Gerrard ready for wedding, honeymoon then rest

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is looking forward to his
wedding on Saturday and the month-long break that follows it. It's been a long
season for the England international, starting with pre-season fixtures last
July and the start of the qualifying campaign for the Champions League in early
August, running right the way through until the Champions League final at the
end of May, before then being on England duty in June. The previous season was
even worse – almost a whole year passing from the start of Champions League qualifying
through to England's last World Cup match.

The wedding on Saturday is estimated to have cost
half-a-million pounds, with Take That's Gary Barlow lined up for entertainment
in place of the traditional disco. The future Mrs Gerrard, Alex Curran, is
reportedly set to wear a wedding dress costing a phenomenal £60,000 – designed by
Ellie Saab, who apparently likes to sew diamonds into designs she makes.

The bridesmaids will be the couple's two young daughters,
Lily Ella and Lexie, and the function is to take place in Berkshire, at Cliveden
House Hotel. Steven and Alex have signed a reported £800,000 deal with OK Magazine
for the wedding photos. After the function – which is said to be on for three
days according to some reports – they'll head for their honeymoon in Florida.

Other England stars are getting married this weekend,
including John Terry and, remarkably, Gary Neville. The Rooneys are planning to
attend both the Neville and the Gerrard weddings.

No doubt the preparations for the wedding will be tiring and
stressful for the Liverpool captain, who explained last week why he was looking
forward to a break: "I desperately need a rest, it's as simple as that. I'm
worn out. Two and a half weeks off after the World Cup wasn't enough to prepare
for a hectic season which included going all the way in the Champions League
Final and playing for England. It's been a difficult season for me, but I'm
getting married next week and I've got four weeks to try and put my feet up."

He'll not be able to keep his mind off football for long
though, watching and waiting for news of who Rafa will sign for the new season,
should he finally get given a budget to work with. "It's going to be a big
season next year for club and country," said Gerrard. "Domestically Liverpool
has to improve and for England we have to build on recent performances and make
sure we qualify for Euro 2008."