Francesco and I have been married three times because we had to really make fucking sure or because we’re masochistic, or both. Once at the city office on September 25th 2012, followed by a small wedding in Park City on September 30th 2012, and then another wedding in Cassino, Italy on May 4th 2013. It’s the first time in two years that we’re not planning a wedding and it feels ORGASMIC, guys.
Our two weddings were night and day, and about as different as two celebrations could possibly be. It was really interesting (and annoying) to see how different Italian culture was from an “American” wedding and how different my generation of American wedding culture differed from my parents.
There is no such thing as “traditional American wedding,” anymore. You’re probably thinking that I’m wrong and there totally is, but trust me, there isn’t. At least not “traditional” in the sense that Italian weddings are traditional. Whereas in the US there is a little flexibility, in Italy everything is standard practice down to the very last detail and people are really terrified of doing something “not normal.” Fitting in is key.
Our American wedding was very rustic-chic because I’m relaxed and was more concerned about having fun than being Cinderella. We had our ceremony and dinner outside at Louland Falls, surrounded by red rock and Utah mountains followed by dancing inside the small cottage-like building. My best friend of years, Jakob, married us in a “secular” ceremony and another good friend worked as a DJ. We did a lot of DIY projects and focused on casual fun over anything else. Still, no matter how “chill” it was, the wedding was still a lot of work. In the States, since we’re anal retentive control freaks, we have to hand-select every single detail of the wedding from the silverware to which brand of anal bleach our bridesmaids (and probably groomsmen) are going to use before the big day. It’s not even a choice, the fact is that our weddings require this kind of effort even if you’re not one of those freak couples because there isn’t anyone to do things for us. People don’t make decisions for us in the US, there is no such thing as “what everyone else is doing,” ever since the 1960’s. Our new thing is being unique and even “traditional” brides try to do something a little different. For example, I’ve heard that the Mormons now have monogrammed fire-proof panties that actually shoot lasers, because wearing plain-ol-bullet-proof white is just plain ol’ boring.
The biggest difference that I noticed between the two weddings was the method of putting things together and the way that people handled the stress. In Utah everyone was very low stress despite the irritatingly long list of shit to do from packaging and designing our recipe wedding favors, to choosing a catering human, to finding a venue, and making “thank you” tags. I planned most of the wedding from Italy over the internet and my friends were amazing and super helpful so it was all smooth sailing. My friends are awesome. Thank you, I love you, you guys can have my first born (you can share it).
Planning the wedding in Italy, despite the screaming, crying, and daily hysterics, was extremely streamlined and I wish that American weddings could be that easy without sucking. In fact, the weddings are almost entirely taken care of by other people and there was soooo much less to do. For example, you start by picking a church. Everyone (and I mean everyone) here has their ceremony in a catholic church whether they are religious or not (I am not and I cried about it like a three year old that dropped it’s favorite toy down the sewer manned by the evil clown from IT).
F and I are not religious and yet we had to do it to appease his parents who went completely bananas about “what the town would think” if we did it in the city building (Clearly I was not a fan, but I did it for love.). If you’re asking why I didn’t like it I’ll tell you this: Because neither of us are religious. If he was actually Catholic I would have been more than happy to support him, however, he’s not. So, it was a lot of bullshitting, “Yes, we promise to raise our children in the Catholic faith.” No, no we don’t. And I don’t like superficiality or lying especially in a place that is considered sacred by other people. I can say that the church we chose was absolutely gorgeous, regardless.
Everyone in the south of Italy has their reception in a restaurant where you sit and eat for about five-six hours straight. We had about fifteen courses plus cake. The restaurant handled all of the decorations (including buying them and hand-selecting them, I literally just gave them pictures for example) for the venue and they handled it all. For the church we hired a florist who does all of the decorating for the church, the bouquets, boutonnieres, the apartments of the families (they receive guests in the morning before the wedding), the cars, and anything else that requires flowers, lanterns, apples, candles, etc. The church took care of the ceremony program and printed everything and set them out in the church. The florist also took care of other random things like the baskets for the throwing rice, lanterns and whatever other decorations you want. They usually do invitations and the table seating chart but I wasn’t into that and I opted to make the invites and do the seating chart myself (which was a huge deal, by the way and nearly killed my mother-in-law). For wedding favors and confetti (little containers of almonds) we went to a shop that specifically did wedding favors and told them what we wanted and how we wanted things to look and they did everything from creating and attaching name tags to wrapping boxes, adding ribbons, and printed “thank you” tags, etc. They can also take care of invitations. Our restaurant, Al Mulino, was amazing. I dare you to find that kind of food, or service anywhere else.
Some other differences included: They don’t have bridesmaids or groomsmen in Italy. They have “testimonials” and you’re only supposed to have two, total. I threw a fit so the priest allowed us to each have three. Nobody wears matching attire, and the cake is usually a flat pan cake. Also, the DJ in Italy played about a million American songs but he opted to sing all of them, though he couldn’t speak any English. Wedding rings are usually simple bands that are inscribed and are usually gifted by someone in the family. People give mostly cash as gifts in Italy, they give very generously, and they keep a weird book where each family writes what every person gives them. Giving too little is a scandal. And the family that was gifted has to match the same amount when someone from the other person’s family is married. The minimum is around one-hundred euros per person. They don’t send “thank you” cards in Italy.
Everyone asked me which wedding I preferred. If I’m being honest I don’t know. I know that the Utah wedding was certainly more relaxed and more “us” because we weren’t trying to impress anyone AND we wrote our own vows which meant a lot to me. The Italy wedding was obviously beautiful and my husband was proud and adorable. It meant a lot to him so it meant a lot to me. I also loved that in Italy even the dudes are highly involved. F’s dad was really into wedding decor, our attire, even my hair. He would get annoyed if we didn’t sit down and show him all of the pictures or didn’t ask his opinion for the color scheme. Totally does not happen in the states and it should. Guys in the US ARE LAZY when it comes to anything visual. I guess I loved both of the weddings for different reasons. I also had great friends at both weddings which helped immensely. And, I was lucky enough to marry the same dude three fucking times. Seriously, I killed it.
We had the same photographer for both weddings. Alixanne Loosle. We love her. Use her! And she’ll totally fly to Europe in exchange for airfare and a place to stay. Yes, she’s THAT cool.
To See More Of The Italy Pictures Go To Alixann Loosle’s Blog