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Article published Sunday, November 19, 2006
Cruise, Holmes exchange vows in castle
Mr. and Mrs. TomKat depart on their honeymoon
Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes each wore designs by Giorgio Armani. This photo was released today by Rogers and Cowan.
( ASSOCIATED PRESS )

BRACCIANO, Italy — Officially, they got married in Los Angeles, but the spectacle of the wedding between Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes was here, in a 15th-century castle that evoked fairy tales and lit up with red, white and green fireworks for a cheering, celebrity-laden crowd.

There were fireworks inside, too, a "never-ending kiss" between the betrothed after they exchanged vows Saturday. The kiss lasted so long it caused guests to shout "stop, stop!" said Giorgio Armani, who attended the wedding and designed the outfits of the bride, the groom and their baby, Suri.

ALSO
• View VIDEO report of the TomKat wedding.

The couple flew out of Rome on Sunday for a honeymoon in the Maldives, said Ciampino airport spokesman Adriano Franceschetti. The rest of the wedding party was due to fly to Los Angeles later in the day.

The ceremony was a lavish apex to perhaps the celebrity world's most closely watched relationship, proclaimed with Cruise's leap on Oprah Winfrey's couch, bestowed with the nickname "TomKat" and raised to a new level seven months ago when Holmes gave birth to their daughter.

The evening wedding was performed by a Scientology minister in front of more than 150 relatives and friends, the couple's publicists said.

Oil-fed torches and tiny candles flickered from the battlements and windows of the Odescalchi castle in this lakeside town as the couple and guests gathered for the ceremony in the town about 27 miles northwest of Rome. Suri, dressed in white, arrived in her mother's arms.

The wedding party included Cruise's two children, Isabella and Connor, from the superstar actor's previous marriage to Nicole Kidman, the publicists said in a statement. The best man was Cruise's best friend David Miscavige and the matron of honor was Holmes' sister Nancy Blaylock.

Toledoans interviewed by The Blade followed the ceremony with interest, but possibly not as much as they had in another high-profile coupling — the Ohio State University-University of Michigan football game.

Holmes, 27, wore a black dress and boots before she changed into Armani's off-the-shoulder ivory silk gown. Her father, Martin Holmes, walked her down the aisle and she carried a bouquet of flowers made by Armani including calla lilies.

Light shines from the windows of Odescalchi castle in the medieval lakeside town of Bracciano, where Tom Cruise's and Katie Holmes' wedding was attended by 150 friends and relatives.
( ASSOCIATED PRESS )

Cruise, 44, who sported dark shades and waved to fans as he rode through the castle gates in a van, wore a single breasted navy blue Armani handmade suit for the wedding, with an ivory silk French collar shirt of the same fabric as the bride's gown.

Armani, who was among the guests, said Cruise, then Holmes, walked down a stone ramp lined with flag bearers in medieval costumes and to the roll of drums.

They exchanged vows in a former stable decorated simply with white flowers.

"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," said Armani, who also designed the clothes of the rest of the wedding party and the couple's immediate family.

Italian singer Andrea Bocelli serenaded the couple at the reception and the bride and groom cut a five-tiered white chocolate wedding cake. Fireworks later burst above the castle, but the view was marred by a foggy night.

Other famous guests included Brooke Shields, Richard Gere, Jennifer Lopez, Jim Carrey and Victoria Beckham, wife of soccer star David Beckham and former Posh Spice of the Spice Girls.

The two stars arrived separately to the castle earlier Saturday, with pouring rain forcing Holmes and her daughter to take shelter under large, green umbrellas as they left their limousine. The sun was shining on the castle when Cruise arrived in a van from Rome, where the family had been staying in a luxury hotel near the Spanish Steps, with some fans shouting, "Tom, Tom!"

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

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

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

Security was tight, with Carabinieri paramilitary police patrolling the walls of the castle and all vehicles banned from the center of Bracciano.

The flag of the Odescalchi family, whose ancestors include Benedetto Odescalchi, the 17th century pope Innocent XI, fluttered over the castle's towers.

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.

The publicists said Cruise and Holmes had "officialized their marriage in Los Angeles prior to their departure for Italy," saying that was customary for couples marrying outside the United States. Cruise's publicist Arnold Robinson wrote in response to an e-mailed question about whether that meant they had been married in a civil ceremony that "the required steps were taken for the marriage to be legal."

In northwest Ohio, many said it would have been difficult to miss the fact that Ms. Holmes tied the knot yesterday.

"She's from around here, so you hear a lot of things that happen with her," said Kelsey Diefenthaler, 16, of Lambertville, Mich.

But the couple's wedding was somewhat overshadowed in Ms. Holmes' hometown because it fell on the date of the Michigan-Ohio State football game.

"That's the top priority," said Brittany Bernhoft, 21, who was rushing home to North Toledo after work to settle in and watch the game.

But she and others said they were happy for the newlyweds, and were sure they'd hear about the nuptials from the media after the game. "If they're happy, good for them," Ms. Bernhoft said.

Holmes and Cruise became engaged in June 2005, about two months after they went public with their relationship, kissing and posing for photographers in Rome. Their daughter was born April 18.

Cruise, star of the "Mission: Impossible" series and "War of the Worlds," was divorced from Kidman in 2001, was previously married to Mimi Rogers and had a high-profile romance with Penelope Cruz. Holmes, who starred in TV's "Dawson's Creek," and last year in "Batman Begins," had been engaged to Chris Klein.

Blade Staff Writer Erika Ray contributed to this report.


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