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Court told of stars' wedding security

Douglas and Zeta-Jones arrive at London's High Court on Monday.
Douglas and Zeta-Jones arrive at London's High Court on Monday.

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LONDON, England -- Catherine Zeta-Jones's wedding planner has told a court that one of the actress's greatest fears was that the media could infiltrate the lavish event.

Simone Martel, who planned the wedding of Zeta-Jones and actor Michael Douglas, told the London High Court that one of the most complicated and most expensive aspects of the big day was the security arrangements.

Speaking on Tuesday, via a video link from New York, Martel said the event involved three security companies, the New York Police Department and the city's fire department.

"We worked on the basis that paranoia is the mother of survival and tried to plan for as many contingencies as possible," she told the court.

But despite all the measures taken, a paparazzo managed to gatecrash the event in November 2000 and his pictures were published in the celebrity magazine Hello! despite the couple's exclusive deal with OK! Magazine.

The couple are suing Hello! for 500,000 ($800,000) alleging breaches of privacy and confidence.

OK is also suing the magazine, which published its photos three days before OK hit news stands, for 1.75 million ($2.9 million) for lost sales and syndication deals.

Martel, who described her job as "event planner", said the Hollywood stars had wanted their wedding to be "personal, romantic, intimate and unforgettable."

She said that the day before the wedding she hand-delivered entry cards to all the guests who were in New York. Those not in the city had theirs delivered by Federal Express.

"We delivered the entry cards at the last moment in order to make it more difficult for the passes to be copied or duplicated," she said.

"Despite the enormous level of security, and despite our very best efforts, we now know that our security arrangements were violated and that illicit photographs were taken during the wedding."

Each card had been hand marked by her with an individual code identifying the guest and stamped with invisible ink.

Guests were also politely informed that no cameras were to be brought into the wedding, she said.

Martel told the court: "We compiled information on every person who was going to be involved in the provision of services or goods, including information on when they would be at the Plaza Hotel and where they would be.

"Full sweeps of the main reception room and other key rooms for any surreptitious sound and video equipment were carried out on a regular basis up to and including the final hour before the ceremony itself."

If anyone was found with a camera during the event, it was taken away by security and the film developed. Any photographs of the wedding would be removed.

Earlier, Douglas told the hearing: "We believed Hello! was exacting revenge on us because we had decided to provide the rights to publish photographs of our wedding to their competitor. The whole thing felt spiteful."

Zeta-Jones, who gave evidence on Monday and who on Tuesday received an Oscar nomination, has said she was appalled by the sneak photos and their quality. (Oscar nominations)

"The quality was what every bride would hate to have out there. It was cheap and tacky and everything I didn't want.

"They were poor quality, sleazy, unflattering and looked like they had been stolen -- as indeed they had," she said.


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