Karl Stefanovic’s four-day Mexican wedding begins with a kissDecember 7, 2018
Karl Stefanovic and Jasmine Yarbourgh's four day wedding extravaganza has kicked off in Mexico with a cocktail reception party. But there are a few noticeable no shows.
Marcus, Elisa and Evee Pointon, Karl Stefanovic, Jasmine Yarbrough, Jenna Dinicola, Tom and Peter Stefanovic at the pre-wedding function.
James Packer's delicate recovery and mental well-being were behind his last-minute decision to tell Karl Stefanovic he would no longer be able to attend his wedding, a lavish affair scheduled to take place on Saturday in Mexico.
Indeed, with the intense media scrutiny on the wedding, PS was told Packer thought it would "all be too much".
Packer told PS he was "trying to keep my head down" when asked about the wedding a fortnight ago. When this column reported he would be at the wedding, and potentially in the wedding party, it is understood the attention made him think twice.
And while Packer's right-hand man Ben Tilley has arrived in Los Cabos where he was spotted checking on construction of Packer's new mega Mexican holiday compound, on Thursday Packer himself confirmed to PS speculation he would not be attending, but sent his best wishes to his close friend Karl Stefanovic and his new bride, Jasmine Yarbrough.
Karl Stefanovic and Jasmine Yarbrough embrace at their pre-wedding cocktail reception in Mexico on Thursday night.
"I wish them the best of luck, hope they have a life full of happiness together, and send them my love," he told PS from his home in Argentina, where he is due to host his mother Ros for a small celebration to mark her recent 80th birthday.
Packer was absent from his mother's Sydney party, an event that attracted moderate interest in the media, with just a couple of photographers staking out Woollahra's Chiswick restaurant.
Packer has previously told PS he would not be returning to Sydney until his gleaming new billion-dollar casino at Barangaroo was ready to open.
"He needs to take this time out for himself, to heal and to find a sense of calmness … facing the gauntlet of paparazzi in the bushes and a deluge of media coverage is probably not going to help him do that … but he has a private plane, he could jump on it and be here at the last minute," a source within the Stefanovic camp told PS.
"Karl is naturally disappointed."
James Packer has pulled out of the wedding.Credit:Rob Homer
Packer may have made a fortuitous decision given the tight security in place to protect Stefanovic and his 200 guests' privacy from photographers and reporters dispatched from Sydney to cover the event, several of whom have been kept under surveillance by local authorities. Some of the Aussie media contingent found themselves being evicted from their hotel rooms on Thursday after Stefanovic's management complained.
With Packer out, Stefanovic's groomsmen will now comprise brothers Tom and Pete Stefanovic, as well as new brother-in-law Josh Yarbrough, his “close friends” Ben Tilley, Mick Doohan, Steve Marshall and schoolfriend Alan Rogina.
Stefanovic’s sister Elisa Pointon will marry the happy couple, after mum Jenny walks him down the aisle.
The four-day wedding celebrations kicked off on Thursday night with the couple’s guests invited to a welcome cocktail party, though several other names were missing from the action, including Shane Warne, who PS has learned has declined the invitation, and Roxy Jacenko, who PS can confirm was never on the guest list despite reports elsewhere.
Stefanovic has previously told friends he has endured two years of "hell" in terms of media intrusion into his private life, and the deep emotional rifts created since his marriage to Cassandra Thorburn, the mother of his three children, imploded. However his ex-wife maintains it was Stefanovic who walked out on the marriage, and she had no warning he was planning to leave, turning their previously quiet family life on its head.
However, the scale of Stefanovic's wedding celebrations in Mexico, with seven bridesmaids, seven groomsmen, a special Bundaberg rum limited edition mix made in their honour and three days of lavish parties, has not gone down well with some of his oldest acquaintances, not in the least his one-time mentor Alan Jones.
Invite declined: Alan Jones.Credit:Marina Neil
PS can reveal Jones was invited to the wedding, but has informed Stefanovic he won't be there, and has expressed some reservations about the scale of the celebrations given his close association with Stefanovic and his first wife.
It was Jones who stumped up the deposit money for Stefanovic and Thorburn to buy their first Sydney family home in St Ives 12 years ago.
Around the corridors of power at Channel Nine, Stefanovic's wedding plans have also raised eyebrows, and while PS was assured this week he would be returning to Today in 2019, there is a growing list of senior executives who have quietly expressed their reservations about whether that is such a wise move given the lacklustre ratings the show has been delivering, ratings that resulted in the sudden departure of executive producer Mark Calvert this week.
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