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Saturday, August 21, 1999 Published at 19:08 GMT 20:08 UK


Wedded bliss for Zoe and Fatboy

It must be love: The happy couple after the blessing

Zoe Ball and Norman Cook - aka Fatboy Slim - have had their marriage blessed on a sun-drenched lawn, before scores of celebrity guests.

The BBC's Jon Kay: "The couple said they did not want to commercialise their wedding"
About 200 friends watched the service at Babington Hall in Somerset, and onlookers cheered as the blessing ceremony was completed.

To complete the moment, It Must be Love, the Madness classic, was sung by the band's lead singer Suggs, backed by a small orchestra.

"It was fantastic and very emotional," said 28-year-old Ball.

Cook, 36, said: "We had a little cry." But he joked: "We've both been reading about Mick Jagger's marriage, and we wanted to make sure it was legal."

The day's proceedings did not run entirely smoothly - the blessing was delayed when Radio 1 guests arrived late.

The Radio 1 Sun Bus got stuck in traffic on its way from London, and the couple decided to hold on until it arrived.

[ image: The couple will go on honeymoon on Monday]
The couple will go on honeymoon on Monday
The bride's TV presenter father, Johnny Ball, serenaded the guests with Lewis Carroll's The Owl and the Pussycat.

"He promised he wouldn't," Ball said. "He was supposed to say it.

"But it was beautiful. He sounded like Frank Sinatra."

Among the guests were Top of The Pops presenter Jayne Middlemiss, Radio 1 dance DJ Judge Jules, and Radio One boss Andy Parfitt.

Ball's old Live And Kicking co-host Jamie Theakston was also enjoying the celebrations, sporting pale blue nail polish.

Philippa Forrester from Tomorrow's World, Zoe Ball's first boss Matthew Bannister, Chris Evans' TV sidekick Will MacDonald, and Channel 5 newsreader Kirsty Young were also there.

The happy couple met almost exactly a year ago during Radio 1's week on the dance isle Ibiza, where Cook was playing in clubs.

Radio 1 DJ Dave Pearce said: "I've known Norman for 15 years. He's quite a smiley guy but I have never seen him this happy.

"They are in each other's arms all the time and it's really nice."

Since then his pop persona Fatboy Slim has had a string of number one hits and won the Brit award for best dance act.

Ball has taken sole charge of BBC Radio 1's Breakfast Show, restored its listening figures, and has won a Sony Gold Award.

Fans at a distance

The couple have booked the whole luxury 21-room mansion, which is the country retreat of London media club Soho House.

The press and public were kept at a half-mile distance, and a marquee with screens for privacy has been erected at the grounds for the evening's events.

The guests dined on lobster, champagne and strawberries and be entertained by music act Stretch and Vern. There will be fireworks, dancing and a bouncy castle for the children.

The couple were due to get hitched at Babington House on Saturday, but brought the day forward.

Low-key wedding

"The idea was that today was the special day for us, but we couldn't actually get married in the grounds here," Ball said.

Ball wore a lime green dress with pink and baby-blue flowers for Friday's marriage ceremony at Bath Register Office.

The low-key event was attended by 40 close family and friends of the couple, including the bride's best friend Sara Cox, who has done a stint presenting the Big Breakfast on Channel 4.

The couple will leave on Monday for a two-week honeymoon at a secret destination.

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