knauss, 34, before 450 guests (including Katie Couric, Billy Joel and Kelly Ripa). “We completely forgot everything around us,” says the bride. “It was just us two. It was beautiful.”
For her “something old,” Knauss carried rosary beads that are a family heirloom. “Something new” was her $100,000-plus Christian Dior gown, made for her in Paris by 28 seamstresses who spent 1,000 hours on the project. Fred Leighton loaned the bride an Edwardian diamond necklace for her “something borrowed,” and “something blue” was lingerie by La Perla. Knauss’s sister Ines was the maid of honor.
The proud father posed with his children (from left) Eric, Ivanka, Donald Jr. and Tiffany, who, he told guests, “had her hair done for the first time today.” The close-knit bunch hung out together poolside, where Ivanka kissed Tiffany on the nose and twirled her on the dance floor.
Heidi Klum (who arrived sans fiance Seal) was among the celebrities who attended the black tie affair and enjoyed $650 bottles of Cristal champagne. Though Knauss hired Manhattan event planner Preston Bailey, “a lot of it Melania took care of herself,” says Bailey. “She really was very clear with her vision.”
New York City-based restaurateur Jean-Georges Vongerichten, with the help of 45 chefs in a kitchen set up in a tent on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, prepared 6,000 appetizers, including lobster bites. The main course consisted of “a simple salad and filet mignon,” Vongerichten says. Pastry chef Cedric Barbaret spent two months creating nearly 3,000 roses from icing for the 5-ft. orange Grand Marnier chiffon cake, which weighed 200 lbs. “It took five guys to carry it,” he says.
Star Jones Reynolds (with husband Al) was wowed by the bride’s grace in her Dior gown and 16-ft. veil. “But that’s her job,” she said. “She’s a model!” Leading the toasts, Trump’s son Eric welcomed Melania into the family, saying, “I know this is the last time I’ll ever have to stand up here.” Added Donald Jr.: “I look forward to spending many years annoying both of you.”
Though Bill Clinton (at the reception) missed the ceremony, his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, had front-pew seating. Guests Paul Anka, Billy Joel and Tony Bennett surprised the hosts by performing. And Couric tried not to get caught videotaping the event with a camera hidden in her purse.
Simon Cowell said he had a great time, though he claimed that during the wedding the soloist hit “one off note.” Going forward, “We want to have a family, yes,” says Melania. “Donald has always said he used to make a bad husband and a great father,” says his pal and The Insider host Pat O’Brien. “He says this time around he wants to make a great father and a great husband.”