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LONDON (Reuters) - Tabloid reports that George Clooney and his fiance Amal Alamuddin would perform their civil marriage ceremony at a London town hall drew small crowds on Friday, but no sign of the happy couple.
Celebrity magazine UsWeekly was the most often quoted source for a report that the 53-year-old Hollywood heartthrob would tie the knot with the Lebanese-born London-based human rights lawyer, 36, "with their parents present", at Chelsea Old Town Hall.
The message from Chelsea Old Town Hall, though, could not have been clearer: "We are NOT conducting the wedding of Mr Clooney at this office today," it said in a terse notice pinned to its door.
"We have assisted in the legal preliminaries for a proposed wedding for George Clooney and his fiance," the notice said. "A certificate of no impediment was applied for and has been issued as no objection was raised."
But it said there would be no ceremony on Friday and added that: "a film crew and press photographers would only cause plausible disruption to other couples getting married on this day."
That didn't stop dozens of onlookers, mostly women, and photographers turning up at the Register Office in West London on the off chance.
"Well if George Clooney's come to London to tie the knot, no better place to do it than in Chelsea, so I'm very happy. We're here to congratulate him," Francesca Wellman, one of the hopeful crowd, said.
She and many others had hoped to catch a glimpse of the couple during a lunch break.
"George will never let us down. He chose Chelsea,” she added.
When the couple failed to make an appearance, Suzanne, a local resident said, "We haven’t really wasted our time ... it's a lovely vibe around here."
Nine other couples married during the day, many choosing to leave through the back entrance of the building to avoid the unexpected media attention.
Efforts to reach Alamuddin's personal assistant in London on Thursday were unsuccessful.
Clooney, who has been dating Alamuddin since October 2013, has said the couple intend to host a large official wedding ceremony in Venice in late September.
Writing by Hannah Murphy; Editing by Michael Roddy and Hugh Lawson