Day of Decision
updated 12/02/1996 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 12/02/1996 AT 01:00 AM EST
Not anymore. In the early afternoon of Wednesday, Nov. 13, in a private ceremony at the United Church of Strafford in tiny (pop. 902) Strafford, Vt., Day-Lewis married the playwright's daughter, actress-director Rebecca Miller, 34. As 18 guests—mostly immediate family, plus a few close friends—looked on, the bride, wearing a long, midnight-blue lace dress, walked down the aisle to the accompaniment of Irish bagpipes, played by the groom's longtime pal Ronan Browne. With best man James Sheridan—his director in My Left Foot and In the Name of the Father—by his side, Day-Lewis, 39, exchanged traditional vows with his bride. The ceremony, conducted by the Rev. William Sloane Coffin, a Strafford resident and Arthur Miller's friend since their days as anti-Vietnam War protesters, "was quite dreamy," says Coffin. "There was a clear blue sky and a sparkling blanket of snow."
Afterward, at a reception organized by Coffin's wife, Randy, at the home of a neighbor, guests lunched on brie, prosciutto, salmon, champagne and an array of pastries—tartes, tortes, mousse cakes, chiffon cakes. The Pulitzer Prize-winning father of the bride read a poem he'd written for the occasion. And, finally, the newlyweds headed off for a brief honeymoon in the Arizona desert. (The couple plan to keep a Manhattan apartment, as well as Day-Lewis's home in rural County Wicklow, Ireland.) The wedding—first reported by syndicated columnist Liz Smith—"was perfect," says the groom's sister, documentary filmmaker Tamasin Day-Lewis. "It was a private family matter. They didn't want a press occasion."
The only thing more private than the wedding, it seems, was the courtship, since no one can figure out when it could have taken place. According to the Valley News, a local paper, Day-Lewis met Miller when he visited her father—who also wrote the screenplay for The Crucible—at his home in Roxbury, Conn., before filming began in September 1995. Rebecca occasionally visited the set, but she and Day-Lewis were rarely seen together. As recently as February, Miller was still living in Manhattan with her boyfriend, a college philosophy instructor.
Day-Lewis, who has been romantically linked to actresses Julia Roberts and Juliette Binoche (The English Patient), has had some recent attachments of his own. In April 1995, his longtime on-again, off-again girlfriend, French actress Isabelle Adjani, 41, gave birth to their son Gabriel-Kane. And, according to a story in New York's Daily News, he was involved with physical trainer Deya Pichardo, 26, reportedly until just a few months before the wedding—which came as a shock to her.
Perhaps Day-Lewis's new bride will provide stability in his life. "Rebecca is very self-possessed," says one New York director who found the match a suitable one. Adds Rebecca's older brother Robert Miller, producer of The Crucible: "They can bring a lot to each other. They're both creative and very bright people."
They also share a legacy of letters and theater. The groom's father, Cecil Day-Lewis, was England's poet laureate from 1968 until his death in 1972. Following in the footsteps of his mother, actress Jill Balcon, Daniel studied acting in Bristol, England, eventually winning a Best Actor Academy Award for 1989's My Left Foot. He has also starred in A Room with a View, The Age of Innocence and Last of the Mohicans. The bride grew up on a 350-acre farm in Roxbury with her playwright father and her mother, Miller's third wife, photographer Inge Morath. After studying painting at Yale, Rebecca appeared in the films Regarding Henry and Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, and last year made her screenwriting and feature-film directing debut with the dark drama Angela, which won an award at the Sundance Film Festival.
"I hate the domestic life," Day-Lewis told PEOPLE in 1988. But, of course, that was then. "They're not kids anymore," says Robert Miller. "I think they know what they're doing."
ELIZABETH McNEIL in New York City and BRYAN ALEXANDER in London