THE BIG DAY!! Claires Wedding

Posted on June 18, 2009 by sonjabarrie

Friday June 5th 2009 (Day 10)


Wow the big day has finally arrived and we are so happy we were able to come. Claire got married to Gianni in Germany a year or so ago in a civil wedding and we were unable to attend so we feel really lucky to be here.

Claire (our Claire) wants us at Gianni’s parents house around 2pm. Lunch takes so long around here that we don’t get there till 2:30 but it’s no big deal, there’s not really much for us to do, Gianni left around 1pm with Leo to get ready at his brothers house and the hairdresser and makeup person have not arrived yet.

My first task is to press Tim’s suit, tie and shirt which got wrinkled in the suitcase. Once that is done I can relax as Claire Y and I got ready before we came, it’s still all organized chaos though and before I’ve finished pressing everyone has arrived. The hairdresser works on Claire while the beautician does Tina’s makeup, they offer to do mine but I know time is short and decline so that I don’t hold everyone up (I have to say, the transformation of Claire is astounding, now I wish they did have the time to do me as I need all the help I can get!)

After the hair Claire get’s her face done and it is an amazing transformation. Claire is a very pretty girl anyway (I may be a bit biased here) but they did an amazing job on the makeup, she looked like a model. While this is all happening the photographer and video man arrive.

Proud parents of the bride

The photographer got some pictures of us with Claire, and Tina and Tony (Gianni’s parents) with Claire, and Claire Y with Claire etc and all the neighbors come in to see her. Organized chaos has nothing on this. Tony and Tina’s apartment is a small three bedroom affair with no air conditioning. It is hot, crowded full of bodies and we are now running late. Tim is dressed and ready to go and has to go with Claire in the wedding car. I have to drive our car back to the hotel and then walk to the church which thankfully is almost right next door. We end up leaving 10 minutes before the wedding is supposed to start so rush to the church only to wait for half an hour for the bride to turn up.

Inside the church, very pretty

Tim and Claire walking down the aisle

Gianni and his mum waiting for Claire and Tim

The wedding is in a Catholic church, probably because most of Italy is Catholic, but it is a very pretty church. Tim and Claire come down the aisle and Tim has been warned to walk slowly but he almost lost it twice by tripping on Claire’s dress. She did look absolutely radiant though. The strange thing is they have no best man in Italy, The grooms mother stands there with him at the normal place, when Tim and Claire arrive, Tim has to first talk to Gianni, then say hello to his mother, only then can Claire speak, she has to say hello to Gianni’s mother and only then can she say hello to Gianni and both of them move to face the priest. They also don’t have bridesmaids, they have “Testimonies”, these are friends of the bride and groom who sit either side of the bride and groom. There were 4 and they have to be Catholic too. They don’t actually do anything except witness the whole ceremony up close.

Claire and Gianni with two of the Testimonies on the left and there are two more on the right

The whole service was in Italian although Gianni said his vows to her in English and Claire said them to Gianni in Italian which I thought was a nice gesture. As soon as the ceremony was over they went straight into Leo’s baptism, also in Italian and the priest certainly like the sound of his own voice for this part.

It’s all over, the happy couple and a baptized Leo

Getting showered in rice

It all went well with Leo behaving more or less, well he is only 7 months and he is in a small Tuxedo so he was probably hot. Tina and myself alternated trying to keep him quiet. After the service everyone left the church and there was a big bowl of rice to one side of the door for throwing and that was done heartily as soon as Gianni and Claire arrived at the door. The only problem was the rice made the marble steps like ice, Gianni wouldn’t let her go down them until she had taken her shoes off so there are pictures of myself and Claire Y taking her shoes off and then putting them on again.

They also don’t do the ‘staged’ pictures outside the church that we would find normal, the photographer took pictures of course but only of the chaos, we were told afterward the the Italians were very restrained, usually they swamp the bride and groom so that they can all be the first to congratulate them, it was all done in a very dignified manner which was pretty cool.

Then it was off to the reception, they had chosen a wonderful place for it, a very old villa that specializes in wedding receptions and the like. The grounds were wonderful as was the inside of the old building. It was here that the formal pictures were taken, everyone got to stand with the bride and groom separately, no big group photo of all the relatives etc, just each couple with the bride and groom.

At the reception

THAT’S what you meant when you talked about the birds and the bees, now I understand how I ended up with Leo!

Inside the hall the tables were set very elegantly and there was an 8 course menu at each table. Typical Italian, the starter was calamari sliced very thin with oil and vinegar and some spices. There was at least 20 minutes between each course and in that time it is traditional for the bride and groom to go from table to table to talk to the guests. The next course was pasta, then came fish, then came a quiche type plate, well you get the idea! Think of a typical English or American meal, meat, potatoes and veg but instead of everything arriving on one plate you get a piece of meat, 20 minutes later you get the potatoes or pasta in this case, 20 minutes later you get some sort of veg. The typical Italian meal is between 5 and 7 courses, all small and all dragged out over a whole evening.

Gianni, Claire, Tony and Tina

Anyway although most of the Gluten free stuff they gave me was pretty unpalatable the meal for everyone else was pretty good and the wine just kept flowing. After the dinner there was Tim’s speech, he had an interpreter and again speeches are not something normally done at an Italian wedding. Apparently Gianni told us later that it gave the Italian guests a real taste of “Four Weddings and a Funeral”!!! His speach was pretty funny and he would get a laugh from about 50% of the guests who spoke English (even though they may have been German etc) then the interpreter would repeat it all in Italian and Tim would get another laugh. Tim was reveling in it!

The First Dance

Two old farts

Two not so old farts!

Claire Y knows how to get a party going!

She had everyone doing the “YMCA” dance, it was hysterical.

Then there were the usual dances and they put a huge table outside on this wonderful patio and set all the desserts on it plus there was coffee, and liqueurs. All in all a wonderful wedding, my little baby isn’t so little any more but she will always be my baby!

Cutting the wedding cake

Congratulations to a wonderful couple

Here’s a few snippets of the wedding that we’ve put on YouTube.

One Response to “THE BIG DAY!! Claires Wedding”

  1. Tim

    - 20th Jun, 09 03:06pm

    Nice one Son, good job!

    Reply to this comment

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