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electronic MUSICIAN

McCartney Says Rain Won't Dampen Tuesday Wedding

June 10, 2002

By Kevin Smith

GLASLOUGH, Ireland (Reuters) - Taking the view that "All You Need IsLove," ex-Beatle Sir Paul McCartney vowed on Monday that Ireland'snotoriously wet weather would not dampen lavish celebrations plannedfor his wedding.

"We're not going to worry about the weather, we're just going tohave a great time," a relaxed and smiling McCartney, 59, said as he andfiancee Heather Mills, 34, chatted to reporters outside Castle Lesliein County Monaghan the day before their wedding.

McCartney and Mills took advantage of a brief break in day-longdownpours to shake hands with fans and to thank well-wishers.

The rock legend said the wedding Tuesday would be "for all ourfamily and friends."

He admitted to being nervous despite rehearsals for the ceremony --to be held in the 300-year-old St. Salvator's Church on the castle'sestate -- having gone "brilliantly."

McCartney, whose mother hailed from County Monaghan, said hisbrother Mike would act as best man.

His fiancee, meanwhile, revealed that she had designed her ownwedding dress with the help of London fashion house Avis &Brown.

McCartney and the former model arrived Sunday by helicopter on thecastle's 1,000-acre estate where elaborate preparations have been underway for days.

"They are very smiley, very happy," McCartney's spokesman GeoffBaker said. "They look like a couple of teenagers about to be wed."

Baker said there was no dress code for the wedding and that whilethe menu was vegetarian it would also be "very liquid and alcoholic,"adding: "It's a rock 'n' roll wedding."

Baker said the British magazine "Hello" had offered 1.5 millionpounds ($2.2 million) for exclusive rights to photos of the event butthat the couple had decided to sell pictures for 1,000 pounds eachthrough an agency and donate proceeds to the charity Adopt A MinefieldUK.

Mills's leg was amputated below the knee in 1993 after a roadaccident in London. She went on to fundraise for amputees and land minecharities.

"An occasion like this is for everyone," Baker said, adding thatMcCartney had even thought it was hilarious that Sir John Leslie, an84-year-old member of the family that has owned the castle for 300years, leaked the date to the press.

"They just wanted to keep it quiet for as long as they could but atthe back of their minds they knew people would find out," he said.

Security surrounding the celebrity event of the year has beenintense, with uniformed guards patrolling the estate's perimeter andorganizers tight-lipped.

Aerial photographs taken by Reuters showed marquees erected besidethe castle lake and fresh flowers being laid out.

CELEBRITY GUESTS

Given the unpredictability of the Irish weather -- and the forecastis far from promising -- the construction of a covered walkway from the14-bedroom castle to the estate's 300-year-old St. Salvator's churchlooked like a wise precaution, as did a number of outdoor heatingunits.

Many of the 300 invited guests are expected to arrive on Monday,with rumors that a plane-load of celebrities from London had alreadytouched down at Belfast airport across the border in British-ruledNorthern Ireland.

McCartney's daughter Stella and his three other children from hisfirst marriage were due later in the day.

Beatles drummer Ringo Starr and legendary guitarist Eric Clapton arereportedly among the guests. Villagers claim to have spotted Elton Johnand veteran pop singer Cliff Richard in a car near Monaghan town.

It is the second time around for McCartney, who met Mills at acharity event and announced their engagement last July. His wife Lindadied of breast cancer in 1998. Members of her family will attend theevent.

Asked by reporters if the couple had made a pre-nuptial agreement,Baker said: "Honestly I have heard no mention of it."

After nearly six days of playing host to the media circus, someGlaslough residents were starting to get fed up.

"I just wish this whole thing would hurry up and be over," said awaitress at one of the jam-packed local inns as she fielded half adozen urgent cries for "more coffee."

Shop assistant Roisin Treanor, 17, said for most people Ireland'sWorld Cup clash against Saudi Arabia Tuesday would be the day's topevent.

"I'll definitely be watching the match -- it's much more importantthan the wedding," she said.

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