In a fairy-tale setting, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes exchanged wedding vows Saturday in a glowing 15th-century castle in this medieval lakeside town.
The evening ceremony was performed by a Scientology minister in front of more than 150 relatives and friends, the couple’s publicists confirm to Access Hollywood.
Oil-fed torches and tiny candles flickered from the battlements and windows of the Odescalchi castle as the couple and fellow celebrities gathered for the ceremony in the town about 27 miles northwest of Rome.
One of the guests was the couple’s daughter, 7-month-old Suri, who was dressed in white and arrived in her mother’s arms.
The wedding party included Cruise’s two children, Isabella and Connor, from his 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.
Holmes wore a black dress and boots before she changed into an off-the-shoulder ivory silk gown designed by Giorgio Armani for the ceremony. Her father, Martin Holmes, walked her down the aisle and she carried a bouquet of flowers made by Armani including calla lilies.
Cruise, 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, with an ivory silk French collar shirt of the same fabric as the bride’s gown for the wedding.
‘Never-ending kiss’Armani, who was among the guests, told The Associated Press that 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,” Armani said.
He added that the 20-minute ceremony ended with “a never-ending kiss” that prompted some of the guests to shout “stop, stop!”
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, Jennifer Lopez, Jim Carrey, Victoria Beckham and Roberta Armani, the designer’s niece.
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 Carbinieri 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.
“When I first walked here, I didn’t know why they chose this place,” said Emily Roeder, 19, of Atchison, Kan., who came to Bracciano for the day from Florence, where she is studying. “Then I saw the castle and the streets all around, and it’s really romantic.”
Hundreds of the town’s 14,000 residents and fans of the stars braved intermittent rain to catch a glimpse of the arrivals.
“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.
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 did not immediately reply to an e-mailed question about whether that meant they had been married in a civil ceremony.
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, who was divorced from Kidman in 2001, also was previously married to Mimi Rogers and had a high-profile romance with Penelope Cruz. Holmes, who starred in TV’s “Dawson’s Creek,” had been engaged to Chris Klein.