1 SEPTEMBER 2003
Scotland's tranquil Isle of Bute found itself at the centre of one of the biggest show biz events of the year this weekend, as fashion designer Stella McCartney – daughter of former Beatle Sir Paul – wed her publisher fiancé Alasdhair Willis.
The region was abuzz as high-profile guests, including Pierce Brosnan, Kate Moss, Hugh Grant, Rod Stewart and Liv Tyler began arriving on Friday, with pop icon Madonna, along with her director husband Guy Ritchie, spotted with her two children, Lourdes and Rocco, in tow. Other A-list pairs on hand for Stella's big day included Sting and his wife Trudi Styler, Coldplay singer Chris Martin and actress girlfriend Gwyneth Paltrow, and, of course, dad Sir Paul, and his pregnant wife Heather Mills.
After a romantic ceremony at the chapel of Mount Stuart, the 300-acre ancestral home belonging to Formula One driver Johnny Dumfries, a horse-drawn carriage carried the couple to a million-pound reception at the estate's nearby Victorian mansion. There, guests tucked into a meat-free dinner of artichoke soufflé, organic puff pastry filled with wild mushrooms and vegetarian bangers and mash. After the gourmet meal, the A-list roster of invitees watched a spectacular fireworks display and listened to music provided by the Rothesay and District Pipe band.
One special guest who the bride dearly missed was her mother, Linda McCartney, who died of cancer in 1998. But the fairytale nuptials were filled with gestures honouring the late photographer – the bridal gown, a joint creation by Stella and Gucci designer Tom Ford, was reportedly inspired by the dress her mum wore when she wed Sir Paul, and the reception hall was filled with lime incense candles and heather thistle, both favourites of Linda.
In what may have been a nod to her mum's love of the environment, Stella and her groom reportedly asked guests to give them a living gift – trees, to be exact - instead of traditional wedding presents. Saplings chosen from a list of 75 varieties will be planted in the grounds of the couple's Worcestershire home, marked with a plaque bearing the name of the gift-giver.