Grand Slam Wedding
The courtship of
champions: After only a nine-month romance and 16-week engagement Pete Sampras
and Bridgette Wilson wed in an intimate backyard ceremony.
He has earned a record 13 Grand Slam tennis titles playing singles, but
when it came time to wed actress Bridgette Wilson, seven-time Wimbledon
champion Pete Sampras proved that he may even be more of a natural at doubles.
In an emotional ceremony that included friends' children as well as relatives,
a sentimental dance between Bridgette and her dad, and a nod by Pete to
his Greek heritage, the focus was on celebrating family: Pete's, Bridgette's
and the one they were forming together. And as befits a tennis hero and
his actress bride, there was a showstopping suprise as well.
It all began in September 1999. Pete 29, had been dominating the tennis
world for 10 years, but romantically he hadn't met his match. Then he spotted
Wilson, 27, at an L.A.cinema. " I said to my friend, half-kidding,
'I'd love to meet her,'" recalls Pete. His pal got her number from
a mutual friend, and the match was on.
When told about her famous admirer, Wilson had no idea who Pete Sampras
was. " I had never watched tennis, so I wasn't familiar with him,"
she says, laughing. "But when I saw his picture, I was like, 'Oh yeah,
he's a cutie.'"
At her sister's urging, Wilson accepted an invitation to dinner with Sampras
- which she now calls "the closest thing to a blind date I've ever
been on." (This was only after she was assured that the 6-foot-1-inch
Sampras stood taller than her own 5 feet 9 inches).
Nine months later,
on June 7, Sampras proposed with a platinum ring with oval-shaped diamond
from Cartier. " I can't remember the exact day I knew she was the one;
I remember it was an accumulation of what she's about, where she came from,
and her family," says Sampras, who proposed at his Los Angeles home.
In the days after they became engaged, Bridgette had some experience playing
a busy bride-to-be--not only was she planning her own wedding, but she had
also just wrapped The Wedding Planner (due out in theaters in February 2001).
Then she was cast in the series The Street and had to head to New York to
shoot. Throw in Sampras's hectic tour schedule, and it became a major challenge
to find a date to wed - and the time to plan the event. To the rescue came
wedding coordinator Rob Smith of Laurels Custom Flora in Los Angeles, as
well as Bridgette's sister and maid of honor, Tracy, both of whom helped
the jet-setting lovebirds plan an intimate but elegant event in just six
" Tracy chose the invitations and tasted the food for me. I was like,
if you think it tastes good, I will," says Wilson. "Bless her
heart, she did so much for me, and Rob just worked magic to get it all done
On September 30, as the sun set on a glorious California day, about 80
guests (mostly family members and a few close friends including Wayne Gretzky)
gathered in Sampras' backyard, which had been converted into a dream-like
setting with white chairs facing an archway covered in white flowers, and
white candles and flowers floating in the pool.
Bridgette was also a vision in white, wearing a sleek georgette Vera Wang
dress that had arrived by Fedex just the day before. After she and her father
walked down the aisle to "The Wedding March", Pastor Tim Brueckner,
a family from the Oregon Sunday school where Bridgette once taught and ran
the nursery, performed the 20 minute ceremony. "The moment I loved
was when I was walking down the aisle and I got to look Pete in the eye.
And when he was repeating a few of the vows to me, I started to cry,"
After Sampras and
Wilson became Mr. and Mrs., guests enjoyed hors d'oeuvres and cocktails
by the pool before entering a tent that transformed his tennis court into
a romantic reception hall with flowers, chandeliers and mirrors. The newlyweds
entered, then danced their first dance to "I know how the river feels"
by Diamond Rio. Guests dined on risotto and fillet of beef, prepared by
Joachim Splichal, the chef at L.A.'s Patina restaurant.
After dinner Pete had a surprised for his guests: Sir Elton John arrived
by limo, sat down at the piano and played 45 minutes' worth of his greatest
hits, ending with "Can you feel the love tonight". Even the bride
was floored. "That's one of my most vivid memories of the wedding,"
Another emotional highlight for Bridgette was dancing with her father to
" I love you enough to let you go" by Alabama. " I was crying
my eyes out," she recalls. "It was that moment of acknowledging
that he's trusting Pete to take care of me and the family we raise together."
After a dance-music group, the One o'clock band, began playing, the newly-weds
took to the floor again, staying there until guests left at about midnight.
At one point Sampras took a break to honor his own family's heritage: Following
a Greek celebratory custom, " I cracked a plate into a number of pieces
for good luck," he says. Guests left with a favor of Jordan almonds,
another Greek tradition, as well as an Elton John CD.
Sampras may be used to being the centre of attention on centre court, but
being the focus of friends and family on his wedding day was a different
experience. "When you win matches, it's a short-lived high," he
says. "This was something I was committing to for life. Tennis will
one day stop, but I'll always have Bridgette. That's the biggest reward
Pete Sampras, Brigette Wilson Marry
LOS ANGELES, Calif. Sept 30, 2000 (AP) - Tennis champion Pete Sampras,
a longtime singles specialist, is now playing the doubles game.
Sampras married actress Brigette Wilson at his Beverly Hills home Saturday.
The couple got engaged May 29 after Sampras was beaten in the first round
of the French Open.
The 26-year-old bride walked down the aisle in a Vera Wang gown and over
$400,000 worth of diamond jewelry, according to a statement from the Diamond
Information Center, publicists for Fred Leighton, the jeweler who provided
Wilson was Miss Teen USA in 1990. Her film credits include ``Last Action
Hero,'' in which she played Arnold Schwarzenegger's daughter, the teen scream
flick ``I Know What You Did Last Summer'' and ``Billy Madison.'' She also
appeared on the soap opera ``Santa Barbara.''
