Tom, Katie wed in Rome ancient castle

Updated: 2006-11-19 09:33

BRACCIANO - In a fairy-tale setting fit for royalty, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes exchanged wedding vows Saturday evening in a glowing 15th-century castle in a lakeside Italian town.

Actor Tom Cruise arrives at Castello Odescalchi for his wedding to Katie Holmes in the Italian lakeside town of Bracciano November 18, 2006. [Reuters]

Cruise's publicist Arnold Robinson confirmed that the ceremony had taken place, and later said in a statement that it was performed by a Scientology minister before more than 150 relatives and friends.

Actress Katie Holmes watches from a window of Castello Odescalchi as her fiance Tom Cruise arrives for their wedding in the Italian lakeside town of Bracciano November 18, 2006. Cruise and Holmes chose the 15th century castle just outside of Rome as the location for their celebrity wedding. [Reuters]

Holmes wore a fitted Giorgio Armani off-the-shoulder bridal gown with a train in ivory silk cadis adorned in Valenciennes lace and Swarovski beaded crystal embroidery.

The designer, Giorgio Armani, was a guest at the wedding. Armani said Holmes looked "very sweet, and at the same time modern."

"Hollywood people are very demanding. They know they are being watched and they need a certain security," Armani said.

Cruise also wore a handmade Armani suit. The two men are longtime friends.

Armani said Cruise first, and then Holmes, came down a stone ramp lined with flag bearers in medieval costumes and to the roll of drums.

Holmes' father, Martin Holmes, walked her down the aisle, and she carried a bouquet of flowers made by Armani.

It included calla lilies wrapped in leaves of galax and steelgrass, Robinson said.

The couple's baby daughter was also dressed in Armani, the designer said, describing a little, white wool bloomer dress, decorated in tulle. The 72-year-old designer said he made the outfit simple, not wanting to exaggerate the dress of a child.

Cruise and Holmes were married in a former stable decorated simply with white flowers, and exchanged vows under an awning, Armani said.

American guests awed
"For the Americans this was very special, because Americans do not have this kind of thing back home, and they dream of such things in our beautiful country, and you can see the surprise and the awe on their faces," Armani said.

Cruise's best friend, David Miscavige, was best man, and the matron of honor was Holmes' sister, Nancy Blaylock.

The 20-minute ceremony ended with "a never-ending kiss" that prompted some of the guests to shout "stop, stop!" Armani said.

In his statement, Robinson said Cruise and Holmes "officialized their marriage" in Los Angeles before coming to Italy.

He did not immediately reply to an e-mailed question about whether that meant they had been married in a civil ceremony.

Outside, fans and residents hoped for a glimpse of the celebrity couple, as oil-fed torches glowed from the battlements of the Odescalchi castle, which towers over the town on the shores of Lake Bracciano.

Tiny candles, placed in the castle's windows, flickered romantically as the couple and fellow stars gathered in the town about 25 miles northwest of the Italian capital.

Following the ceremony, Cruise and Holmes were serenaded at the reception with a special performance by Italian singer Andrea Bocelli.

Guests were treated to Italian hors d'oeuvres followed by a multi-course meal. Cruise and Holmes cut a five-tiered white chocolate wedding cake decorated with marzipan roses and studded with white chocolate chips.

J Lo subtle, Posh sexy

Armani said Jennifer Lopez looked "very attractive" in a pink dress, and Victoria Beckham was clad in black and wore a wide brimmed, matching hat he said was "more appropriate for an event at Longchamps," Paris race track.

"The look was provocative, in fact very sexy," the designer added.

Earlier, Holmes wore a black dress and boots before she changed into her gown.

Cruise came from Rome, where the family had been staying in a luxury hotel near the Spanish Steps, in a van and, sporting dark shades, waved to fans.

When the groom drove up, Holmes, anxiously gesturing with a hand, watched from a castle window.

Other VIPs arriving in limousines or vans through the castle gates included Brooke Shields, Richard Gere, Jennifer Lopez and Jim Carrey.

Pouring rain had forced Holmes and her baby to take shelter under large, green umbrellas as they left their limousine. But the sun was shining on the castle when Cruise arrived.

As the sun began to set, candles were placed in pots along the road to the castle. Men wearing tuxedos and women holding up the hems of their long gowns walked up the steep path to the castle.

Police patrolled the castle's walls and all vehicles were banned from Bracciano's center. The flag of the Odescalchi family, whose ancestors include Benedetto Odescalchi, the 17th century pope Innocent XI, fluttered over the castle's towers.

"When I first walked here, I didn't know why they chose this place," said Emily Roeder, 19, of Atchison, Kansas, who came to Bracciano for the day from Florence, where she is studying. "Then I saw the castle and the streets all around, and it's really romantic."

Hundreds of the town's 14,000 residents and fans of the stars braved intermittent rain to catch a glimpse of the arrivals.

"I want to see at least one of them -- even if it's not Tom Cruise," 15-year-old Erica Bandiera said.

The first guest to drive through the castle's gates was Roberta Armani, niece of the fashion designer.

Holmes was giving Cruise a wedding gift of a Vacheron Constantin watch engraved simply, "I Love You," the watch company said in a statement. It said she bought the gift in Los Angeles last week.

Scientology ceremonies contain many elements of traditional weddings, including rings and vows. But they also include certain Scientology fundamentals, including vowing never to go to bed without communicating about any differences.

A spokesman for the Church of Scientology for Rome, Fabrizio D'Agostino, said an exchange of vows with a Scientology rite was not legally recognized in Italy, and would have to be preceded or followed by a civil union.

Bracciano Mayor Patrizia Riccioni said her office had not received a request to celebrate a civil wedding as of midday Friday.

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