Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I Went To My First Italian Wedding Reception In Italy 11 Days Ago...I'm Still Full.

I was told about the lunch following the ceremony but I wasn't prepared to partake in a 6 1/2 hour (yes, you read that correctly, SIX and a half hours) meal.

Annie, of my closest friends in Rome, got married. She and Giovanni had a wedding in her hometown back in Minnesota during the Christmas holidays.

Giovanni is Italian and there was another ceremony in Italy for their family and friends. After all they met here. I remember their first date. One afternoon at Ciampini I told Annie they were going to get married soon. And they did.

Giovanni's grandparents live in Fondi, which is near the beautiful beach of Sperlonga. His nonno (grandfather) is 91! Not sure how old his nonna is.

I drove down with Mauro, a friend of the couple's and we arrived on time for the pre-church festivities. The grandparents had a few friends and family over to their home for pastries, coffee, juice etc.

We walked from their home to the church. It was a gorgeous, hot, sunny day and the Historic Center of the small town was very pretty. The couple looked beautiful. Annie had her dress custom made in Rome.

People on the street were clapping and saying congratulations to the couple. At one point, Giovanni and Annie asked his nonna to join them upfront (Nonno was given a ride to the church, he has a cane).

Giovanni's parents AND grandparents were married in the same church. At the end of the short Mass, Giovanni's nonna was speaking with Annie. I couldn't hear what was said but I could tell by Annie's emotional reaction, she was really moved.

I know some American women who complain (a LOT) about the closeness of Italian families. I don't think it's weird or claustrophobic. Most Caribbean families are the same way. It's a different culture. I know America is more about the couple as a separate unit but we're not living in America.

Lunch was held at a restaurant in the country called La Magnatora. All the pasta was made by hand. The food was AMAZING. Very fresh.

I was going to write out the outrageous menu but it would take too long. The antipasti alone would have been more than enough food.

Giovanni's brother came over to our table and told us he warned the Americans (Annie's family) to pace themselves. Mauro schooled me at the church. I did pace myself and yet I could barely finish my lunch. The wine was delicious too.

During a break in between courses, I was talking to Annie's uncle. He pointed out how during an almost 7 hour luncheon nobody was checking their Blackberrys constantly and the older people at the party were included. It was very thoughtful of my friends to hold a ceremony in Fondi so the grandparents could be a part of their celebration.

Annie choked up as she gave a toast, in Italian, thanking her family and her new family in Italy. It was obvious how much Giovanni's family adores her.

I love how Disco never died in Italy and had a blast dancing. As I was looking through the photos from that day, I started to get a little teary all over again.

Auguri Annie e Giovanni!


Paola said...

Isn't that an experience?
I am not a big fan of these ceremonies ... too long ... but they can be fun.

Anonymous said...

What an experience! A true celebration. I think "we" Americans can learn a thing or two from the lovely Italian culture.

Sonia @ My Sweet Monkey said...

I've had so many friends get married that I've grown tired of weddings... but if there were more like Italian weddings then I wouldn't mind attending them.

I love Italian weddings and how everyone is truly happy for the couple and actually enjoys being there... even if you have eaten enough food to feed an entire village.

erin said...

oh this looks like SO much fun...I think true traditional celebrations in different cultures are some of the best things to experience!

milanese masala said...

What a lovely wedding! It sounds like it was a very special day. I got married in Canada and Italy and yes, Italian wedding lunches are loooong. At least the food is worth it :) And it's nice that there was dancing at your friend's wedding. Here in the north it's not as common, unfortunately. And it sure helps with digesting all that nosh.

odessa said...

whoaaa..sounds like a great time! too funny about still feeling full after 11 days! :)

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Paola - If I had to go to one every month, it would be too much. I'm recuperating from the wedding.

deb - yes, we can.

sonia - the lunch was so festive. I've been to some weddings back in the States where it seems more stressful or it's a merger or something.

erin - I agree! It's of the best reasons to travel or live abroad.

milanese - grazie Dio for the dancing. It also made the day zip by. I had no idea how late it was until I noticed the sun was setting.

odessa - The food was amazing. I'm glad I didn't eat my entire antipasti or first course. I wouldn't have made it though the other courses.

Valerie said...

Fabulous! Love how one meal will last you the whole week! :) We get our first wedding experience this July...can't wait!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Valerie - prepare yourself. seriously. :)

Anonymous said...

Such fun! I'm American and my husband is Italian and we too had two (small) weddings. One in VA where I grew up and one in Sicily where he grew up. Such fun, but both so very different (in a good way!). I love how every member of the family is included and concessions are made to ensure they can take part. Such a lovely part of Mediterranean culture.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

zagaradisicilia - While I know it takes a lot of planning and time to organize two separate ceremonies in two different countries, it so nice that both families get to participate. Congrats.

coco cooks said...

European weddings are long affairs I have noticed. You have to gear up for the event but I do enjoy them. Dont know how the bridal party holds up.I just never have any energy to dance.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

coco cooks - I don't know my friend was able to stay sane planning three ceremonies, one in America and two in Italy.