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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Wedding

We quickly discovered that there are some different traditions that come with an Italian wedding that were really fun (and crazy!) to be a part of. 

"Fare il letto" - Making the bed - This tradition is done a week before the wedding and involves all the women in the family and girlfriends meeting at the soon-to-be-home of the bride and groom, and they all participate in helping to make the bed. With incredibly meticulous detail, they put on the nicest sheets, pinning them to make the most perfect folds and corners, and then use a fancy cover that is often hand-sewn or an heirloom in the family. The bride and groom won't actually ever sleep in the bed when it's made in this way... this tradition is purely for show for the following tradition. (As a side note, the scripture written on the wall above the bed was hand-painted by Marc, when the girl who was supposed to do it flaked out at the last minute.)

As soon as the bed has been made, guests start arriving every day up until the day before the wedding. They come with their gifts for the couple, which are then opened and displayed for everyone to see. Besides leaving their gifts, the guests take a tour of the home, admire the beautiful bed, look at what other gifts have been given, and have some light refreshments provided by the bride and groom. 

This is Vincenzo, sitting in his new chair, relaxing in between greeting guests.

The day before the wedding the bride and groom are not allowed to see each other, so they each spend the day with their families and making last minute preparations for the big day.

On the morning of the wedding many of Debora's family and close friends gathered at her parents' home, to get the first glimpse of her in her wedding dress. This is me, anxiously watching for her descent. (Strangely enough we didn't get a photo of Debora coming down the stairs.)

Then, we all made our way to the beautiful old building in central Noto where Debora and Vincenzo were married. Since I was one of six bridesmaids,

I was chauffeured with two other bridesmaids in the car directly behind the bride. Luckily we were in our places just in time for her arrival.

Here we have Debora and Vincenzo (post bubbles and rice-throwing), as very new newlyweds.

Following the ceremony, the wedding party and guests all traveled to Ispica to the Prince's villa for a huge lunch. There was so much food! I think there were 9 courses. I kept thinking we had reached the end and then they would bring something else out. It was amazing. The lunch went from 1:30-5:30pm. It was delicious food, but not nearly as good as Debora's mom's cooking.

They had a live singer at the wedding, doing all the music during the lunch. At one point he walked around the entire room of 150 guests and played his saxophone. I'm normally not a big fan of the saxophone, but I was definitely enamored by this particular song.  

Right before serving the final course of the afternoon (evening), the Head Chef came out along with all the waiters. It was quite the spectacular moment with the platters on fire and the saxophone serenade still going on in the background. 

Debora's father, Salvatore, dedicated this song to her - Ridera' (She will Laugh). Tears were streaming down my face while watching them dance, as I remembered my own transition from daddy's little girl to Marc's lucky wife. (I think there's part of me that will always be daddy's little girl, though.) It was such a sweet exchange between father and daughter. 

And, one last photo of the bride with her bridesmaids.

And, to top off the night, for part of the drive home Marc got to drive an Alfa Romeo. It was clearly his elevated excitement that made the car stall. The couple we drove home with, Genaro and Laura, stayed in the family's country house with us that night. We played some games and had fun hanging out with them that night.

An incredible sunset at the end of a very long day.


Heffalump said...

Looks like you had a wonderful time!

Kaija said...

Thank you for sharing all of these details with your blog readers! I loved watching the videos because oh how I miss those sounds of Italians talking!

I also love that you took pictures of passersby, paying attention to the individuals around you. I'd like to think that those are missionaries eyes in you -- with eyes not just for the spectacular sights, but for the individuals souls of each italian you saw, and learned to love over those 18 months of practice :)