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EDITIONS
Monday, 10 June, 2002, 18:14 GMT 19:14 UK
McCartney and Mills greet public
Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills
The couple kissed for the cameras
Sir Paul McCartney and his bride-to-be Heather Mills have thanked the public for their good wishes after arriving at the fairytale Irish castle that is to be the venue of their wedding on Tuesday.

The couple drove to the gates of the 17th Century 1,000-acre estate, in the village of Glaslough, in county Monaghan, on Monday afternoon to meet the assembled press and crowd of well-wishers gathered outside.

Media
The media set up early in the hope of snapping the couple
Sir Paul and his fiancée, who kissed twice for the cameras, said the wedding would be "a family affair" with friends and relatives.

He said: "I would just like to thank all the people who have written in to us and people we have met on the streets who have wished us all the best."

After accepting a posy of flowers, Mills said: "Thanks for all your support. We really appreciate it."

Sir Paul revealed the reason Monaghan was chosen for the venue was that his mother had been born there.

Wedding dress

The couple vowed the weather would not spoil their big day after final preparations were hampered by torrential downpours.

Mills also revealed she had made her own wedding dress along with two designers.

The couple have refused to sell their wedding pictures to a glossy magazine, turning down an offer of £1.5m.

Instead they will issue one picture which the media will pay for - with the money going to a landmine charity.

Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills
The pair did a quick walkabout for the crowds
"Any occasion like this is for everybody - not just for the person with the largest cheque book," said Sir Paul's spokesman, Geoff Baker.

The pair are due to stay at the castle until the ceremony, Mr Baker said - although they will not be spending Monday night together. "That would be bad luck," he said.

Tight security

The service will be held at St Salvator's Church within the Castle Leslie estate.

The couple had kept the wedding date and venue a tight secret, but Sir John Leslie, 84, whose family owns Castle Leslie, had inadvertently dropped hints.

Asked about this, Sir Paul said: "If it had to leak, it leaked the right way."

Guards prevented photographers and journalists from getting a glimpse of the preparations.

Poster at Castle Leslie
Locals pinned good luck messages to the estate gates

The date of the wedding party for Sir Paul, 59 and Mills, 34, was made public when invitations were sent out.

Mr Baker said 300 people would be entertained in the castle grounds after the service and they would be served a vegetarian dinner.

Sir Paul stressed the day would be for family, saying "there will be about ten people you have heard of".

Sir Paul's fellow ex-Beatle Ringo Starr is to read a poem during the service incorporating the words to the famous Beatles' song All You Need is Love, according to reports.

The family of Sir Paul's first wife Linda have also been invited.

Sir Paul's brother Mike will once again act as best man, having performed the same role at his marriage to Linda.

Sir Paul's children, Stella, James, Mary and stepdaughter Heather, were also said to be attending, despite reports of a rift between them and Mills.

Castle Leslie - picture: Irish Independent
The venue was first named by the New York Post
Three marquees have been erected close to the castle with a specially-constructed covered walkway leading between them and the chapel.

Fireworks

A dance floor has been set up alongside a lake, and a pier has been constructed with a luxury boat moored alongside.

Lilies and roses were among thousands of pounds' worth of flowers to have been delivered and were being kept refrigerated and watered.

Lighting effects have been put in trees and floating pontoons lay alongside the banks of the lake, suggesting that fireworks could be launched from the water's surface.

Sir Paul met anti-landmines campaigner Mills three years ago and they became engaged last July.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Kevin Connolly
"It is said the couple turned down $2 million for rights to wedding pictures"
BBC News Online charts Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills' relationship


The courtship

The happy couple

Remembering Linda

PHOTO GALLERY

THE LOCAL HERO

In Pictures
Sir Paul's big day
See also:

10 Jun 02 | Entertainment
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