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Paul McCartney has been married three times, and John Lennon attended none of his weddings. Lennon died before McCartney’s second two weddings, and The Beatles were at such a low point in their relationships that none had attended McCartney’s first. Still, McCartney took time to bring attention to Lennon during his wedding in 2011. Here’s why McCartney wanted to pay his respects to his late friend.

Paul McCartney honored John Lennon’s birthday at his wedding

In 2011, McCartney married Nancy Shevell, whom he began dating in 2007. This was McCartney’s third marriage; his first wife, Linda McCartney, died in 1998, and he finalized his divorce from his second wife, Heather Mills, in 2008.

The couple wed at the Old Marylebone Town Hall in a small ceremony that included both their families, Ringo Starr and his wife, Barbara Bach, and George Harrison’s widow, Olivia Harrison. After the ceremony, the group headed to McCartney’s home for a party.

A black and white picture of Paul McCartney and John Lennon sitting in front of microphones and laughing.
Paul McCartney and John Lennon | Bettmann/Contributor via Getty

“They had a lovely dance together,” McCartney’s brother Mike McGear told People, adding that the wedding was “Fabulous. Beautiful. It was just lovely and peaceful. Smashing lovely feel. I’m happy for my brother; he’s a lovely brother.”

McCartney and Starr were, of course, the only Beatles at the wedding. As it took place on Oct. 9, Lennon’s birthday, McCartney took a moment to toast Lennon. It would have been Lennon’s 71st birthday.

John Lennon did not attend Paul McCartney’s first wedding

Starr attended McCartney’s 2011 wedding, and McCartney toasted Lennon. Both would have been virtual impossibilities in 1969, when McCartney and Linda married. None of the other Beatles attended the ceremony. McCartney could not recall if this was because he didn’t invite them or because they did not want to go.

“I really don’t remember whether or not I invited any of the band to the wedding,” McCartney said in The Beatles Anthology. “Why not? I’m a total bastard, I suppose — I don’t know, really.”

At the time, band relations had sunk to their lowest point yet. They argued over business affairs and, by 1970, would announce their break up to the public.

“Maybe it was because the group was breaking up,” he said. “We were all pissed off with each other. We certainly weren’t a gang anymore. That was the thing. Once a group’s broken up like that, that’s it.”

Guests said the Beatles’ wedding reflected his relationship

McCartney and Shevell wed in a lowkey ceremony that, guests said, reflected the couple’s relationship. Per the Telegraph, McGear was McCartney’s best man, and his seven-year-old daughter Beatrice was the sole bridesmaid. Stella McCartney designed Shevell’s wedding dress and put together a vegetarian menu for the event.

Paul McCartney and Nancy Shevell lift their joined arms into the air as they leave a registry office.
Nancy Shevell and Paul McCartney | Neil Mockford/FilmMagic

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“The wedding is in keeping with the way Paul and Nancy have conducted their entire relationship – low-key, understated and fuelled by goodwill,” an attendee said. “Neither of them wanted a huge fuss made and the main priority, for both, was family.”

In 2023, the couple celebrated their 12th wedding anniversary.