Footballer Wayne Rooney married his childhood sweetheart Coleen McLoughlin today in a lavish ceremony on the Italian Riviera.
The couple exchanged vows in a 20 minute ceremony at 10.30am local time at the Villa Durazzo, a 17th-century palace in the Mediterranean resort of Santa Margherita Ligure.
The town’s deputy mayor, Gianni Costa, who performed the ceremony in Italian, said there were about a dozen family members present as well as a translator for the bride and groom and their two witnesses, who were both family members.
“They did not exchange rings maybe because they are saving that for a religious ceremony,” Costa said.
The deputy mayor said he was impressed by the bride’s long white dress, which he described as having pearls sewn into it.
“She had her hair loose and her dress was really beautiful,” he said.
Asked whether the dress was made of silk, Costa replied: “I wouldn’t know, I’m not a tailor, I’m actually an accountant.”
Rooney, he said, looked “sporty but elegant”, dressed in a nut brown suit, a brown shirt, a Prada belt, but no tie.
Cars were seen leaving the venue at 11.05am after photos had been taken. The couple were reported to be heading to Cervara, a former gothic abbey above Portofino with commanding views of the sea, for the wedding reception.
Other reports suggested that three yachts were waiting offshore as an alternative venue for the celebrations, although rainy, overcast weather may have ruled that out.
Details of the wedding, which was rumoured to have cost £5m, have been kept secret after a reported £2.5m deal with OK! Magazine.
Guests were asked not to buy presents but to make donations to a children’s hospital. Each guest was given a box containing a butterfly to release at the wedding.
The 22-year-olds were childhood sweethearts and McLoughlin was said to have brushed off the England footballer’s pleas for a date for a couple of years before finally caving in.
Suited security guards, many thought to be ex-servicemen, have been patrolling the venues for days, chasing away paparazzi desperate to snatch a picture of the bride in her Marchesa wedding gown. The dress is rumoured to have cost up to £200,000.
The couple were snapped at the local town hall on Tuesday, where they formally declared their intention to wed, as required by Italian law.
Rooney and McLoughlin’s wedding will be a far more glamorous affair than his proposal almost five years ago.
The footballer popped the question in a BP garage forecourt, and after McLoughlin said yes they went back to her mother’s house to celebrate with a dinner of corned beef hash, sausage and beans.
The couple, who live in a multi-million pound Cheshire mansion with a swimming pool and gym, are said to be worth £35m.
William Hill is offering odds of 5/1 that the marriage will last five years or less.