7 JANUARY 2002
Westlife heart-throb Bryan McFadden tied the knot with one-time Atomic Kitten beauty Kerry Katona on Saturday not far from his Ireland home. The two walked down the aisle bathed in candle light at the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Rathfeigh, Co Meath, before joining friends including pop star Ronan Keating at Slane Castle for an opulent affair rumoured to cost more than £100,000.
Throngs of young female fans flocked to the church as the boys from Westlife, Dane Bowers and S Club 7 all turned out to celebrate the union. However, it seems Kerry kept them all waiting as she arrived an hour late.
“Bryan joked… that he was going to give her five more minutes and that was it,” says HELLO!’s Roger Kasper. “There were slight worries.”
Of course the 21-year-old beauty, dressed in a £20,000 white satin gown, eventually made it to the church and the nuptials proceeded. McFadden family friend Father JJ Mullen presided over the grand event, attended by 250 close friends and family members. Bryan’s best man was school friend Eddie Loughlin and Kerry’s five bridesmaids included former band mate Natasha Hamilton.
“It was a fantastic service,” said singer Brian Kennedy. “It was very romantic and very uplifting for everyone in the church. There was a lot of love in there.”
Following the mass, guests departed for Slane Castle which was decked out in £6,500 worth of white lilies. Westlife had been set to entertain, but in the end it was Dane Bowers who performed, serenading the lovers with his hit From The Heart.
“It is a big Irish family wedding,” said party coordinator Joanne Byrne. “They are out to have a good time and it is going to be a very late night.”
The newlyweds met in August of 1999 on the Smash Hits tour, featuring both Westlife and Atomic Kitten, but didn’t immediately hit it off. “The first time I ever saw Brian and he asked me out I said no. I wasn’t attracted to him,” admits Kerry. That would soon change. Their paths crossed again in November and by the New Year they were engaged.
“We drove to Donegal, which is about four hours from Dublin, and eventually pulled up outside Doe Castle,” she told HELLO! in an exclusive interview earlier this year. “He took my hand and we climbed over this fence. He said, ‘Do you know why I’ve brought you here? This is the spot where my granddad proposed to my nana’. He then got down on his knees, pulled out a ring and asked me to marry him.”
Due to pressures from the music industry, however, the two kept their love secret. “My record company and my manager and the band were totally against me coming out publicly about Kerry,” Bryan said. “They thought it would damage Westlife’s popularity, and then Kerry’s people thought it would damage her popularity. If we were staying in a hotel, we wouldn’t even open the door for room service. We worried that if they saw us, they’d tip off the papers.”
Eventually the two came clean, and soon after announced more happy news: they were expecting their first child. In late September 2001, after what doctors described as a “quite difficult” birth, they welcomed baby Molly at Dublin’s Mount Carmel Hospital.
“We are going to spoil her rotten and I am not ashamed to say that,” said the proud new mother of her daughter who, as babies tend to do, cried throughout the ceremony.
For more on the fairy-tale wedding, check out our exclusive photos at hellomagazine.com on Tuesday or in this week’s issue of HELLO!.