One-time Hollywood golden couple Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston were married on Saturday, July 29, 2000, after being set up on a blind date by their agents in May 1998. They wed in front of 200 guests including Aniston’s Friends costars, her actor father John Aniston (but not her estranged mother, Nancy Dow), who walked her down the aisle, Melissa Etheridge, Jon Lovitz and Pitt’s Fight Club costar Edward Norton – who brought his then-girlfriend, Salma Hayek. Guests were treated to a gospel choir, four live bands (including a Latin jazz ensemble and a Greek bouzouki band), and a 13-minute fireworks display set to songs by alternative favourites of the couple by Radiohead, Garbage, and Jeff Buckley.
The A-listers went to great lengths to keep the press from their big day, holding the wedding at television producer Marcy Carsey’s gated five-acre seaside Malibu, California estate, decorated with 50,000 flowers. An inspector from the Federal Aviation Administration was on hand in case helicopters prying for a photo caused dangerous overcrowding. Paparrazzi documented celebrity guest arrivals outside the estate, but only one photo from inside was ever released publicly – a close-up black and white shot of the newlyweds gazing contentedly at one another. Pitt, then 36, paired his Hedi Slimane tuxedo with a long black tie, while only a portion of Aniston’s floor-length white Laurence Steele gown, with glass-beaded bodice and low-slung back with white veil, is visible in the shot. Her longtime hairstylist Chris McMillan (who created her iconic ‘Rachel’ ‘do) styled her hair in long, loose waves with golden highlights.
L.A. caterers Along Came Mary supplied post-ceremony hors d’oeuvres, for guests to nosh while the newlyweds took wedding photos – shrimp, gourmet pizzas, and caviar with Dom Perignon champagne. During dinner, guests dined on lobster, crab, peppercorn beef, risotto and pasta. The couple each had just two attendants – New York native Aniston, then 30, pipped Andrea Bendewald, her best friend from high school, and Kristin Hahn-Stringer, one of the first friends she made when she moved to Los Angeles, while Brad’s groomsmen were his brother Doug and father Bill.
Twelve-year-old Sinatra-esque crooner Dakota Horvath performed “The Way You Look Tonight” for the newlyweds’ first dance, while the four different bands got most guests on the dance floor throughout the night. “Everybody danced with everybody,” one guest told People Magazine at the time. “The feeling in there was of love and commitment.”
The couple laughed when they cut into their six-tier white-frosted wedding cake, and Etheridge took the stage later in the evening, with actor Dermot Mulroney on mandolin, to perform a rendition of Led Zepplin’s “Whole Lotta Love.”
Pitt commissioned the couple’s wedding bands from Italian jeweller Silvia Damiani, for whom Pitt was the brand’s Italian spokesman. They reportedly collaborated on the design over seven months. In 2001, the couple sued Damiani International for manufacturing similar knock-offs and marketing them under the couple’s name without express consent. The original bands were made of white gold and diamonds – Jennifer’s ring was decorated with 20 diamonds to the groom’s ten. Additionally, Brad had ‘Jen 2000’ inscribed on his, and ‘Brad 2000’ inscribed on hers.
The newlyweds enjoyed a mini-honeymoon break at the Ingleside Inn in Palm Springs, California, before she reported back to the set of Friends, and he hit the road to promote his next film, The Mexican (with Julia Roberts). The marriage lasted until 2005, when Pitt fell in love with his Mr. and Mrs. Smith costar Angelina Jolie and the couple divorced. Pitt went on to have six children with Jolie – three adopted, three biological – before splitting last year, while Aniston married second husband, actor Justin Theroux, in August 2015.