Movie stars and Kennedys know how to do these things.

While thousands squealed with joy on Saturday afternoon, Arnold Schwarzenegger grinned, and with a broad sweep of his hand presented his new wife, Maria Shriver, to the crowd pressing against police lines about 35 feet away. The photo opportunity par excellence. Cameras whirred and clicked and Arnold beamed and Maria smiled and the crowd just about exploded with delight.

The Shriver family wanted the day to be "private and personal," and within the walls of St. Francis Xavier and the Kennedy compound where the reception later took place, it was no doubt just that. But outside St. Francis the sidewalks and lawns and trees and roofs and windows and bushes and balconies were wedged tight with camera-toting gawkers. Judging from his face, the star of "Conan the Barbarian" and "The Terminator" was loving every flash and scream of it.

With Andy Warhol, Tom Brokaw, Grace Jones, Arthur Ashe, Diane Sawyer, swimmer Donna de Varona, Quincy Jones, photographer Annie Leibovitz, Jamie Wyeth, Edward Bennett Williams and an endless stream of Kennedys in attendance, the event fell somewhere between pageant and circus.

It was a day of extravagant images -- such as Teddy Kennedy dancing with Grace Jones -- painstaking security, frenzied crowds and journalistic mania as the 38-year-old millionaire muscleman married the 30-year-old "CBS Morning News" coanchor.

The ceremony itself, according to the Rev. Richard Fragomeni, a PhD candidate at Catholic University who helped Shriver and Schwarzenegger plan the event, was "untraditionally traditional."

Within the church draped in roses, lilies and flowering branches of plum, pear and cherry, Schwarzenegger turned toward the guests and welcomed them, saying he was more nervous than he expected. Ted Kennedy read from the Bible; actress and talk-show host Oprah Winfrey read Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "How Do I Love Thee"; and Sargent, Eunice and Robert Shriver offered prayers for an end to violence and terrorism, for Jewish friends celebrating Passover and for family members who had died.

"Sarge mentioned his own father and mother, and Joe Kennedy and Jack and Bobby and David Kennedy and Kathleen," said one guest. "It was a very moving part."

The couple took what Fragomeni called "traditional Catholic vows," although substituting "husband and wife" for "man and wife" at Fragomeni's suggestion.

"The ceremony was much less formal than you are used to seeing in a church in Europe," said Austrian Ambassador Thomas Klestil.

Before the wedding party arrived, the priest rehearsed the guests in two songs. Observed one guest, "It was a combination of Fred Waring and Johnny Carson."

In fact, the entire ceremony was filled with music, with vocal ensemble, woodwind quintet and brass quintet all performing.

There were 12 attendants for both Shriver and Schwarzenegger. Three-year-old John Ruddy, the son of bridesmaid Wendy McDaniel Ruddy, bore the ring.

A Shriver family spokesman said the couple's marriage license read Marie Shriver Schwarzenegger, but CBS said she would continue to use Shriver professionally.

Between several hundred and 10,000 people, depending on who was estimating, gathered outside the church to watch the latest chapter in that great American soap opera, the Kennedy Saga.

At the hotel where most of the glitzier guests stayed, security men checked room keys before allowing anyone past the lobby and guests told reporters they didn't dare talk about the wedding for fear of offending the family.

Austrian presidential candidate Kurt Waldheim, currently under fire for alleged Nazi-related activities during World War II, sent a sculpture depicting Shriver and Schwarzenegger in traditional Austrian costume. The pope sent a blessing; President Reagan, a congratulatory telegram.

Outside the church, cranky photographers demanded (without effect) that flowering apple trees be pruned to save their camera angles and local residents complained, "You can't even walk on your own yard!" When passing trucks threatened to block the crowd's view, wails of what could only be called despair rose up to the sky white with moisture.

Grace Jones and escort Andy Warhol provided the most eccentric arrival, pulling up to the church 20 minutes late in an orange Volvo. Warhol was in white hair, black leather and black Reeboks. Jones wore something very slinky under a long fur coat and a mammoth green mink hat. Both posed for the cameras before entering the church, and guests inside the church were treated to the roar of the appreciative crowd outside, as the duo slipped into the last aisle. But no stars could match the allure of the Kennedys.

"Oh, she's gorgeous!" one woman moaned as Jacqueline Onassis emerged from the church on the arm of her son, John F. Kennedy Jr. More fluttering occurred when a flock of bridesmaids arrived in long suits of raspberry, blue, turquoise, rose and salmon moire; Caroline Kennedy, the maid of honor who will be married this summer, among them. Her fiance' Edwin Schlossberg arrived with her mother Jacqueline Onassis. (Kennedy matriarch Rose Kennedy, who suffered a stroke about two years ago, could not attend the ceremony or the reception -- "too cold," a spokesman said -- but Shriver and Schwarzenegger visited her at her home during the reception.)

The crowd, nearly swooning at this point, convulsed when Shriver appeared on her way in to the ceremony, enmeshed in a net veil and trailing 3 1/2 meters of silk train behind her. The Dior dress of white satin muslin silk designed by Marc Bohan was estimated to cost more than $10,000. Waving, bouncing up and down, waving some more, Shriver waited while others fussed with the billowing cloth, then, to "The Bridal March" from "Lohengrin," walked down the aisle.

When it was all over, the 450 guests flowed from the church, where they were greeted with one more round of adulation before sliding into limos and buses for the ride back to the Kennedy compound.

