STEVE NORMAN’S WEDDING PHOTOS
❚ SO WHAT WAS THE BEST MOMENT at the wedding reception on the day last May when former Bucks Fizz singer Shelley Preston married Spandau Ballet’s Steve Norman? Mr & Mrs Norman have been talking for the first time this week — exclusively to Shapersofthe80s — about the ceremony they’ve kept secret through the summer so they could enjoy some privacy in their new Hampshire hideaway.
Shelley is especially proud of their wedding dance, an old-fashioned waltz given a contemporary twist. “We did a proper waltz for a full two-and-a-half-minutes, with added twirls, so I was bending over backwards at one stage. We took lessons from a fabulous dancer and teacher called Hyacinth Christou, and then practised really hard.” To which Steve added: “We made our own version of the waltz and danced it to Jakatta’s One Fine Day.” This track is an ambient masterpiece from the Ministry of Sound album Visions, and full of Ibiza influences. “Strictly, here we come!” Steve hinted (hopefully?).
Yesterday we published beautiful pictures of the happy couple leaving the official ceremony in rural Hampshire, and today we see more exclusive photos. Highlights of the service included Shelley’s friend the opera singer, Kathryn Turpin, singing the romantic aria Lascia ch’io pianga (from Handel’s 1711 opera, Rinaldo) — and Steve struggling for an age to get the ring onto his plump third finger. “I must have put on some weight,” he says innocently, “but it did have people rolling in the aisles.”
Among the readings spoken by their friend Mandy Pym, the couple chose George Eliot’s words from her novel Adam Bede: “What greater thing is there for two human souls, than to feel that they are joined for life…” Another came from Antoine de Saint-Exupery, the French author of The Little Prince: “Love has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction.”
Afterwards, Shelley says, “Family and friends retreated to our local country pub for a full hog-roast.” Steve is very conscious that they risked offending other friends by limiting the guestlist. “It was a tough call for us to not invite our famous friends. The fact is, we wanted to keep it our little secret for a while. One’s wedding should be private. Getting married is one of the most personal things you will ever do in your life, so why would you invite the press?”
After Shelley, there is nobody closer to Steve than his Best Man Deuce Barter, his lifelong partner in mischief — soulboy, veteran dancer, entrepreneur and usually a laugh-a-minute storyteller. At the wedding reception, Deuce did not rock the boat, but remained a loyal pal, saying: “I can honestly say I’ve never seen Steve as happy as he is today.”
This week, Deuce apologised for not fessing up any rock’n’roll mayhem in his wedding speech: “Beforehand, I decided to have a quick look at my own wedding movie from 21 years ago to remind myself of what Steve said about me in his best-man speech. His words were choice, so, fair’s fair… In hindsight, I suppose I could have at least thrown in that story of one A Ridgeley Esq from Wham! ringing up Steve in 1982 in order to ask his ‘permission’ to dye a bit of his own hair at the front a fetching shade of blond! Such was the pecking order among pop superstars back in the day.”
The climax to the wedding reception of course had to be live music — according to Steve, “all 80s funk and soul with Shelley’s other band SuperFunkStarDeluxe featuring both of us in our wedding togs”. Steve is keen to share the credits: “Our regular band member on bass and drums (but not necessarily at the same time) is Cloudfish co-writer and co-producer Joe Holweger (“Big Joe”), who has toured with Shelley with Bucks Fizz and Belinda Carlisle and is currently on tour as we speak with Adam Ant. There’s Sam Blue who is a seasoned pro singer. He’s done the lot, recently with Dizzee Rascal and as lead vocalist for Ultravox when Midge left.
“Last but definitely not least is our very own Joe “Bongo” Becket (“Little Joe”) on percussion, loud shirts, rock’n’roll cowbell and shared harmonies with me. You may remember Joe from Spandau’s very last dates in spring 1990. He used to play at Deuce’s legendary one-nighter called Passion at La Valbonne in Maidenhead and in 1989 I joined him for a battle of the bongos at the club before asking if he wanted to go on the road with Spandau Ballet. You should have seen his face!”
Jamming together at the wedding reception found Steve and Shelley collapsing in laughs half the time. Steve says: “To finish off the evening, we went into some uptempo Cloudfish numbers.” Shelley says: “I was drinking a lot of water on stage so I could sing properly and not topple over in my frock … Steve was on the champagne of course and we were laughing because he completely forgot to sing when he was supposed to! We were having so much fun on stage — Joe Becket and Steve kept trying to make me laugh, which is not hard. And there they were in the naughty corner, giggling like a couple of schoolboys!”
All the Normans’ wedding photos by Nikos Photography