She very easily could have been stressed.
Gwyneth Paltrow was just months away from her backyard vows to writer-director-producer Brad Falchuk. Of course, the backyard in this case meant the expansive acreage of her Hamptons home, so the event—with a guest list including luminaries like her godfather Steven Spielberg and his actress wife Kate Capshaw, Cameron Diaz and her rocker husband Benji Madden, Robert Downey Jr. and his producer wife Susan Downey—would no doubt be dissected by millions of fans, eagerly scouring the Internet for the couple’s #thefaltrows hashtag.
And for the Oscar-winner whose name is synonymous with Goop, a trailblazer in the now-crowded celebrity lifestyle brand landscape, the expectations were sky high.
Yet, she confessed to E! News in June 2018, with a business to oversee and an acting career to tend to she wasn’t “that involved” in, say, pinning down a calligrapher to scrawl out 70 or so seating cards. As she put it, “I’m probably the least bridezilla person, probably to a fault, that has ever come across my wedding planner’s office door.”
Sometimes it’s wise to trust the professionals.
So Paltrow, 49, and Falchuk, the 50-year-old television writer she first met on the set of Glee in 2010 and then, after consciously uncoupling from husband Chris Martin, starting dating in 2014, saw to the business of planning a marriage. Shirking traditions such as discussing finances and, you know, actually living together, instead they made the decision to, as she put it to Howard Stern,”try and do it in our own way.”
Meanwhile, her team of planners, led by Colleen Kennedy Cohen, did what they do best. She “really just wants to show up and is very relaxed about the whole thing,” a source explained to E! News ahead of the Sept. 29, 2018, affair.
And so she did and it was every bit as Pinterest-perfect as could be. “Perfect weather, a superlative dinner, a dance party for the ages, and a dress that defies adjectives,” declared the Goop write-up of the “sunny and cool” bright fall day. “Hours later, when the last guest went home and the last champagne flute was cleared away, the day ended as it began—with beauty, love, and two very happy people.”
The revelry began the evening before when Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld played host to the entire crew, their nearby 12-acre oceanfront property serving as the backdrop for the rehearsal dinner.
While Paltrow may have been hands-off with the details, she was certainly guiding the ship, selecting Argentine chef Francis Mallmann—known for his live-fire cooking style and bevy of signature dishes—to oversee the night’s menu.
Flying 5,000 miles from Santiago, Chile, the restaurateur whipped up whole ribeye on the bone, hung chicken with salsa criollo, whole lamb with gremolata sauce and salt-crusted large wild salmon with tartar sauce, served on farmhouse-style tables from Restoration Hardware topped with floral, fig, blackberry and plum centerpieces courtesy of New York City florist Putnam & Putnam.
Bistro lights twinkled atop a wooden canopy, Southern California’s Rocky Neck Bluegrass Band played and uniformed servers saw to guests’ every need. And that was just the opening act.
At 5 p.m., having spent her morning with Diaz, daughter Apple Martin, Isabella Falchuk (her groom’s daughter with ex-wife Suzanne Bukinik) and a glam crew that included makeup artist Gucci Westman and hair stylist Orlando Pita, Paltrow made her way down the flower-lined aisle in the cap sleeve lace appliqué Valentino gown she collaborated on with designer Pierpaolo Piccioli.
Pronounced husband and wife in front of an arch of greenery and a beloved mature tree, she and Falchuk (in Tom Ford, like his groomsmen Moses Martin and son Brody Falchuk) were showered with eucalyptus leaves as they made their way back down the aisle, filmmaker Spielberg taking on the unofficial role of videographer throughout the whole affair.
And if one pillar candle was out of place, Paltrow did her best to remain blissfully unaware, having noted in a chat with then-COO Elise Loehnen on The goop Podcast days earlier that a wedding can easily turn into “a perfectionist’s hell.”
A pal had texted her earlier that day, Paltrow shared, and reminded her of the importance of holding tight to her go-with-the-flow stance. “She was like, ‘We have to make sure when we get there that you turn the event planning switch off and don’t focus on the fact that the votives are in a circular arrangement instead of a line. Like let it go,'” Paltrow detailed. “And I actually think it was really profound because of, again, you can get so caught up in these things and it’s like I’m there to, you know, get married to the most incredible man and so I’m excited about it.”
And the big, important, meaningful touches went off without a hitch.
For instance, the couple had enjoyed their first date at one of Mario Carbone‘s restaurants, so the famed James Beard winner was tasked with overseeing the night’s dinner. Crab Louis’ Dungeness crab and scampi tortellini San Marzano followed by a choice of honey mustard duckling or prime rib, carved to order, was plated on the white, but not too plain, Vista Alegre’s Ornament china Paltrow had selected to complement the long wooden tables and vintage cut crystal.
For dessert, a compromise emblematic of her and Falchuk’s four-year romance: 45 personalized carrot cakes (her choice) and 45 chocolate and vanilla (his).
The celebration that followed was every bit as sweet. Following a first dance and Ruinart champagne toasts from the likes of Robert Downey, Jr., Paltrow slipped into the Stella McCartney jumpsuit designed to make the most of music provided by jazz band Django Foxtrot and DJs Girl Talk and Arman Naféei.
Guests sipped gin cocktails from the custom bar and dirty martinis from a gilded Restoration Hardware cart, marveled at the oversize hanging greenery installation and enjoyed the aforementioned dance party for the ages to ’80s party jams.
And, as the Goop description would suggest, what remained at the end of the night were two people filled with gratitiude to have found this sort of relationship at this point in their lives.
“I am so grateful,” Paltrow mused weeks later to Glamour U.K. “It’s different to be in your mid-40s; do it again and bring all your experience, your pain, your happiness, suffering—everything. It’s actually very heartening. I feel very optimistic!”
Having each been through the commitment of marriage and the disappointment of separation (“Divorce is terrible, even when it’s the right thing to do,” Falchuk noted to the Wall Street Journal), it meant even more to dive back into the fray.
“I think that marriage is a really beautiful, noble and worthwhile institution, pursuit and endeavor,” Paltrow explained in Marie Claire U.K.‘s November 2018 issue. “Because I don’t think you get married and that’s it—I think it’s the beginning. You create this third entity, this third being that you have to nourish and look after. For a while, I thought, I don’t know if I’d ever do it again. I have my kids—what’s the point? And then I met this incredible man, who made me think, no, this person is worth making this commitment to. I’m very much the marrying kind.”
AUTHOR: SARAH GROSSBART
DATE PUBLISHED: September 29,2021
PHOTO CREDIT: Eonline