Palm Beach, FL
Melania Knauss married Donald Trump on January 22, 2005 in Palm Beach, Florida. The couple exchanged vows in a traditional ceremony at the Bethesda by the Sea Episcopal Church.
The bride wore a $100,000 Christian Dior white gown with more than 1,500 hand-stitched crystal rhinestones and pearls. The dress had a 13-foot train, a 16-foot veil and took more than 1,000 hours to make. In place of a bouquet, she carried rosary beads that were a family heirloom.
The church was decorated with gardenias and roses by event designer Preston Bailey. At each pew, garlands of dendrobium orchids spilled onto the floor. A soloist sang “Ave Maria” as the bride walked down the aisle. The vows were officiated by Reverend Ralph R. Warren Jr. and included a reading from the Bible by Donald’s daughter, Ivanka Trump. Before the conclusion of the ceremony, the couple lit the same unity candle that was used at the bride’s baptism. They planned to keep the candle for their future children.
After being pronounced husband and wife, the 450 guests applauded and threw rose petals. Guests included Hillary Clinton, Katie Couric, Matt Lauer, Rudy Giuliani, Star Jones, Simon Cowell, Barbara Walters, Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa.
Following the ceremony, the couple was transported in a black Mercedes Maybach, to an extravagant reception held at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Estate. Ten thousand flowers filled the 17,000-square foot ballroom. The reception was made to look like Versailles. Flowers included white roses, hydrangeas, gardenias and peonies.
As guests arrived at the reception, a violin quintet played classical music as more than 6,000 appetizers of caviar, lobster and truffles were served.
The couple shared their first dance to Puccini’s “Nessun Dorma,” before being seated for dinner in the Louis XIV-style ballroom. The main course was catered by Mar-a-Lago head chef Gary Gregson and included steamed shrimp salad, beef tenderloin, caviar, lobster rolls, Grand Marnier chocolate truffle cake and Cristal champagne.
At the end of the meal, the bride changed into a lightweight tulle Vera Wang gown so she could dance. Music was performed by the Michael Rose Orchestra and Billy Joel, who sang “Just the Way You Are.” In the middle of the song, he substituted funny lyrics about Trump to the tune of “The Lady Is a Tramp.” Following Joel’s performance, Paul Anka sang “My Way,” and Tony Bennett serenaded the couple with “Always.”
For dessert, pastry chef Cedric Barbaret spent two months creating a five-foot high, 200-pound, seven-tier Grand Marnier chiffon cake with nearly 3,000 icing roses.
At the end of the evening, Trump carried his bride over the threshold of their Mar-a-Lago suite, where they spent their wedding night.