Here Comes the Bride

So I actually woke up surprisingly early this morning after yesterday’s feast, made myself a cup of tea, and just sat outside enjoying the sunshine.  When my father-in-law got up, he was energized and ready to pack in some morning activities before we went to the wedding.

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I was really enjoying the quietness of the farm, so I decided to hang behind while he and Zio Mario went off exploring.  My father-in-law was laughing at me and my love for the farm life…he jokingly said, “what are you going to do, watch the corn grow?”  Yes, actually, yes I will.  And in fact the corn has grown a lot since we arrived :)

While they went out in search of something (probably a little bread or pastry), I decided to take a quick shower so that my hair could air-dry.  Pino had told me to lock the front door if I was going to shower, so I literally used the key to lock myself in, then took my shower.  When I got out, I made another cup of tea and went to go unlock the door and sit outside.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the door to unlock.  Seriously.  I tried for maybe 15-20 minutes with no success (this also brought back memories of when I locked myself in a bathroom at my parents house as a child, but that’s a story for a different day).  I was feeling really frustrated…all I wanted to do was sit outside and enjoy the sun.

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Finally I figured it out.  No, I didn’t unlock the door, I opened the kitchen window, climbed on the table, and hopped through.  Well, at least I was outside, right?  Luckily when Pino and Zio Mario got home, they were able to get the door unlocked on their first try.

After a good chuckle, we got ourselves ready for the wedding, and found that we had just enough time to kill that we could sneak in a quick gelato lunch.

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gelati from earlier in the week

The gelato here is so good; it is so creamy, and so flavorful.  And don’t even get me started on the brioche. I had never before had brioche con gelato, and when Irene heard this, she was like, “we must go immediately and get you one.  Everyone who visits Sicily must eat brioche con gelato.”  So, brioche con gelato it is.  A freshly baked brioche roll, cut open, stuffed with gelato and topped with fresh cream.  A gelato sandwich, can it really get any better than this?

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Stuffed with gelato, we went to the relatives’ house and took pictures of everyone dolled up for the wedding, then drove into Palermo for the wedding.

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Mario and Zio Mario

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Mario and Loredana

The church was beautiful – the star painted ceiling, the ornate gold accents, the white flowers, everything was just right.

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We all took our seats to only immediately and repeatedly get up to greet different cousins.  When you have family in a small town in Italy, it almost seems as if everyone is related to you somehow.

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Just before the ceremony started, the choir sang a few songs.  I was both surprised and excited by their song selection.  Serena, the bride, had chosen all upbeat and happy songs for them to sing.  I felt like I was in Sister Act; it set such a great tone for the wedding.

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The ceremony was so much fun and so beautiful.  Serena made the most beautiful bride, and Lorenzo, her doting groom.  They are so sweet and gentle with each other.

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the proud parents

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After the ceremony, we all set up outside the church for the traditional rice throwing.  I have seen this in movies and pictures, but have never gotten to experience it firsthand, so I was really excited!  We all picked up little papers filled with rice dyed in their wedding colors, and rose petals.

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And when they exited the church, it was the most beautiful explosion of rice and rose petals!

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After pulling rice out of each others hair, we piled back into our cars and drove out into the countryside where the reception was held.  A beautiful villa lined with Italian pines awaited us.  It was lit up, decorated to the nines and filled to the brim with food just waiting for us to begin the aperitivo hour (more like hours).

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starting to present the appetizers

We were offered different champagne cocktails and then encouraged to dig in.  There were three 15 foot long tables filled, and I mean filled with food.  And no repetition.  There must have been 100 different things to eat.  Is it possible to eat everything, I asked Irene?  “Yes Kate, it is always possible.”

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So as to not offend anyone, I made sure to eat everything.  Just kidding, I just tried bites of everything because, when your choice is either pane e panelle or a meatball, how do you choose?  You choose both, thats how.

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round 1 of 20

Fried foods, raw foods, cheeses, breads – I can barely even remember everything that they offered.  It was unbelievable to just look at, and each bite was truly as good as the last.

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wheel of cheese?  yes please!

Already stuffed, it was time to head into the dining room.  The amazingly attentive staff escorted us each to our tables and helped us with our chairs.  Serena and Lorenzo arrived and burst into the hall beaming with that newlywed glow.  They have such a sweet energy together.  They both have such playful and joyful personalities, it has been so much fun to be a part of their special day.

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Mario reciting a special poem that he wrote for the lovebirds

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With the arrival of Serena and Lorenzo, it was again, time to eat.

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First course?  Fried shrimp, smoked salmon, octopus salad, and a shaved fennel salad.  Wow.  Strong start.  I was immediately starting to regret my 100 appetizers.

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As soon as we finished our first course, the band started playing and everyone hopped out of their seats and we danced for a good 3o minutes.

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I asked Irene, do we dance between every course?  “Of course Kate, that’s how we keep eating.”  Oh, okay, I get it now.  Eat, dance, eat, dance.  I got it.

Second course?  A creamy mixed seafood risotto.  Followed by more dancing, which by the way, the band was amazing!

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Third course?  Homemade pasta with langostino.  Homemade pasta!?!  At a wedding!?!  Someone was really busy in that kitchen!  This was also my favorite course, and definitely a dish that I am going to try and make at home.  Fresh pasta delicately tossed with a shrimp infused red sauce and topped with sweet juicy langostino, che buona!

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Fourth course? Salmon stuffed with crab and spinach, swordfish, fried calamari and a stuffed lobster tail.  And then, of course, more dancing.

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Finally done with the feasting, or at least until dessert, the next few hours were filled with more dancing, speeches and then the most amazing surprise. A sand artist.

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The artist came with a table of sand that was under-lit and projected onto a screen for us all to watch.  What was going to happen?  I had never seen anything like this.

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What unfolded was such a beautiful work of art.  Using only her hands and the sand, the artist told the love story of Serena and Lorenzo, literally drawing pictures of their life together with sand.

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And if that is not amazing enough, what I was so impressed by is that she never wiped the board clean; she would literally turn the butterfly into Serena’s face, or a horse into the Eiffel Tower; all set to beautiful music, this was truly an experience.  Everyone was blown away.

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After the sand art, we all put our dancing shoes back on for the few last songs before the doors opened and revealed the dessert room.  What had once been 100 appetizers, was now 100 desserts…cakes, cookies, gelato, tartes, candies, fresh almond brittle…you name it, they had it.  I mustered the strength to try a few things, but after all of the eating that had already happened, there was barely any room left.

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After we finished dessert, it was well after 1 in the morning, and it was time to start saying our goodbyes.  And about an hour later we left.  Haha.  Seriously, Italians take their goodbyes very seriously.

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The drive home was filled with laughter and smiles as we all exchanged happy stories from the day.  To watch such a special couple marry was truly a gift for us all.  Congratulazione Serena e Lorenzo! Una grande bacione per voi!

2 Replies to “Here Comes the Bride”

  1. What a grand day you had, and how lovely to share this experience. You have a great zeal and positivity about you, it makes the postings sparkle. The details, the photos, the jewels of life are in the details and experiences. Life is Good! How do you say that in Italian Ms. Kate??

  2. When / How do you say ‘no’ to so many food offerings? I am certain I’ve never seen a presentation like this. Again, Katie, your photography and words captured the event beautifully. Lana: “La vita è buona”.

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