The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mr & Mrs Hurley in a hurry
- After all these years, Liz and Arun couldn’t wait for a day

London, March 4: Arun Nayar and his bride, Elizabeth Hurley, were due to leave London tonight with 24 relatives and friends for Hindu rituals and celebrations in India, following their civil wedding and a Christian blessings service at Sudeley Castle in Gloucester at the weekend.

Although the couple were supposed to get married on Saturday, they took almost everyone by surprise by advancing the ceremony by 24 hours to Friday.

Hurley, 41, who belongs to the Church of England, and Nayar, 42, the son of a German mother and a Hindu Punjabi father, were married in the presence of only a handful of close family and friends in a licensed room at Sudeley Castle.

The private civil ceremony, which made the marriage legal under English law, was conducted by an official from Cheltenham register office, Anne Williams, county superintendent registrar for Gloucestershire, who was joined by a second registrar.

Friends said Hurley wore a white, flowing Donatella Versace gown topped with a diamond crucifix.

A spokeswoman for Gloucestershire County Council confirmed: “Liz Hurley was married yesterday (Friday) after- noon, that is all I am allowed to give out.”

On Saturday at 6.30 pm, Hurley and Nayar, along with 90 family and friends who could be packed into St Mary’s Church in the castle grounds, received the “marriage blessings”, Christian in form but strictly non-denominational, from the Reverend John Partington, 50, vicar for the adjoining village of Winchcombe.

Those among the 247 guests who could not get in had to follow proceedings on a giant screen in an adjoining marquee.

The couple were “very excited”, remarked the vicar. “They wanted a nice private ceremony and they wanted to use Sudeley Church.”

He said: “The bride and groom looked stunning. It was a lovely occasion. I was pleased Liz’s son, Damian, took a central role as the ring bearer.”

He joked: “I resisted the temptation to take my autograph book because it seems unprofessional.”

On Saturday, the newly-married Mr and Mrs Hurley woke up in the lovely surroundings of Sudeley Castle to be offered a breakfast of organic eggs. For weeks, Hurley had restricted herself to an exacting prenuptial diet that saw her eat as little as six raisins for a snack and vegetable shakes so she could resemble a “glowing goddess” for her marriage.

She could also rely on a little help from four make-up artists, three hairdressers, two on-call wedding planners, one personal assistant and a stylist.

The festivities began just before noon with the only glimpse of the bride when Hurley, hidden behind a pair of large sunglasses, was seen returning to Sudeley Castle in a blue Bentley.

Nayar was spotted at the same time wearing his black-tie wedding suit as he drove out of the castle, chatting animatedly on his mobile phone. He went to the Barnsley House hotel 20 miles away, where some of his relatives were staying.

At least 50 members of the media gathered in Winchcombe (population 4,000), where rows of high street shops put out signs and balloons to wish the newlyweds well. Some businesses were disappointed, however, that their services were not used for the wedding. But Rachel Jones, a hairdresser at the Cats’ Whiskers salon said the town was “overwhelmed with excitement”.

The catering was done by Peregrine Armstrong-Jones, younger half-brother of the Earl of Snowdon (who was once married to the late Princess Margaret) and owner of events company Bentley’s Entertainment. He was being paid a fee of £250,000.

Nayar, wearing a navy wedding suit and silver waistcoat, arrived at 3.15 pm in the blue Bentley.

By early evening, the sightings amounted to a glimpse of a tracksuit-clad Sir Elton John disembarking from a purple helicopter. The singer came with a friend, “shoe designer” Patrick Cox, while his partner, David Furnish, arrived by car.

The guests were not exactly crammed with A-listers. Arrivals included Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine (an ex-girlfriend of Imran Khan), who berate ordinary people on television for being badly dressed; “Prince” Pavlos of Greece, his wife Marie-Chantal and their four children; actress Patsy Kensit; Jimmy Choo shoes’ founder Tamara Mellon; supermodel Elle MacPherson; and artist Tracey Emin, best known for decorating a rumpled bed with used condoms.

Also there were TV presenters, Donna Air and Tania Bryer; journalist Janet-Street Porter, who exaggerates her working-class accent for television; model Eva Herzigova, who made her name with an (“Hello boys') ad for Wonderbra; singer Yasmin Le Bon; and veteran fashion designer Valentino.

