Wayne Rooney and Coleen McLoughlin braved heavy showers to marry amid tight security on the Italian Riviera.
A cavalcade of vehicles with blacked-out windows whisked the couple along with close friends and family into the Villa Durazzo, a 17th-century palace overlooking the Mediterranean, for the exchange of vows.
Afterwards, they were given a police escort for the short journey to La Cervara, an abbey which has hosted three popes and imprisoned a French king during its 650-year history, for the wedding reception.
It was expected to climax in a huge fireworks display — the piece de resistance for a romance that supposedly began in a Croxteth chip shop.
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,” said Costa.
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, brown shirt, a Prada belt, but no tie.
The 22-year-olds are rumoured to have shelled out £5 million (€6.3m) for their nuptials, and with glossy magazine OK! reported to be meeting half that cost, security at the venues was watertight.
Burly guards were on hand to keep out the scores of photographers, TV crews and reporters who gathered in the resort of Santa Margherita Ligure, all desperate to snatch a picture of the bride in her finery.
But even the spending power of a millionaire footballer cannot buy the weather, and — rather unseasonally for the Riviera in June — the rain poured down all morning.
McLoughlin will doubtless be comforted by the Italian saying: “A wet bride is a lucky bride.”
The couple were snapped at the local town hall on Tuesday, where they formally declared their intention to wed, as required by Italian law.
The bride’s Marchesa wedding gown is believed to have cost €250,000 and features pearls and crystals, and her beloved will probably have made slightly more of an effort, after the Manchester United star rolled up to the town hall in T-shirt, shorts and sandals.
Guests were asked not to buy presents but to make donations to a children’s hospital.
They were each given a box containing a butterfly to release at the wedding.
Bookmaker William Hill is offering 25/1 that the Rooney marriage lasts 25 years, 10/1 less than a year — and 5/1 on five years or fewer.
The ceremony lasted just 20 minutes, Italian news agencies reported.
Rooney and McLoughlin’s wedding will be a far more glamorous affair than his proposal 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 are now said to be worth €45m.
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