Thursday, May 15, 2008
The Big Day (aka The Big Amalgamation)
So it came.....Thursday, April 24th finally came! Alex and I (and our wedding planner Helga) had been planning this day for a entire a year). An entire year of talking about how great and amazing it would be with friends and family....one friend in particular :-)
I woke up around 8ish on Thursday (and surprisingly had the best night's sleep I had had since being in Italy). I made my way over to my parent's, brother's and his girlfriend's apartment on Borgo dei Greci (a few blocks away from Palazzo Vecchio) and got myself ready. We started with the hair, which was a bit stressful for Jin (my bro's girlfriend) because the flat iron had shorted out the night before while she was practicing on my hair. EEK. Good thing my mom packed the curling iron. Towards the end we were running short on time so my bro had to jump in and help as well. By then Alec and Rachel (amazing friends) had arrived to change into their dresses as well.
The dress was put on, the silk orchid placed in my hair, blue garter that was my grandmother's placed on my thigh, makeup was applied and we were set to go. I knew there would be somewhat of a reaction as I stepped outside of the apartment but was not prepared for how excited people got when they saw us walking towards the Piazza. We were getting standing ovations, people smiling and shouting, "Auguri, Auguri!" It was great, the emotions started pouring in about then and I started tearing up because of the heartfelt responses complete strangers were having towards me. Soon after we all met up with the other group (the groom group:-) Alex looked so handsome in his CK pin strip suit!
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention how beautiful my bouquet was that was delivered by GianLuca (the florist) a few hours prior to the apartment we were getting ready in. I wanted all Tuscan colors, it included white tulips, orange and yellow roses, and orange-red berries. Alex's boutnier was an orange rose with the berries included.
Helga met us there where I handed over the rings and our witness's passports (my good friend Shauna and brother Ryan acted as witnesses). The photographer, Paolo, was there already as well right when we showed up and immediately started snapping away and photo directing. It was so crazy having so many pictures taken of us, neither one of us are used to being the center of attention....but we have to admit that we felt like rockstars!
We entered Palazzo Vecchio and headed towards the Sala Rossa (Red Hall) where we were to be married. Kearney, my friend and coworker, was the videographer and did a great job of capturing everything on film for us! There was another wedding ahead of us so we sort of milled around for about 15 minutes until it was through.
Then everyone entered and sat while my dad and I waited so walk in arm in arm! Then the violinist (Lorenzo) started playing "Ave Maria" and it was our cue to walk in. My dad was so proud and I tried hard not to cry. The ceremony was short and sweet and soon after we were pronounced man and wife. We had our first kiss as husband and wife and then proceeded to sign our wedding documents along with our witnesses! Then we exchanged vows to eachother...I was nervous beforehand that I would start weeping and people wouldn't be able to understand me, but I somehow made it through :-)
We took pictures with the official that married us and it was time to go outside and go on a "photo tour" with Paolo. We were told that he would take about 200 pictures, print the best 50, and send us the rest on a disk. About 3/4 of the way through he showed us both that he had taken over 600 already. He was workin' hard! People continued to cheer and clap for us and we took pictures in Piazza di Signoria, The Loggia dei Lanzi in the same piazza, the Boat Club on the banks of the Arno, and then finally on the Ponte Vecchio. About halfway through my feet started to resent me because of the heels I made them wear....anything for beauty right.....I guess!?!?!
After the photo tour we walked over to SACI to have a small reunion with the professors and staff from the school that had brought us to Florence in the first place. It was so great being back and seeing some of the familiar faces. They were all super excited for us and took a lot of pictures of us for their newsletter and website. Towards the end of our reunion at SACI I started getting a little grumpy, mostly because my feet were hurting sooo bad.
So we decided to just hightail it back to our apartment that was very closeby at this point. Kearney got the footage of Alex carrying me over the threshold, which was a challenge because our "hobbit hole" of a door was about 4 feet tall and maybe 2 feet wide. It was a trip. We changed, ate lunch, and met friends at the Boboli Gardens for a perfect end to the afternoon. It was still so amazingly sunny outside and just beautiful. Afterwards we went back to the apartment to get ready for the wedding dinner at La Terrazza del Principe near Piazzale Michelangelo.
The restaurant was so beautiful. It had a backyard like setting with a terrace that had a great view of the Boboli Gardens where we were earlier and the majestic Tuscan hills. They had champagne and aperitivos for us to snack on while all the guests arrived. We moved inside for dinner as some people were cold and enjoyed a very delicious 5 course Sicilian meal (we were told by our cab driver that the food was typical Sicilian cuisine). Everything tasted so fresh and great, I love good Italian food :-) Alex and I even had an Italian wedding torte with kiwi and strawberries to cut and feed eachother.
Afterwards we bid our guests farewell as we filled each grouping into a separate cab. We had such a wonderful wedding day, it was picture perfect, and we couldn't have asked for anything more!