Four Italian Weddings
This is the second of a four-part series where I cover four, very different, Italian weddings. The first Italian wedding I covered was E&J’s. They decided to celebrate in the wine-covered hills of Oltrepò Pavese.
Italian – German Wedding
The Couple: Y&N
Back in 2008, my husband convinced N to apply for an internship at Hartford Wineries in Sonoma country. Soon enough they were en route to California. It was during this trip that N and Y met. After that trip, N decided to further his enology education in Germany. Soon after, he found a job as cellar master at Dr. Buerklin-Wolf, a winery close to Y’s family winery, Margarethenhof.
The Not-so-Italian Traditions
Since the groom and half the guests invited were Italian, I was expecting to see some Italian traditions at this wedding even if it was in Germany. I’ll be honest and say that apart from two or three details, it wasn’t much of an Italian wedding and more like a German wedding. I wasn’t at all disappointed since German weddings are full of entertaining traditions.
The night before the wedding, friends, and family of the bride and groom gather to break plates, cups, tiles, vases, you name it. This is a German pre-wedding tradition to give luck to the bride and groom. It is also an Italian tradition but rather to wish luck for the new year.
The mass was quite similar to an Italian one. Some parts of the mass were even read in Italian. The difference was that the bride and the groom walked down the aisle together towards the altar. At a typical Italian wedding, the groom and his mother walk down the aisle together followed by the bride and her father.
After the mass, the couple walked outside to find a tree trunk and a saw. This is a common German wedding tradition that represents their first test of marriage: sawing the trunk in half. It is not an easy task. The newlyweds’ hands were blistered and bleeding afterward but they finished without complaint. The first test of marriage: passed.
The last German wedding tradition was quite a spectacle and is typically carried out by men of the wine barrel-making occupation. The bride and groom stood high, on top of a wine barrel while four men stood around it with hammers in their hands. The groom started to chant something to them and when he was finished the four men sang back to him while they walked around the couple, banging their hammers on the barrel. This was a repeated several times.
Y&N really personalized this wedding and took care of every detail themselves. The theme was representative of the small wine town they lived and worked in. Wood, wine, grapes, barrels, flowers, and wire hearts were some elements repeated throughout the wedding.
Refreshments and Dinner
Right after the church ceremony, we were served traditional German baked goods accompanied by sparkling wine. There was some picture taking before we headed to the next town for the dinner.
Dinner was held in a large hall that the couple rented out and decorated themselves with the help of their close friends and family. It was a buffet-style dinner with waiters that continuously supplied our tables with water, beer and wine. Naturally, the wine served was from N&Y’s wineries. The guests fully appreciated the open bar but the most impressive part of the dinner was the enormous glass-encased rotating spit roast that was slow roasting an entire bull calf! With ninety guests, there were no leftovers.
The buffet consisted of various salads, roasted vegetables, seafood dishes and of course the bull calf. Each of our tables was named after a city that the couple had previously visited. The table my family was assigned to was “Vancouver”! How fitting, as the wedding day was on Canada Day!
Each table setting had a party favour: a round aluminum can similar to that of a can of tuna or sardines. Inside were little packets of herbs and seeds. Not a typical Italian party favour but a useful and creative one.
The couple hired a DJ to get the party started. It didn’t take long for guests to hit the dance floor. Before you knew it, the party started to turn Italian. The DJ knew the hits that would get the Italians off their seats to belt out the songs and dance like no one were watching. After a few more drinks and great music, the dance floor quickly turned into a sausage fest while the ladies sat back and enjoyed the show.
The couple prepared a photo booth with props for their guests to take pictures. It was a great fun for the guests and even more fun for the couple to view afterward, I imagine.
It was lovely to see all of N’s Italian friends and relatives enjoy and share in the German traditions during the wedding. At one point, I saw German and Italian guests trying to speak to each other in either broken English, Italian or German. What a night!