How David And Victoria Beckham Made History With Their Lavish Wedding

David Beckham and Victoria Beckham's marriage has survived for decades despite being plagued by affair rumors. Their lavish wedding took place on July 4, 1999, four months following the birth of their eldest child, Brooklyn Beckham. The special day made history due to a lucrative deal the couple made with the British magazine OK!

According to The Guardian, Richard Desmond of OK! magazine wanted his publication to have exclusivity over the Beckham's wedding pictures. Martin Townsend — the magazine's editor at the time — said in a documentary in 2004: "A rumour began to circulate in the OK! office that the Sun had offered [£1 million] for the Beckham wedding and a message came down from our chairman, Richard Desmond, 'Right, if they've offered a million, we must offer a million.'"

Alan Edwards, Victoria's agent, was shocked when Townsend called him and offered that much. Townsend continued" "I said, 'The Sun have already offered you a million, haven't they?' and he said, 'No, Hello! have offered us quite a lot, but not a million, no one's offered us a million.'" OK! made the £1 million (or about $1.2 million) deal, smashing records as the most expensive celebrity photoshoot ever at the time. The Beckham wedding issue of their magazine garnered four times as many sales as usual — about 1.5 million copies!

Martin Townsend wrote a reflection on the Beckham wedding before Brooklyn Beckham got married

Shortly before Victoria Beckham and David Beckham's eldest son, Brooklyn Beckham, married Nicola Peltz in 2022, Martin Townsend wrote a piece for iNews reminiscing about the iconic Beckham wedding from 1999. He wondered if Brooklyn and Peltz would be able to keep their ceremony secret the way Victoria and David did, due to the modern age of social media and smartphones. Townsend was at the wedding ceremony weekend and helped pick photos for the magazine with Victoria and David the day after the wedding.

"Speed and secrecy were our watchwords: if we didn't get the transparencies back to London and the magazine printed and out on the news-stands quickly, the excitement of the occasion would begin to fade," Townsend said. "If one essential detail of that wedding leaked out, to the newspapers — or, worse, our rival Hello! Magazine — the linked financial and surprise value of the exclusive could be seriously compromised."

Townsend remembered security guards booting out unauthorized paparazzi that had infiltrated the wedding venue — Ireland's Luttrellstown Castle. He also said the release of the magazine caused a stir: "When the wedding issue of the magazine was published, a few days later, scuffles broke out in WH Smith's and other newsagents as customers clamoured for copies."

Victoria felt their wedding was 'much more intimate than it looked'

In addition to starting fights, Martin Townsend had a different number for how many Beckham wedding editions of OK! sold: 1.7 million, higher than what The Guardian printed in 2004. In iNews, Townsend called it, "arguably one of the greatest single magazine exclusives in publishing history." He added, "The following two issues, with more pictures, brought total sales of all three Beckham specials to seven million."

Despite all the hubbub surrounding Victoria and David's wedding, the ceremony itself only had 29 guests, and there were approximately 230 people at the reception. Victoria's gone on record saying it wasn't as big a deal as it seemed. At The Business of Fashion Voices event in 2022, she said: "You know, I mean, I think that the media glamorized the wedding much more than it actually was. I mean, yes, it was in a magazine. Yes, we sat on thrones. You know me and David, I love to have fun." Victoria talked about being a hard worker but still wanting to enjoy herself, "And sometimes my tongue-in-cheek sense of humor does tend to get me in trouble. So, but the wedding was really, it wasn't as huge as everybody made it out. ... And it was actually much more intimate than it looked."

David and Victoria's lavish wedding was only the first start of their marriage journey. For more on their relationship, check out their secret to a long marriage.