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The world respects George Clooney’s wish for a private wedding. Not.

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The faint, wistful sound you heard around 2 p.m. yesterday afternoon? That was the world collectively sighing as its last most eligible bachelor was declared officially off the market.

Much to the dismay of female fans dreaming about a chance at romance and tabloid editors hoping for more gossip page fodder, George Clooney formally tied the knot with British human rights lawyer Amal Almuddin in a lavish Venice ceremony Saturday.

Newly-weds George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin left their hotel the day after their wedding to join friends for an afternoon reception in Venice. (Video: Reuters)

Clooney was last seen as a single man riding a water taxi along the iconic Grand Canal up to the Aman Hotel, where the wedding took place.

What happened after that is a mystery — hotel staff were required to sign a non-disclosure agreement, and pretty much all we know for sure comes from a one-sentence statement from Clooney’s representative, Stan Rosenfield, confirming that the ceremony took place. The couple presumably hoped to conduct their wedding with some measure of privacy.

So of course, the entirety of the Internet has spent the rest of the weekend endlessly parsing the marriage.

What we know

The weekend’s festivities were appropriately classy for the wedding of an Oxford-educated U.N. lawyer and a man who’s drawn comparisons to Cary Grant. The wedding party began its take-over of Venice on Friday, when Clooney and Alamuddin arrived by bus, kicking off a weekend of champagne-sipping, canal-touring and designer outfit-wearing.

Paparazzi and fans got a second glimpse of the star-studded wedding party, which also included Matt Damon, Cindy Crawford, Bono and Vogue editor Anna Wintour as they were carried by boat to the wedding location Saturday evening. Clooney stood on the deck of his boat, waving to the assembled crowds, while Alamuddin was nowhere to be seen.

Vows were exchanged that evening at a ceremony officiated by Clooney pal Walter Veltroni, the mayor of Rome, Vogue reported. But Clooney, 53, and Alamuddin, 36, didn’t make their first appearance as a couple until mid-afternoon on Sunday, when they emerged from the Aman Hotel for more glamorous water-taxi riding.

What we don’t know for sure but people will speculate about anyway

What did Alamuddin wear? Italian designer Giorgio Armani announced during Milan Fashion Week that the groom would don one of his suits for the ceremony, but Alamuddin’s outfit remains a mystery (though she was spotted outside Alexander McQueen’s headquarters a few weeks ago). And since the couple reportedly sold the rights to their wedding photos to Vogue to raise money for charity, it’s likely we won’t know what the dress looked like until those photos are released.

Are they actually married? According to the Hollywood Reporter, the ceremony Saturday was purely symbolic: Italy does not recognize marriages until they’ve been registered at City Hall. Meanwhile, the Guardian has reported that the event Saturday was in fact the real deal — reports that they’d be exchanging vows at a later civil ceremony were part of a “trick” to keep journalists on their toes. Either way, Clooney and Alamuddin are expected to dot their i’s and cross their t’s on Monday afternoon. Venice officials have announced street closures in the area around the city’s Cavalli Palace, which is traditionally used as a venue for civil ceremonies, citing “the George Clooney wedding.”

WHY?

Clooney has cycled through a series of girlfriends ever since he divorced his first wife, Talia Balsam, in 1993. The seemingly incorrigible bachelor even bet actress Michelle Pfeiffer $100,000 that he’d never marry again (no word on whether Pfeiffer has called him on it). So what makes Alamuddin different? Well, she’s a successful lawyer who has represented former Ukrainian prime minister Yuli Tymonshenko and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and has been appointed to multiple U.N. commissions. Some might argue we’re asking the wrong question.

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