Sting and Trudi Styler celebrated their twenty-ninth wedding anniversary yesterday, and what better time to revisit their nuptials than now? They were awash in Versace! Let’s begin with Informative Caption’s take on the wedding:

There was no mistaking it was a Versace. A custom-made dress of ivory satin lavishly adorned with gold embroidery and hardly a snip at 20,000 [pounds]. Just the thing for a ‘quiet country wedding.’  That was what Sting and his long-time girlfriend Trudie Styler said they would have yesterday when they celebrated their marriage for the second time in three days. But all things relative [sic] when you are a millionaire rockstar. And Sting’s idea of a quiet wedding hardly seemed to equate with anyone else’s. The church for the blessing was St Andrew’s [sic] in tiny Great Durnford Wiltshire. But the 250-name guest list was star-studded with names like Peter Gabriel, Bob Geldof, Paula Yates, Pamela Stephenson and Billy Connolly….

That’s a lot to unpack! First of all, if you feel like visiting tiny Great Durnford (a very British name), please know that it has a giant estate for let if you’re looking for a place to hold a shooting party, as I’m sure you are. It’s (a) gorgeous, and (b) now I know there’s a website that’s like AirBnB for estates where you can do shooting. It’s very good I didn’t know this when we were writing The Royal We or The Heir Affair because I would have spent a lot of time procrastinating looking for an estate to set a shooting party at, before remembering neither of those books has a shooting party in them. (I’m sure Lady Bollocks is off at one on occasion, though.)

Second, St Andrew is a very charming village church. It’s VERY OLD, and that website includes this extremely alluring sentence: “Following your visit, those seeking more worldly refreshment will find it at the Black Horse pub, a short stroll down the road from the church, past our village cricket pitch.” THANK YOU for understanding all my interests: Old historical churches, short strolls, pubs, and sports. (I regret to inform that that no one has told the folks at ExploreChurchs.org that said pub has seemingly closed. God willing there is another one close by.)

But to the matter at hand: Sting and Trudie — a famous couple whose sex life I know a lot about against my will! — married in 1992 and their relationship was more scandalous than I remember, despite the fact that I’d surely seen some People magazine articles about it. Per Professor Wikipedia and my favorite class, Famous Person’s “Personal Life” Section:

Sting married actress Frances Tomelty on 1 May 1976. Before they divorced in 1984, they had two children: Joseph (born 23 November 1976) and Fuchsia Katherine (“Kate”, born 17 April 1982). In 1980, Sting became a tax exile in Galway in Ireland. In 1982, after the birth of his second child, he separated from Tomelty. Tomelty and Sting divorced in 1984 following Sting’s affair with actress Trudie Styler. The split was controversial; as The Independent reported in 2006, Tomelty “just happened to be Trudie’s best friend (Sting and Frances lived next door to Trudie in Bayswater, west London, for several years before the two of them became lovers).”

That (slightly wild) story in The Independent, by the way, notes that Tomelty was Trudie’s best friend and that “[t]he affair was widely condemned – not least because it coincided with the break-up of The Police.” Seems like Sting had a lot on his plate! In fact, this EXTREMELY interesting contemporaneous interview with him from 1983 says:

The past year has been a stormy one for Sting. In July 1982, his wife of seven years, actress Frances Tomelty, was testifying on his behalf in the court case he’d filed against Virgin Music to regain the publishing rights to his early material. Then, just weeks later, Sting’s marriage appeared to be finished (though he has since said he still loves Tomelty and that she “transformed my life and was a catalyst in my becoming something completely different”). The grapevine began buzzing with stories suggesting that Sting was beginning to succumb to the perils of rock stardom: Sting, flitting about the globe with a new girlfriend, actress-model Trudy [sic] Styler. Sting, attending such questionable events as a party thrown on the French Riviera by Saud arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi. Sting, having the obligatory “rock star scuffles with photographer” episode at a London airport. Such erratic behavior may be par for the course for successful rock stars, but it is alarmingly out of character for Sting, a man known for his unshakable cool.

I must confess that I did not foresee an arms dealer making a cameo in this post. Also, I’d like Frances’s take on how she catalysed Sting into (a) having a baby with a woman whilst they were still married, and (b) marrying someone else. (I’d also like Trudie’s take on how she felt when apparently Sting referred to her as his “mistress” in a PRESS CONFERENCE, a tid-bit I stumbled across in a very interesting 2002 profile in The Guardian. I cannot imagine she loved it.) REGARDLESS! Marry someone else he did, if ten years later, and it was in grand fashion, and it certainly seems to have worked out for them.

To the more wedding-centric details: Both bride and groom were outfitted by Gianni Versace himself — Martha Stewart Weddings reports that Trudie’s dress took two months to complete and has delicately omitted the potential overlap in the groom’s romances, and also noted that the reception featured an impromptu reunion of The Police; People reported contemporaneously that the bride and groom’s outfits together cost $80,000 and “were auctioned off to benefit the Rainforest Foundation.” (Which is their own foundation.) (It’s a legitimate foundation.) The reception was at Lake House, their own very fancy home in Wiltshire that you can eyeball in Architectural Digest. Unlike last time, when we visited Mariah Carey’s first wedding, I was unable to track down their reception menu, but Martha reported “guests feasted on sea bass and crème brûlée as the sun went down.” Presumably not simultaneously.

But the best contemporaneous source here was courtesy of the New York Times, which got on the phone to Versace and got the real scoop.

Speaking by telephone from his vacation home near Lake Como, Italy, Mr. Versace, who has been a friend of the couple for several years, said that Ms. Styler’s dress was “inspired by the English Baroque Renaissance.” The embroidery alone took 45 days of patient work, he said, and the design, in heavy ivory satin, has a full skirt decorated with glass beads and embroidered arabesques. It will be worn with a matching short-sleeved bolero and a long veil edged in satin, attached to a gold tiara.

So let’s stop faffing around and look at these things!

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