Belfast Telegraph

Mr and Mrs Clooney tie the knot in Venice, but it only becomes official today

By Colin Francis

George Clooney and his new bride, Amal Alamuddin, emerged yesterday from the luxury hotel where they were staying, for a trip on Venice's canals - the day after they announced they were married.

Clooney's friend, Walter Veltroni, an ex-Mayor of Rome, was said to have officiated at the American-style ceremony, which was spoken in English, in front of the couple's family and closest friends including Robert De Niro, Cate Blanchett and Bono. A Los Angeles spokesman for Clooney had announced on Saturday that the actor and the human rights lawyer had tied the knot.

However, local newspapers, detecting more than a hint of Hollywood imperialism, pointed out that pesky Italian laws required him and his bride to appear at a registry office.

"Clooney: the first 'I do' is fiction. Total cinema," harrumphed Il Gazzettino, noting the two-time Oscar winner won't actually be married until the official papers are signed in the town hall.

"But when you're in the world of show business, when you're selling exclusive photo rights to a magazine for charity, when you've invited half of your family and friends for your marriage in Venice, the most beautiful and romantic city in the world, the bureaucracy can be ignored," it said.

The couple are expected to hold a civil ceremony today and it is anticipated that this will be when the marriage is written into the council register and made fully official under Italian law.

Details continued to dribble out about the wedding party. Clooney had sipped champagne with celebrity pals before donning his tuxedo and boarding a water taxi that took the groom up the majestic Grand Canal.

Clooney's water taxi was the last of a procession of a dozen that brought guests including Cindy Crawford, her husband Randy Gerber, Bill Murray and Matt Damon from the five-star Cipriani hotel opposite St Mark's Square up the Grand Canal to the luxury Aman hotel.

Crawford wore a purple floor-length halter dress while the men were all dressed in tuxedos.

Clooney's boat was momentarily blocked by a passing cruise-liner and then by a water bus, giving time for a flotilla of photographers to catch up on the star.

The star maintained his ever-relaxed demeanour and waved to hundreds of people who crowded the arched Accademia bridge, canal banks and passing water taxis to see Clooney before he took the plunge he long vowed never to take. With the pink sunset casting a gleam on Venice's most picturesque canal, Clooney rubbed his hands in sweet anticipation, and disappeared into the Aman's tent-covered pier.

The bride, wearing a bold black-and-white striped Dolce & Gabbana dress, beamed.

Clooney (53) and Alamuddin (36) who were engaged in April, did not publicly divulge details of the weekend-long celebrations.

London-based Alamuddin is of Lebanese origin, and her wedding was also being celebrated in her family's village of origin, Baakline in the Chouf district.

After the ceremony the couple emerged both wearing conspicuous wedding bands that they showed off as they made their return journey by boat down the Grand Canal as tourists cheered.

Background

George Clooney had long vowed he would never marry again following his 1989-93 marriage to Talia Balsam.

Over the years he dated a seemingly neverending series of models and actresses that made his love life tabloid fodder, until meeting his match in Alamuddin.

They included actresses Kelly Preston, Lucy Liu and British TV presenter Lisa Snowden, as well as a couple of waitressess.

His marriage will break the hearts of many women who have long swooned over the actor's good looks and easygoing charm.

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