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Showbiz stars jazz up Jools' wedding day

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Jools Holland is better known for playing jazz favourites than the wedding march, but the musician was dancing to a very different tune after he walked down the aisle with his long-time partner Christabel on Tuesday.

A roll-call of showbiz stars descended on the Kent town of Cooling to see the renowned pianist, who presents the music show Later With Jools Holland on BBC 2, make his vows. It would be fair to say it has been a long walk to the altar, as the couple, who have a teenage daughter together, have been an item for over 15 years.

Statuesque comedian Lenny Henry made quite an impression on the congregation with a deep purple morning suit with matching shirt and top-hat. And although his wife Dawn French was likewise dressed to impress, in a vibrant green and yellow coat with matching headdress, the bride and groom weren't about to be outdone. Jools hit the right note in a three-quarter-length silk frockcoat with piano-key print lining, while his bride opted for an ivory chiffon affair with delicate floral detail.

Over the course of his career Jools has become one of the most celebrated figures on the British music scene, so it came as small surprise to see many of the country's top recording artists in attendance. Sir Paul McCartney and his wife Heather arrived for the event in a private helicopter, as did his former Beatles bandmate Ringo Starr. Simply Red frontman Mick Hucknall likewise turned out to offer his congratulations, along with actor Stephen Fry and Sixties starlet Lulu.

After the ceremony in St James' Church, which features in the Charles Dickens' novel Great Expectations, the throng moved on to Cooling Castle for a night of musical celebrations.

Photo: ©
Jools plants a kiss on his new wife. The couple, who have a teenage daughter, Mabel, have been together for over 15 years
Photo: ©
Dawn French arrives for the event with husband Lenny Henry and their 14-year-old daughter Billie

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