There is a rather long pause when you ask whether Ivana ***** has considered, for even a moment, making slightly less ballyhoo about her fourth wedding.
Eventually, her PR Liz Brewer croaks: "No, I don't suppose that crossed her mind. I think that anything less would not be really her." It's no understatement to say that the bride, who is 59, is preparing to tie the knot in truly spectacular style at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach today
Superlatives such as "over the top" fail even to scratch the surface of the exuberant vulgarity of the nuptials, which will join her to Rossano Rubicondi - a sometime model and actor 23 years her junior - in front of 600 invited guests.
It's going to be an extraordinarily ostentatious event. There will be 25 bridesmaids - some of them in their sixth decade - a 12ft-tall cake created by German pastry chefs, featuring chocolate carved by hand, and a 25-piece orchestra flown in from Paris to serenade the happy couple.
The bride has spent something well into six figures just on her own clothes for the occasion, Neil Sedaka is going to sing, and there will be rivers of Taittinger rose champagne at £150 a bottle. The bill for flowers alone tops £30,000.
Oh, and her ex-husband, billionaire Donald *****, has drawn up that essential for a modern celebrity wedding - the pre-nuptial agreement - which has been signed by both parties.
Ivana and Donald were divorced in 1990 after 14 years together, but despite a battle over her financial settlement, they are now firm friends. And as we shall see, the influence of the man who calls himself The Donald is scattered like expensive confetti all over the happy occasion.
Take the venue, the Mar-a-Lago, which is a private country club. Built on 20 acres of prime Palm Beach real estate in the 1920s for Marjorie Merriweather Post, the American cereal heiress, it's as close as one can get to a palace in America, a pseudo-Moorish fantasy, all minarets and palms, painted an eye-blinkingly coral-pink. Why here? Well, Donald bought it back in 1980 when it had fallen into disrepair.
Now the floors are beautifully tiled and every surface is painted, gilded or mirrored. Ivana, who loves the decorative excess of the venue, has demanded a fantastic number of white roses and some seriously expensive catering.
The ballroom, where the celebrations will be held, was constructed to Donald's own specifications a few years ago for his wedding to Slovenian model Melania Knauss.
It holds 500 with ease, and boasts quite extraordinary chandeliers - legend has it they were the personal choice of The Donald, who is nearly as famous for his much-derided comb-over hairstyle as for his $3billion real estate fortune.
He has allowed his first wife the use of the place at a "substantial" discount - but it certainly won't be cheap.
But then Ivana, who turned her £13million alimony settlement into £30 million thanks to some canny property investments and a sideline in costume jewellery and perfumes, is not in need of charity from anyone.
But Ivana's got a lot to live up to if she is to compete with Donald's 2005 wedding to 38-year-old Knauss, which featured a £200,000 wedding dress so heavy with jewels that the bride could barely stand.
The guest list is stellar, though - there will be old money among them, including Rick and Kathy Hilton, the hotel heirs and parents of the notorious Paris, and Leonard and Evelyn Lauder, of the eponymous beauty brand.
Actor George Hamilton, socialite Denise Rich and singer Natalie Cole have been invited, too, as they are all part of Ivana's inner circle.
And, naturally, Donald and Melania are coming along.
The remaining guests are drawn squarely from the moneyed international jetset - PR Liz Brewer breezily describes them as "mostly people who Ivana has met in Paris, Gstaad and St Moritz ... old friends and new".
Dame Shirley Bassey was invited, but sadly cannot make it. Joan Collins is also "iffy" to attend, which is a terrible pity as Ivana asked her to be one of the bridesmaids - and you certainly don't see a 74-year-old bridesmaid every day.
Hollywood socialite Nikki Haskell, who is in her 50s, will be a bridesmaid. "This is the wedding of the year," she trilled. "Money is no object and I think it's cost at least $2 million."
