Robbie Williams is one lucky man! The British singer invited HELLO! to his stunning wedding to Ayda Field, his striking girlfriend of nearly four years. The stunning secret ceremony and laughter-filled celebration took place at Robbie's Los Angeles home on 7 August in 2010. For Stoke-born Robbie, who knows how to put on a show, the celebration was never going to be a conventional affair. From the singer's spontaneous performance of Angels, which brought the guests to their feet for a mass singalong, to the couple's eight dogs as bridesmaids, the absence of a best man and the groom planning to swap the traditional wedding band for a ring tattoo.
The depth of their feelings was clear for all to see as Robbie, who has famously battled drink and drug addictions, credited Ayda with turning his life around. "She brings out the best in me," he said of the LA-born actress, who has had roles in US shows Will & Grace and Days of Our Lives. "She is incredibly thoughtful and makes me want to be a better person." On the day of his wedding, Robbie could not contain his joy when he laid eyes on his beautiful bride in her exquisite, snow-white Monique Lhuillier wedding gown with netted silk taffeta skirt and laced, beaded corset. "Ayda looked like the most beautiful girl in the world," he gushed. "The setting was so magical, and to be surrounded by family and close friends and then see Ayda appear looking so radiant was almost too much for me to take. When I walked down the aisle with our dogs and heard everyone cheering it made me so emotional I'm surprised I held it together. I'm the happiest man alive."
Ayda and Robbie pictured on their wedding day
The 60 family members and close friends the couple flew out to join them had no idea they were about to witness Robbie and Ayda exchange their vows. They had been told they were attending a James Bond Casino Royale party in celebration of Robbie's 20 years in the business. "Ayda's much better at keeping a secret than me," admitted Robbie of the covert operation. "But on this occasion I've pretty much managed it." The ceremony, conducted by a local officiant, was simple and to the point. "I just want to do the 'I do' and then eat. All the other stuff would make me cringe," said Robbie, who made his vows in a classic tuxedo and white bowtie from Spencer Hart on London's Savile Row.
Unable to decide on one theme for the food, the pair opted for three wedding meals, consisting of all their favourites: from sushi and steak to red velvet chocolate cake - culminating in a traditional English breakfast of bacon, beans and eggs, which was served at 1am, when the newlyweds changed into his-and- hers stripy pyjamas, personalised with their initials – Ayda's surname now being Williams. After dinner, the "entertainment tent" was revealed - a slick marquee with a Moroccan feel, bronze dance floor and more stunning flowers by Nancy Kane for Mark's Garden, and a sign that read: "What happens in the tent, stays in the tent…".
Speaking to HELLO! before the wedding, Robbie revealed that he always felt like the pair were married anyway. "I consider myself married anyway and, not to bust the romanticism of it all, but she already is Mrs Williams and I’m already Mr Field," he shared, while Ayda added: "It's very exciting. It's going to be really nice to call you my husband, and for me to be Mrs Williams officially."
When asked why they chose to have their wedding at home, Robbie replied: "I didn't have those marital dreams that are ingrained in women. My idea was, 'Yeah, I love you, I'm yours for life, why don't we just pop to Las Vegas and make it official?' But then I realised how important the day is to Ayda, and that she had a day planned in her head. I thought, 'Baby, whatever you want to do.' It's about the bride, isn't it?"
Ayda remarked: "We were thinking of a beach in the Bahamas, but August is hurricane season. Then we thought of a surprise sleepover on a boat in Santa Monica, but people have children to think about. We feel safe in this house – plus we wanted the doggies to be here." To which Robbie added: "Plus, crazy as it may seem, I can be the centre of attention for a living but at other times I just like to blend into the background. So we thought doing it in our own home would make us more comfortable and relaxed. It’s going to be cool, because everybody we love will be here."
However keeping their nuptials a secret from their loved ones has been difficult. "It's been so hard," confessed Ayda. "I only told my mum just a couple of weeks ago and I felt so bad about that. But the element of surprise is so much fun. I'm so excited!" Robbie noted: "I'm normally useless at keeping a secret. But on this occasion I've pretty much managed it. I had to tell my dad because he had booked a holiday, and then he told my friend Johnny Wilkes and Johnny was like, 'Why didn't you tell me?'"
