The lavish weekend wedding of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes bore many symbols of the singular 18-month relationship between the two stars.

The decorous, romantic setting of a 15th-century castle in Bracciano, Italy, was reminiscent of the fairy-tale quality of the actors' courtship. The much younger Holmes, 27, had once remarked that she grew up wanting to wed the "Risky Business" star.

"I used to think I was going to marry Tom Cruise," Holmes told Seventeen magazine before she and Cruise, 44, began dating.

Photo Essay: The TomKat Wedding

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But the young-girl fantasy theme to TomKat has never been the dominant one. They have instead been renown for extreme publicness and perceived peculiarity. In short, it is not a relationship that anyone has ever really understood.

After exchanging vows before a Scientology minister Saturday, Cruise and Holmes engaged in a "never-ending kiss," according to Giorgio Armani, who attended the wedding outside Rome and designed the outfits of the bride, the groom and their baby, Suri.

That kiss could be seen a sweet gesture or as a reminder of the hyper-love the couple (or at least Cruise) has openly displayed since they first announced their relationship in April 2005 in Rome. Just a month later, Cruise was hopping on Oprah Winfrey's couch.

"I can't be cool. I can't be laid-back," a starry-eyed Cruise said on "The Oprah Winfrey Show." "Something happened and I want to celebrate it."

Many were skeptical of the over-the-top emotion, suspicious that it was an act to help publicize each star's then-current movies: "War of the Worlds" and "Batman Returns." But those critics were temporarily silenced when, in June 2005, the couple became engaged at Paris' Eiffel Tower -- happily posing for photographers and reporters immediately afterward.

The relationship, People magazine deputy editor Larry Hackett remarked at the time, "was presented fully baked for public consumption."

In stark contrast, the couple did not provide the public a peek of Suri until 4 1/2 months after her April 18 birth, leading to fevered speculation that she didn't even exist. The couple finally unveiled her, true to megastar form, on the cover of Vanity Fair.

Many celebrities attended the Cruise-Holmes nuptials, but the most symbolic attendee was Brooke Shields. Cruise had very publicly criticized Shields for taking antidepressants after the birth of her first daughter; he apologized to her in person a few months ago.

The actor's perspective on antidepressants echoes that of Scientology, and Cruise became more vocal about his religion after firing longtime publicist Pat Kingsley. Cruise's sister, Lee Anne DeVette, took over as his publicist in March 2004, but was replaced last November after Cruise's image seemed in decline.

The practices and beliefs of Scientology -- a religion many other celebrities practice with less scrutiny -- are unfamiliar and strange to much of the public.

The birth of the Cruise-Holmes baby, Suri, was surrounded by reports that the couple would have a "silent birth," in which no one surrounding the mother speaks. And the couple's vows Saturday included certain Scientology fundamentals, such as promising never to go to bed without communicating about any differences.

Cruise's aggressive defense of Scientology was one of the reasons Sumner Redstone, chairman of Paramount Pictures parent company Viacom Inc., claimed was behind Paramount's decision to break ties with Cruise after a long and lucrative relationship. The "Mission: Impossible" star quickly rebounded when his company, Cruise/Wagner Productions, signed a two-year financing deal with First & Goal LLC.

The legal circumstances of the couple's Italian wedding weren't clear, since it was performed by a Scientology minister. Cruise's publicist, Arnold Robinson, said the couple had "officiated their marriage in Los Angeles before their departure for Italy," calling that customary for couples marrying outside the United States.

The public, of course, loves a big movie-star marriage. But will the castle ceremony help Cruise and Holmes restore a measure of normalcy to their relationship, or serve as yet another unique spectacle?

With neither star expected back on the big screen soon (Cruise is slated to begin shooting "Lions for Lambs" with Robert Redford in January; Holmes has nothing planned) it will be a while before the box office provides an answer.

Photo Essay: The TomKat Wedding

Click Here for the Katie Holmes Celebrity Center

Click Here for the Tom Cruise Celebrity Center