Schiffer Nuptials Panned By Locals

Claudia Schiffer hides behind blankets and under umbrella to keep media from snapping her picture as she emerges from her hotel to go to church for her wedding 052502
AP
German supermodel Claudia Schiffer was booed by a disappointed crowd on Saturday when she emerged for her English country wedding covered in blankets which prevented any glimpse of the famous bride.

Schiffer, who at 31 is still one of the world's most photographed women, was determined not to be photographed before her wedding to British film producer Matthew Vaughn.

The elaborate disguise and huge security operation ensured that neither the world's media nor curious villagers caught an unauthorized peek of her gown.

Assistants held blankets to hide her from about 100 people who gathered as she left the Swan Hotel for the church.

"We were all so disappointed and disgusted," said Janet Damant, who had hoped to see Schiffer leave for her wedding at St George's Church in Shimpling, eastern England.

"When she came out all covered up like that and swept past us, everyone just booed. All we wanted was a smile and to wish her well but we didn't even get a glimpse."

Celebrity guests included German tennis player Boris Becker.

Others, including Madonna's husband film director Guy Ritchie, were smuggled in a back entrance, as was the bride, after arriving hidden behind curtains in a silver Bentley.

The supermodel, who wore a fairytale-style ivory silk Valentino gown, could scarcely have chosen a more picture perfect location than Shimpling, with its clutch of pretty thatched roof cottages set amid rolling green fields.

Following the ceremony the Rev. Ian Friars emerged from St. George's Church to confirm the marriage had taken place.

"With Matthew and Claudia's agreement, I can confirm that they married...this afternoon," he said. "The service was according to the rites of the Church of England...(and) reflected the couple's faith and commitment to each other."

The cloak and dagger preparations coupled with the arrival of an army of security guards and press had bemused and amused the people of Shimpling and neighboring Lawshall, where the couple was hosting a lavish wedding reception at their Elizabethan manor house Coldham Hall.

One woman said rumors of a celebrity wedding had spread quickly but many people had gotten the wrong idea.

"Some people thought it was Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles getting married because of all the secrecy and security. It was quite a letdown to find out it wasn't."

Teenage girls crowded outside the church said they had forsaken an afternoon of exam study in the hope of catching a glimpse of a movie star or pop singer.

"I don't really care about my exams if I get a glimpse of Brad Pitt or Madonna," said Lizzie Barlow, 16, before the ceremony. She was bitterly disappointed that neither were at the church.

A spokesman for Schiffer, when asked why the supermodel had opted for such privacy, said she was entitled to be as private as she wished on her big day.

Schiffer and Vaughn have been a couple for 16 months. The model, who was formerly engaged to U.S. magician David Copperfield, apparently fell for Vaughn, 31, after he presented her with a tortoise.

The reception was reported to include a meal of gulls eggs and Dom Perignon champagne followed by a 1980s themed disco.

The soccer-mad newlyweds were planning to top off festivities with a celebrity soccer match Sunday on the grounds of Coldham Hall, the Elizabethan mansion Schiffer bought in Shimpling, in Suffolk, eastern England.

Schiffer, who has a reputation for being frugal with money, reportedly chose a mixture of budget practical goods and pricey designer ware for her wedding list.

The couple, both multi-millionaires, said they had not signed a pre-nuptial agreement but had verbally agreed not to claim any of the other's fortune in the "unlikely event" of a split.

Villagers complained last week when officials decided to temporarily close an ancient pathway near the mansion ahead of the wedding.

The Suffolk County Council said the decision to shut the path for 12 hours before and during the party was made on the grounds of public safety. The path had given journalists a vantage point a few yards from the rear entrance to the grounds of the house.