Last week Francesco and I attended a friends wedding near Cassino, Italy in Frosinone. I’ve never been particularly fond of weddings, or at least I didn’t used to be, mostly because a lot of weddings involve bored guests who stare absently into the abyss throughout the short reception, praying for it to end so they can get wasted and take off their damn ties and high heels. I love weddings where the guests just go nuts, celebrate, and have a wonderful time by sloppily flailing themselves around a dance floor or giving embarrassing speeches about the brides history of contracting crabs or the grooms decade as a gigilo… You know, fun weddings. After all, weddings are about celebrating love, and two people fusing their lives together despite their sordid past or addiction to fruity tootsie rolls. It should be fun, right? Luckily for me weddings in the south of Italy are usually a blast full of drink, merriment, and organized havoc. Yay!
In the morning of the wedding we got dressed in our “garden party,” best because it was a day wedding which is a hard outfit to pin down in Italy because weddings are surrounded by gossip and reputation is everything in these small towns. Day wedding doesn’t mean much in this part of Italy except for what you wear because the reception still usually goes well into the night. However, we would be eating lunch as the large meal instead of dinner, hence it being considered a “day,” wedding. Anyway, so we got dressed (and I wore a color that wasn’t back!!!! Go ME!) with my MIL pacing behind me saying “your dress could have been a bit sexier,” and “I don’t understand why you think you can do your own hair,” then we walked to the church in the center of Cassino where the bride and groom would be saying “i do.” In Cassino, it’s very rare to have a civil ceremony so pretty much everyone marries in the church whether or not they’re religious. All the guests met out front and waited for the bride to arrive in her cherry red sports car. She was a knockout, naturally. I loved her backless, lace dress and regretted not wearing something a little more comfortable and sexy at my own wedding. Instead, I crashed down the aisle like a snow monster. She was damn cute (no pic though cause I try to respect people’s privacy and weddings are a big deal).
We slowly made our way into the church behind the bride and groom. Immediately upon entering we were punished by the July sun because the church can afford a golf ceiling but not an air conditioner. Priorities. Plus, almost nowhere below the Bologna has bloody air conditioning for reasons I honestly can’t understand but I believe it has something to do with the Italians deep-seeded fear of wind and moving air. As we entered the church it was like walking into an oven. It was the first time in Italy that I was actually really stoked to have a vagina because I got to wear a dress while all of the men were suffering in full suits and I was all breezy and fresca. I watched sweat bead down the sides of their necks regardless of how furiously they fanned themselves.
The ceremony was long compared to the one F and I had because I’m a heathen so they took all the religious stuff out of our “mixed ceremony.” Wew. Thank God. I had to sneak out with the guys a few times to get cold water because there was a real threat of dropping dead from the heat. Dying in a church during a wedding was not how I wanted to go because it would be embarrassing and God would be all “seriously?! Drink water you asshole!” God doesn’t like a wedding crashed either.
They had a traditional Ceremony and they seemed incredibly happy, beaming tearfully at each other. The groom was all happy and crying but he said it was just swear beads to stay tough for his bros (who regularly wear turquoise pants…so something tells me they wouldn’t mind some crying or bear hugging). I really liked parts of the traditional ceremony and we incorporated some of them too. Like how the mom and dad stop halfway down the aisle in the beginning to exchange their kids, the mom hands her son to his bride, the dad hands his daughter to her groom (which I love) instead of the father “giving the bride away,” like he’s taking her to market for a cow and some chickens. It was also kind of gratifying for my MIL to hand me Francesco. I was like, “I win!!!! Thankyouverymuch!
When the happy couple finally arrived before the priest in his white and gold robe my brain kind if turned off from heat. The priest talked about Jesus and stuff and then people prayed a lot. They exchanged rings, kissed, and signed the church document.
After the church we piled into cars to head to the reception location for lunch. In this part of Italy everyone has their reception at a restaurant but the restaurants generally have beautiful gardens or are located on mountain tops, etc. This restaurant was on a lake, surrounded by fields of wildflowers, and green grass. Absolutely stunning, and the perfect place for me and Dwayne to act out a scene from a Sophia Loren film. Dwayne would be Sophia, naturally, in Marriage Italian Stylr because sometimes Dwayne gets slutty. At the restaurant we hung out in the garden area with our friends Fusco and Roberto, watching waiters dressed in black bow-ties, carry silver trays of food to banquet tables for aperitivo (aperitif). The men folk huddled in the shade while I obnoxiously photographed them and wished that the waiters would stop rushing oysters to the tables and give us some damn water before we all turned to dust. I’ve probably never been more tempted to drunk lake water but Giardia wouldn’t go with my dress and who knows what explosive diarrhea would do for my reputation. Honestly, probably improve it. Water did not arrive, but prosecco did, probably not hydrating at all but it numbed our thirst Or gave us brain damage that made us forget our thirst. Either way, prosecco is awesome. When the bride and groom arrived, followed by their paparazzi of photographers (seriously, they had like 7 that traveled in a pack, I’ve never seen anything like it, and I think one of them was also a Prada model that they kidnapped), aperitivo began. It spanned four banquet tables: The oyster on a half-shell table, prosecco table, shrimp and calimari table, fish under oil, and fried fish table, and the cheese table.
Directly after the banquet tables were plundered until totally empty the party was moved inside (where they had air conditioning! yay!) for four food courses of saffron risotto, pasta with flaked fish, shrimp and Baccala. The food is the most important part of the wedding for Italians. For the next week the only question we were asked was, “but, did you eat well?” Even my eight year old neice walked straight up to me the next day to demand to know what we ate at the wedding.
“Hai mangiato bene, zia?”
“Si” I showered her pictures.
“Ma, solo questo?” She blinked, meaning “only this?” As in, “you only ate six courses?”
Sigh, they learn young. Scrutinizing food is part of their livelihood and my little nieces have that shit down and have since about three. My niece also added, “zia, those shoes were a good choice with that dress. Very elegant.”
Yes, at 8.
After we ate four courses in the restaurant we were moved outside again for dessert, coffee and more prosecco. The dessert took up another four tables: A gelato table, a cake table with the whipped cream and chocolate wedding cake and ten other tiny cakes from tiramisu to strawberry cream, the tarte table with fruit and cream tarts, and the fresh fruit table full of berries, watermelon, and melon.
When we’d all eaten to the point of wanting to drop dead, the DJ (the same one that did our wedding in 2013) turned up the speakers and started to jam old Italian pop classics like, “Fare L’Amore Comincia Tu,” and “Fa L’Americano.” Our friends went crazy on the dance floor which I made sure to document because holy fuck it was amazing. And! There was some kind of air humping line dancing. Yes, line dancing! Haven’t seen a good humpy line dance since the movie Le Grande Bellezze.
World, I give you our friends gettin' down on the dance floor at an Italian wedding between Rome and Naples. Our friends married and It was so much fun (minus the 100 degree heat and 40% humidity). The best part of the wedding were the couple and the guests. These guys are some of my favorite people on earth because they're so sweet, insanely smart, and fun, I mean, so fun. Ridiculously fun. It's nice to be "home," with babes like this. #Italy #wedding #Travel
Dancing, drinking, and general merriment continued until close to midnight, long after the entire wedding was shitfaced, multiple glasses shattered with enthusiastic dance moves, the men had long lost their jackets, unbuttoned their shirts to their belly buttons displaying glorious chest hair of various shades and thickness, and most of the women were barefoot, chucking their heels for comfort on the dance floor.
And this is the Italy that I love.