Some of England's top footballers woke up as married men Sunday after a clutch of extravagant, glitzy nuptials dubbed the ultimate WAG wedding weekend.
The off-field antics of the so-called WAGs -- wives and girlfriends -- of England's footballers were as much the focus as their husbands and boyfriends' on-pitch performances at last year's World Cup. And there was an almighty fixture pile-up for those celebrities, WAGs and other assorted hangers-on seeking a place in the glossy magazines as four England stars tied the knot in quick succession. Footballers often moan about a congested fixture list, and it seems the problem doesn't even go away during the close-season.
England and Chelsea captain John Terry eased the scheduling problem by kicking off early, marrying his long-term girlfriend Toni Poole at a lavish ceremony at former British prime minister Winston Churchill's ancestral home on Friday. But Manchester United players Michael Carrick and Gary Neville plus Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard all plumped for a traditional Saturday afternoon kick-off -- reportedly creating chaos in WAG world.
The nuptials have provided a boon for Britain's press, with tabloids and broadsheets alike covering who wore what, who attended, how much the events cost and which celebrity magazine snapped up the photography rights. Terry's bash -- although described as "low key" by one newspaper -- was rumoured to have cost one million pounds (1.5 million euros, 1.9 million dollars). Among the guests pictured being driven into Blenheim Palace, near Oxford, south central England, were Chelsea and England players Ashley Cole and Joe Cole. Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, with new girlfriend Daria Zhukova in tow, was also there, according to The Sun, as was England boss Steve McClaren and a host of other high-earning English Premiership stars. Neville's wedding to former shop girl Emma Hadfield was more down to earth, with no celebrity magazine tie-up and the reception back at their six-million-pound mansion. It took place at Manchester Cathedral -- incidentally the subject of an ongoing row between the Church of England and Japanese entertainment giant Sony, which used the cathedral's interior as a backdrop for a firefight in a violent computer game.
Neville was best man for David Beckham, but the Real Madrid and England midfielder could not attend. He was on club duty in Spain. Brother Phil Neville performed best man duties. Their father Neville Neville was master of ceremonies. Manchester United's England striker Wayne Rooney and his fiancee Coleen McLoughlin -- the queen of the WAGs for the tabloids -- turned up, with one newspaper saying their outfits seemed straight out of a 1970s sitcom. United heroes Ryan Giggs, Bryan Robson and Paul Scholes also attended. Gerrard married former nail technician Alex Curran at Cliveden House Hotel in Berkshire, west of London.
Michael Owen, Peter Crouch, Jamie Carragher, Rio Ferdinand, Theo Walcott, Jamie Redknapp, John Arne Riise, Robbie Fowler, Harry Kewell and Ashley Cole were among the football talent attending, while Tottenham midfielder Danny Murphy was the best man. A magazine was reported to have paid 800,000 pounds for the photograph rights. Meanwhile midfielder Carrick married childhood sweetheart and pilates instructor Lisa Roughead at the exclusive Stapleford Park Hotel in Leicestershire, in the English East Midlands, with Joe Cole and Robbie Keane in attendance.