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George & Amal tie the knot in Venice

The world’s most famous bachelor had traded his vow to remain single for wedding vows with Amal Alamuddin.

US actor George Clooney (R) waves to fans from a taxi boat on the Grand Canal on his way to the Aman hotel on 27 September 2014 in Venice, where Clooney and British fiancée, Amal Alamuddin celebrate their wedding. Picture: AFP/ANDREAS SOLARO

VENICE - The world's most famous bachelor, George Clooney, broke a vow to remain single on Saturday and married human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin during a weekend of lavish celebrations in Venice.

The Italian city of gondolas and palazzi looked like Hollywood on the Adriatic as A-list guests cruised between luxury hotels for the extravaganza, billed as the party of the year even as details were kept largely secret.

Clooney's representative, Stan Rosenfield, broke a long silence about the actor's personal life on Saturday, issuing a statement confirming the marriage.

"Confirmed. They were married Saturday evening in Venice," he told Reuters in an email.

The pair had been expected to wed officially on Monday in a civil ceremony at Venice's 14th-century town hall. It was not clear if that would still take place.

Venice's Grand Canal turned into an aquatic red carpet as the tuxedo-clad actor and his guests crossed the lagoon from the Cipriani hotel for dinner at the seven-star Aman Canal Grande Venice, housed in the 16th-century Palazzo Papadopoli.

Actors Matt Damon and Bill Murray mingled with model Cindy Crawford, Vogue editor Anna Wintour and singer Bono at a reception on the terrace of the plush Cipriani before embarking.

Passing "vaporetti" public boats tilted sideways as passengers crowded to see two-time Oscar winner Clooney, who waved to onlookers and rubbed his hands together on arrival at the Aman, as if to show he was looking forward to a good meal.

Drinks were laid on in a rear garden before dinner in the main dining room of the Aman, where local media had reported the pair was to say vows informally.

Kentucky-born Clooney, who shot to stardom in the television series ER, had vowed never to remarry after his 1993 divorce from actress Talia Balsam and is said to have made a $100,000 bet with Michelle Pfeiffer that he would stay single.

The Lebanese-born Alamuddin, who had no previous connection to Hollywood, has represented Ukrainian former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko at the European Court of Human Rights, and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in extradition proceedings.

"She will keep him on his toes because she is bright," said Judith Graham, 59, of Surrey, England. "He's had all these actresses fawning over him before. I hope he'll be happy."

Alamuddin, who is based in Britain, also advised former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan on the conflict in Syria, an issue about which Clooney has spoken publicly.

Clooney has also led campaigns to highlight the plight of refugees in Darfur, Sudan, and is expected to donate the fees earned from selling rights to the wedding photos to that cause.