Call it Mission: Impeccable – Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are set to wed Saturday at the Odescalchi Castle in Lake Bracciano, Italy, capping a week with A-list arrivals, media hordes and some Italian sightseeing thrown in for good measure.
The frenzied preparation started on Nov. 13 when the soon-to-be newlyweds touched down at Rome s Ciampino Airport with an entourage of ten. The group was then shuttled under police escort to the luxury Hotel Hassler where delivery men have been scurrying to and fro all week carrying parcels from Suri s car seat to 120 red roses for a special guest. (For live reports from Italy, check out PEOPLE’s Tom & Katie Wedding Blog.)
Taking a break from the wedding whirlwind, the future Mr. and Mrs. Cruise indulged in a private tour of City Hall with Suri in tow on Wednesday night. Mayor Walter Veltroni personally escorted the party to the Capitolini museums at the couple s request and then through the Roman gardens.
The next day, it seemed all roads and celebrity jets lead to Rome: That morning, A-list stars including Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez, Jada Pinkett Smith and Brooke Shields arrived together via chartered plane while lovebirds Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy booked their own Gulf Stream jet to the Eternal City. The bride s Ohio-based parents, Martin and Kathy, also landed safely and told PEOPLE they’re very happy to be here.
So is Holmes, who was already spotted wearing white before the main event. For a Thursday pre-wedding dinner with her fianc , daughter and some of their VIP guests, the actress donned a white pants suit with a gold satin and organza blouse Armani, who is also outfitting the entire wedding party this weekend.
The nuptials will bring the couple’s 19-month romance full circle: Cruise and Holmes first stepped out as a couple in Rome in April 2005, with Cruise already referring to Holmes as “amore mio” just a few weeks after their first date (sushi, a private plane ride and a motorcycle trip to the beach).
Holmes wasn’t shy about her feelings either. “(I’m) totally in love. He’s amazing, he’s kind, he’s generous. He made me laugh like I’ve never laughed,” she gushed two months later. “I feel like he’s made my life.”
The pair took their romance global as they traveled the world promoting their respective summer blockbusters (hers: Batman Begins; his: War of the Worlds). But in mid-June, they found time in Paris for a late-night candlelit dinner at the Eiffel Tower, where Cruise proposed with a five-carat diamond ring.
“I want to marry her as soon as possible,” Cruise announced. “You have to do what you feel is right,” he told PEOPLE at the time. “It’s (about) your own integrity and how you want to live your life.”
The pair had another reason to celebrate in October, when they announced they were expecting a baby. Holmes “almost seems born for motherhood,” her pal and former Dawson’s Creek costar Oliver Hudson told PEOPLE. “She’s a nurturer.”
So is Dad, who told a German talk show on April 1: “I’m getting ready. I’ll be changing diapers.”
Diaper duty officially started two weeks later when the pair welcomed 7-lb., 7-oz. Suri on April 18. Cruise’s Mission: Impossible 3 director J.J. Abrams told PEOPLE: “She has (Tom’s) hair – it’s hysterical. You’ll see.”
Indeed, the world was introduced to Suri’s full head of dark locks and striking blue eyes when she made her public debut on the October cover of Vanity Fair.
“The moment I looked in her eyes I felt like Mom,” Holmes told the magazine of her new bundle of joy. “She’s the miracle of our life.”
Not to mention a VIP at her parents’ big day. “Don’t you have the baby first and then get married?” Cruise joked in Good Housekeeping’s June issue. “In many ways we feel like we already are married. I know I’m with the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with. So the wedding – that’s just the party.”
This will be the first marriage for Holmes and the third for Cruise, who was wed to Nicole Kidman from 1990 to 2001 and actress Mimi Rogers from 1987 to 1990.