He continued: "Johnny, my best mate, has always said, 'Oh yeah, when he marries, I'll be best man, that's it, there'll be flipcharts, diagrams…' But I just don't want one. Let's all just eat and then make each other laugh, that's how I want it to be." Ayda said: "So our doggies are taking the bridesmaid roles! I was originally thinking little bow ties for them, but instead they're going to each have flower collars. And Josie [Robbie's manager] is my maid of honour, because she's been by my side through everything."
Asked about his romantic proposal, Robbie revealed: "Well, when we first started going out with each other, this weird thing would happen when I had a pack of cards - I would split the deck and always come up with a queen of hearts. It happened a strange amount of times, every time I did it, and because I’m into mysticism and signs and all that kind of stuff, it filled my heart and made me stop worrying about whether I was with the right person." He added: "Anyway, it was Christmas Eve and I was madly running around trying to sort things out, and thinking, 'What am I going to do for Ayda?' She's always so good with birthdays and Christmas. So I got a pack of cards and put them in an envelope."
"Then, really early on Christmas Day morning, Rob says we've got to go for a drive to see if the Coffee Bean is open," continued Ayda. "And I'm thinking, 'This is really strange…' And then we pulled up to the house, which we were having renovated. We pull up to the gate, and the car stops and he tells me to get out of the car. He hands over a card to me, and inside it was a playing card, and written on it was 'Happy Christmas Mrs Williams. I love you, Robert.' And written in black marker pen, on all four Queen playing cards, one after the other, were the words: 'Will', 'You', 'Marry', 'Me?'. Then he dropped to one knee. I said, 'Yes!' and was just so happy. I still get excited just thinking about it."
Speaking about the early days of their romance after meeting in 2007, Robbie explained: "What I've since found out about Ayda is that if she has more than two glasses of wine, there's a different style of Ayda. Normally, she's always worrying about the other person, and if they’re having a good time. But after the wine, her inhibitions go. So she turned up for this date at mine from a party and after three glasses of wine. We were meeting up for the first time, since an introduction from a mutual friend, and we'd been texting each other for a couple of weeks. Now, believe it or not, I'm actually pretty socially awkward and, one-on-one, if I don't know you, I get sweaty and I don’t know what to say. If you're beautiful as well, then it's double problems. I revert into the fat, bumbling kid in the playground."
The couple met through a mutual friend in 2007
"I was really nervous because I'd never met him, and here I was in his house and I'd had a couple of glasses of wine, which was more than normal," admitted Ayda. "So we sat awkwardly in the TV room for a while." Robbie then added: "I suggested we go back to the party she came from, basically so I could drop her off and drive home. We were chatting in the car and she said something funny and made me laugh so I decided to go into the party for ten minutes. It was on billionaires' row and everyone there was a billionaire, several times over. So I walk in, the boy from Stoke-on-Trent with my popstar head on, with all these strange billionaires slotted around. I felt a bit scared and I held on to Ayda. We sat next to each other on a sofa and at that moment we fell in love."
The feelings were mutual. Ayda shared: "It's hard to describe it, but it was an electric moment. It felt like I had known him all my life, I felt so safe and it was like a bolt of energy between us, like we were soulmates. It was a massive click." Robbie said: "I noticed that we were very comfortable together, but because I'd made this vow to myself that I wasn't going to fall in love, I didn't realise it was love at first sight until several months later."
Robbie went on to explain why Ayda would make the perfect life partner for him. "She makes me want to do the best for her – she makes me want to be a good man with all the trimmings," he explained. "She makes me want to be a better person. And in the process I have become a better person." She added: "Rob is going to be the best husband in the whole world. He's my best friend, my soulmate, he makes me so happy. He's just the greatest blessing in my life."
When talk turns to family, the couple both confessed that they are very family orientated. "Yeah, and our families get along really well," explained Ayda. "My mum Gwen loves both of Rob's parents, Jan and Pete. My mum adores Rob, they have a really special relationship - we have telly sleepovers with my mum all the time." And when asked about expanding their family, Robbie admitted: "It's another layer of the onion, yet I find myself being constantly surprised. I'm less broody than Ayda but I think it's inevitable." Ayda remarked: "I'm broody, but I want us to have a baby when the time's right."
Meanwhile, it seems the couple are in no rush to move to England. "We'll be living here in LA as Mr and Mrs Williams, but we'll be spending more time in the UK over the coming year too," said Ayda, while Robbie added: "We just want to build on this momentum of happiness, and I want to be as unselfish as I can be."
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