VENICE, Italy—The Venetian early Sunday morning is a delightful respite from the usual bustle and activity that clogs the city’s narrow streets. Venetians sip their coffee in quiet squares and walk their dogs along the waterfront with nary a tourist in sight. And the morning after the fantastical wedding of George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin was no different, with one exception — the curious confusion around what just happened.
The Clooney wedding did, indeed, take place Saturday night, complete with raucous applause heard from the seven-star Aman Hotel on the Grand Canal at 8:18 when the couple apparently said their vows and sealed their fate in front of former Rome mayor Walter Veltroni. The nuptials reportedly took place under a ceiling of rose petals, surrounded by 100 or more of their close friends and family.
Vogue editor Anna Wintour was the first guest to arrive, no doubt to protect her investment of the exclusive rights to the wedding photos. A string of teak-hulled water taxis soon followed, each with a special flag with “A & G” on the back and each with a collection of stars waving at the clickity crowds of paparazzi lining the bridges and jetties across from the grand Aman Hotel. Regular canal traffic was unhindered, but one vaporetto waterbus looked like it might tip right over as all the passengers leaned to one side to catch a view of the spectacle.
Some stars, like Bill Murray and Cindy Crawford, stood outside near the boatmen, taking in the view of the purpley sunset over the Floating City. Others, like Matt Damon and Bono, stayed hidden inside the cabins, waving only when they disembarked into the privacy tunnel erected in front of the Aman hotel. When Clooney’s taxi, appropriately named “Amore,” arrived, it was surrounded by around 30 press boats that briefly clogged the canal as two hapless police boats tried to break up the gridlock. Gondolas bounced in their wake.
For days, Venetians have been warned that access to the waterfront near the Rialto Bridge in front of the town hall would be closed from noon to 2 p.m. on Monday for the Clooney wedding. That closure still stands, even though no one is quite sure just what will happen now that Clooney and Alamuddin have tied the knot. Will it be a simple matter of the newlyweds depositing their marriage certificate? Or will there be yet one more ceremony to mark what has become a celebratory and fitting end to Clooney’s long-cherished bachelorhood? No matter: On Monday, Venetian unionists promise to come out to hijack the moment and protest the city’s job cuts and corruption woes in front of the world’s press.
At some point tomorrow, the wedding party will have ended and life will go back to normal for the couple—and Venice. There is no word on where or when the Clooneys might honeymoon, but the power couple surely will have to get back to work. Clooney is in preproduction on three movies, and recently bought the rights to Nick Davis’ “Hack Attack,” about the British media phone-hacking scandal.
Alamuddin, 36, has a pressing work schedule back in London as well. Clooney once quipped that he was “marrying up” and a quick glance at her CV proves him right. The Oxford-trained human rights lawyer, who is also an author and activist, has represented such noteworthy clients as Enron, Arthur Anderson, Julian Assange, and former Ukraine prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko. She is a regular at the International Criminal Court, the International Court of Justice, and the European Court of Human Rights for her varied clients. She is also involved in the question of using drones for counter-terrorism and she was a special adviser to Kofi Annan when he served as Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and Arab League on Syria.
The couple met in Italy at a meeting about utilizing satellites over Syria. Clooney heads the Satellite Sentinel Project, which monitors human rights abuses. The newlyweds have vowed never to spend more than two weeks apart, and will split their time between London and Los Angeles.