Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day 10: Ceremony

Hooray for weddings! I really enjoy them, but Kurt does not particularly care for them. What's not to like about a big party centered around food and wine (and generally dancing) and love?! Absolutely nothing. He's just a big stick in the mud. At least he was a little bit excited about this one. I mean, we did come all the way from New York for it!

Well, we woke up Thursday morning at Riky's house, the site of the previous night's over-indulgence. Everyone who lived there had left for work already, so Kurt and I just got up and headed back to our hotel. Sleeping on a couch in a bachelor pad won't be the most restful night of your life, so we took a nap and decided to take it easy until our ride was coming to pick us up for the wedding at 3. That is,until we realized that Kurt's suit was still at the cleaners! It wasn't that far away but the dry cleaner closes for a couple hours around the middle of the day. We were convinced he would be closed and wouldn't open in enough time for us to get ready for the wedding. It would be painfully ironic that we went to all that trouble to retrieve our lost luggage and then not have the most important pieces from it!

We drug our tired and sunburned selves to Villasanta, where we had left the suit, crossing our fingers for good luck. We approach the shop and.....ugh! it's closed! But wait.....he opens again in about an hour. We did some calculations in our heads and figured we had enough time to have a bite to eat in town, grab the suit, and run back to the hotel to get ready. It was cutting it close but thankfully it all worked out fine. 3 o'clock rolled around and Claudio's cousin Patrizio arrived to escort us to the chapel.

Claudio and Manuela got married at this lovely church in Villasanta. I'm jealous of European churches. Even small little towns have incredible buildings. Even small, modest ones have more quality and detail in them than any mega church in the states. Bigger is not always better.

It starts getting closer to 4, when the wedding is supposed to start. I want to go inside and get a good seat but everyone keeps milling around in front of the church. Kurt inquires. Turns out, they are all waiting for Manuela to arrive. Technically, they should go in but Italians are too stubborn and want to be the first to see the bride in her dress (someone else's explanation, not mine). Finally, a fancy car pulls up and she gets out. Everyone applauds then bolts inside for their prime seat.

It was a Catholic ceremony (of course), so there was an entire mass. I knew what was going on at times but couldn't understand much of what was being said. Kurt and I spent most of the time picking out what made an Italian wedding different from an American one.

a) The bride's arrival. I feel like most American brides get ready at the church (or at least hide out there shortly until it's showtime) and then make their big entrance as they walk down the aisle.

b) Italians don't have much of a wedding party. The bride and groom each had a couple of friends up there with them but there were no matching dresses or rented tuxes. They served more as witnesses which leads me to...

c) At the conclusion of the mass, the priest, the couple, and their attendants go off to the side and sign the marriage license. It's kind of a big, official thing too. I may be wrong about this one, but I feel like in America, all this is done behind the scenes.

d) There's no kiss at the end! Some people may value vows and rings but I don't feel like it's official until you hear "You may now kiss the bride!" It was anti-climactic. There also wasn't a big exit. The families hung around in the church for pictures and guests sort of slowly filtered out.

Even if I did speak more Italian, I think I still would have been a little lost. It's fun to sift through the cultural differences though.

Now this part I know! The bride and groom finally made their exit into the courtyard. There were rice and rose petals ready to be thrown. Claudio volunteers regularly with the Red Cross, so some of the crew was there with the ambulance to sound the siren as the newlyweds exited the church.

I liked this tradition. There was a balloon outside the church with smaller balloons inside of it. The bride takes a dart...

...and sets them all free! It's kind of cheesy like releasing doves or butterflies but I thought it was cute.

After some visiting in the church piazza, everyone got in their cars to head to the reception site--a castle north of Villasanta. On our way out of town, we saw this sign on an overpass. (Sorry for the poor photo. It's hard to take pictures in a car!) It says Clody (heart) Manu. Oggi sposi....capolavoro!!! Kurt may have to help me here, but it means something along the lines of Claudio loves Manuela (obviously). Today are spouses (had a wedding/ got married)...masterpiece! Or at least that's what Google tells me. Their friends hung it for them! How cute is that?!

Next up: the reception!

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