There, two tents shielded the guests from the cold and the cameras of a Cape Cod Times boat floating offshore. The tents held "14 fruit trees in full bloom," pear, cherry, apple, plum and flowering crab apple. Peter Duchin's orchestra played; a raw bar, shrimp and asparagus over pasta shells, long-stemmed California strawberries, cold lobster and chicken breasts with champagne sauce were served.

The seven-foot, eight-tier pound and carrot cake covered with buttercream icing weighed 425 pounds. According to the official six-page wedding fact sheet distributed by the family, "The entire cake is adorned with pink ribbons, flowers, lace and handmade white sugar bells. It is topped with a large white sugar bell overhanging a unique white silhouette of a bride and groom." The Shriver family chef, Stephen Hesnan, baked it.

Through it all, people said the kinds of things people say at weddings. Eunice Shriver was especially touched by Schwarzenegger's devotion to his mother. Sargent Shriver realized it was hard to give up a daughter.

"He made some funny crack about 'You better take charge,' just joking about how to handle Maria, I guess," said a guest.

"It was a warm, friendly atmosphere. So many Kennedy gatherings have moments of sadness. This time you felt they really deserved a joyful moment."

Emerging from the jaws of the compound's security system, Tish Baldrige, etiquette expert and White House social secretary during the Kennedy administration, said of the reception, "It was all so well done. Lilacs hanging from the tent from huge spheres, different spring flowers on every table. The bride just cut the cake. They had the first dance. It was a waltz, then the parents of the bride cut in, which was traditional -- read about it in my Amy Vanderbilt book."

Throughout the weekend, the Kennedys and their guests traveled within a bubble of security. Saturday morning, guests were greeted by a crew of guides directed to make sure everything went smoothly. Discreet gold buttons were issued to each invitee and checked by security guards outside the church before admission. The chief of police himself paced first before the church door and then the compound entrance and blue uniforms seemed to dot every corner and lane. With minibuses from the local transportation system rented for the occasion, Hyannis took on the air of a feudal state whose lords were marrying off a treasured daughter.

The crowd outside the church began to arrive several hours before the scheduled 11 a.m. wedding, with a hardy few of the 200 reporters and photographers settling in on the lawn of Eleanor Siscoe's guest house across from the church as early as 6:15. By 9:45, when the first guests pulled up at the church, the mass of people seemed on the verge of hysteria.

"Harold! Out of the tree!" Siscoe called to direct a Kennedy employe whenever an overenthusiastic spectator climbed one of her branches. Siscoe had seen Kennedy-crazed crowds before, and this year she rented her driveway to the family so a two-tier platform for journalists could be positioned directly across from the church.

"Harold! There's a kid in the middle of my bushes!" she roared. "I've been trying to save them."

"They're having a comeback since Kennedy was president," said a friend. "It took them 20 years."

"When he was president," explained Siscoe, "my bushes were abused."

Because the guest list was not released until after the ceremony began, no one knew exactly who they were looking for, and wishful thinking bred wild speculation that blossomed unencumbered by verification into certainty. Several members of the press mistook two guests listed as "Reinhardt, Judge and Kindell, Mrs." for actor Judge Reinhold and wife. This Reinhardt was, however, an actual judge for whom Bobby Shriver clerked.

"There's Kenny Rogers," joked a photographer at the sight of a bearded man on the church steps.

"It's Kenny Rogers!" yelled someone standing nearby.

"It's Kenny Rogers! It's Kenny Rogers!"

It wasn't.

Finally the more recognizable guests, none of whom was Kenny Rogers, began to arrive. Abigail Van Buren in mink. Arthur Ashe in white. Andy Williams in an Andy Williams smile. "CBS Morning News' " Forrest Sawyer, Faith Daniels, Steve Baskerville. Joan. Teddy Jr. Ethel. Eunice. And in a gesture that won him several thousand more fans, Arnold, driving to the back of the church in his limo, window rolled down, cigar-bedecked hand waving to the crowd.

"Maybe royalty is upon us," guest and producer George Butler, whose "Pumping Iron" launched Austrian bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger into the American pop stratosphere, said before the wedding.

"He's come so far so quickly. I never thought anything like this might happen. I don't know anyone who's hit America with such force in quite a while. It's rare to see two people of such influence get married. Arnold is very smart and has boundaryless ambition. Maria seems to be very much the same way. Both Arnold and Maria would modestly like to take over the country."

During the hour-and-15-minute ceremony, the crowd outside relaxed, jostled for better positions and discussed possible honeymoon scenarios. The most popular rumor was that the two would spend several days at Jackie Onassis' house on Martha's Vineyard, but there was nothing on the fact sheet about it and no one was talking.

And, as is always the case when the Kennedys are the subject, the conversation took on a proprietary air. "Chicken!" one woman exclaimed in surprise when told of the lunch menu. "Chicken at a Kennedy wedding?"

Tim Wilkerson, 11, and his mother had come from nearby East Dennis to stand cramped and uncomfortable with a view of other people's shoulders. But during the ceremony, they managed to scramble onto the press platform.

"I wanted to see Arnold Schwarzenegger," said Tim, who had missed the Schwarzenegger wave and was disappointed to discover that neither Clint Eastwood nor Tom Selleck would be attending. "I idolize him. He's so strong and he's handsome and he's famous and I wouldn't mind doing all the movies he did."

An hour and a half later, the doors of the church opened and from his perch on the crowded platform, Tim stared at the approaching spike-haired bodybuilder in a cutaway coat holding the hand of a dark-haired woman in white.

"I'm going to get to see him!" Tim yelled. "I never thought I'd ever see him! There he is! It's the best! It's the best! It's the best wedding I've ever been to!"