FLORENCE, Italy -- Maybe a “wedding of the century” doesn’t mean much in a centuries-old Renaissance town, but that didn’t stop Kim Kardashian and Kanye West from leaving an historical mark in Florence, Italy on Saturday. The famously famous couple tied the knot at the 16th-century Forte Belvedere with sweeping views of Florence’s domes and the Pitti Palace and Boboli gardens on a perfect May evening.
Wedding guests began arriving in Florence by private jet from Paris around midday with hardcore fans setting up camp at the Four Seasons and Excelsior hotels, where a string of black vans and luxury cars dropped them off in what was clearly random order. A few hours later, the same vans picked up the guests, decked out in wedding attire, to take them to the fortress castle. Some of the guests arrived in a vintage golden Rolls Royce. Others were pedaled up the fortress path in a decked-out rickshaw. Tuxes were compulsory for the men, and it appeared that platinum, see-through black lace and the bejeweled nude look were favorites for the women.
Kardashian and her family stayed at the luxury Villa San Michele and rumors swirled that both she and West had private dressing rooms and handmaids at the fortressed castle to prepare for the big event.
It may have been Kardashian’s third trip down the aisle, but it was surely her most elegant. Opera singer Andrea Bocelli could be heard singing his signature “Time To Say Good-bye” over the rampart walls as Kardashian’s stepfather Bruce Jenner was said to have walked her down the aisle.
A gigantic wall of white flowers that could be seen from below the fortress wall was the backdrop for the ceremony, which was followed by an elegant sit-down dinner. The 220 guests sat at one long table and were served by white-gloved waiters. Applause was heard twice during the ceremony, which was officiated by Rich Wilkerson, Jr., who arrived at the ceremony in a red cape.
Among the star-studded guests were Rick Ruben, Lala Anthony, Serena Williams and 12 Years A Slave director Steve McQueen. Beyoncé and Jay-Z, who was rumored to be West’s best-man, were no-shows. There were reportedly five camera crews who filmed the preparations and nuptials for Keeping Up With The Kardashians reality program, meaning any of the 200-plus guests would actually be guest star fodder in the upcoming season.
For those who are obsessed with the popular reality show, the wedding was a pinnacle moment. For the rest of the world, it was a curiously bizarre event. Most Florentines didn’t even know who the couple getting married was. “A Kennedy, I heard,” Beatrice Cigarini told The Daily Beast as she walked her dog around the perimeter of the castle. She had never heard of the Kardashians.
Even some who did know the couple weren’t impressed. “It’s nuts,” said American tourist Trena Lazzara, from Georgia, who was visiting the Boboli gardens with her husband and several friends hours before the ceremony began.
“They should be doing this quietly and stop making such a production,” her friend Suzan Breedlove added. Though neither the couple nor the guests seemed particularly camera shy.
The Kardashians paid more than $400,000 to rent out the lavish grounds. The money will go to fund several restoration projects in Florence. A dance, presumably heavy on rap, if afternoon sound checks with West's songs were any indication, complete with a laser show that will light up the Florentine skyline will cap off the night. They will reportedly take a smaller group of friends to another villa outside Florence to continue the celebrations on Sunday.