Tuesday, July 06, 2010
Their Big Fat Italian Wedding or how the locals get married on the Amalfi Coast
As the bride in her long cream dress and the attired groom in his spanking new suit walked back down the aisle, ladies held platefuls of flower petals mingling mimosa, bougainvillea, roses and orange blossom with the rice and young men hid handfuls of sugar coated almonds in tight fists and coat pockets waiting to be hurled at the newly wed couple. The trepidation of the newly married was tangible and as they reached the door they raised their arms to protect themselves from the energetic launch of confetti candy. A traditional prerogative of Italian guests, it was a ritual which signaled the beginning of the Festa part of the wedding party and boy do Italians know how to throw a wedding.
It was a winter wedding. The only free time that Positano locals have to get married and take a honeymoon in. Strictly out of season, Positanesi leave the brighter months to admiring the board walk foreign brides found around every corner of town in the Amalfi Coast and instead take their wedding custom further afield to the neighboring town of Praiano or St.Agata in Sorrento.
Definitely better value for money, Il Tramonto D’Oro Hotel in Vettica di Praiano features heavily in the local’s choice for wedding venues. The name meaning Golden Sunset promises magical red skies all through late September to November and in February on a certain day, the sun sets right in the hole visible of the Capri Faraglione (Capri rock formations in the sea). And then, if there’s one thing Italians won’t do, that’s compromise on the taste buds, so when excellent food is thrown together with a magnificent view all the way to Capri for much less than what you would pay for a similar reception in Positano, you sure have the winning combination.
But don’t expect to be in and out in a few hours. Food abounds at these weddings. For Italians, hospitality means mounds of food. Not counting the aperitifs and wedding cake at the reception I went to, there were 14 courses with seconds for whoever wanted it.
A sea themed wedding, my friend’s wedding featured dishes with whimsical names like ‘Abbraccio di Gamberone con speck’ (King prawns embraced in Italian bacon) Ventaglio di Frutta di Mare gratinati ( a fan of Seafood toasted in breadcrumbs) or Cuore di Pasta fresca con ricotta e spinaci which really was heart shaped pasta ravioli filled with ricotta cheese and spinaci. Romantic names for truely great food.
Loud music, singing (not only on the part of the band) and dancing naturally help digest between delicious morsels as did the frequent visits to the spectacular terrace views for some sea air, glass of wine in hand.
The groom kept returning to the main table handing his father wedding gifts in envelopes that his guest would press upon him on their rounds of the tables. His father evidently hadn’t thought this part out and his pockets were soon stuffed full. The bride and groom even spent a good ten minutes with a bundle of ‘Scratch and win’ lottery tickets that a friend had given them as his quota of gift.
The hours flew by and eventually the reception which had started at 1pm drew into nightfall and the fireworks lit next to the hotel in Piazza San Gennaro signaled the drawing to a close of the reception.
Going back into the reception room after having had our dessert, well, actually three desserts, a waft of garlic hit my nostrils. The traditional ‘pasta aglio e olio’ was being served to finish the meal. After literally having eaten all day, I skipped this dish but the men all happily tucked in. The light sponge and Italian cream wedding cake followed and the wedding guests began to leave. It was 9pm. Which made an eight hour meal!
Brides from the Amalfi coast do all the arrangements themselves looking after details, wedding favours and decorations but many foreign brides booking far ahead manage to organize the events too without too many problems.
My recommendations are (they do a great job with less expenses):
Tramonto D’Oro for receptions. They also have a pool on the top terrace for summer events with buffet style catering.
Art, Color Fashion for hairdressers,
Aldo for flowers,
Bar Internazionale for the cake.
There are also a few blogs around from Amalfi Coast brides where you can get tips in or try sites like Trip advisor for discussions centering around weddings.
Italofile for Susan Van Allen’s tips on Italian weddings.
What about you? Have any of you married or had your honeymoon on the Coast?
If you have, share your experience and leave your tips on the good and bad services encountered in this post’s comments for future brides!