Photo: Tim Anderson, www.news.com.au
Well, it was a spectacular and intimate celebration in France for Erica Baxter and James Packer. Here are the latest reports from the scene…
JAMES Packer and Erica Baxter have followed their intimate town hall marriage with a spectacular wedding ceremony in front of about 100 guests on the French Riviera.
The couple wed mid-morning local time yesterday in a civil ceremony at the Antibes Hotel de Ville, witnessed by a small circle including the groom’s mother, Ros, and the bride’s parents, Sheelah and Michael Baxter, from Gunnedah in northwest NSW.
They then returned to the nearby Hotel du Cap Eden Roc on the Cote d’Azur for the main event, where the bride wore a traditional, white flowing floor-length strapless gown with a long veil.
The dress was a $100,000 haute couture creation by John Galliano of the Paris fashion house Christian Dior, Fairfax newspapers reported.
The bride walked down a long aisle of white carpet lined with decorative hanging lanterns.
Guests stood either side of the aisle, with some sheltering from the bright summer sun under umbrellas.
The couple wed under a flower-trimmed canopy, with Mr Packer wearing a black suit, white shirt and black tie.
Hollywood star Tom Cruise and wife Katie Holmes had front-row seats but, despite apparently being qualified to perform Scientology marriages, Cruise did not officiate.
It is unknown whether the service was Scientology based.
The ceremony began about 5.40pm local time (1.40am AEST) and lasted about 40 minutes.
Three media helicopters hovered overhead throughout and a number of small launches from Mr Packer’s converted icebreaker, the Arctic P, circled a flotilla of boats carrying the press.
Afterwards, the reception began in the hotel overlooking the Mediterranean where the Arctic P was anchored.
Mr Packer spent the night before his wedding on the Arctic P.
As the wedding day dawned, Mr Packer left the boat for the hotel about 9am wearing gym gear.
Gretel and Ros Packer were spotted on a balcony with their hair and make-up half done, surveying the grounds where the reception was expected to be held.
Hollywood star Tom Cruise and his wife Katie Holmes were the highest-profile guests at a pre-wedding party on Paloma Beach the previous night, during which a raspy-voiced Mr Packer downed tequila slammers, danced and shadow-boxed with happy guests.
The high-five was called upon regularly.
Gunnedah meets Hollywood
While many guests – including News Corporation board member Lachlan Murdoch, former Nine boss and best man David Gyngell and Nine personality Eddie McGuire – washed down lobster with beer, cricketer Shane Warne opted for more traditional fare, preferring fish and chips.
Warne left early, however. His former wife Simone remained, reading a book on one of the dozens of sunbeds laid out for guests.
The beach was a bizarre mixture of Gunnedah (Ms Baxter’s family town), Bellevue Hill and Hollywood. Elderly aunts mixed with the social and business elite, with the A-listers happily obliging requests to pose for happy snaps on digital cameras.
Love on show
Australia’s richest man’s love for his bride was constantly on show. He continually kissed and cuddled model and singer Ms Baxter and looked more relaxed than many had ever seen him.
Ms Baxter, conscious of her hair and appearance in the lead-up to the walk down the aisle, avoided the sun and the water. It was a different story for her husband, who stripped off his polo shirt and dived into the water in his Speedos.
Cruise and wife Katie also appeared happily in love throughout the five-hour party, parading their baby Suri and posing on a wharf for family shots.
Holmes drew admiring glances from the French paparazzi as she stripped to a black one-piece bathing suit, revealing a super-toned body.
Gifts inside the goodie bags issued to beachgoers included Speedos for the men and ricepaper parasols for the sun-conscious women.
Source: News.com.au With The Daily Telegraph and AAP