FLORENCE Italy (Reuters) - Television personality Kim Kardashian and rapper Kanye West celebrate their wedding on Saturday in a 16th century castle overlooking the historic city of Florence.
City authorities have confirmed the event, overseen by a Protestant pastor, is taking place in the Forte di Belvedere, set on a hill overlooking the city which the couple have hired for the night for 300,000 euros ($408,900).
But few other details have leaked out ahead of the lavish festivities. A private security firm has kept curious fans, paparazzi and television cameras from getting too close to the site, a Renaissance stronghold with high sloping walls that have been boosted by specially erected privacy screens.
West, 36, a rapper, entrepreneur and self-declared romantic, proposed to 33-year-old reality TV star Kardashian in an empty baseball stadium with a specially hired orchestra, the event shown during an episode of the TV show “Keeping up with the Kardashians”.
The couple, known collectively as “Kimye”, will celebrate their nuptials accompanied by their daughter North and around 200 family and close friends. As the castle is not normally authorized to hold weddings, it is unclear whether the event will count as a legal marriage ceremony, however.
The guest list has been kept a tight secret but several celebrity magazines said power couple Jay-Z and Beyonce and Canadian singer Justin Bieber were expected with other rumored attendances including actor Will Smith, singer Rihanna and TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey.
Following a pre-wedding party and a visit to the historic Chateau de Versailles outside Paris on Friday, most are arriving by private plane in Florence’s main airport and leaving on Sunday morning.
They will be put up in two of the city’s most luxurious hotels, where a team of around 10 of West’s assistants have been overseeing preparations for the past week.
Torrential rain on Friday night had cleared by Saturday and was not expected to pose a problem.
According to the local La Nazione newspaper, suppliers have been threatened with a $5 million penalty if they reveal details of the event and guests will be asked to hand in their mobile phones to stop anyone taking “selfies” or other pictures.
Most Florence residents appeared to take the preparations in their stride but groups of fans waited outside the luxury hotels and the party site, hoping for a glimpse of the celebrity couple and their guests.
“I’ve come here to see Kim Kardashian, I’ve been following her since 2008 and I like her a lot,” said Italian fan Lora Marotta. “I‘m obsessed so I’ve come here to see her and will not leave until I’ve seen her,” she said.
The guests will be escorted by city police to the event where they will dine on catering provided by Galateo, one of Florence’s most famous caterers. Residents in the San Nicola area of Florence have received letters warning them that the music will be booming out until midnight.
Vanessa Beecroft, an Italian-born artist and friend of West, whose performance art pieces regularly feature groups of nude female models, has set up a show within the fort and has promised to leave one of her works to the city of Florence.
How much the final bill will come to is a closely guarded secret but if past celebrity practice is any guide, the couple may be able to defray some of the expense by showing the wedding on television or selling exclusive coverage rights.
($1 = 0.7336 Euros)
Additional reporting by Cristiano Corvino; Writing by James Mackenzie; Editing by Stephen Powell