.: Holly's Charmed Wedding :.
By Karen Lateo
Heavily pregnant TV witch Holly Marie Combs worked a little magic to make her big day special.
Brides are supposed to look radiant on their wedding day, but Holly Marie Combs positively glowed. "Beeing seven months pregnant helped!" the Charmed star says with a laugh.
Holly and her partner David Donoho, who are awaiting their baby sonīs arrival in late April, made the commitment on Valentineīs Day, eloping to San Ysidero Ranch in Montecito, California. Itīs the exclusive location where Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez had planned to wed last September, and where a pregnant GwynethPaltrow snuck off to secretly marry Chris Martin in December.
"Itīs the same place Gwyneth used, and the same way!" says a delighted Holly. "Itīs just so convenient and private. You order your wedding like room service. The reverend comes to your room. You donīt have to go anywhere, which helps when youīre as big as I am."
Like Gwyneth nuptials, there was no celebrity circus, no well-wishing familiy group. Holly and David just wanted a simple, memorable day.
"Every little girl wants to have the big wedding, but this was about us forming a family with our marriage, for us." says 30-year-old Holly, who plays Piper Halliwell in the Network Ten hit.
"We didnīt have to do it for anyone else. It didnīt matter who should be there. When my mother complained, I told her īYou donīt have to marry him. I do!ī. There was no pressure - and it was just the two of us."
Or three, counting their as-yet-unnamed son. "Thatīs kind of cool, being able to tell him he was there. Of course, itīs not very traditional!" she laughs.
Holly has tried and failed at tradition - her marriage at the tender age of 20 to young actor Bryan Smith lasted four years, ending in divorce in 1997. But it bears no comparison to her union with 41-year-old David, the soulmate she met when he worked on Charmedīs crew.
"It sounds hokey, but itīs true - when we met there was this feeling of coming home, something familiar about him as though I already knew him," recalls the new bride, speaking exclusively to Womanīs Day. "Our bases are the same - the way we grew up, that weīre not from wealthy families, our views - those values make a difference. But our personalitites are opposite - heīs very highly strung. Iīm more mellow."
The couple share a large property backing onto 400 hectares of parkland in the Californian town of Calabasas, which Holly describes as being "as far from LA as you can get and still be in LA". Their home is a menagerie - itīs shared with assorted dogs, cats, horses and birds, in an area thatīs "a great place to raise a kid".
"Weīve been living together for four years. Actually, David wanted to ask me to marry him last October, on our fourth anniversary. I was already pregnant then, but it took him such a long time to find a ring. Heīs such a perfectionist!
Davidīs everything I lack - when Iīm weak, heīs strong, when Iīm strong, heīs weak. We complement each other and bring out the best in each other."
The wedding brought out the best in their friends, too. Like Charmed, it took the Power Of Three to save the wedding day - with TV sister Rose McGowan helping Holly rejig work commitments so she could get her planning done and Alyssa Milano making arrangements for a range of dresses, shoes amd accesoires to be sent to the set.
Hollyīs real-life best friend Allana Baroni also made herself useful - sheīs a professional wedding planner. She organised fine details, such as using urns and pedestals for the floral arrangements. Allana also tracked down the unique piece of "cake jewellery" that adorned the top of the wedding cake - enamelled lovebirds in an ornate cage, which Holly will set atop cakes for future familiy celebrations.
But there was one unforeseen drama: Hollyīs wedding dress, ordered from New York, arrived just the day before... "And it didnīt fit! Iīd been measured for it two days earlier, but my body shape is changing every two minutes. We panicked! I was on the set at work, and the six girls from the wardrobe department went shopping to buy me a dress. They went to every store in LA!"
"Alyssa got on the phone and called everyone she could think of. I eventually had 10 or 12 dresses to choose from, but none was quite right. We took pieces from almost all of them. One dress was pulled in and let out and reworked," she recalls. "Dressing this body at seven months is not easy!"
Holly has spent months hding her baby bump from the Charmed cameras, as her character Piper already has a child. But producers eventually decided to write her pregnancy into the script, meaning baby number two for Piper and a plot twist for fans of the show who know her screen husband Leo (Brian Krause) is busy with the magical Elders.
"Iīm not allowed to say who the father is - thatīs our big secret. We had to hide my pregnancy a long time - until the last couple of weeks. So for the last six episodes of this season Iīll suddenly be very pregnant!"
Holly and David have plans to celebrate their marriage with familiy and friends just as soon as the baby is born. But theyīll have to wait for a honeymoon - Holly will be heading back to the Charmed set with her son and a nanny as soon as filming of the hit showīs seventh series resumes later this year.