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Last Updated: Sunday, 19 November 2006, 18:46 GMT
Cruise and Holmes go on honeymoon
Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes after exchanging vows
It is the third wedding for Hollywood star Cruise

American actors Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes have started their honeymoon after a lavish wedding in Italy.

The couple exchanged wedding vows in a floodlit Odescalchi castle, near Rome, attended by a Scientology minister and a host of showbusiness stars.

Fans and press had to brave cloudbursts and then fog to catch even the most fleeting glimpse of the celebrities.

The couple flew out of Rome for a honeymoon in the Maldives, said a Ciampino airport spokesman.

The centre of the small town of Bracciano was sealed off for the wedding and extra police brought in.

As Saturday's evening ceremony took place, oil-fed torches glowed from the battlements of the 15th Century castle, which rises above the town on the shores of Lake Bracciano.

Cruise's publicist, Arnold Robinson, said the ceremony was performed in front of more than 150 relatives and friends.

Katie Holmes at a castle window
Holmes converted to Scientology after meeting Cruise
The wedding party included Cruise's two children, Isabella and Connor, from his previous marriage to Nicole Kidman.

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

The guest list included fellow Hollywood stars Jennifer Lopez, Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, Jim Carrey, and Richard Gere.

Holmes wore a Giorgio Armani dress, with an ivory train adorned with lace and crystal embroidery, while Cruise wore an Armani tuxedo, reports said.

After the ceremony, the couple were serenaded by Italian singer Andrea Bocelli.

Holmes and their seven-month-old daughter, Suri, arrived at the castle around Saturday lunchtime, followed by Cruise.

Scientology ceremony

Cruise, 44, and Holmes, 27, got engaged in June 2005, two months after they were first photographed together in Rome.

Cruise, who has starred in Mission Impossible and War of The Worlds, said he proposed to Holmes on top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Press and fans gathered outside the castle

It is Cruise's third wedding. He was previously married to actresses Mimi Rogers and Nicole Kidman.

He adopted children with Kidman before they divorced in 2001.

The Church of Scientology was set up in the US in 1954 and claims eight million members worldwide.

The church's teachings are based on the writings of the late science-fiction author L Ron Hubbard, who spelled out principles that he called Scientology and Dianetics.

But critics say it is a fake religion based on making money from its followers.

A Scientology wedding contains many elements familiar to traditional marriage ceremonies, including rings and wedding vows.

But it also includes certain elements fundamental to Scientology, such as vowing never to go to bed without talking about any differences.

A spokesman for the Church of Scientology said its wedding ceremonies are not legally recognised in Italy, so Cruise and Holmes would also have to have a civil union.

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