VENICE - The party of the year is happening here: the fresco-adorned Aman hotel on Venice's Grand Canal is feverishly preparing for George Clooney's wedding to Amal Alamuddin, his Lebanon-born British fiancee.
Hollywood stars and the world's paparazzi have already begun arriving for the nuptials of the world's most sought-after catch, who will, sources said, celebrate with 136 guests at the exclusive seven-star hotel in the 450-year-old Palazzo Papadopoli.
The pair are expected to be officially married in a civil ceremony on Monday, but the city of masks is preparing for a weekend of serious partying before then.
"Clooney's on everyone's lips here in Venice, the girls in particular are all in a tizzy, they'll be lining the banks of the canal to see him," said watertaxi driver Bruno Bartolini, who said it would be "a fantastic party."
"The city's ground to a halt because they're using the grand canal, but what does that matter: there's nothing better than getting married in Venice," Bartolini said.
Guests including Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Sandra Bullock and Matt Damon are set to stay at the Hotel Cipriano on the island of Giudecca, where they are expected to dine in style Friday evening with the groom and his glamorous bride-to-be.
The reception will take place on Saturday at the luxurious water-front Aman, where guests will be escorted by police boats keen to keep over-excited Clooney admirers and hundreds of photographers at a distance.
They'll be met with lashings of fizz and canapes in the garden, an oasis sheltered from the bustle of the canal, before sitting down in the main library to a sumptuous five-course dinner rustled up by a renowned Italian chef, according to a source close to the hotel.
The Aman's restaurant will be then transformed into a nightclub, where they'll dance the night away, a source said.