The paparazzi are always hounding Angelina Jolie. How can she expect to enjoy a private, secret wedding?
—Tempo311, via the inbox
The same way every celebrity enjoys a private, secret wedding: money. Lots of it, thrown around in interesting, creative, and, occasionally, threatening, ways. (Pity not Angelina, for she a master of paparazzi manipulation and knows very well how to play the game.
As for specifics, oh, I've got 'em:
According to celebrity wedding consultant and Bridal Bar owner Harmony Walton, stars routinely require vendors to sign non-disclosure agreements ahead of the Big Day. But in recent years, the threats that go with those NDAs have escalated to nearly obscene proportions.
Until recently, a typical vendor NDA would include a $1 million to $5 million penalty for leaking information to the press. But "in more recent years," Walton tells me, "I've seen a $20 million NDA. I've seen a $17 million NDA as well. It's absurd, in a way, because most wedding professional would go out of business paying off even a $1 million breach. It's a scare tactic."
(And, I remind you, most of these vendors are also working for free. You know, for the privilege of seeing their cake being not-eaten by the celebrity bride.)
Another fresh tactic:
Lying. Vendors have a long history of fibbing on behalf of a bride, but now the fibs are coming directly from the celebrities' camps—sometimes their own families.
"Not necessarily the brides and grooms themselves," Walton notes. "But the mom, the PR people, are now leaking false information. I never used to see that. Before it used to be limited to vague responses or denials. Now I've seen people flat-out lie straight to news cameras knowing it's 100 percent false."
And finally, there's the bait and switch: changing the venue, or just keeping the location secret from vendors and guests, until the very last minute.
This tactic used to be reserved for A-listers; Tom Cruise employed it for his wedding to Katie Holmes.
But now it's becoming much more common, even with C-list stars. One recently-married reality star kept the location of her nuptials secret from vendors until two days before the event.
Finally, there's money.
Let's not underestimate the power of Jolie's huge stack of cash. If she wanted to, she could purchase an entire island, clear it of everyone but her friends, and get married without a whiff of inconvenience.
Given the number of security guards brides hire for the big day, all this pre-nuptial cloak and dagger may seem like overkill.
But remember, there are lucrative photo deals at stake, here, and a bride can't successfully cash in on the most sacred day of her life if someone else snaps a photo first.