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Holmes Arrives for Wedding to Cruise

November 18, 2006

BRACCIANO, Italy (AP) _ Katie Holmes and her baby arrived at a medieval castle early Saturday afternoon, riding in a limousine through the castle gate as rain started falling ahead of her wedding with Tom Cruise.

Hours earlier, guests for the star-studded wedding began arriving at the 15th-century Odescalchi Castle as dozens of police and civil defense officials patrolled Bracciano’s streets.

Hundreds of the town’s residents and fans of the actors crowded the small square outside the castle, hoping to catch a glimpse of the bride and groom or one of their guests.

``I want to see at least one of them _ even if it’s not Tom Cruise,″ said 15-year-old Erica Bandiera.

The first guest to drive through the castle’s gates was Roberta Armani, niece of the 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.

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.

Security was tight, with Carbinieri paramilitary police patrolling the walls of the castle and all vehicles banned from the center of Bracciano. The historic town’s narrow streets teemed with journalists and camera crews.

``This is an honor for us,″ said Marianna Riso, 31, who came to Bracciano from a nearby town in the 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, the couple’s daughter. 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.

___

Associated Press writer Maria Sanminiatelli contributed to this story from Bracciano.

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