Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Wedding in Campania

This happened in mid-June but I've only now gotten around to writing about it.

First we had to get there, which proved a little tougher than originally thought. We were going to drive down to south so that we would have the convenience of having the car. We planned leave Friday morning for the 800-km (500-mile) drive from Milan to our destination: a small town about an hour away from Naples. Well, the night before, Stef had to stay up late finishing up work issues. I can't remember what I did exactly but between packing and checking work email, it was past 2am by the time the lights went out.

The next morning, we still had some last minute errands and didn't get on the road till noon. It turned out to be a long, long day. We hit thunderstorms all along the way, one was so bad that we could barely see out the windshield and cars were going only barely 30 mph. We actually only stopped once for a bathroom break and coffee. By the time we finally arrived at the hotel, it was 10pm and we were too exhausted to do anything else but ignore the hungry tummies and go to bed.

In the morning, bright and early, we met up with the other out-of-town guests staying at the hotel and drove over to the groom's house. We were friends of the groom and there we met him and all his relatives. There was a spread of cookies and sweets set up in case anyone was hungry.

Then we walked over to the bride's home while the groom headed to the church to await his bride. Her family own's the butcher shop, 'macelleria', in town and they live upstairs. Inside, more sweets to be found.

We were standing on the street outside with other friends and family when the bride appeared on the upstairs terrace with her parents and sister. She waved while we applauded and then proceeded to toss out confetti (sugar-covered almonds) and coins to the crowd. The confetti was good stuff and not cheap either. I was sad to see them fall on the ground and go to waste. The kids went to work picking up 1 euro and 0.50 euro coins from the ground. Stef even picked up 1 euro. I found a 0.50 euro coin and a lady told me to keep it for good luck.

And then the entire wedding party formed a procession following bride and her father walk through the town towards the church. There were neighbors standing from their terraces tossing more confetti and coins towards the bride. It was quite the spectacle.

The church bells were ringing when we arrived at the church. The groom was standing at the doors waiting.

The religious ceremony started at 11am and took about 1.5 hours. Outside someone had created some artwork with grains of rice.

When the newlyweds exited, we were all waiting with handfuls of rice. They made a lovely couple.

Now it was time to celebrate and party. Everyone got in the cars to drive over to the reception, which was held at the hotel where we were staying.

When we arrived around 2pm, there was an appetizer buffet spread set up. We were served sparkling wine and there was all kinds of good things to eat like prosciutto, cheese, shrimp, grilled oysters and other shellfish, and other fried goodies. We were all starving at that point and the other guests were cleaning out the platters real quick. I was enjoying the food but Stef warned me not to eat too much. The bride's father was carving out slices of prosciutto himself, from a whole leg of ham that probably came from his shop. The 'slices' were more like hunks of meat, much more generous than what you would usually get. These two guests pondered making off with the leg.

Little did I know that the real meal was just about to start. After we were all seated we were served... appetizer dishes... again! I had a bad feeling about what was to come when the waiter placed the first appetizer dish in front of me: prosciutto with mozzarella di buffala. This was all for me.

The second appetizer dish: bresaola with mushroom and something else - I can't remember what.

The third appetizer dish: mixed seafood of mussels, octopus and squid. And I thought we already had our appetizers outside earlier!

Then came the first first dish: a seafood pasta with clams and shrimp.

Followed by pasta with a mushroom tomato sauce.

Phew. Luckily the courses came slowly. In between there was lots of dancing and even karaoke singing. Who knew.

I think it was almost 7 pm when we were served the first 2nd dish: steak and potatoes with rucola and grated parmigiano cheese.

There was more dancing in between. I know we stepped out to the terrace to get some fresh air. At some point the guests were even served coffee outside on the terrace. You know, to keep the stamina up for the ongoing party.

To clean the palate before the second 2nd dish, a sorbetto with baba al rhum pastry.

Then the 'final' 2nd dish: grilled fish and shrimp, and fried calamari.

There was also the customary bouquet and garter toss. I managed to avoid catching anything.

Then we all headed outside for the cake cutting, and the couple's very own fireworks! Her dad had proudly bragged to the guys about the fireworks earlier. It was quite the show. It was shot off really close to the terrace where we were all standing so the fireworks were exploding over our heads very close to us. It lasted a good 15 minutes. Afterwards, all the menfolk congratulated the father of the bride for a job well done.

Oh and I forgot to mention that besides wedding cake, there was a dessert buffet spread as well. I couldn't resist sampling a little of everything even though I was very full at that time. There was chocolate mousse and Sicilian cassata and all kinds of other sweets.

At around 11.30pm, the father of the bride announced it was time for the customary late-night spaghetti to end the night. Yes, I partook and it was good and spicy. Here I am with the beautiful bride.

The festivities ended at midnight when the DJ finally wrapped things up. Stef and I had stuck it out to the end with the newlyweds. It was only 13+ hours since we first arrived at the church!

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails