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When they first met in 1977, he was a poverty-stricken new wave musician with green hair and she was a struggling actress living two doors down from him in a basement flat. But when Sting and Trudie Styler tied the knot on August 20, 1992, they were celebrity royalty. The bride and groom invited 250 guests to join them two days after their legal ceremony for a lavish celebration at their Elizabethan mansion in Wiltshire, England. The event started with her arriving on horseback in a dress custom-made for a princess and was capped off in the wee hours by a spontaneous reunion of The Police themselves. Here, we break down the details of the memorable nuptials and share how you can use them as a starting point for planning your own big day.
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You don’t need to own your own sixteenth-century British estate to find a setting as majestic as the one Sting and Trudie enjoyed. For a wedding not too far afield from the pair’s own Lake House, consider the historic properties of Babington House, Ellenborough Park, or Barnsley House. Or stay Stateside and say your I do’s amid the Elizabethan beauty of Thornewood Castle in Lakewood, Washington. The house, nestled on four acres at American Lake, was originally built in England. In 1907, Mr. Thorne purchased it, had it dismantled, and shipped it, brick by brick, to its current location, where it was reconstructed as a gift to his own bride.
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While the wedding may have been held in Great Britain, it was in Italy that Trudie put together her bridal ensemble. She turned to designer Gianni Versace for her haute couture creation that took his atelier nearly two months to complete. Gold hand-embroidered blooms and beading struck a regal note on the white satin off-the-shoulder ballgown, with layers and layers and even more layers of petticoats beneath. Too poufy for today? Perhaps. Modernize the voluminous silhouette by balancing a sleek hairstyle, strapless bodice, and full skirt made of lighter-weight tulle. Keep the gilded accents, however, because who wouldn’t want to shine as they walk down the aisle?
Lazaro Dress, price available upon request; jlmcouture.com. Eugenia Kim Sarah Crystal-Embellished Gold-Tone Headband, $290; net-a-porter.com. Dolce & Gabbana Vally Lace Court Shoes, $895; store.dolcegabbana.com.
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Sting earned his nickname after wearing a black-and-yellow striped sweater that made him resemble a bumblebee. So it’s maybe not surprising Versace turned to light and dark bands on a waistcoat to outfit the groom. If the addition seems more Foot Locker sales associate than swoon-worthy rock star, think of the detail as an accent only—on a skinny tie, for example. Trade in the hard-to-wear tails for a sharply-tailored tuxedo with cutting-edge cred.
Ann Demeulemeester Two-Piece Tuxedo Suit, $1,705; barneys.com. Saint Laurent Club Striped Skinny Tie in Black and White Silk Jacquard, $245; ysl.com. Salvatore Ferragamo Aiden Patent Oxford, $640; bergdorfgoodman.com. Givenchy Black Horn Cuff Links, $285; neimanmarcus.com.
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Roses are red—and truly romantic. But it was the oversized greenery surrounding the crimson blossoms that gave Trudie’s bouquet its old-world charm. Take a cue—and avoid the Christmas-like color combo—by creating a clutch with wild dark accents like this one by Elizabeth Lewis of The Nouveau Romantics. Foxglove, plum foliage, astilbe, umbrella ferns, geranium leaves, thistle, ranunculus, white dahlias, and sea grass come together in a beautiful arrangement. And, yes, there are roses—caramel Antike garden ones.
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You could ride in on horseback with your gent leading you by the reigns, as Trudie and Sting did. Or you could get influenced by another detail from their summer fete. The philanthropists and founders of The Rainforest Foundation, which has raised millions since its inception in 1989 to fight deforestation and protect indigenous populations, auctioned off their wedding finery to support their charity. Consider selling your dapper duds to a place such as Once Wed, and giving the money to a cause dear to both you and your fiancé, or asking your guests to donate in place of buying you a gift.
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Elizabethan architecture? Check. Out-of-this world outfits? Check. Equestrian entrance? Check and check. But don’t stop your planning at the ceremony. The real party gets started at the reception. Gracing the tables inside Trudie and Sting’s own dinner? Candelabras, lighting up the evening with white tapers. Line them up along long tables or mix and match them as part of a dessert display to let everyone know the banquet has begun.
Gold Moretti Candelabra, $34.99; save-on-crafts.com.
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At Lake House, guests feasted on sea bass and crème brûlée as the sun went down. Put a twist on the menu with a confection that is just as sweet. Wendy Kromer’s Heavenly Crème Brûlée Cake combines vanilla bean pastry cream amid white butter layers for a new take on the French classic.
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English rock band The Troggs was planned entertainment for the evening, but The Police were not. In fact, Sting and his bandmates hadn’t jammed together in more than six years when friends began urging them to go onstage for a celebratory performance. “I had had a few drinks by that time and I was kind of happy, so I said, ‘Okay, let’s do this,’” Sting told VH1’s Behind the Music. Topless but for his unbuttoned waistcoat, Sting joined Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers and sang “Message in a Bottle.” For your playlist, switch that tune out for the group’s more upbeat “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic.” Also consider playing The Troggs’ sweet “Love Is All Around,” and save their song “Wild Thing” for later in the evening when the dance floor really heats up. We like this rendition by The Runaways. Round out the list by tapping a romantic tune by one of the guests at the wedding; Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes.”
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After two decades together, Trudie and Sting recently renewed their vows in India. Follow them there to enjoy your newly-wedded bliss and to brush up on their exercise of choice, yoga. We can’t guarantee you’ll pick up the tantric moves the couple claims has—ahem!—kept the spark alive in their marriage, but you can check into the Aman Resort of Amanbagh and strike your best pose side by side with your loved one among the historic ruins of Bhangarh.