The castle was supplied free by Hurley’s friend Henry Dent-Brocklehurst. When he had married a Hawaiian model, Lili Maltese, in 1998, Hurley had upstaged the bride by turning up in a scarlet silk dress slashed to the waist that exposed her leopard print knickers. It is not known if Maltese retaliated on Saturday evening.

Despite rumours that he would cancel, the photographer Mario Testino, who shot Princess Diana for Vogue, turned up.

It is assumed that he will take the photographs which will appear in Hello!, the glossy magazine with which Hurley is believed to have signed a lucrative deal.

Guests had to sign confidentiality agreements and were forbidden from bringing cameras so that Hurley could protect her agreement with Hello!, it was reported.

Even the most powerful lenses of paparazzi could not pick out the guests who were shielded inside the giant marquee. The perimeter of the castle was protected by security guards who stopped passersby walking along footpaths that were too close to the walls.

Hurley was given away by Elton John who linked arms with the bride in her “simple but stunning”, “figure-hugging” off-white chiffon dress by Donatella Versace, who was present.

Hurley was led her up the aisle to be met by the groom. After the hour-long blessings, the bride, towering over her husband in her five-and-a-half-inch heels, then glided on to the dance floor to a personal performance of Your Song by Elton.

Then there was a Bollywood moment: “With Liz and Arun in each other’s arms and Elton singing, it was quite a moment. Everyone had tears in their eyes.”

The medieval banquet, consisting of smoked venison, guinea fowl with sage and poached pears, was styled on a feast served at the castle to Henry VIII’s sixth wife Catherine Parr and was accompanied by 400 bottles of vintage champagne. At the reception, the bride and groom sat at the head of a grand table draped in white roses with white silk and muslin settings.

The cake was a four-tier traditional white cake and guests were served by liveried footmen in green velvet suits.

Lady Ashcombe, mother of Henry Dent-Brocklehurst, said: “I’ve flown back from overseas to see this enormous production being put together. It was staggering. But at the same time, the instructions were for it to be a family wedding. It maintained an intimate tone despite its size.”

Although early reports had said the wedding party would catch a Virgin flight to India, later it was suggested there was a private Lear jet waiting to take off.

In India, Hurley will wear clothes designed by Tarun Tahiliani and Rohit Bal and take part in a mehndi ceremony.

After celebrations in Jodhpur and Mumbai, the couple are apparently booked for a 10-day honeymoon in the Seychelles.

A family friend said that in India, “a priest will chant over them from the scriptures, then red dye will be rubbed into the bride’s hair parting, to signify that she is welcomed into the family. As is customary, Liz will then touch her mother-in-law and Arun’s grandmother’s feet as a show of respect and exchange floral garlands with her husband”.

who’s out, what’s in

Where was Hugh'

In the end, Hugh Grant didn’t come. There were unconfirmed reports that his car had been seen in Winchcombe but this was wishful thinking on the part of the 46-year-old actor’s fans. Despite appeals from Elizabeth Hurley, his girlfriend for 13 years, and rather more generously from Arun Nayar, he was seen being driven away from his London home at 10.30 am on Saturday but returned at 6.30 pm, just as the marriage blessings were getting under way at Sudeley Castle. All he could offer as he entered his darkened home was a joyless, “No comment.”

Posh and Becks

David Beckham, the fading football star who excused himself on the grounds he had match commitments in Madrid, couldn’t come, either. More understandably, his wife, Victoria, stayed away. It hadn’t helped that Hurley had accurately but indiscreetly discussed Victoria’s painfully thin frame with friends.

Bollywood break

Elizabeth Hurley and Arun Nayar play the romantic lead in a home-made Bollywood film, shot on their previous trips to India. Guests were shown the film which took over a month to shoot.

“Arun wears traditional Indian clothing, including a turban, and he even grew a beard for the part. Elizabeth looks absolutely stunning in the movie in a number of eye-catching saris. Liz and Arun sing and dance to traditional Indian songs, with the stunning backdrop of Mumbai in the distance,” revealed a source.

Curry touch

One of the treats on the banquet menu was “curried sausage”, supplied by Peter Austen, landlord of the Wine & Sausage bar and restaurant at The White Hart Inn, where some guests were booked.

Austen supplied the recipe to The Telegraph: “These are lamb sausages made with cumin, curried chutney and sunblessed tomatoes.”

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