NEW YORK, DEC. 20 -- After naming their 2-month-old daughter Tiffany, anything else Donald Trump and Marla Maples dream up seems somehow anticlimactic. Impervious to that which resembles restraint or understatement, the real estate developer and his Georgia blonde long ago passed into a category of their own, where Too Much is True Trump.
So it should surprise no one that when The Donald and Maples finally blazed the matrimonial trail tonight, it was with 1,000 of their closest friends in the Grand Ballroom of Trump's Plaza Hotel -- once managed by his former wife for $1 and "all the dresses she could buy." And that there were hundreds of cameras, thousands of white orchids and one tiara with 325 diamonds worth $2 million. The tab for the evening, including about $60,000 worth of caviar, looked to be about $1 million -- but with Trump, a man possessed of an elusive net worth, you never know.
"The bride was a vision in white -- just absolutely gorgeous," said New York Mayor David Dinkins. "Donald just beamed. It was a lovely, lovely ceremony."
What mattered to the bride was "all the warmth in the room," she said. "Looking out and seeing our friends and family that have been there through everything with us. Reading from 'The Prophet.' Just holding his hand tight and knowing we were home."
It was a ceremony many thought would never take place. After the Divorce of the Decade in 1991 from the first Mrs. Trump (just Ivana now, celebrated roman a clef novelist and shopping network diva) and six years of the on-again, off-again, on-again affair with the aspiring actress (Marla Maples Trump as of tonight), Trump said he was persuaded to marry again by this month's shootings on a Long Island commuter train. "I figured life is short," he said, although it's unclear whether the multimillionaire has ever, in fact, set foot on a commuter train.
The media gobbled up the spectacle with upturned noses and eagle eyes: Trump is the publicity-crazed man they love to hate, but no detail of the hastily planned extravaganza is too small to report -- even the sedate New York Times served up tidbits on its front page Saturday, and New York Daily News columnist Amy Pagnozzi broke her self-imposed Trump ban with this wedding toast:
"Tacky. Overblown. Depraved in its conception," she wrote. "... Sure, things happen, people commit adultery, have out-of-wedlock kids -- but they can, nevertheless, be a little abashed about it."
But no -- this was an all-white wedding. Not even the champagne blushed.
Down the Aisle at Last
After the ceremony, the newlyweds posed for frenzied photographers, who persuaded the couple to dip and kiss, not once, not twice, but four times.
The bride, 30, wore something borrowed (the tiara with a 20-carat pear-shaped stone on top, loaned by jeweler Ronald Winston), and something white (this is, point out friends, her first marriage). The gown, made of double-faced satin, was off-the-shoulder and tightly fitted, with a simple but low V-neckline and tulle veil by designer Carolina Herrera. Herrera dresses the likes of Kennedys, British royals and other blue bloods; her custom wedding dresses start at $15,000 for ordinary mortals.
This was not, however, the dress that the then-pregnant Maples carried in her luggage the past year, just in case Trump decided on a quickie trip down the aisle.
The Donald, Maples told NBC's "Today" show last summer, agreed to more than a dozen wedding dates but "just has a little freak-out" and backed out of them all.
Until tonight. The 47-year-old Trump, wearing a black tuxedo by Brioni, did not freak out.
The Guest List
The couple reportedly decided on tonight for the wedding because both had it free. Donald's dad, Fred, served as best man; Janie Elder, a pal of Marla's, was maid of honor. Metropolitan Opera singer Camilia Johnson performed at the ceremony. The Rev. Arthur Caliandro, who counseled Trump during his divorce from Ivana, performed the ceremony with traditional vows.
Trump "has got a middle-class mentality," said New York Post columnist Cindy Adams, "which means you do the right thing: Have a baby, you marry the lady."
There was no time to send engraved invitations, so the wedding guests received personal phone calls.
Among the attendees:
New York Sen. Al D'Amato, Howard Stern, Bianca Jagger, Robin Leach, Tommy Tune, Susan Lucci, Rosie O'Donnell, arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, O.J. Simpson, Randall Cunningham, Evander Holyfield, Joe Frazier, Don King and assorted models in various states of dress.
"It's probably in poor taste to say it won't last," said Stern of the marriage, "but I give it four months."
