Australia's Wedding Of The Year – Nicole And Keith Say “I Do”

Hollywood star Nicole Kidman and country singer Keith Urban exchanged wedding vows today in a twilight ceremony at Cardinal Cerruti Memorial Chapel at St Patrick's Estate in Manly, Sydney. The gothic-style sandstone church was set on a cliff top overlooking Manly beach and the Pacific Ocean – very dramatic!

Keith, who arrived at the beachside suburb of Manly in a blue four-wheel drive vehicle, wore a black suit, white vest and black tie with a white rose on his lapel.

The majority of the 230 guests attending the black-tie wedding were Australian friends and family. Amongst them were celebrities including Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman, Naomi Watts, Baz Luhrmann, Rupert Murdoch and his wife Wendi Deng, Murdoch's Sydney-based son Lachlan and his wife, model Sarah O'Hare. The wedding guests were ferried from their luxury Sydney hotel to the Chapel in a convoy of luxury sedans and minibuses.

The Chapel and marquee where the reception was being held were decorated with a cornucopia of beautiful flowers including white freesias, gardenias, lilies and orchids – typically generous of Nicole and Keith is the fact that these were later donated to the Sydney Children's Hospital.

The wedding party arrived at the Chapel in a convoy of cream Rolls-Royce wedding cars. It was made up of Nicole’s sister Antonia, as maid of Honor, Isabella, 13, Nicole’s adopted daughter with ex-husband Tom Cruise, and Antonia's daughter, Lucia, who was a flower girl. Standing by Keith at the altar were his brother Shane, who acted as best man and his good friend Marlon Holden, as usher. Nicole’s adopted son Connor, 11, was also expected to act as an usher.

Nicole arrived at the church for the candlelit ceremony accompanied by her father Antony as the sun went down, waving and smiling to the crowds from her cream Rolls Royce limousine. As predicted, she was wearing an elegant ivory-colored empire-waisted wedding gown, reportedly designed by Nicolas Ghesquiere for Balenciaga, and this was set off by the simple yet elegant posy of white roses which she carried. The stunning bride wore her hair flowing around her shoulders and adorned her ears with drop pearl earrings. Nicole chose to wear a sheer veil which she kept on throughout the ceremony until she finally lifted it to say her wedding vows. A guest from the wedding told People "Nicole cried all the way to the church in the car and then she cried all during the ceremony and had to wipe her eyes under the veil. It was the most emotional and beautiful ceremony. Nicole looked ethereal with her veil floating, like a vision in white. ... Keith cried when he looked at her.”

The traditional Roman Catholic ceremony was officiated by Father Paul Coleman, a Jesuit priest who has been a Kidman family friend for more than 30 years. The wedding ceremony was said to have lasted 35 minutes and included gospel readings, a lecture to the couple on the secret of keeping their love alive and a string quartet from the Sydney Symphony Orchestra was expected to perform also. As the church bells chimed at 6.25pm the crowds of fans and paparazzi outside the Chapel cheered as this signaled that Nicole and Keith had exchanged their vows.

The reception kicked off shortly after 7pm as the newlyweds and their guests moved into the dramatically floodlit white marquee which was erected on the lawn of the St. Patrick's Estate. There the guests enjoyed hors d'oeuvres and champagne as jazz music played. For the wedding meal the guests were expected to dine on tuna as part of entree, a choice of Tasmanian Atlantic salmon or lamb for the main course with baby carrots and a celeriac and potato mash on the side and a raspberry and mascarpone dessert to finish the meal off.

As for entertainment at the reception Hugh Jackman (who as well as being a great actor is also an acclaimed Broadway musical star) and Crowded House's Neil Finn were expected to perform. Nicole had been kept in the dark as to what to expect for the evening entertainment as Keith was keen to surprise her. He reportedly planned to serenade his new wife with a selection of songs from his latest album, Be Here - he favored the love song 'Making Memories Of Us' as it is said to perfectly capture his feelings towards Nicole.

Security for the wedding was planned months in advance and it certainly looks as if the well-laid plans paid off. Police, black-suited security guards and a high wire fence ensured that the wedding did not fall prey to any uninvited guests.

According to People Nicole and Keith released a statement with an official wedding photograph to the waiting media stating, "We just want to thank everyone in Australia and around the world who have sent us their warm wishes.”

Posted by Emily on June 25, 2006 08:50 PM to