I recently attended a friend’s wedding on the coast of Italy (the town was called Rodi Garganico) and really wanted to share the photos as it was stunningly gorgeous and just so much fun! My friend married an Italian (they met in New York City on a co-ed soccer team…Cue the collective ‘Awww’ here) and believe me when I tell you, Italians know how to party in the best way.
*A lot of these photos are courtesy of our friend Arvind, who is kindly letting me use them here. You can tell when they’re his using this simple equation: Good photos = Arvind’s, Bad photos = mine.
Bling and coral bridesmaid’s dresses (JCrew’s Arabelle)
A close-up of the bride’s gorgeous dress and sash, along with her double-strand of pearls. Dreamy.
Ah, yours truly along my yummy hubby. My dress was Diane von Furstenburg but I got it at a consignment store for $40. Score! I love the print and the color combination. Plus, you can’t see it in any of the photos but it had a very low (sexy) back.
Since there were both American and Italian guests, there was one basket of programs in English and another with programs in Italian. In case you couldn’t figure it out, you’re looking at the American ones :)
The ceremony took place in the hotel’s courtyard and garden area. The weather was perfect and with the afternoon sun slanting down and the strains of a string quartet in the background, my friend made her trip down the aisle, arm-in-arm with her proud papa.
She later said she had to look down for almost the entire walk to keep from sobbing.
She carried a bouquet of white peonies surrounded by wisps of greenery and had a white rose pinned in her hair. I thought her whole look was classic and gorgeous.
One of their readings (in both Italian and English) was from The Velveteen Rabbit, the chapter titled “What Is Real?” Here’s my favorite line:
“…It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
The ceremony was short, simple and sweet. And then they were married!
After the ceremony, the couple took the time to take photos with almost all the guests in various combinations. No running off for a moment to themselves here. I guess this is an Italian tradition but I could tell after about 45 minutes, my friend had had enough.
She did, however, happily smile for a photo with all our college friends though.
After all the family and guest photos were taken, they moved to the hotel’s pool area to take a few portraits, just the bride and groom. They are a seriously attractive couple.
And then, it was time to eat. And eat. And dance. And then eat some more. All in all, including the cake and coffee served at the end of the night, there were seven (you read that right, seven) courses.
Apparently, Italian weddings typically have up to 10 or 11 courses but our friends felt that was a bit excessive, so they scaled it down to 7. And of course, since we were in Italy, everything was amazing!
First, appetizers were served, including cheese and crackers, puff pastries filled with cheese and various versions of fried cheese. I think Italians like their cheese :)
The antipasti course included this tower of prosciutto e meloni, along with seafood salad, mussels and more cheese.
There was lots of hugging and kissing on both cheeks (which I always seemed to mess up. Never could figure out which side to approach first!) Here’s the bride with her father-in-law, who was as warm, charming and gracious as anyone I’ve ever met.
Gummi candy in the shapes of various sea creatures decorated with these lovely little tags served as escort cards. My friend’s mom told me how they brought over 5 lbs of candy from the US in their luggage and then assembled everything here. I think between the four of them, they had something like 10 suitcases, can you imagine? Oy.
I loved how the bride and groom sat with their parents during the reception, I thought that was so sweet. Here’s their table, all set up.
After eating our way through the appetizer and antipasto courses outside on the pool and patio are, we made our way into the reception room and took a break from eating to dance! The couple’s first dance was to Phil Collins’ “A Groovy Kind of Love” which was such an adorable choice and perfect for them.
After a few more dances, including a traditional tarantella (to which all the Americans gamely hopped along and flailed our arms around, much to the Italians’ amusement), it was time for…more food! *Surprise, surprise
Out came huge platters of cavatelli with lobster (pictured above), followed by a duet of filled pastas (lasagnas, both red and white. YUM.)
Then came some of the freshest, crispiest calamari I’ve ever had, plus whole langostas (shrimp) with the heads still on!
In case you’re keeping count, that’s course number five.
You better believe after those courses, we needed to digest and dance. Given that the bottles of wine at our table kept being magically refilled every time we emptied one, it was safe to say that we were all feeling good and ready to get our groove on.
I’m not sure if we’re doing the tarantella or the YMCA here. Take your best guess, they looked pretty similar :) There were also several Conga lines that took place. I have no idea why but Italians seem to love Conga lines!
The bride and groom were also lifted into the air several times. Kinda like the Horah at Jewish weddings, only minus the chair (which would’ve scared me even more!)
At one point, the groom’s friends dragged a chair out onto the center of the dance floor and had the groom sit down, tied his hands behind him with a napkin and placed a spoon balancing a lit candle in his mouth. My friend had to stand about 5 feet away and try to extinguish the flame using water from a bottle.
We all thought it was hilarious (and I have no idea of the reasoning or tradition behind this, try Google if you’re really that curious) but the bride told me later she was actually kind of pissed that this happened (apparently, she had been warned it might) because she didn’t want to get him all wet. Luckily, the flame went out after a few quick splashes so it all ended up fine.
After more dancing, it was time for (you guessed it), more food. Veal and potatoes, cooked beautifully and seasoned perfectly. Delicious!
And finally, dessert. The dessert buffet was massive, stretching from one end of the room to the other. It included Jordan Almonds (traditional Italian wedding gift and happen to be one of my most favorite things ever), chocolate-dipped oranges and pears (OMG these were SO good!), many variations of puff pastry filled with cream, cannolis, fruit torts, fresh fruit, chocolate torts and so on.
If you know me, you know I love dessert so, clearly, I was in heaven.
And then, finally, after more dancing and general merriment (including some very sweet toasts in both Italian and English), the cake was cut around 2:15 am. I don’t usually care too much about the cake at weddings but I thought this one was quite pretty (and tasty).
Woof, I’m tired just writing this whole thing out. Things didn’t wind down until almost 3:00 am, which definitely goes down in my book as the longest wedding ever attended (ours ended around 1:00 am, which I thought was pretty late) as well as the most food ever served. It was epic, it was glorious and we were thrilled to be a part of the celebrations of a couple we know and love.
This was my first destination wedding and I am (obviously) quite keen to go to another. It was a wonderful mix of culture, food and genuine joy while creating life-long memories. Thanks for including us, Sarah and Michele, in your absolutely fabulous wedding!
Have you ever been to a wedding in another country? Was it different from weddings in the United States?