The catholic service was not as high church as we were expecting, there was no incense, no interminable readings, no inquisition. It was held in a beautiful Southern Italian church dappled in September sunshine, conducted by a kind-eyed and smiling priest who did his best to help us Brits to maintain pace with his Italian. There were claps, cheers and kisses. There was laughter and warmth. Photos were taken inside and outside the church, and whilst I felt the official photographers just got in the way a bit, there were no barking of orders to gather people together, it just happened in a relaxed and sensible way.
The reception, on the other hand, was a monster. Not the sort of monster that invades your dreams, chases you round the park and tries to chew off your legs. No, this was a Monsters Inc sort of monster. All huge, over powering, never ending – but fluffy adorned with navy and light blue stripes and as scary as an untoasted marshmallow. It had opulence, order and slickness all hidden in a sea of style and panache. It was the wedding that George Clooney would have preferred to be at. Indeed, I’m sure I saw Michael Douglas waltz in off his super-yacht with Katherine Z-J by his side, say his hellos and disappear down to the casino in Brindisi. It was just fabulous and we, and most of the other Brits who attended, were v lucky to have been invited and I feel unlikely to see anything like it ever again in our lifetimes.
(Wifi tricky, more photos to follow)
The reception was held at a pink Moorish palace that had been converted into ‘a place to hold weddings’. It wasn’t the Alhambra, but it was a mini version. In one seamless seven hours we went from carefully crafted canapés and champagne on one outside area (we were all stuffed by the time we had tried everything on offer – the generosity of the day was staggering), followed by a sit-down outside buffet of six stands of anti-pasta (we’d put on a stone already) accompanied by two different servings of fine wine in another outside area, followed immediately inside on set tables (just in case we were hungry) by a sit-down five-course dinner with whole scampi on smoked tuna, two sorts of pasta courses, a superb breaded sea-bass and side order of rum sorbet – various expensive wines were served throughout. We then reconvened in another, now sensitively candlelit outside area, where the most enormous of wedding cakes was cut, we helped ourselves to a mouth-watering selection of patisseries, ice-cream, strangely shaped small iced cakes, exotic fruit and whatever post-dinner alcohol you could ask for. Oh and then a waiter came round with espressos – and I’m sure if you had asked him if you could stick your finger in his ear he would have obliged; the service was discrete but overwhelmingly efficient.
Sometime during this marathon the bride and groom arrived in a concours old Renault, we played some sort of standing up to questions game where the happy pair had to work out what we were being asked, we were entertained with a couple of short family films and a band played throughout. We danced, well the Brits danced to the disco stuff and then the Italian contingent showed us what true dancing was with a display of their flamenco equivalent – the bridesmaids were particularly good at this, not that I paid too much attention. Throughout there was an effete fiddler energetically fiddling to almost every section of the occasion and at every table. Almost annoying.
And I guess that was perhaps the only schism in a quite beautiful day. The Italians and the Brits didn’t mix that much. It didn’t detract from the day and there were plenty of conversations between the two groups, especially between the younger generation, but it was noticeable. We spoke to an Italian General and his wife (friends of Simon and Rosemary) who told us that this was all pretty standard for an Italian wedding. No wonder the Italian economy is in tatters…
Anyhow, our heartfelt thanks go out to everyone who had a handle into a truly memorable day. And our best wishes to Amy and Vincenzo for their future. They’re flying back to Australia in a couple of days where they currently both live and work. Hopefully we will see them at some point soon.
Rest day today.