Naturally, there is a dress code. And not any old "lounge suits", either. The men are allowed to wear only white. Female guests have been instructed to dress in long pastel-coloured gowns, but are absolutely forbidden to choose pink as that is the colour the bride favours - and she doesn't want any competition, thank you very much.
They have also been told to steer clear of yellow because it's the colour Ivanka, Ivana's 27-year-old daughter and the maid of honour, is going to wear.
Ivana's two sons, Donald Jr and Eric, will give her away and are among a 25-strong army of groomsmen.
And what of the bride? She has picked out between six and ten gowns from the Paris couture shows, depending on who you speak to, at a cost of around £12,000 each, and was yesterday still weighing up which she will wear for the big event.
Some say she's planning to change her dresses throughout the day, just to keep everyone amused.
A beehived Barbie of a certain age, Ivana adores being the centre of attention. She loves to wear a bikini, and is fond of showing off her perma-tanned legs in denim mini-skirts.
Given her history, it's hard to begrudge her a few such extravagances.
Born Ivana Marie Zelnickova in Gottwaldov, a small town south of Prague, she was the daughter of Milos, an architect and champion swimmer, and Maria.
From the start her father encouraged her to become a competitive athlete, taking her swimming and skiing from the age of two.
By the time she was 12 she had been enrolled in a training camp for future international athletes - eventually becoming a member of the Czech Olympic ski team.
She has said in interviews that they were not poor, but that there was no prospect of bettering herself unless she left the then communist state. "There was no fashion, and no business stars," she said. "The pure idea of communism is a good one, but it doesn't work."
Through her gauche charm and determination, Ivana escaped the dreariness of her home town by making a marriage of convenience to an Austrian friend of hers, industrialist Freddie Winklmayr.
The union gave her a foreign passport, which allowed her to escape from the iron fist of communism, and so the world was opened up for the ambitious Ivana. Then, in 1976, newly divorced from Winklmayr and working as a model, Ivana met Donald in New York.
They met at the New York restaurant Maxwell's Plum when Ivana was lunching with girlfriends. He was managing the venue, which was part of his family business. They were married within a year, in April 1977.
Her dreams were fulfilled. For she has become wealthy beyond the dreams of avarice in her own right. As she says herself: "I came to America and I saw the houses, the cars, the bananas and the strawberries in winter, and I knew what I wanted.
"With Donald, I found them, yes? I may be blonde, but I was not stupid."
Stupid, no. Shy - absolutely not. Who can forget how Ivana marked the Millennium by pelting down the ski slopes at Aspen in rubies and a red full ballgown - all to promote her own line of jewellery, of course.
Ivana, who is big on self-promotion, has been preparing herself for the big day with private tango lessons so that her "first dance" with Rubicondi is a real knock- out. The groom, meanwhile, seems to have been doing his bit - by allowing the bride to do whatever she wants.
In the two days before the event, there were two big preparatory parties for the guests: one given by Palm Beach socialites Louise and Stephen Kornfeld and another, around the pool at Mar-a-Lago, given by The Donald himself last night.
Indeed, Donald looms large over the event, and his relationship with Ivana is an intriguing one.
Behind the scenes he has personally overseen the drafting of a cast-iron pre-nuptial agreement which aims to stop Rubicondi from getting his hands on any of Ivana's lolly should their married life fail to live up to its fairytale beginnings.
Cynics would say ***** doesn't want Rosano getting his hands on the £13million he had to pay to Ivana in their divorce settlement.
However, one immaculately placed source insisted: "Donald did the pre-nup because he and Ivana are still friends and he is looking out for her. It was signed off quite a while ago and so everyone is happy to go ahead."
The pre-nup is apparently so watertight that Ivana's lawyers have been "pretty much weeping in admiration".
Donald, of course, has experience with pre-nups. He contested efforts to annul his pre-nup with Ivana very vigorously during their 1992 divorce. Times have changed, though.
