While we bet it feels like more than 10 years to them with all their ups and downs — and we aren’t talking just about the elevator brawl after the Met Gala — to us, it seems like just yesterday we were covering their “secret” wedding. The news of it played out over several days — and it then took them months to confirm that it even happened. That’s so their MO — to leave us guessing.
Bey and Jay were always evasive about their relationship, denying they were even an item in the beginning, which was some time between 1997 and 2000. (They were purposely vague because she was just around 18, under or over, and he was 12 years her senior.) However, by 2008 we knew that our modern-day “Bonnie & Clyde” was “Crazy in Love,” so the gossip world went nuts when, after all the fake tabloid stories about a possible wedding, they showed up at the village courthouse in Scarsdale, N.Y., of all places, a town 45 minutes north of Jay’s Tribeca penthouse in Manhattan, to apply for a marriage license on April 1, 2008.
While they probably did it out of town to keep it on the down low, that just didn’t work. Soon after “they arrived alone shortly after it opened at 9 a.m.,” People magazine had all the details. They were “very polite” and “smiling,” as well as “holding hands for a while.” Everyone was abuzz over the possibility of a wedding, but the license was good for 60 days, so the question then became: When? And because it was April 1, was it al some kind of April Fools’ Day joke?
Three days later — on April 4 — it looked like we had our answer. But did we? It was a Friday morning, and flowers were delivered outside Jay’s luxe downtown NYC digs. Immediately a swarm of reporters and paparazzi descended on the area to report all the developments, minute by minute. They rolled out slowly though: After the flowers (which we later learned were 70,000 white orchid blooms flown in from Thailand) came a delivery of candelabras and an SUV carrying AV equipment.
A tent was erected on the balcony of the 13,500-square-foot penthouse apartment, and waiters were seen practicing their service. Inside, a platform was built — maybe for a ceremony. An indoor gym was converted into a dressing room for Bey. A fridge was stocked with Jay-Z’s favorite champagne. And two people dressed in chef’s uniforms arrived carrying large square white boxes on their laps.
Those weren’t the only signs pointing to it being the big day. Of course, it was the fourth — and the pair was obsessed with all things IV. Perez Hilton, who was the king of gossip blogs in those days, had sources saying that the wedding would happen at 4 p.m. — in keeping with the four theme — but that came and went. (Hilton also controversially posted Jay-Z’s address on his website.) A quote from DJ Cassidy, who was spinning at the event, about being “really excited for the Jay-Z and Beyoncé wedding party to happen,” was circulated.
Every new happening (or nonhappening) was a new news story with an OMG tone, making the day just seem endless for those of us on the beat. Meanwhile, official word from Jay-Z’s camp was that it was a small party, just 30 to 40 people, to celebrate his deal with Live Nation. Could we have been wrong about the whole thing?
At 8 p.m. there was f-i-n-a-l-l-y some real activity — in the form of arrivals. Us Weekly broke the news that a reverend had arrived. Websites starting pulling together slideshows of every celebrity guest entering the building. Of the 40 total attendees, Bey’s Destiny’s Child bffs Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams were there. The then consciously coupled Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin arrived. Of course, there was family — Jay’s mom, Gloria; Bey’s mom, Tina Knowles, dad/manager Mathew Knowles, and sister, Solange.
But nearly three hours later, at 10:50 p.m., there was still no official word on whether it was a wedding or not. “The only vow for certain was the one for silence,” People magazine noted. That changed just before midnight. The news that they were married became somewhat official when “a friend of the couple” told People that they were married. And, phew, we could finally go to sleep.
The couple opted not to sell or share their wedding photos — and that is insane considering the time. That same year, the Jolie-Pitts sold the first photos of twins Knox and Vivienne for $14 million and Bey and Jay could have pulled in at least that. Instead, they didn’t even confirm the news at all — even through a spokesperson. Three days after their wedding, Hova was congratulated on his wedding news, to which he replied, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
The celebrity magazines added some color in the weeks to follow though. “It was a very emotional wedding — lots of crying — and really very spiritual,” a guest told People. And Bey got a huge new rock. The vows were “streamlined … with no maid of honor and no best man.” “Beyoncé looked beautiful” in her voluminous white gown. A tent was put up in “the basketball-court-size living room” and “it looked like a palace.” It was “a really pure, white wedding,” a color also worn by guests. “It was just beautiful. Gorgeous. Opulent.” The reception lasted until close to 5.am. Guests were asked to surrender their Blackberries (which really dates the event, right).
It wasn’t until August that he actually confirmed the news, and then she finally spoke about it months after in the December-January issue of Seventeen. They waited until six years later before sharing first images of the top-secret ceremony. At the start of their joint “On the Run” tour in Miami in 2014, outtakes from the wedding were projected onto huge screens in between songs. The couple was seen walking down the aisle, after exchanging vows, with Jay in a tux and Bey in a traditional white gown and veil.
Bey also teased her strapless wedding dress in her 2011 music video for “I Was Here,” showing a few brief moments of her wearing it. In 2016, on her infamous Lemonade album, which was about her husband’s infidelity, she included wedding footage in the video for “All Night.”
On their anniversaries in recent years, Bey has shared more photos and video. Other things we learned: She had a blue mani (Blue, of course, was the name of her first born). They showed off their matching IV tattoos. They maybe danced their first song to “Crazy in Love,” which is weird but we’ll go with it. In addition to the gazillion flowers, there were fake icicles decorating the room.
Bey shared some footage on the couple’s ninth anniversary:
Mama Tina talked about designing the gown on the Today show in 2016. “She was so sweet to let me do that,” said Bey’s mom, a designer and corny joke teller. “She came back later one day and she said, ‘You know, when my daughter gets married, I’m going to let her pick out her own dress.’ Maybe she wasn’t so excited about it at the time, but she’s a sweetheart.”
Following their wedding, the couple welcomed Blue Ivy in 2012 and twins Sir and Rumi in 2017. But with the good has come some bad, including infidelity (on his part) and a devastating miscarriage. They seem to be in a good place now, however, as they ready to embark on another joint tour this summer. Maybe then they’ll open the vault again and share some more personal videos. Like the megastars themselves, they’re always worth the wait.
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