Clooney marries Alamuddin: In the end it took just 14 minutes

Couple emerge from Venice’s city hall today officially husband and wife

It only took 14 minutes. After four days of lavish closed-doors celebrations, frantic waterborne paparazzi chases and seemingly endless global media speculation, it took less than a quarter of an hour to wrap up the grand spectacle that was Hollywood on the Grand Canal.

At 1.40pm, holding hands and beaming perfect smiles, George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin emerged from the confines of Venice's 13th century city hall today, officially husband and wife.

"Six or seven" out of 10 was the faintly damning verdict of one Chinese tourist, an MBA student at Bath University, south-west England, on the bride's outfit: a glamorous cream trouser suit with a wide-brimmed hat. Everyone else - from the hundreds of tourists on the opposite Riva del Vin to the swarms of paparazzi following the marital motorboat like a particularly terrifying flotilla - seemed to think it was, all in all, a fairly impressive way to get hitched.

"Not even with the pope would there have been all this fuss," exclaimed Diana Cucereavii, a waitress in a cafe nearby.


As the couple set off from the mooring station at Ca’ Farsetti, their wooden water taxi did not turn around but ploughed straight up the Grand Canal and out into the lagoon to Marco Polo airport. Cheering fans applauded from the Rialto bridge. A gondolier in red and white stripes took a bow. Even the disgruntled council workers staging an anti-cuts protest outside the adjoining building, Ca’ Loredan, were temporarily diverted.

People of all nationalities and all ages had turned out to catch a glimpse of the actor and human rights lawyer who, since Friday, had been starring in an, at times, almost absurdly cinematic wedding party in which even the light had played a solid supporting role.

"They've been lucky with the splendid weather," remarked Marina, a Venetian playwright, watching with her 84-year-old mother on a jetty near two 20-year-old history of art students from Warwick University. "If they'd come last week it would have been terrible." But it wasn't. And, as the sun shone in a clear blue sky and the press corps packed up their gear, it was hard to imagine how it could have gone any better.

Flashing blue lights from the police boats on the Grand Canal had heralded the couple’s arrival from the Belmond Cipriani hotel to Ca’ Farsetti, where a handful of council employees were hanging out of the windows and a couple of gondolas appeared to be lingering tactically. At 1.26pm, by which time the crowds had been waiting for about two hours, the 53-year-old Oscar winner and the 36-year-old barrister emerged from their taxi and, after briefly waving, went inside the city hall.

Despite the celebration on Saturday night, when scores of A-list guests including Matt Damon, Robert De Niro and Bill Murray attended a lavish reception and ceremony at the "seven-star" Aman resort, this official civil ceremony at the Italian registry office was needed to rubber-stamp the vows they had reportedly already made before former Rome mayor and Clooney friend Walter Veltroni.

In general, the Italian proceedings are brief, but even by usual standards the couple got through things speedily. Shortly afterwards they emerged into the sunlight and were whisked off, possibly to their honeymoon.

For Venice, the credits were rolling. For somewhere else, perhaps, the show was just about to begin.

Guardian Service