George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin ready to wed in Italy

George Clooney and his fiancee Amal Alamuddin arrived in Venice on Friday for their weekend wedding extravaganza, accompanied by loved ones and trailed by a clutch of photographers who recorded their passage along the picturesque Grand Canal.

The couple arrived at a Venice water-taxi stop by bus, accompanied by a small group of guests who included the groom's parents, as well as Cindy Crawford and her husband. Two small vans contained luggage.

The entire group boarded the water taxi piloted by Clooney's regular water-taxi driver, who took the wedding party on a scenic tour down the Grand Canal, passing in front of the Renaissance-era Cavalli Palace where the couple is expected to be wed in a civil ceremony on Monday.

Clooney and his bride stood outside during the water-taxi ride, and he waved to well-wishers as they passed under the famed Rialto Bridge. The water journey ended at the luxury Cipriani Hotel, Clooney's usual residence when in Venice, on an island opposite St. Mark's Square.

The arrival of other celebrities in Venice on Friday indicated star-studded festivities were in the making. Those spotted included Clooney's cousin Miguel Ferrer, Matt Damon, Ellen Barkin and Richard Kind.

Clooney, 53, and Alamuddin, 36, have not publicly divulged details of the celebrations, although Venice city officials have announced the closure of a 50-meter (yard) length of pedestrian way along the famed Grand Canal where the Cavalli Palace is located for two hours on Monday.  Media have speculated that the couple will have two ceremonies -- one on Saturday followed by a civil ceremony Monday.