Two days of Elba, one wedding

Ciao all!

I know, I know – I didn’t write a blog entry yesterday… being Saturday. And technically, this one won’t make it up until Monday, but it is being written on Sunday so it still counts.

Anyway yesterday I had a pretty good excuse – wedding day! Laura and Matteo got married in Elba yesterday at about 11:45am I’d say, and it was a wonderful day for all.

The morning started as usual, everyone was up, having breakfast at the hotel, mingling and playing around. Laura and Matteo were both there getting fueled up for the day – Laura actually managed a run before breakfast, and Matteo a swim. Crazy people 😉

DSCN4185Everyone (except the bride) left for the beautiful venue at 10:00am on coaches arranged for the guests. It was located very close to the port, great spot. We walked up about 30 steps to a lovely old building which had served as a monastery previously. It had an open roof, sun shining bright.

The music was provided by a friend of theirs who played a guitar as Laura walked in and at the very end. They had four adorable flower girls, Jack – my second cousin, was the ring bearer (also adorable). Jessie, Laura’s sister was the maid of honour, and Laura was walked down the aisle by her father, my Uncle Dennis. Very sweet hug between Dennis and Matteo, and the wedding was ready to begin!

flowerringKeeping in mind that this is an Italian wedding, and there were Italians present who obviously spoke Italian, the wedding was dual language. Frankly, this could have droned on a bit, but they did such an amazing job with it. The officiator was a friend of theirs, and it was more of a legal than religious ceremony.

The officiator started off by telling the Italians to hold their reaction to whatever he said until he finished in English, which was very thoughtful – he was also quite funny, quipping jokes here or there and just generally keeping it very light. There were kids in attendance and no effort was made to restrict them, so they were just roaming around – again, keeping things really light and fun.

The officiator began, he first asked if they were both who they were supposed to be, which I’m still not sure if this was done for legal or amusement reasons, but the way he did it was kind of funny. He then had to read off a bunch of legal fun stuff which he did in both Italian and English. The order of things is starting to jumble in my head, so apologies if I start to get this slightly wrong.

DSCN4261Anyway, continued – do you Laura take Matteo, do you Matteo take Laura – si / I do. si / I do. (is si the correct spelling?) Great, you’re married! Cute kiss, tah dah! He read from the end of a speech, can’t remember who or what right now, but that was nice in both Italian and English… and that was more or less it. Quick word from the best man, a few more words here and there, and pow – everyone out so they can sign the official documents and bring in the food, and yeah… that was it! It was fantastic! Everyone thoroughly enjoyed it, super light and fun…. just a really lovely wedding. We were so impressed.

We took some pictures out in front with the bride and groom – lovely courtyard. We went back in, they had I don’t know… 20 platters of food laid out, provided by the hotel. They had champagne and a few other drinks. A huge cheese platter, tons of veggies – just a ton of appetizer style foods. Enough to call it lunch.

We hung out there until the coaches were ready to pick us up again at 1:15pm, hopped back on the coach and away we went to the hotel.

foodNow this was also quite nice – we had the afternoon to just relax. It was lovely. We hung around the pool and enjoyed ourselves until 7pm when we gathered at an area just near the pool where they had again setup tables and tables of appetizers, lots of seafood, same drinks – tons of food. Keep in mind we still had a 5 course dinner coming soon.

We were there for about an hour and a half, Laura had a beautiful dress for the occasion, all the ladies changed into their “evening dress” and actually most of the men changed as well – myself included. I know – two dress outfits, one day – who am I???

The day couldn’t have been any better – the sunset seemed like it was special ordered for the day, absolutely beautiful. Pictures galore, just tons of pictures with everyone – bride and groom were everywhere greeting people, talking to friends and family, schmoozing, etc. I don’t know how the two of them survived the weekend – it looked exhausting!

At about 8:30pm we filed into the dining room and sat for our five course meal. We were sitting with my Uncle Nick and his wife Colette, my parents of course and my cousin Chere. The dinner went on until about 11:30pm – these Italians know how to eat! So – much – food. It was crazy. No speeches, the bride and groom went around visiting every table and saying hi, the mother and the father of the bride as well – it was very nice. Uncle Dennis read out a beautiful sonnet he wrote for them which was also very nice. It was just lovely.

Sounds like the evening was about ready to wrap up, right?

DSCN4420Nope – not enough food yet! We all filed out to a beautiful little spot right beside the beach where they had the wedding cake – this massive strawberry cake – as well as tons of little desserts and an open bar (11:30pm) to dance the night away. Music was rolling – DJ was in full gear, and it was amazing how many people were there. I was told that any self respecting Italian, regardless of age, would be there, and I think they were right.

I didn’t last all that long, but I got my slice of cake and some desserts before turning in for the night. Absolutely wonderful wedding, and I couldn’t be happier for the two of them. It’s been so nice to have this time to spend with the family – a destination wedding really throws you all together and you get to actually spend some real time interacting with cousins and aunts and uncles and all those fun people you usually only see for a few hours here or there on holidays. Can’t say enough good things about how wonderful the entire weekend has been, no small thanks to this beautiful island we’re all situated on.

DSCN4307Today (Sunday) was a total relax day – after waking up at 5am, then convincing myself to go back to sleep, I actually managed to sleep in a bit and didn’t roll out until about 8:30am. Went up for breakfast with the family, lovely breakfast as usual. Went towards the beach and ran into Jack and Uncle Dennis, I think I mentioned that the paddle boats might be fun and Uncle D thought that was a great idea, so we rented a paddle boat for an hour and took off!

Jack, myself, Uncle Dennis and a friend who Jack met here (the child of one of Laura and Matteo’s friends) Xavier jumped in a paddle boat and went for a little ride. The two boys wanted to paddle a bit so they did that (nice and relaxing for me!), or they were sitting in the front or back of the boat. We went around the side of the hotel and found another hotel, so we decided to dock and try out their pool!

The boys had a great time, we got them playing Marco/Polo, jumping off the diving board and just having a blast, and the hotel was very accommodating… always nice to visit other places around the island! We spent about 30 mins there before we had to head back, I think the boys paddled most of the way back with some help of Uncle D and we finally made it back to our hotel. 🙂

Other than that the day was spent relaxing!!!! Poolside was quite popular, I had a great time in the ocean today – the weather was picture perfect, as usual. I’m beginning to suspect it’s simply always like this on this island! Fantastic day. Lunch at the hotel, played some tennis with cousins and friends, dinner at a great Pizzaria around the corner with Laura, friends and family, and then Laura steered me towards an even better Gelateria than the one I’d been visiting and they were fantastic! I had a chocolate chip, banana, chocolate gelato which was suuuuuper good.

Spent some time up near the bar with family and friends, watched the kids go nuts and burn off some energy – I think they’ll sleep well tonight. I went for a quick evening swim in the pool and then warmed up in the hot tub, and then I came back to write this and get things ready to go for tomorrow!!!

Hoping to get up early, MAYBE sneak in one more swim – unsure on that one, grab some breakfast and then head out. Tomorrow we’re catching the ferry back to the mainland, driving back to Pisa, catching the train to Rome and camping there for the night before flying out to Athens tomorrow. A couple of travel days in a row, which will be painful after this wonderful, relaxing weekend – but hey, we had a wonderful, relaxing weekend, so our batteries are all charged!

Tons of pictures to share, no time tonight, and no internet connection, but they will be on Facebook!!!

That’s it for me – bed time if I want to be up early, have a great day doing what you’re doing, talk to you tomorrow! CIAO!!!