Weddings Italian Style
I recently returned from two weeks in Italy and we saw three weddings while we were there. Italians hold their weddings apparently any day of the week, the wedding in Lecce, Florence of the South, was at the cathedral on a Monday afternoon. Another in Matera was on a Saturday morning. Finally, one on a Thursday, with a noon mass in a 13th century church, followed by a civil ceremony in the town administrative building, just a short walk away. Afterwards there was a very public champagne toast between the bride and groom on the town square. This was in a little hill town, Maranole, half way between Rome and Napoli, and they had covered a balcony leading into town and another balcony overlooking the town square with two enormous banners, with a photo of the bride and groom, announcing the couple were going to be married in town that day. At the toast they also released the same professionally printed enormous banner, although printed long-ways, up and over the town. It floated aloft with three enormous helium balloons. Then all the guests released the single balloons they had been handed. Maranole backs up to a vast natural mountain preserve on one side and was just up the hill from the Bay of Naples on the other. I don’t know if the balloons were the sustainable cornstarch type that are available here. I hope so, otherwise both the banner and the balloons were going to end up as a big blobs of plastic trash somewhere in nature.
Before the public toast on the square a crew in t-shirts had pulled up in a mini-van and rushed around setting up big lanterns, a cloth draped table and to frame it all a 10’ tall heart created out of white balloons. The best part was the heart was attached to a little motor, so when the B&G came out it was turned on and the motor made the heart shake back and forth. The crew then cranked up the PA system to blast Tony Bennett and Pat Benatar songs. I would have preferred an accordion player serenading them, but maybe accordions are considered as quaint and old fashioned in Italy as they are here.
The first two weddings we only saw the crowd waiting for the wedding party, no bride. The bride we did see was wearing an enormous ball gown of netting covered with sequins. I do love a ball gown and frankly when else can you wear anything that fun and get away with it? Even thought the weddings were all mid-day, many of the woman guests were dressed in long formal cocktail wear. I suppose if you have it why not wear it.
Where does our responsibility to the environment lie when planning a wedding? It seems the more contrived the wedding, as this one in the hill town was, the bigger the plastic footprint. Using sustainable bouquets from www.DestinationBouquetByDorian.com is one way to create a really wonderful keepsake, while being able to reuse and repurpose your flowers because they are exquisite silk. We have stopped throwing confetti and rice in the US, hopefully people are asking for cornstarch balloons. At the Italian wedding the crew popped pressurized tubes of paper confetti and plastic rose petals all over the B& G and then left it blowing around.
Later we walked across the square to dinner and there were still petals blowing around…it was just a reminder to try to leave no footprint at all.