Getting Married In Italy

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.

UTAH:

The Dress

The Dress

SHOES!

SHOES!

The Garter Thingy

The Garter Thingy

Stuffing Me Into My Dress

Stuffing Me Into My Dress

Little Brother And Our Friends Who Came From Spain And Italy

Little Brothers On The Left, And Our Friends Who Came From Spain And Italy

Bridal Party And Groomsmen Having A Laugh

Bridal Party And Groomsmen Having A Laugh. (See how casual and fun we are goddamnit!)

Hand-Written Pizza Menu

Hand-Written Pizza Menu

Us And Best Friend Jakob Who Married Us

Us And Best Friend Jakob Who Married Us

Closest Friends And Little Sister

Closest Friends And Little Sister

Ceremony

Ceremony

Dad & M.E.

Dad & M.E. And My Huge Necklace That Francesco Picked Out…I love it.

Cousin Sarah

Cousin Sarah

Candied Apples!

Candied Apples!

Cupcake Tower

Cupcake Tower

Table Settings With DIY Recipe Favors

Table Settings With DIY Recipe Favors And Flatware, Linen, Glasses, Chairs, That I Had To Hand Select

Lights.

Lights.

Hand-Written Pizza Menu

Hand-Written Pizza Menu

Cannot Be Serious Ever

Cannot Be Serious Ever

A Little PDA

A Little PDA

Blowing In The Wind

Blowing In The Wind

Romantic Night Lights

Romantic Night Lights

Brick Oven Fired Pizza

Brick Oven Fired Pizza

Salad. Uhm...

Salad. Uhm…

The Girls Getting Down And Dirty

The Girls Getting Down And Dirty

Back To Back Bebop

Back To Back Bebop

The Penguin Dance

The Penguin Dance

Jakob. Smooth As Silk

Jakob. Smooth As Silk

WEEE I'm DRUUUUNK

WEEE I’m DRUUUUNK

YEAAAAH GRRRL

YEAAAAH GRRRL

"No, Francesco, you're supposed to throw it."

“No, Francesco, you’re supposed to throw it.”

Dancin' Dancin' Daaancin'

Dancin’ Dancin’ Daaancin’

Let's Give It Up For Europe Ya'll

Let’s Give It Up For Europe Ya’ll

ITALY

Shoes.

Shoes.

Bouquet

Bouquet

Same Dress. In The Background You Can See Monte Cassino. It's Famous, Google It.

Same Dress. In The Background You Can See Monte Cassino. It’s Famous, Google It.

"This Is A Closet"

“This Is A Closet”

My Father Is Furious That I Have "Getting Ready" Pictures. It's Just A Bra And Underwear Dudes, Deal With It.

My (raised in Iran) Father Is Furious That I Have “Getting Ready” Pictures. It’s Just A Bra And Underwear Dudes, Deal With It.

M.E. And Dad (He's way cute, eh?)

M.E. And Dad (He’s way cute, eh?)

I'm Obviously Not Earning God Points, But Our Priest Totally Freaked Me Out.

I’m Obviously Not Earning God Points, But Our Priest Totally Freaked Me Out.

Our Little Church. Totally Looks Huge But In Reality It's Very Tiny

Our Little Church. Totally Looks Huge But In Reality It’s Very Tiny

My Friends Who Were So Sweet In Coming To Italy For Me. Lucky Me.

My Friends Who Were So Sweet To Come To Italy For Me. Lucky Me.

Ouch. This Shit Hurts.

Ouch. This Shit Hurts.

Traditionally Brides Carried Flowers Because They Used To Stink According To Google

Traditionally Brides Carried Flowers Because They Used To Stink According To Google

Mine.

Mine.

US

US

Oh, Hello Camera.

Oh, Hello Camera.

We Should Do It On A Cliff

We Should Do It On A Cliff

My Favorite Guys

My Favorite Guys

Breadsticks Because Italy!

Breadsticks Because Italy!

I Will Need Many Of These When I Own A Castle. I Will Use It To Pee In The Middle Of The Night

I Will Need Many Of These When I Own A Castle. I Will Use It To Pee In The Middle Of The Night

Little Almonds, "Confetti," Not To Be Confused With The Wedding Favors

Little Almonds, “Confetti,” Not To Be Confused With The Wedding Favors

Book Of Us

Book Of Us

Rings

Rings

Singing, "That's Amore"

Singing, “That’s Amore”

Getting All Tango On Their Asses

Getting All Tango On Their Asses

The Biggest Cake I've Ever Seen. Calm Down Italy!

The Biggest Cake I’ve Ever Seen. Calm Down Italy!

I Didn't Get This Game At All

I Didn’t Get This Game At All

Us And Our Photographer Alix. Everyone Had A Crush On Her

Us And Our Photographer Alix. Everyone Had A Crush On Her

My Jason.

My Jason.

To See More Of The Italy Pictures Go To Alixann Loosle’s Blog

26 thoughts on “Getting Married In Italy

  1. Your weddings were both gorgeous! Looked like fun, too.

    The Catholic Church thing ruins my fantasy of marrying an Italian, though. My mom was Catholic & my dad was Jewish, growing up I went to church one week & synagogue the next. When I was old enough, I was allowed to choose & so I went with the nice people who gave me food & didn’t threaten me with Hell any time I asked a question. I’m pretty sure no Italian would marry me after that (unless I can find a Jewish one, I know they exist since I’m an Italian Jew. It’s pretty good proof.)

