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Idol Chatter

Are Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes going to be married before they get to the altar? The couple has booked a romantic, 15th-century castle north of Rome, and international singing star Andrea Bocelli will sing. Katie’s dad has even overcome his misgivings and wishes for a Catholic wedding and agreed to give Katie away.

But unless the Italian government is working from a special rulebook for celebrities, the religious ceremony–a Scientologist minister will officiate–will have to be preceded by a civil marriage. “A religious marriage is not so easy for non-Italians,” says a website that arranges dream weddings in Italy, especially if you are not Catholic. “If you wish to marry in a non-Catholic church,” says italy-weddings.com, “it is almost impossible to do so without first obtaining a civil marriage license.”

Because of Italy’s strong historic association with the Roman church, even mainstream Protestant clergy are not automatically licensed to marry in Italy, much less Scientologist ministers. Insiders dismiss reports that the wedding won’t be legal, saying the couple has done “all the necessary paperwork.” But that phrase, associated on most wedding-in-Italy sites with registering your civil bond, only lends support to the idea that a civil bond will unite the pair before Scientology pronounces them man and wife.

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