Friday, February 5, 2010

A Summer Wedding (Part 6) Reception

The luncheon is being held in a large room just off the courtyard of the rectory. Home, is just a few steps down the street.

When I arrived everyone was congratulating the newlyweds.
I headed straight for the food.

Five large wooden tables were setup to form a wide U. They were all covered with crisp white cloth tablecloths.

I snapped pictures, not wanting to miss a moment.

I was able to get photos of each tray of food.

There were creative Peacocks made from melons, pineapple leaves
and chunks of colorful fruit on wooden skewers.

I quickly moved on, just ahead of the hungry guests.

There were several platters of  delicious baby cream puffs.

The wedding cake was iced with thousands of shards
of white chocolate and powdered sugar.

 On the top layer sat the bride and groom figurines.

It was a yummy sponge cake, layered in cream pudding and a light jam.

There were two large punch bowls, lots of water and plastic cups,
paper napkins, glasses for the champagne and several tubs of iced champagne.

 I recognized the server who is taking care of thirst needs. He helped us clean this reception room.
Our priest arrived in simple street clothes and we got more kisses.

The guests lingered and enjoyed the yummy food. The wedding cake was cut and distributed.

Around 2 o’clock the guests began leaving the reception and Marina disappeared for a few minutes. She had taken five minutes to walk home and had brought back plastic containers to share the food.

After the guests had departed, we carried big platters of food home, to be refrigerated.

Mattia's parents, the testimoni and close family members followed us home. It was the first time for Mattia's parents to see Nonna's apartment.  I saw their eyes widen when they entered.  Rosa and Mattia reminded them that the furniture in this flat is only on loan to them.

Nonna has beautiful antique pieces and oriental rugs cover the hardwood floors. At some point in the future, this family furniture will be divided between Primo and his two brothers. They have agreed to allow Rosa and Mattia to live here for now. We all know Nonna would be happy to know her home is again a place of laughter and love.

Standing up, Mattia opened gifts from his testimoni while Rosa watched. We're all hot and thirsty. The flat is not air conditioned.

We divided up into the two parts of the house, with the younger people on this side and the older generation retired to Primo's side.

The flat was once one bigger apartment but was split when Primo married. There is an adjoining door which did have a bar lock on Primo's side. Now there's a newly installed bar lock on this side too. This will give the newlyweds privacy when they want it.

I kicked off my shoes and so did Marta. I looked to the couch and saw that Rosa had done the same.  Mattia thinks we're all cute, shoes kicked off, bare-footed and relaxing. He has us all sit closer together and he takes some great photos using my camera.

After an hour, we were alone except for Henriche and Stefano. Primo, Marina and Rosa, still in her wedding dress and carrying a basket of Jordon almonds, departed out Primo's front door. Mattia was following. They were going to visit Nonna in the assisted living hospital. I suggested Mattia take my camera but he ran back to get his instead. Good idea to document the visit with Nonna. She never leaves her bed now but occasionally does recognize the family members.


Today, Nonna smiled at Rosa and now we are sure she understood that a wedding took place today.


Everyone is home now. Marta has changed into a pair of shorts but still has on her dressy top. The house is getting the afternoon sun and it's really really hot. Primo is now in jeans. I changed into something casual too. I am carrying my BlackBerry which has been my constant companion for the past week.

Rosa is now in shorts and a tank top with her face washed clean and her hair combed out.  Mattia, exhausted has disappeared to take a nap. He didn't show his stress outwardly, but apparently he forgot to take his car out of his work parking lot a few days ago and it's still there. He stayed at a friend’s house the day before the wedding. We all quietly collapse onto the living room chairs and couches.

Marina, always elegant and still in her dress, calls us to the table and serves us wedding left-overs and cake. Many of us really didn't each much today and Marina is concerned that Nonno hasn't eaten enough either.

We're nine of us around the dining room table talking over the day. The wedding cake is so yummy, even Marina who eats very little, has two pieces like the rest of us.

We take the dishes out to the kitchen and now it's boiling hot and humid. We all go back to the couches in Primo's living room, where a small air conditioner is running. We close off the French doors to keep out the heat. Stefano brings out his video camera and hooks it up to the TV. We've all forgotten about the film he took today.

What a great photographer he is! We laughed and laughed. Everyone seemed to have done something funny.

Some of the priest's helpers have their eyes closed during his impromptu deviation from the Mattia's carefully written program. Some guests are fanning themselves with the wedding booklet. One priest tried to do a discreet little fanning too. We can see sweat dripping from his face.

We see gestures of affection between Mattia and Rosa, which we had missed. Father of the bride looking bored. Mother of the bride looks totally stressed out, wearing sun glasses throughout the entire ceremony.

And afterwards, outside, frantic rice throwing, with Mattia getting constantly and relentlessly pelted. Mattia, spitting out rice, which had been tossed right into his mouth.

And then at the end, the couple in their car...but they can't leave because a crazed looking testimone in a flowered dress, holding a very tiny purse, power cords and camera, is lurching for the car window, not once but three times trying to get just one more good picture.

We all laughed so hard and it felt wonderful. Stefano would rewind the funny spots and play it again and we laughed even harder.

After we had relived the day, Primo opened up the big storage chest in the dining room and brought out a video tape showing his wedding to Marina thirty-some years ago.

We could see Nonna and Primo's father in their younger days. We saw Andrea, our Nonno today, with Marina's mother. And the film continued, to show Rosa and all the other babies: Marta, the twins, Emanuele. We saw TV interviews of Primo’s brother, famous Emergency Room Chief of Staff.

And so we ran full circle and by watching this compilation of old memories, the entire family had participated in this wonderful day.  No one was forgotten.


On Sunday I was honored to take Rosa's bridal bouquet to church and gave it to the Madonna.

I was sent by myself.

It was a touching experience to be given this assignment.

The church looked empty when I arrived. Marina told me to search for one of the women who tends the flowers and ask for a vase.

I took this picture after Sunday afternoon mass, with Primo's permission.  Rosa's flowers are sitting on the white cloth. 

For the honeymoon, Rosa, Mattia, Marta and Mario left together on Monday for a week in New York City. Primo and Marina flew in a different direction for a much needed vacation. Nonno returned home with Angelo and Nori. I took the train back to Florence and had a nice visit with Leo for two days.

I love my Italian family...
Ti amo Leo Leone...

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