If by some oversight you weren't invited, you can still send the newlyweds a gift: They're registered at Tiffany & Co., Aspery and Cartier.
Tune, who sent tiny tap shoes for the baby, was considering some for her parents. "The couple who taps together, stays together."
One family member who missed the ceremony: Tiffany Ariana Trump, born Oct. 13. The pregnancy was announced at a news conference in the lobby of the Palace Theater, where Maples was starring in "The Will Rogers Follies." The baby was named by her daddy, who acquired the air rights over the famed Fifth Avenue jewelry store to build Trump Tower.
Tiffany, wearing her own itsy-bitsy designer duds, was present for prenuptial pictures but was excused from the ceremony for security reasons.
A chip off the old block, Tiffany has already inspired a business empire: Maternity Moods by Marla, "stylish" maternity clothes introduced by the new mom last week at Macy's.
Trump's three children by his first marriage -- Donald Jr., 16, Ivanka, 12, and Eric, 9 -- were scheduled to attend the festivities but decided, according to Ivana, not to come.
Ivana, who is skiing in Aspen, Colo., was not invited.
Chuck Jones, the former Maples publicist who is accused of stealing her shoes and is suing Trump for $700 million, also didn't make the guest list. (But, Chuck, thought you might like to know that Marla's white satin shoes were by Manolo Blahnik.)
Pictures for a Price
Though he is still quite the wheeler-dealer, The Donald is $235 million in debt -- sort of a lingering hangover from a decade of overly ambitious deals. Perhaps that explains why the couple nixed the $1,970 per kilo Petrossian Beluga caviar for the reception and settled on a cheaper version: Only $1,670 per kilo for the 40 kilos.
Then there were the white orchids that covered the ballroom; the altar of white birches dripping with crystal facets; the 19-piece, five-tier, six-foot vanilla-cream wedding cake; and the sushi, smoked fish, lamb, turkey, beef and other goodies.
The couple, however, have not forgotten the less fortunate. Trump's own photographers had exclusive access to the ceremony and those pictures will be available for sale, with the proceeds going to the Trump foundation and distributed to charity.
"We thank the media for their interest and for their understanding of our wish to dedicate the private moments of this special day to a charitable purpose," the couple said in a statement.
No word on whether charity begins at home: Trump and Maples have been mum on terms of a prenuptial agreement. Trump renegotiated his deal with Ivana four times during their 13 years of marriage; she ended up with about $25 million.
Maples told reporters she would happily sign whatever was necessary to make Trump's bankers happy.
It's been said clever girls never marry for money -- they just fall in love with rich men.
Decembers to Remember
Perhaps the wedding date was just a bow to sentiment -- December has been quite a month for the couple:
December 1987: They meet for the first time on the street -- or in church. Whatever.
December 1989: Donald, Ivana and Marla meet on the ski slopes of Colorado. The cat is out of the bag, claws fully exposed. Two months later, the world discovers the blonde from Dalton, Ga.
December 1990: Donald and Ivana announce they're getting a divorce. Six months later, Marla receives a 7.45-carat diamond engagement ring.
December 1991: Marla throws a high heel at her beloved during a melee in the lobby of Washington's Four Seasons Hotel and vows she will never, ever marry him. They make up the next day.
December 1993: Donald and Marla exchange vows of eternal love.
A Pop Quiz
What does this all mean? Why does anyone care?
a) It's really, really the end of the '80s. We mean it this time.
b) The '80s are back.
c) Marriage is cheaper than dating.
d) Donald Trump has matured into a caring, thoughtful, committed man.
e) For the February sweeps, "Beavis & Butt-head" should get married.
f) Never underestimate a Southern belle.
Words to the Wife
Not that they asked, but sex experts have taken it upon themselves to counsel the bride and groom.
Skip the wedding night, Bob Berkowitz, host of CNBC's "Real Personal," told the New York Post. "They'll be exhausted following the wedding." Not to mention that the bride gave birth just two months ago.
Tonight the couple was asked if they planned to have more children. Maples rolled her eyes, Reuter reported, while Trump nodded and said, "Probably so."
Honeymoon plans call for a quick stop in Georgia for Christmas, then skiing in Telluride, Colo. -- just a snowball's throw from Aspen and Ivana.
Kind of brings everything full circle.