Thursday, June 27, 2013

Two Weddings We'll Always Remember

The anniversary of our wedding on 1 July 29 years ago is approaching. We were married in a National Forest in Eastern Oregon (where we lived and worked). We hiked up the trail along with our family, friends, and neighbors and were married under the blue skies of a perfect summer day in Oregon. 

After the ceremony, a pot-luck lunch was held in our garden. After eating and cutting the cake, we took a short raft trip in the North Fork (of the John Day River) and then returned to the party. We don’t know how this sounds to you, but for us, it was as perfect as a day could be. The party on the lawn was still going when we returned from the river and it kept going long after we left it for the night. Total cost to us was around 40 dollars--not counting wedding dress and rings.

Big weddings were out of style in the 70’s--and the bling of the 80’s hadn’t caught on in the Oregon outback in 1984. Nowadays our wedding, as pleasant as it was for us, probably appears lame in a hippy kinda way we’re sure.

We do have better pictures than these—although they were all taken by friends—on film, no digital cameras then. These are the only ones that made it from film to the computer so far (don’t remember why).

You might notice a few changes in the bride and groom since then—mostly the groom. The mustache was shaved off about 10 years ago. Doug's little blonde daughter is now 36 years old and taller than he is.

You have heard the stories about Italian weddings? A big, long event with lots of food and gaiety? The big wedding never went out of style here. We were invited to a neighbor’s wedding and were very happy to be included in their big day. We left the house at 1500 with other neighbors to walk to the home of the groom for a pre-wedding get-together. Ten hours later, we crawled to bed—(It was probably no longer a day than ours was lo those 29 years ago, it’s just that we aren’t 30ish anymore).

This Calabrese wedding day dawned clear and very warm, so everyone who donned formal clothes was overheated from the start! 

The brother of the groom offered a toast with Jack Daniels although Doug turned it down and took pictures instead.  We didn’t understand all of the traditions, but followed when the family and friends of the groom left to walk, in a round about way, to the church. 

Groom Peter heads to the church with family and friends

Everyone was waiting outside the church for something. Ahh, the bride! 

She arrived with her mom and escorts. Did we mention the groom is from the village and the bride is from Prague, Czech Republic? Simona’s father was not able to attend due to health reasons. There was a contingent of bridal family and friends, many of whom spoke no Italian or English. Mother of the bride stayed in our guest flat.

Our lovely church in Santa Domenica Talao

Not sure what the little ceremony was at the church entrance, but it moved into the main church and actually included the baptism of the bride. Doug spoke to the priest in advance who asked for no photos of the ceremony – just by official photographers who captured every detail. Di just read an article about ministers around the world asking people to turn off their mobile phone cameras during services and listen to what is going on!

Che belli

The wedding moved to a ristorante about 2km away. Doug chose not to take any photos because party photos are not his greatest skill. People have a tendency to want to tear up the pictures taken of them chewing or yawning...We arrived around 1800. It took the rest of the evening to get through 4 courses for about 150 people, and all the singing and dancing one could imagine. Doug even joined a conga line with some encouragement from the bride at one point! When the the music was right, many people took to the floor to dance the tarantella - famous in Southern Italy, but we had not seen it before. What fun to watch.  A bit too athletic for seniors like Doug!  The DJ played and sang music for every Italian generation. Very fun.

For those into food, the menu had a typical Calabrese antipasta of meats with mozzerella di bufala; fusilli and ravioli for the primo piatto, a secondo of mixed grilled meat plate ending with a fruit and gelato dish. They served a good local vino rosso, but the hot night found most of us going through many bottles of water.

Many folks from the village attended, so we were surrounded by familiar faces. Quite a few kids in the 10-year old range were there and they too enjoyed the dancing. Our Irish neighbours were there to help us spread a little English around……it was quickly drowned-out by Calabrese dialect in a party mode!

One of the bars provided cold drinks to the couple emerging from the chiesa


  1. Congratulations on 29 years of marriage. Your wedding sounds just perfect and the photos seem to capture the spirit of the day far more than formal pics (maybe that's why you have them on computer?)

  2. Hi Sue, Yes we were in a different type of church and you had to watch your step!

  3. Such fun! Both weddings. Congratulations to you two hippies :)

  4. Your wedding day sounds great to me. Who says a great wedding has to cost you a fortune?

    BUt I like the Czech bride, too. She looks happy. :-)

    1. Wauu..thank you so much :-) I am Czech bride and I was very happy!

  5. Thanks, Michelle,
    It was a very happy day in Italia!



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