6 JULY 2007

The wedding celebrations of Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria and her Belgian-born fiancé Tony Parker got underway on Friday in Paris. A day before the lavish religious ceremony and reception, the couple tied the knot in a low-key civil ceremony at the French capital's City Hall, watched by close friends and family.

The civil element, which is required by French law, was preceded by a pre-wedding dinner party the night before, on a launch on the river Seine. Hosts Eva - radiant in white silk cocktail dress and matching bolero jacket - and basketball star Tony, were joined by star pals on the luxury vessel.

Getting into the party mood fellow 'Housewife' Terri Hatcher was spotted dancing on deck with her nine-year-old daughter Emerson Rose. Also helping the the bride and groom-to-be celebrate were new FC Barcelona signing Thierry Henry, rock singer Sheryl Crow and Fantastic Four actress Jessica Alba.

More star guests, including Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, are expected to arrive for the main event - Saturday's service in the picturesque Parisian Church of Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois. The wedding party will then move on to the reception at the 17th-century Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte, located 55 kilometres south-east of the French capital and the setting for the film Marie Antoinette, starring Kirsten Dunst.

There they will be serenaded by Lionel Richie and Eva's close friend Oscar-winning actor and singer Jamie Foxx. And the festivities can carry on late into the night as many of the invitees have chosen to stay at the chateau, which will close to the public for the first time ever.

As they sip champagne and cut the cake on Saturday evening the newlyweds will be able to look back on an action-packed week in NBA star Tony's native land. In addition to the nuptias themselves the couple also hosted his'n'hers hen and stag parties in St Tropez, visited Disneyland Paris and shared a romantic supper in a restaurant on Mont Saint-Michel off the Normandy coast.

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The bride-to-be and her Belgian-born basketball star fiancé Tony Parker, pictured arriving at a pre-wedding boat party, tied the knot on Friday in a civil ceremony. A religious ceremony was scheduled for SaturdayPhoto: © RexClick on photos for gallery
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Employees were busy preparing the grounds of 17th-century Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte this week, ahead of Eva and Tony's lavish wedding reception on SaturdayPhoto: © AFP
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The couple's pre-marriage celebrations also included a trip to Disneyland Paris, where they were joined by 30 of their family and friendsPhoto: © AFP