At risk of sounding over dramatic when it's almost impossible to do so, nostalgia can provide a needed salve in these uncertain times. The year 1999 is as good a year to look back on as any. Millennium panic was quaint, almost. Cher's last big hit, "Believe," swept the music charts. A young football star (in the British sense of the word) and a pop star (in the universal sense of the word) were getting married. If one is looking to find solace in a simpler time, however, don't look to David Beckham and Victoria Beckham. There was nothing simple about their wedding.
It was a high-concept tour de force in a castle outside of Dublin, complete with doves, rose petals on purple carpets, flower girls dressed as angels, a wedding cake cut with a sword, his-and-her gold thrones, and not one but two matching outfits.
PHOTOS: David and Victoria Beckham through the years
David and Victoria Beckham out and about
David and Victoria Beckham out and about
Soccer Football - Champions League Group Stage Draw - Grimaldi Forum, Monaco - August 30, 2018 David Beckham and Victoria Beckham before the draw REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 19: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Victoria Beckham and David Beckham attend the wedding of Prince Harry to Ms Meghan Markle at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018 in Windsor, England. Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales marries Ms. Meghan Markle in a service at St George's Chapel inside the grounds of Windsor Castle. Among the guests were 2200 members of the public, the royal family and Ms. Markle's Mother Doria Ragland. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
SHENZHEN, CHINA - NOVEMBER 10: (L-R) British fashion designer Victoria Beckham, British former footballer David Beckham and Taiwanese model Pace Wu stand on the stage during a gala of the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival at Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre on November 10, 2016 in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province of China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 23: David Beckham and Victoria Beckham attend the British Fashion Awards 2015 at London Coliseum on November 23, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 26: David Beckham and Victoria Beckham congratulate Romeo Beckham after he completed the Junior Marathon during the London Marathon on April 26, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
David Beckham and Victoria Beckham arriving at the Victoria & Albert Museum Fashion Benefit Dinner & Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty preview in London. (Photo by Zak Hussein/Corbis via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 12: David Beckham and Victoria Beckham attend a private view for the 'Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty' exhibition at Victoria & Albert Museum on March 12, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
David and Victoria Beckham attend the British Fashion Awards at The Coliseum. (Photo by rune hellestad/Corbis via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 01: Victoria Beckham and David Beckham attend the British Fashion Awards at London Coliseum on December 1, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Eamonn McCormack/Getty Images)
David and Victoria Beckham attend the Evening Standard Theatre Awards at The Palladium. (Photo by rune hellestad/Corbis via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 30: David Beckham (L) and Victoria Beckham attend an after party following the 60th London Evening Standard Theatre Awards at the London Palladium on November 30, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 06: David Beckham and Victoria Beckham in the Royal Box on Centre Court before the Gentlemen's Singles Final match between Roger Federer of Switzerland and Novak Djokovic of Serbia on day thirteen of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 6, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 19: Wax figures of David Beckham and Victoria Beckham are unveiled at Madame Tussauds on June 19, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by John Phillips/UK Press via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 05: David Beckham and Victoria Beckham attend the 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 5, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 05: David Beckham and Victoria Beckham attend the 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 5, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Randy Brooke/WireImage)
David, Brooklyn, Cruz, Romeo and Victoria Beckham attend the premiere of 'The Class Of 92' at Odeon West End. (Photo by rune hellestad/Corbis via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 05: Victoria Beckham, winner of the Special Contribution to British Fashion award, attends the Harper's Bazaar Women of the Year awards at Claridge's Hotel on November 5, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 16: Victoria Beckham and David Beckham attend an evening celebrating the Global Fund featuring the first green carpet challenge at Apsley House on September 16, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 05: David Beckham and his daughter Harper Seven are seen arriving at the Eiffel tower on May 5, 2013 in Paris, France. (Photo by Paul Hubble/FilmMagic)
PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 04: Victoria and David Beckham are seen leaving the 'COSTES' hotel and restaurant on May 4, 2013 in Paris, France. (Photo by Paul Hubble/FilmMagic)
David and Victoria Beckham walk into the Royal box in the Final at Wimbledon, 2012 (Photo by AMA/Corbis via Getty Images)
CENTURY CITY, CA - MAY 20: (L-R) Executive Board Member Beth Moskowitz, professional soccer player David Beckham and wife Victoria Beckham arrive at the 27th Anniversary Sports Spectacular benefiting Cedars-Sinai Medical Genetics Institute at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on May 20, 2012 in Century City, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Sports Spectacular)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 26: David Beckham and Victoria Beckham attend the 2012 Vanity Fair Oscar Party at Sunset Tower on February 26, 2012 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 26: (EXCLUSIVE ACCESS SPECIAL RATES APPLY; NO NORTH AMERICAN ON-AIR BROADCAST UNTIL MARCH 1, 2012) David Beckham and Victoria Beckham attend the 2012 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter at Sunset Tower on February 26, 2012 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/VF12/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 29: David Beckham and Victoria Beckham arrives to attend the Royal Wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011 in London, England. The marriage of the second in line to the British throne is to be led by the Archbishop of Canterbury and will be attended by 1900 guests, including foreign Royal family members and heads of state. Thousands of well-wishers from around the world have also flocked to London to witness the spectacle and pageantry of the Royal Wedding. (Photo by Stuart Wilson/GP/Getty Images)
ï¿½2009 RAMEY PHOTO /XPOSURE US ONLY! DECEMBER 8, 2009 - LONDON - UK DAVID AND VICTORIA BECKHAM PICTURED ARRIVING AT A HARPERS BAZAAR PRIVATE DINNER HOSTED BY VICTORIA BECKHAM IN LONDON! XP/AS007KH (Photo by Philip Ramey/Corbis via Getty Images)
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In a recent interview with the BBC's Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, though, David Beckham cast a critical eye over his nuptials, saying, "That was pretty bold. Victoria's [reception outfit by Antonio Berardi] was pretty nice. Mine, I'm like what was I thinking? I look like the guys out of Dumb & Dumber when they went to that party and wore those ridiculous outfits. I even had a top hat in purple. Unbelievable. What was I thinking?"
Beckham explained that Elton John, who was scheduled to play at their wedding, had a heart attack that prevented him from really taking the ceremony to the next level (he later performed at one of the children's christenings, though, according to Beckham).
At the time, exclusive photos were sold to OK! Magazine for an undisclosed sum, but the Beckhams both posted some tightly framed photos of the day to Instagram since, she in a Vera Wang gown and tiara, a custom job by Irish jewelry designer Slim Barrett (in 2013 it went up for auction but failed to sell for the expected minimum price of $22,500).
These days are simpler ones for the Beckhams, in some ways. David offers their recent vow- renewal ceremony as evidence. "We did throw a lot at [the first wedding], because it was the thing to do around that time," he said. "We have renewed our vows since then, and it was a lot more private, there were about six people there in our house."
He also gives his best explanation for the strength of their marriage, which has nearly outlasted public memories of their wedding spectacle. He attributes it to their "strong family unit. We have got strong parents too, and they taught us the right values. Of course you make mistakes, and we all know that marriage is difficult at times. It is about working through it. We have come up against tough times. But we know each other better than anyone else knows us. And we talk."
Their almost-19-year marriage has led to success for all the Beckhams, from a longterm fashion business to the many modeling contracts to the fledgling careers of their children, Brooklyn, Romeo, Cruz, and Harper. David isn't here for your side-eye, however: "Do we stay together because it is a brand? Of course not. We stay together because we love each other and because we have four amazing children."