Page 3 of 3   <      

Wedding Pros Offer Tips on Keeping Celeb Weddings Secret

Have a wedding anywhere outside, Vorce says, and "you're a sitting duck."

Step 4: Secure the Premises

Celebrity wedding planners work hand in hand with specialized security companies to try to protect their clients from paparazzi and onlookers. Blueprints are drawn up to cover any outside space, no-fly zones are requested when possible and guards are stationed around the perimeter of the property and in nearby boats at waterfront weddings.

Still, there's no plan so airtight it can't be breached. Guards were on location throughout Avril Lavigne's 2006 wedding to Deryck Whibley at a private estate in Montecito, Calif., recalls her wedding planner, Mindy Weiss. Halfway through the reception, however, some guests heard a rumbling in the bushes. An animal? No. Just an enterprising paparazzi who'd buried himself beneath a hedge the day before the wedding.

"They'll go to bizarre, great lengths," sighs Weiss.

But the truth is, we're all paparazzi now, with our iPhones and BlackBerrys and digital cameras. And celebrities are one bratty nephew's text message away from being swarmed with media. Enter the metal detectors and mandatory gadget check. Every electronic device is collected at the door. "It's an uncomfortable thing we have to communicate to the guests," says Vorce. But often the claim tickets are elegantly embossed, so, you know, that's as good as a picture.

Step 5: Create a Diversion

It was 1997 when Weiss had her first brush with celebrity wedding mania. Photographers showed up with cherry pickers to get shots of the wedding she'd planned for Brooke Shields and Andre Agassi. Now, she says, "Besides being wedding planners, we become escape artists.

"We sit here in my office and strategize on how to do this," she says. Often a limo with a piece of tulle hanging from the rear door is sent out as a decoy to lead photographers in the wrong direction. And Weiss has learned to do the dodging and weaving herself. When Fergie was being trailed on the way to a meeting at her reception site, Weiss told the singer to pull into a shopping mall and head to the Banana Republic. Weiss rushed in ahead, told the staff Fergie would be coming through and needed to be let out the service door. Weiss met Fergie at the exit and the two made a getaway.

"It's a little bit of a game that we play with the paparazzi," admits Vorce. "Because we can leak certain things to send them in the wrong direction."

So this chatter about Chelsea and Marc on Martha's Vineyard?

It might be all part of a master plan. Or not.

<          3

© 2009 The Washington Post Company