- By Barbara Marshall Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Editor’s note: This story originally published Jan. 22, 2017.
Whatever else you say about our newly inaugurated president, one thing’s for sure: Donald Trump knows how to give anniversary gifts.
For the 10th anniversary of his Palm Beach wedding to his wife, Melania, he presented her with a blinding 25-carat diamond ring, far blingier than her huge 12-carat engagement ring.
For their 12th anniversary Sunday, she will acquire the title of first lady of the United States.
The Trumps married in 2005 during a Palm Beach wedding celebration worthy of its setting at America’s Versailles, the gilded fantasia then known only as Mar-a-Lago, lately reinvented as the winter White House.
The week before what would be his third wedding, Trump told Billy Bush of “Access Hollywood” that after this trip to the altar he would finally be a loyal spouse.
“I’m gonna show up, I’m gonna say ‘I do,’ and I’m gonna be a very good husband for a change,” he told Bush.
He said he planned to “come home more.”
“No dating,” he promised.
(Trump’s association with Bush would precipitate his campaign’s major cataclysm when a released “hot mic” “Access Hollywood” tape recorded Trump boasting of the nonconsensual groping of women.)
But all that was in the future on his wedding day.
Melania, 34, dripped with diamonds that evening — they even encrusted the straps of her Manolo Blahnik shoes — as she walked down the aisle of Palm Beach’s Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in a strapless $230,000 John Galliano draped and tucked wedding dress with a 13-foot train.
Ever the model, Melania was said to have glided effortlessly in the gown that weighed a reported 60 pounds.
Its crystal beading required more than 500 hours of hand-sewing by the artisans at Christian Dior’s Paris atelier.
A few days earlier, the world had gotten a preview of the dress when Melania modeled it in a Vogue spread.
Trump wore a tuxedo from his favorite haberdasher, Brioni.
According to the Palm Beach Daily News, the bride carried an antique rosary as she strolled down the aisle to a soprano singing “Ave Maria.”
Ivanka Trump, 11 years younger than her new stepmother, read a Bible passage. Trump’s two sons, Don Jr. and Eric, were their father’s best men.
After applauding the newly hitched duo, about 350 guests tossed white rose petals as the Trumps made their way out of the church.
While celebrities and musicians were ditching the Trump inauguration in droves on Friday, his Palm Beach nuptials were so awash in them it looked like a special edition of “Entertainment Tonight.”
The guest list included Tony Bennett, Donna Summer, Katie Couric (who violated protocol with her purse-cam), Shaquille O’Neal, Anna Wintour, Simon Cowell, Russell and Kimora Simmons, Kelly Ripa, Tom Brady, Derek Jeter, Billy Joel, Hillary and Bill Clinton and, foreshadowing Trump’s eventual footprint on the international stage, Benjamin Netanyahu, before he began his second stint as Israeli prime minister.
Melania’s wedding registry included china in Tiffany’s Palladium pattern. Judith and Rudy Giuliani gave the couple a set of monogrammed sheets, according to gossip queen Cindy Adams in the New York Post.
The streets surrounding the church were lined with gawkers hoping for a glimpse of Heidi Klum, Barbara Walters, Matt Lauer or Kathie Lee Gifford.
Legions of the world’s entertainment media trained their cameras on a long line of limos depositing guests at the church.
After the ceremony, guests entered Trump’s just-completed ballroom at Mar-A-Lago, a gold-and-white Baroque setting so ornate Louis XIV would have felt at home.
Bill and Hillary Clinton laughed as they posed for a friendly photo with the newlyweds that would come to haunt Clinton’s candidacy.
During the campaign, Trump told Politico: “’Hillary Clinton,’ I said, ‘be at my wedding,’ and she came to my wedding. She had no choice because I gave to [the Clinton] foundation.”
Billy Joel serenaded the couple with a reworked Sinatra tune called “That’s Why the Donald is a Trump.” Paul Anka and Tony Bennett sang after guests dined on lobster, filet and caviar.
The cake was 5 feet tall. Cristal Champagne “flowed like water,” said wedding planner Preston Bailey.
Later, the party spilled around Mar-a-Lago’s pool, which glowed with floating candles, the Daily News reported. After 1 a.m., Melania changed into a second dress, this one a dance-floor-friendly Vera Wang number.
A few days later, on the “Today” show, the couple told Lauer and Couric they were doing “really well, really well.”
Before the segment was over, the new groom changed the subject from love to commerce.
According to Politico, Trump used his appearance to plug that evening’s episode of his reality TV show, “The Apprentice.”