A hazard of living so far from family, both immediate and extended, is the rare occurrence of wedding invitations. There are those periods in life when everyone seems to be getting married: older cousins, yourself, your peers. Moving 3000 miles away at 30 years old didn’t lend itself to me attending too many weddings in the past 30 years. There were none too important to go back east for. My sister’s, of course, but that was decades ago. I missed my brother’s, as I was way too pregnant to travel. But the random long time extended family ones that my sisters attended often throughout the years were not available to me so far away. Weddings. Not a very popular word with me after two failures at this event.
This year ushered in the weddings of the offspring of some women very dear to me and so 2018 has provided me with two weddings on two continents. The first was in a beautiful old working farm in Tuscany outside of Siena called Tenuta La Fratta. My cousin Ginger’s daughter, Christine, was getting married to a superlatively fun and terrific golf instructor named Davide. Christine was born in Connecticut and moved to Italy when she was about a year old. I adore my cousin Ginger. She is Lucy to my Ethel. I wouldn’t miss this trip for all the world. Christine and Davide live now in Singapore and so many friends from there and elsewhere around the globe came to celebrate them. Their love of travel has given them so many great souvenir people.
Friday night the festivities kicked off with a full on dinner at the La Fratta restaurant for 120 or so guests, most who had arrived that day. Davide is from Brescia so his mother and family arrived on those buses while the Carisolo contingent arrived on theirs. Carisolo is our hometown in the Dolomite chain of the Alps. A lovely couple from Singapore who had recently moved back to London sat by me. The wine flowed and so did the music. At 2am we were still dancing and drinking and laughing and singing all the old Italian songs we grew up hearing our parents sing after all sorts of dinners and events. I could hear my dad’s voice in the din. He had a wonderful voice. My mother not so much and we all seemed to have inherited hers. The fond memories that singing Quel Mazzolin di Fiore or Tutti Mi Chiamano Bionda brought back to us. We used to play cards with my dad and mom and uncle and various folks back in the Bronx. Whenever Ginger and I were losing, we would break out into these songs to annoy my dad. He pretended to be annoyed but his lip always curled up in a soon to be grin cause we sang so badly. Memories don’t always have to be big. Most often it is the tiny but fun ones we remember.
Finally at a bit after 2am, I took my two nephew/roommates and off we went back to our suite. What a lovely old rustic place it was other than no door to the shower area, so I had to send those two for a walk each time I needed to use it. I love Joey and Matthew. My two nephews are kind and handsome and good and decent kids or rather young men now. I don’t get to spend nearly enough time with them so I was glad we were bunkmates on this trip. They double-teamed the strange Italian pronouncement of my name that Matthew came up with years ago and all the boys, including my son Max, use for me. It makes me laugh every time.
Saturday morning greeted us with a terrific brunch of all sorts of Italian and American delicacies including real bacon and eggs. It was hot and humid; so much of the party went swimming in the pool afterwards. I understand the groom even tossed his future father in law in. On the property was a small pretty chapel where the wedding was held. Most of us sat outside and heard it on speakers, as it was just too tiny. I liked the different touches and the mixture of American and Italian wedding traditions she incorporated. Christine had a set of bride maids and groomsmen, American style. Italians only have two witnesses usually. Pale pink was the dress color but each girl selected her own unique dress in that color. The boys were adorable in sneakers and polka dot socks. As they were lining up outside, my sister noticed that the maid of honor and best man were at the front of the procession not at the back in front of the bride as is customary with us. Well, helpful as we always are- yes, helpful, not controlling busybodies- she proceeded to move them to the back of the line much to the consternation of the wedding planner. I have that all on video as I was laughing pretty hard watching the maid of honor and best man move to the back as Rosalie instructed only to look confused when the wedding planner scolded them to get back to the front before the procession started.
The wedding was so lovely. Christine looked spectacular. Cream seems to be the wedding color of choice this season. It was worn by her and also by Patty’s daughter in September. I loved that she had Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen sung, one of my all time favorites. So perfect. Next came the cocktail hour in all its Italian delicacy and Prosecco magnificence. I can’t even begin to describe all these delicious morsels put out for us.
The reception began at 8pm under a Tuscan rising moon alongside the glittering pool. So beautiful it was. All the tables and chairs and the settings were in white with centerpieces made of various woodcarvings that her father and brothers made, as they own the local carpenter business in our town. The cake was decorated with a gold map of the world to honor their love of travel. Barrels of their favorite beer, Corona, were flowing. I got a kick out of that. Another station was set up for cocktails like margaritas and mojitos and all sorts of Italian liquors. The food was wonderful and the wine at each table flowed and flowed. The DJ started at about 11 and did not stop until 4am. What a night!
Sunday morning brought sunshine and another brunch for the guests before they departed. Pastries and cheeses and eggs and meats and frittatas galore and Prosecco of course. It was time to say goodbye to family and friends and recent memories made. My sister and brother and families and cousins were heading back to the States. I was going on the Carisolo guest bus up to our town for a week with my sister who lives there and my niece/goddaughter. I was sad to leave Tuscany. It had been decades since I had been to this region. I rarely leave my town when I go to Italy. I have the dubious distinction of having been to Italy 18 times since I moved from their as a small child and I have never even been to Rome. Strange, I know, but I always imagined Rome as the other half of the relatives of all the people packed into Manhattan on any given day. I’ll get there someday.
So the first wedding of my year of marital bliss by other people is done. In September, I’ll attend the wedding of West Coast Patty’s daughter. I won’t get to attend the wedding of the daughter of East Coast Patty, my best friend growing up in the Bronx. I won’t get to attend a cousin’s daughter’s wedding in the Bronx either this September. Such is the hazard of living so far away from family, extended or otherwise. I can’t help but wonder if I will ever get to be the mother of the groom. My 21 and 17 years old sons say “no”. Let’s hope that changes. I am so glad I went to this Tuscan wedding. It was fun and magical and relaxing and engaging and to see two such happy people who will be together forever was just heartwarming! Ciao!