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This Saturday, the Odescalchi Castle on Italy's Lake Bracciano will for one magical evening be transformed into the fairy tale palace where Katie Holmes will finally take Tom Cruise's supple hand in marriage (as stipulated in paragraph 68c of her billion-year contractual commitment), with a gathered crowd of Hollywood's greatest luminaries looking on in polite, incredulous bemusement. As the media coverage builds to a cacophonic crescendo, we help you wade through it all with a Countdown To Eternal Servitude round-up:
· The local businesses of Lake Bracciano are milking their moment in the spotlight for all its worth, with one local eatery introducing menu items such as "'Vanilla Sky' spaghetti, 'Last Samurai' filet with mushrooms and, for dessert, the Suri tart with chocolate sauce." The latter was directly responsible for an uncomfortable misunderstanding involving Tom Cruise and his in-laws, when the actor came bounding into the lobby of their hotel, gleefully announcing with a face smeared in a sticky, brown substance, "Hey, guys! Guess what I just ate! Suri!" [USA Today]
· A late night visit to Rome's city hall last night wasn't for a quickie marriage license—it was to meet Rome's Mayor Walter Veltroni, described as "a big movie buff." Tom reportedly was more than happy to oblige Veltroni's request to recreate his favorite sequence, and proceeded to delight the Mayor and his staff by sliding down the grand building's marble halls in nothing but a dress shirt, briefs, and a pair of Wayfarer sunglasses. [AP]

· The Gilded Moose takes us on an architectural tour of Odescalchi, where you can get your first glimpses of the coat-rack-looking topiaries that will come alive during the ceremony, grab the bride, and scuttle her out a back entrance to an idling mothership. [The Gilded Moose]
· Scientology's traditional vows require that the "man" be reminded that the "girl" need "clothes and food and tender happiness and frills, a pan, a comb, perhaps a cat," and that he will be expected to provide them all. (Cue: South Park-style chyron: "THIS IS WHAT SCIENTOLOGISTS ACTUALLY BELIEVE.") [Reuters]
· has some helpful marriage tips for the couple, but, strangely, "Slip serrated flatware into sock to use later on leather ankle restraints" appears to not have made the list. [MSNBC]
· "But who's going??" we can practically hear you shouting. Patience—we were getting there. In no particular order: Jim Carrey, Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Jada Pinkett Smith, and J.J. Abrams were among the first wave of guests to already arrive. Expected later, David and Victoria Beckham. (Cause, they're, like, famous too!) Victoria's only stipulation: not to be seated anywhere near Leah Remini or Kirstie Alley. [Reuters][People]
· Lake Bracciano is "the eighth-largest body of fresh water in Italy and the result of an ancient volcano." (Italics ours.) This is starting to make a lot more sense. []
· TMZ doesn't think brown shoes and a burgundy tie go with a three-piece, pinstripe grey suit. To which we say: When has a maverick like Tom Cruise ever played by the rules, fashion or otherwise? Prepare for half of Hollywood to show up to work tomorrow wearing garishly mismatched footwear. [TMZ]