Eddie Murphy and Tracey Edmonds' Wedding in Paradise

updated 01/21/2008 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/21/2008 01:00AM

Eddie Murphy and Tracey Edmonds wanted to get married on the beach at sunset—but after three days of gray skies and torrential rain on the private French Polynesian island they chose for their Jan. 1 nuptials, the pair had all but given up. Then, just minutes before the ceremony was set to start, the rain stopped and the sky turned blue. "It was as if we'd been blessed," says Edmonds. "We ran to the beach and had just enough time to get married before the raindrops started falling again. It was simply perfect."

So perfect, in fact, that the famous groom got teary-eyed as he saw his barefoot bride walk down an aisle flanked with tiki torches. "She was so beautiful—I was crying, and I'm not a crier!" says Murphy, 46, who kissed Edmonds, 40, on her cheek throughout the intimate ceremony, attended by 25 of their closest friends and family members. During the vows, however, he snapped back to his usual self, interrupting the officiant with a joke about Edmonds sleeping with her BlackBerry on her pillow. Both previously married, the couple honored their respective children (who didn't attend) during the ceremony, placing their framed pictures inside the gazebo and wrapping strands of beads engraved with their children's names around each other. "We're both very close with our children," says Edmonds, "and we felt their presence the entire time." The best part? The kiss at the end. "It was a very passionate kiss," she says. "People were shouting we should get our own private island!"

For the couple, who started dating in October 2006, romance "was instant," says Edmonds, a film producer. "We were inseparable from day one," adds Murphy. Following the ceremony, the newlyweds enjoyed a performance by local fire dancers before sitting down to a four-course meal including lobster salad, grilled local fish and a four-tiered wedding cake decorated with handmade sugar orchids by Sam Godfrey of Perfect Endings. Guests then took the celebration to an outside deck, where celebrity event planner Colin Cowie had created a black-and-pink themed afterparty complete with disco balls hanging from coconut trees. Deejay Darrin Ebron kept everyone dancing until 4:30 am. Says Murphy: "It was beautiful. I'm so happy, I'm over the moon."

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