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Jennifer Gates

A wedding fit for a billionaire heiress

“It’s been a challenging year,” says Jennifer Gates in US Vogue. The 25-year-old daughter of Bill and Melinda had to deal with her parents’ divorce, a global pandemic, her third year of medical school and planning a wedding. In 2020, Gates got engaged to her 30-year-old boyfriend, Nayel Nassar – a fellow Stanford graduate who was on the Egyptian Olympic showjumping team in Tokyo. Last weekend they married.

What kind of wedding do you have if your parents are two of the richest people alive? The answer is an extravagant one, says Mia Mercado in The Cut. They actually got hitched twice, first at a small Muslim ceremony, then with 300 guests the next day. The second event took place on Jennifer’s 124-acre horse farm – a $16m graduation gift from her parents – and cost a reported $2m. Coldplay were flown in to perform; Jennifer wore two bespoke Vera Wang wedding dresses; and there was a temporary botanic garden just for cocktails. Still, not everything was flash. Like good co-parents, Bill and Melinda both walked Jennifer down the aisle. And at the reception, Jennifer and Bill performed a “father-daughter dance” to Can You Feel The Love Tonight, from The Lion King. “I guess even billionaires can be Disney adults.”

Jennifer’s farm is in sleepy Westchester County, in upstate New York, and some neighbours weren’t thrilled with the month-long wedding preparations. The area has been heaving with trucks, forklifts and workers, one told the New York Post. “We went to sleep in the country and woke up in a nightmare on Elm Street.” Others were more optimistic. “I’m originally from Brooklyn,” said Jo Sciarrino, who lives nearby. “We crash parties, so I might go and get some hors d’oeuvres and drinks.”