Despite Donald famously casting Ivana off in favour of mistress Marla Maples, and even ordering private detectives to watch her while contesting her alimony settlement, they are now bosom buddies.
He was said to be particularly anxious that Ivana protect herself and her assets, which is either testimony to their continuing connection ("We have souls together," declares Ivana) or proof that he is exceedingly jaundiced about the long-term viability of this particular marriage.
There may, though, be good grounds for his cynicism - for there is already plenty of gossip about the state of the Ivana-Rubicondi relationship.
Not only have the couple had several highly entertaining public rows during their five-year courtship, but last month police were summoned to Ivana's Palm Beach mansion to calm down an ugly domestic disturbance.
The bride-to-be was said to be "tired and emotional" and young Rubicondi was in such a fury that he was even, briefly, handcuffed.
Sources say they were fighting over the pre-nup which aims to protect her New York town house, St Tropez home, yacht, flat in London's Eaton Square and mansion in Palm Beach. Unfortunately, all this is far from uncommon.
In January 2005, Ivana locked her toyboy out of their hotel room in Aspen following a row. They broke up "for good" before Christmas that year, but she missed him and by January they were to be found in the Caribbean together.
They were spotted arguing in a restaurant in St Tropez in June 2006, and seen having a highly public tiff again in Paris last December; he stayed in a bar alone, while she moved on to a party with her friends.
Ivana likes to joke that she would rather be a babysitter than a nursemaid, but some friends believe that she is quite foolish to trust her heart to this much-younger man.
"Their relationship is truly fiery, it has always been tempestuous, but they have reached a point where they want to get married," says a friend. "They do love each other very much, though it can be up and down."
Others are less complimentary. "They've been fighting ever since they met each other, and the only reason anyone can imagine for why they are getting married is for the publicity," sniped one associate this week.
The pair were introduced by mutual friends, and Rubicondi seems to have immediately fitted the mould - handsome, much younger and willing to follow where Ivana leads. "I guess you could say that she wears the trousers," he once said, ruefully.
She certainly does. In her post-Donald life, Ivana is in almost perpetual motion, either travelling to make deals - she is big on lending her name to hotels around the world - or to keep her social life on track.
She has said they tend not to spend more than ten days in any one place. Rubicondi acts as her bag carrier, and allows her to get on with promoting the Ivana ***** brand ceaselessly.
"We are good for each other," says Ivana. "He always has a smile on his face. He's sporty, he's healthy. He's a great guy with a lot of talent. He's an actor and a dancer and a singer."
Hmmm. Rubicondi's greatest professional achievement so far is a non-speaking part in a film of the Henry James novel, The Golden Bowl. Indeed, he seems to have abandoned any thoughts of pursuing his own career, as a result of his peripatetic lifestyle with Ivana.
It makes you wonder who paid for her wonderful 13-carat diamond engagement ring.
Friends fear that Ivana risks a re-run of her frightful third marriage after The Donald, to Italian businessman Riccardo Mazzucchelli. As now, there was a lot of wrangling about a pre-nup. The couple were married in November 1995 at the Mayfair Hotel in New York. They split up 18 months later.
When it was over, Mazzucchelli sued her for the return of the engagement ring, which he got, with a small sum of money; luckily for Ivana, there was no "exchange of assets" because of the pre-nup deal.
Despite this, she seems quite determined to go ahead with the wedding today. "I don't need to get married to get the babies; I have them. I'm not marrying for the social position. I don't need to get married because of money. It just feels right."
You can only hope that the cynical instincts of ***** and her friends are proved wrong.
Wow, I guess he's marrying her only for her money, so no wonder he got mad about the pre-nup. Hopefully he won't get too much when they divorce and I suspect they will divorce since they're fighting do much all the time.
^^ No I agree. Too much pressure in society to get married. Stats show it usually doesnt work out. I dont think it is something that NEEDS to be done to be happy, have a family etc. Thats why there are common law marriages- to ensure some benefits for couples together for a long time that arent married