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Last Updated: Saturday, 18 November 2006, 21:16 GMT
Rain fails to cloud Cruise wedding
By David Sillito
BBC News arts correspondent in Bracciano, Italy

It was what any bride would want. Dark clouds, rain and the constant drone of a news helicopter overhead.

Bodyguards hold umbrellas as Katie Holmes arrives at the castle ahead of the wedding
Italians have a proverb about brides and rain
The fairytale castle above the town of Bracciano looked at times like a rather grim fortress besieged by photographers.

Bracciano's festive mood was also rather dampened.

The appeal of standing and watching blacked-out limousines rushing into a castle gate began to pall.

The pull of lunch and an escape from the weather saw the cheerful crowd spin out as the day wore on.

Nevertheless, some seemed genuinely thrilled to see the back of someone's head in a crowd as a car sped past with a rumour that inside was Andrea Bocelli.

Singer Andrea Bocelli arrives at the wedding
Singer Andrea Bocelli was among wedding guests

The bride's arrival was even less certain.

It took careful examination of some TV footage to see if it really was Katie Holmes in a speeding car.

At least someone had turned up and that was a good sign given that this was a wedding in which no-one here officially knew anything - not even where it was going to be held.

We were told that they had just decided to spruce the place up and divert the traffic in the hope that something might happen.

'Tender happiness'

And then there was the guesswork about what was going on inside the castle.

"Do you, Tom, agree to buy Katie a cat?"

It's not quite how it's phrased in the traditional Scientology wedding service but it catches the essence of one of the vows that were open to the couple.

According to one version of the vows, "a girl needs clothes and food and tender happiness and frills".

And it's Tom's job to help provide them

If Katie wants a cat, Tom will have to oblige.

The mayor called in the civil protection squad and dozens of extra police for an event that she could not confirm was really happening

Another line available to them also talked about sharing fortune - a nice line for a young couple starting out.

For a twice-divorced, multi-millionaire actor it's altogether different.

Also, he'll not be allowed to go to sleep without resolving any disagreements with his new wife.

Scientology is central to Cruise's life and of huge interest to those trying to explain the inner workings of his world.

Civil protection

Of course, Scientology wasn't the only intriguing issue.

There's been a whole collection of oddities to keep Bracciano interested.

Let's begin with the location of the wedding itself.

The mayor called in the civil protection squad and dozens of extra police for an event that she could not confirm was really happening.

She said she met the couple, gave them a present and decided to close the centre of town to traffic and yet could not say if there was going to be a wedding.

"I hope they will come," was all she could say.

She wasn't the only one.

A photographer at Castello Odescalchi
Photographers and journalists descended on the castle
The media arrived in the town days before the ceremony amid rumours there would be two wedding ceremonies and a star-studded party.

In the end, we found ourselves standing in a town square trying to work out what was going on.

We saw catering trucks, pianos and lighting rigs being moved around along with serious men with ear pieces driving expensive cars.

Over the occasional espresso, a journalist would occasionally mutter the unmentionable: "What if this is the wrong place?"

New risotto

The town of Bracciano has also had a strange week.

The trattoria in the castle square now sells Tom and Katie risotto.

Laced with truffles, it's either honouring Hollywood's exquisite good taste or its fondness for expensive excess.

The castle and the museum were also closed with no explanation.

Tom and Katie alarm clock
Locals in Bracciano have been celebrating the wedding
All the staff could say was there were "extraordinary causes" but couldn't say what those causes were.

When asked if the van delivering the piano was a sign of something she said: "We have many piano deliveries."

She also had no comment about the town's decision to plaster pictures of Tom and Katie in all the shop windows.

The photo montage of a close-up kiss between Tom and Katie set against a picture of the castle was particularly moving and the most people here got to see of the happy couple.

Oh well, at least it rained.

As the Italians say: "The wet bride is the fortunate bride."

Celebrities in Italy for the wedding

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03 Nov 06 |  Business
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