Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes will likely wed Saturday in a Scientology ceremony held at a 15th-century Italian castle in a lakeside town near Rome, the town’s mayor said Thursday.
The wedding party, along with guests, are then expected to attend a banquet the same day in Rome, Bracciano Mayor Patrizia Riccioni said.
For weeks rumors have focused on Odescalchi Castle in the sleepy town of Bracciano as the likely venue for the celebrity wedding. Riccioni told a news conference Thursday she had met the couple the day before somewhere outside of her town, but she would not say where.
She was coy about other details, too, saying only that she expected the couple to arrive Saturday morning at the castle, which overlooks Lake Bracciano, for what she believed would be a Scientology wedding ceremony, followed by a banquet. She said she expected the couple to return to the Italian capital the same day.
Cruise, 44, star of the “Mission: Impossible” films, and Holmes, 27, have been staying at a luxury hotel near the Spanish Steps in Rome. They were photographed Thursday with their infant daughter, Suri, as they walked to a restaurant in the city.
Those spotted going into the restaurant included “Mission Impossible III” director J.J. Abrams, Brooke Shields and Jennifer Lopez. Lopez’s husband, Marc Anthony, briefly stepped out to smoke a cigarette.
While Riccioni stopped short of confirming the actual date of the wedding, the town’s Web site late Thursday had a picture of Cruise and Holmes under the headline, “The wedding of the year in Bracciano, Saturday, 18 November 2006.”
“I want to thank Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes for choosing this venue for such an important event,” Riccioni said, showing reporters a congratulations card she had for the couple.
“When we met, they seemed to me to be far more normal people than what I believed. I think all this secrecy depends on them wanting to keep their marriage private and intimate,” the mayor said, sparking laughter in the room filled with the journalists who have been trying for days to find clues about how the wedding will be held.
The Hollywood stars’ late-Wednesday visit to Rome City Hall caused a flurry of speculation that they were getting a marriage license, but city hall said Thursday it was only a courtesy visit to the mayor, a big movie buff.
As of midday Thursday, the Bracciano Town Hall was insisting it had not received any request to celebrate the wedding, but preparations for a party appeared to be under way at castle.
The Bracciano Town Hall said, however, that the mayor would not need much time to prepare for a civil ceremony if the necessary papers were presented before Saturday.
To obtain a marriage license, U.S. citizens planning to marry in Italy must present specific documents — including their passports, birth certificates and an affidavit that there is no impediment to their marriage. Because the documents need to be translated into Italian and certified, the process is generally time-consuming.
“If they’re getting married with these rites, it won’t be with a minister from the Rome church, so I would imagine that they would bring their own,” spokesman Fabrizio D’Agostino said.
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.