Sampras signs up Elton for Wedding
ace Pete Sampras married actress Bridgette Wilson in his back garden -and
hired Elton John to entertain them.
Pistol Pete told the 85 astonished guests: "Here's Elton John. He
doesn't normally do weddings, but he's making an exception for us."
The superstar sat down at the piano and serenaded the couple with a 45-minute
set packed with some of his biggest hits.
Sports-mad Elton is a big tennis fan and has been a close friend of 29-year-old
Sampras for years.
Friends said last night that the idea that he should perform at the wedding
was initially put to Elton as a joke.
But he immediately replied: "I'll do it."
Sampras, the most successful player in history, and his 26-year-old bride
tied the knot on Saturday in an open-air ceremony in the grounds of his
pounds 4million Beverly Hills home.
After they were pronounced man and wife, the couple led the guests, who
included former U.S. champ Jim Courier, to a marquee on Sampras's tennis
Pete's big rival Andre Agassi and former Centre Court bad boy John McEnroe
were also invited - but both sent their apologies.
After Elton's spot Sampras, whose family has Greek roots, followed tradition
by joining his bride to smash a huge plate on the floor.
Sampras first asked Bridgette for a date over a year ago after seeing her
half naked in a film called Love Stinks.
He said later: "Not only is Bridgette beautiful but she is also so
sweet, nice and smart.
"And she's funny and fun to be with."
Bridgette, a former Miss Teen USA, once said: "I know I want to have
a family and be a housewife.
"That's really the most important thing with me."
Article supplied by Nadine Ymga Tembiwe
Match of His Life: Tennis Champ Pete Sampras takes actress Bridgette
Wilson as his bride
It's tough to come up with the perfect wedding present for a multimillionaire
tennis star like Pete Sampras, whose titles have already left him with an
embarrassment of silver trophies, cups and platters. But trust a pal to
rise to the challenge. As the 81 guests in the backyard of Sampras's Benedict
Canyon home for his twilight wedding to actress Bridgette Wilson on Sept.
30 were savoring the last morsels of their dessert, the groom had an announcement.
"I have a friend who is nice enough to come by and play a few songs
for us," said Sampras, 29. Then he introduced Elton John.
With that, John, a fervent tennis fan, took his seat at the piano on a
small stage and treated the guests, including hockey Hall of Famer Wayne
Gretzky and his wife, Janet Jones, to a 45-minute greatest-hits medley.
John ended his set with "Can You Feel the Love Tonight," which
he introduced by observing, "This is kind of a schmaltzy song-but this
is a wedding." Then he slipped away into a waiting limo. "That
was pretty incredible," said guest Mike Ovitz, whose management company
represents Sampras. "It was a lovely, intimate evening of celebration."
That's just the way the couple wanted it, according to Wilson's sister Tracy,
29, the maid of honor. "The whole point," she had said earlier,
was "to be as private and special as possible."
The wedding succeeded on both counts. The stucco walls and lush foliage
surrounding Sampras's home provided a natural screen for the nuptials. And
the tone of the evening was as elegant yet understated as the groom's Armani
tux and the 27-year-old bride's ivory silk georgette bias gown by Vera Wang,
which Wilson accented with $400,000 in diamonds lent by jeweler Fred Leighton.
As a sliver of moon shone over Sampras's yard, the couple's family and
close friends took their seats for the service in a narrow garden bordered
by rose bushes. "Bridgette was as radiant as the white roses,"
says Sampras's longtime friend David Higdon, an executive on the men's pro-tennis
tour. "During the ceremony she was dabbing at tears pretty much the
For the reception, the couple and their guests retired to a tented ballroom
erected over Sampras's tennis court, where they enjoyed a supper that included
filet of beef with artichokes and au gratin potatoes. After Elton John's
set and the serving of the three-tiered white buttercream-iced cake, Sampras,
in a nod to his Greek heritage, smashed a plate for luck. Then, as an R&B
band kicked in, the newlyweds danced and danced-and danced some more. In
fact, though the pair were about to depart for a weeklong Mexican honeymoon
before the bride begins filming her new FOX-TV series, The $treet, in New
York, "Pete was one of the last ones to leave the dance floor,"
says Hingdon. "I don't believe I've ever seen the guy as content and
Article supplied by Betty
Love Match: Pete Sampras weds Bridgette Wilson
Tennis great Pete Sampras sealed his love match to TV actress Bridgette
Wilson last night.
The pair played doubles in a romantic Los Angeles wedding ceremony attended
by six other couples.
After the service, the bridal couple hosted a dinner for 60 guests right
on the tennis court in the backyard of Sampras' home in Beverly Hills.
Wilson, the stunning star of the new Fox-TV series "The Street,"
has been jetting back and forth between L.A. and New York, where the show
is being filmed at Chelsea Piers.
Her curly-headed hubby has been taking it easy since getting bounced in
the finals of the U.S. Open last month.
The couple has been an item for only about a year.
The former Miss Teen USA started seeing Sampras in 1999, when he was on
the rebound following a two-year romance with "Father of the Bride"
co-star Kimberly Williams.
The 13-time Grand Slam champion's only other love sets over the years were
a brief flirtation with actress Lauren Holly and a six-year relationship
with Delaina Mulcahy, a South African-born law student who he met when she
was seeing his then-agent, Gavin Forbes,
Wilson plays a devious money manager on the new Fox show about Wall Street
brokers, which debuts Nov. 1.
Article supplied by Elle
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