    • Love, you’re going to be excited to learn that even the Jews here get married in Catholic churchs LOL. So, the church will do something called a “mixed ceremony” or ceremonia mista (this is what we had). There are two types, one for a catholic and a non-believe (moi) or one for a catholic with someone else of another faith. So, there are actually A LOT of Catholic/Jew weddings. In fact, at our wedding the only “religious” stuff I had to say was that I promised to raise my children catholic (which I don’t plan to do really. I plan to let them choose as your parents did and mine, since my dad is Muslim and my mom is christian-I chose nothing lol). Otherwise they left religion out of my stuff. Though, it was weird that F had to read a bunch of religious stuff since he was technically baptized Catholic (though he’s actually Athiest), and I just kind of sat there and looked at the flowers or played with my hands. Anyone, you can totally marry a Catholic if you aren’t one. 🙂

      • Wow. That’s some crazy stuff right there! I have to admit, I’m not sure I’d want to do it, but it does help for fantasy’s sake (how else would I ever be able to get citizenship?) And in fairness, I was baptized catholic when I was 4 days old, but I like to believe that my conversion mikveh undid that (Catholics would disagree, I bet.) And Italian churches *are* gorgeous!

        The photos are amazing, thank you for sharing them.

      • Thanks babe. Yeah, the churches are definitely pretty. According to the Catholics if you’re baptized then you are Catholic. I’m not sure you can do anything to un-catholic yourself in their eyes (which is why I’d prefer to wait until my children are fourteen or something before I have them baptized so they can make their own decisions…)

    • Beautiful Photos of a Lovely couple! Just happened on this page and COULD NOT STOP looking at all you wedding pictures. The quality makes one feel like you are there and participating in a very special day.

  2. I love a good wedding. Great photos, too. ………………..To mess with people you should say you got married three times. Be like “I married my first husband at the court house. My second husband I married in Utah and the third married me in Italy, the third ones the keeper”

    • I think that’s an excellent idea. I can also tell everyone that my first husband was attacked and killed on an archeological dig in Botswana, and that my second husband had an affair and died from Syphilis (which I never contracted because I was away doing charity work in Argentina). I like the whole “widow twice over” thing.

  3. I can’t find a place to e-mail or write you somewhere else so I’m just going to have to write you here, but where did you say you live again? I’m going to be in Milan for a day by myself b/c I fly out the next day for the States and I wanted to space out my flights just to see Milan of course. If you live there we should get together! I just saw your bio, did your mother-in-law really iron your thongs? Oh my gosh, I died laughing. One time I told my husband to go hang up the laundry on the roof that we share with his whole extended family and when I went to get the laundry later I saw that he also hung up my black lingerie in front for everyone to see! Clueless…

    • Jess,

      I live in Florence but I would love to meet you. If you’re ever anywhere near here we should definitely meet up. Where did you say you’re from in the States again? I can’t say that I’m surprised about your husband and hanging the lingerie. My mother in law gave me sexy lingerie in front of my (born and raised Iranian) father. He nearly died. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a look of horror on his face. Have a safe trip home! When you coming back?

      • No way, I just got back from Florence! I was so sure you were in Milan that I didn’t write earlier. I’m kind of from everywhere, I’m a military brat, but I’ve lived the longest in Pensacola, Florida. Anyways in October/November I may go to Tuscany so if I do I’ll write you again. That’s so weird about the lingerie. You know my husband’s cousin gave me lingerie before I was married for a Christmas gift and I thought that was kind of weird.

  4. All I could think as I read and lurked was “how absolutely gorgeous”. From you to your dad, to your crazy life and multiple marriages to the same guy, to the friends who would join you in the States AND Italy to enjoy the moments. Just gorgeous.

    • Thank you Gypsy! We have been very fortunate in a lot of ways, especially in the friend department. It’s been a wild ride to say the least. There is so much more bizarre shit that has happened here but I haven’t posted it because I have to save it for the book.

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  8. Misty Just wanted to say your weddings were beautiful. BTW many many Italians and foreigners elect to marry in the town hall. Its almost impossible to get married in the catholic church unless you were christened Catholic and have your record. I guess your husbands family could pull some strings. Your marriage in the church was simply a blessing as you were already legally married in US. The catholic church refuses to marry divorced people as they dont recognise divorce. Every wedding ive been to recently except one was in the town hall and then a reception. Our town hall is really pretty as an old villa. For those who dont want the church thing. getting married in the church here involves some serious premarital classes and lots of brainwashing!!

    • Surprisingly, the church has something called a “Mixed Marriage,” which essentially means that parts of the normal ceremony are removed. It’s considered less desirable but is setup so that catholics can wed non catholics without being denied the “right” of a church ceremony. We DID have to do the wedding classes which were pretty irritating and not at all useful (I wrote about them under Marriage Classes). I would have had to have records only if we wanted the catholic marriage. It’s not that common but a lot of people do it. Our wedding was in Cassino but our classes were in Florence. Two other couples in Florence were also doing the “mixed ceremony.” A lot of Italians do marry in the town hall, that’s true, but it depends on where you are. In Cassino absolutely nobody does that and it would have been a huge deal. That was the only reason I agreed to do it. I didn’t convert, that’s for sure. 😉

  9. 🙂 Yes in the South the parents could never get over the scandal of a non church wedding 😉 hope your time in US is fun.

  10. Both of your weddings looked beautiful Misty and thank you for explaining how the Italian ones roll so that I finally understand it! Your courthouse one is reassuring for me because I’m at a point where I don’t want to be a student here anymore but also don’t want to be deported from the country (I know they probably wouldn’t but just for dramatic effect) so we’re getting married at the town hall a year before we’ll actually be able to have the actual “wedding” . I was starting to worry that my second one won’t feel as real because we woudlve already legally been married but reading your post has been awesome!
    (Also I know this comment is 3 years late)
    Thank you again !!

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