Sunday, 28 June 2015

An Italian Wedding

Let me take you on a journey, where the land is carpeted with cypress-studded hills, the sky is as blue as a lark, and a golden sun shines over vineyards and wineries, mansions and ancient castles.  This is Tuscany, home to fabulous cities like Florence and Pisa.
          Last weekend we took off to Pisa for a cousin’s wedding, and travelled along the central coast of Tuscany to the province of Livorno.  Our hotel, the Grand Palazzo, was only a short stroll from the church of San Jacopo in Acquaviva, a papal vision in pale peach melba topped by a huge bell waiting to ring out
un matrimonio
.  The church dates back to the twelfth century and dominates a corner plot exposed to both wind and sea.  In June, with soaring temperatures, the sea breezes are most welcome, although on this particular wedding day it scooped my hair into a vertical ‘Jedward’ arrangement, and caused chaos with ladies’ hemlines.
           Stepping inside the church’s cool interior, we slipped silently into the farthest pew.  I wanted to capture the bride’s entrance and had my iPad at the ready.  Moments later she was there, standing nervously in the huge open doorway on the arm of her proud father.  Heads turned, eyes strained, and there was a collective gasp that moved around the church like a sigh.
          ‘Ah, beautiful,’ I said to my husband.  That was my last coherent sentence before the music kicked in, so sweet and haunting that the hair on my head seemed to rise up without any help of outside sea breezes.  As the choir burst forth into an Italian version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah my face was suddenly awash with tears.  It dawned on me that if I could get into such a state at an Italian cousin’s nuptials, I was going to be in serious trouble if and when my own children one day marry.  But I digress, that is all in the future.  The here and the now was a bride sweeping regally down the aisle in a dress that screamed both elegance and class, whilst a long veil wafted around her like early morning mist.  Her awaiting bridegroom looked suitably gobsmacked at this ethereal vision who was soon to become his wife.
          I’d barely finished trumpeting into my tissue when another was hastily required.  The bridegroom recited his vows with perfect fluidity.  Then it was the bride’s turn.  She started well, but faltered half way through, her eyes brimming…which set me off for a second time.
          ‘Pass me those tissues,’ I said to Mr V.  But it turned out he was busy patting his own eyes.
          ‘Eyelash,’ he hastily informed me.
          Which reminds me. Girl to fiancĂ©:  ‘When we’re married, I want you to share with me all your worries and troubles.’  FiancĂ©:  ‘But I don’t have any worries and troubles.’  Girl:  ‘I know, but we’re not married yet…’
  

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