If an image can be said to sum up a decade, it’s as good as anything the 1990s threw up: David and Victoria Beckham, walking hand in hand at their wedding reception at Dublin’s Luttrellstown Castle on July 4, 1999, wearing outfits of matching Milk Tray purple.
David, then 24 and at the peak of his footballing powers, has his hair streaked blond. Victoria, then 25 and a little past the peak of her first career as a Spice Girl, has a pixie cut.
Her look is accented by a rose corsage wider than her head. His look is accented by a diamante crucifix necklace, designer stubble and – squint-and-you’ll-miss-him – their four-month-old son, Brooklyn, whose outfit is cut from the same lurid cloth as his parents’.
“THE WEDDING OF THE DECADE”, cried the next issue of OK! magazine, which had exclusive rights to the build-up, the day and the aftermath of the nuptials, on the cover of its biggest ever issue.
And, it really was the wedding of the decade. Everything – from the dove released when the pair said “I do” to the Robin Hood theme, scattered rose petals, and Victoria’s silk, pleated Vera Wang gown with sculpted neckline and 20ft train – made it exquisitely, exclusively 90s.
“We did throw a lot at it,” recalled David on Desert Island Discs in 2017. He lamented the evening dress code – “I even had a top hat in purple... what was I thinking?” – but seemed to concede that it was all a long, long time ago.
Twenty-three years, to be exact – a period in which we’ve watched Brand Beckham move on, grow up, spawn and diversify with remarkable savvy. And last month, its next move made that evolution plain, as well as made us feel utterly ancient.
It’s time for Brooklyn to lead a transatlantic merger. The joining of two houses, both alike in prosperity. Yes, the baby in the cowboy hat lassoed a bride of his own: in a new decade, the Beckham wedding is back, and this time it was high-end. Or, sort of high-end, anyway.
A few basic details, so everyone’s up to speed: the bride Nicola Peltz is a 27-year-old actress whom 23-year-old Brooklyn met at the Coachella music festival and started dating in 2019, then proposed to with a £250,000 diamond ring 10 months later. She was wearing a Victoria Beckham dress that day. “I fall in love with you more every day,” Brooklyn wrote, on Instagram. And that was almost two years ago, meaning he must be super keen on her now.
Peltz has appeared in Transformers: Age of Extinction, the Psycho prequel Bates Motel and several music videos, but she’s also an heiress. Her parents are US businessman Nelson Peltz, who has an estimated fortune of more than £1.3 billion, and his third wife, former model Claudia Heffner Peltz. The Beckhams only have £380 million. (A prenuptial agreement has allegedly been signed.)
The merger occurred on April 9, at the Peltz family’s $76 million, 44,000 sq ft, 27-bedroom, oceanfront house in Palm Beach, Florida, after some 300 guests had enjoyed a dinner, and before a relaxed farewell event the day after.
It was, friends say, “Miami society meets British celebrity”, which means that if you can think of a famous person who might be there, they probably were. Family friends who attended the wedding included Serena and Venus Williams, Gordon Ramsay, Phil Neville, Eva Longoria and two of the other Spice Girls – Sporty and Scary. One of Brooklyn’s godfathers, Sir Elton John, was on tour.
Then there are the couple’s friends, many of whom are the offspring of celebrities, like Rocco Ritchie (Guy Ritchie and Madonna’s son), Anais Gallagher (daughter of Noel) and Nicole Ritchie (daughter of Lionel).
And, of course, family, who fill all the major roles: Romeo and Cruz, Brooklyn’s younger brothers, acted as best men, while their sister, Harper, was a bridesmaid. Nicola’s “man-of-honour” was one of her brothers, Brad. She has six (one, Will, is an actor), and one sister. Her father-in-law, David, the famous wit, was master of ceremonies.
Aside from being costly (£3 million, they say), Brooklyn’s wedding had little in common with that of his parents.
For one thing, it was Jewish. Despite neither bride nor groom being Jewish, the ceremony included glass-breaking, and a chuppah. Nicola’s father is said to be a devout Jew, and Brooklyn’s great-grandfather (David’s maternal grandfather) was, too. That quite tenuous connection allegedly bonded the happy couple.
Singer, song writer and actor Marc Anthony was the DJ at the Covid-secure reception. The bride wore a stunning Valentino gown chosen with help from her stylist Leslie Fremar and was embellished with personal details including an evil eye that the bride’s mother added and a message that the Valentino team stitched into the gown using blue thread; the groom wore a bespoke suit designed by family friend and Dior’s ace menswear designer Kim Jones, who in fact designed for all the male members of the Beckham clan.
As for well-turned-out guests, they were banned from taking their own photos, because Vogue has the rights to exclusive imagery and coverage.
Yes, Vogue. In 1999, OK! magazine reported exclusively on everything from Posh’s dress fitting to printing the speeches in full. Twenty-three years later, the fact their cowbaby has been able to sell his own wedding rights to the fashion bible instead is perhaps the clearest sign of how Brand Beckham – and Vogue – has changed.
That first wedding was very much the marriage of two young people who grew up only hoping to be rich and famous – for a long time, they were just David from Chingford and Victoria from Hertfordshire. Brooklyn and Nicola, on the other hand, grew up knowing they’d never have to work a day in their lives if they didn’t want to.
Theirs is as much a society wedding as a minor royal’s, then, especially given the Peltzes’ fortune. Nelson, who is 79, never graduated from university and ended up as a delivery driver for the family food distribution business. A decade and a half later, he’d grown it into a $150 million business.
As a financier, Nelson is seen as a doyen of the food retail and distribution industries, which has meant he’s made a lot of powerful friends.
What a meeting of brands this is. In merging with the Peltzes, the Beckhams consolidate their wealth and power and probe further into US society.
In merging with the Beckhams, the Peltzes join forces with one of the world’s most famous families, who established themselves in the US years ago, and have built themselves over the years from “footballer and pop star” to quasi-royalty.
But that’s the cynical view. The happy couple seem as in love as any bride and groom. Just hunt down their gushing Instagram tributes, tattoos and cutesy online cookery videos for evidence. Expect all that to be present going forward. Brand Beckham has come a long way since “the wedding of the decade” – now prepare for them to define another era of celebrity.
The Daily Telegraph