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Here Comes The Bride, The Groom, The Stars

BRACCIANO, ITALY - NOVEMBER 18: Actor Tom Cruise arrives prior to his wedding to actress Katie Holmes at 15th Century Odescalchi castle on November 18, 2006 in Bracciano near Rome, Italy. (Photo Giuseppe Cacace/Getty Images)
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Small flames flickered from castle battlements and hundreds of fans packed into a square outside Saturday as Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes arrived separately in this medieval town for their star-studded wedding.

Cruise, waving to fans, arrived in a van at the wedding venue, the 15th century Odescalchi Castle, a few hours after his future bride and their baby, Suri, were driven through the gates in a limousine.

Pouring rain had forced Holmes, who wore a black dress and boots, and her daughter, clad in a white outfit, to take shelter under large, green umbrellas as they left their limousine. But the sun was shining on the castle when Cruise arrived, with some fans shouting, "Tom, Tom!" The actor, wearing sunglasses, leaned forward from the back seat of the van to wave.

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.

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.

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


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Hundreds of the town's residents and fans of the actors braved the intermittent rain, hoping to catch a glimpse of the bride and groom or one of their famous guests. Richard Gere was among those who arrived.

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

"I want to see Beckham's wife," said her friend Luca Costanzi, 15, with a huge grin. English soccer star David Beckham and his pop-star wife, Victoria, were expected to be attending the wedding.

The first guest to drive through the castle's gates was Roberta Armani, niece of fashion designer Giorgio Armani, who designed Holmes' wedding dress.

As the car slowed down for the gates to open, a smiling Roberta Armani lowered the window and waved at the crowd.

A couple of hours later, Italian singer Andrea Bocelli was seen being driven through the gates.

Bocelli told Sky TG24 TV by telephone from inside the castle that he planned to "sing something as a wedding gift" to the couple after the ceremony. He said that because he was a Roman Catholic he would not sing during the wedding, which was expected to be a Scientology ceremony.

Other guests were expected to include "Mission Impossible III" director J.J. Abrams, Brooke Shields, Jennifer Lopez and Lopez's husband, singer Marc Anthony, and Will Smith.

Other guests were expected to include "Mission Impossible III" director J.J. Abrams, Brooke Shields, Jennifer Lopez and Lopez's husband, singer Marc Anthony, and Will Smith.

The town's narrow streets teemed with journalists and camera crews, while the Odescalchi family flag fluttered over the castle's towers.

"This is an honor for us," said Marianna Riso, 31, who came to Bracciano from the nearby town of Anguillara in hopes of getting a glimpse of one of the celebrities. "(Cruise and Holmes) really are known all over the world and they chose Bracciano. It's an honor."

Locals found their own ways to welcome the bride and groom.

"We are all participating a little in this wedding," said Simona Palazzini, a restaurant owner in the square next to the castle. "And we are quite happy to do so."

At her Il Ristorantino dining spot, Palazzini offered a "Top Gun" menu that included fettuccine with seafood called "Mission Impossible" and apple pie with cream and hot chocolate named after Suri. At the nearby Trattoria del Castello, guests could order a "Tom e Kat" — a basket of parmesan cheese with truffles and mushrooms.

"Wishing you love and happiness," read one sign written in English and taped to the window of a coffee shop.

On Friday evening, Cruise and Holmes attended a reception at a villa on a hill overlooking Rome.

Bracciano Mayor Patrizia Riccioni said the celebrity couple would wed Saturday — probably in a Scientology ceremony — at the castle, 27 miles north of Rome.

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.

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

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    Scott Conroy is a National Political Reporter for RealClearPolitics and a contributor for CBS News.