THE WHOLE TOWN IS INVITED, WHY NOT?
My son’s baptism was supposed to be an intimate celebration between close relatives and friends. It turned out to be the talk of the town with 160 guests. I won’t go into details about how this came about but I will admit that my mother in-law was instrumental.
Planning started one month and half before the big day. We collected ideas for decorations, party favors, caterers and desserts. We met with the church priest, visited various stores and scanned through numerous pictures on Pinterest.
OUR INTERNATIONAL GUESTS
I was a little nervous about putting the whole thing together because we also had a lot of friends and family coming to visit from Spain, France, England, Germany, Holland and Canada. So, I had to try my best to entertain them, chauffeur them around and take care of my 5 month-old baby. Despite this challenge, I was determined to enjoy their company and have a good time.
The night before the baptism, I organized a dinner at a local restaurant with all of our friends and family from out of town so we could all speak in English (and sometimes French and Spanish) and catch up. I organized this dinner because I knew that with 160 guests at the baptism, I wouldn’t be able to spend even 2 minutes with any one person.
BAPTISM DAY PREPARATIONS
The next morning, my priority was getting my baby bathed, dressed and fed for his big day. Then, the next priority was the enormous cake. It was 18 kilos of pure cake – no styrofoam nor plastic to fake its size. My mother in-law and cousin went to pick it up and I went to pay… 600 Euros. Gulp. That’s how much a beautiful cake costs. The chocolate cake had three layers each with a different cream filling: The top layer was filled with berry cream, the second layer with coffee cream and the last layer with hazelnut cream. It was yummy. Then again, if it hadn’t been yummy, I would have been pissed.
After I chauffeured a few friends here and there, I headed up to the hills where the baptism was going to be held. Thanks to my in-laws, we were able to use their beautiful house to host the party.
Not long after we finished up the last minute preparations and got ourselves ready, people started arriving to the house to drop off their presents and say ‘hello’ to my baby.
ON THE WAY TO THE CHURCH
We started to make our way uphill to the town church. It was a beautiful, sunny day and the view of the surrounding hills and vineyards was very romantic. All the guests that came to the house early followed us up the hill. I took a moment to look back at the crowd of guests following us to the church and I couldn’t help but be reminded of an old Italian movie.
At the church we were greeted by more guests awaiting our arrival. Just as the mass commenced, my baby fell asleep. Perfect timing. He was in such a deep sleep that he didn’t even wake up when oil was put on his chest nor when the holy water was dripping from his head. It was a peaceful and traditional ceremony.
FOLLOW THE MUSIC, FOLLOW THE FOOD
Our short walk back to the house was full of chatter and commotion. As we neared the house, the music from the house got louder and louder. The front gates to the garden opened up to reveal a red, vintage food truck, playing upbeat music and serving gnocco fritto and salumi (deep fried puffed bread and cold cuts) on mini cutting board plates. Guests immediately lined up to get some gnocco fritto. Others were drawn to the self-serve draught beer table. We also had a wine table and another room full of focaccia, cheese, mini savory croissants and seasonal nuts.
Even with the music blaring, my baby managed to stay in a deep sleep. When he finally woke up, he was immediately cuddled by everyone and anyone. This social butterfly of a baby was continuously passed on from one person to the next, and without complaint!
BRING OUT THE CAKE
After the gnocco fritto, the food truck crew started preparing risotto with sausage and Bonarda wine. Shortly after, we made our way upstairs to the dessert table displaying the 18 kilo christening cake, confetti in several shades of blue and flavors, and turkish delight, almond rocca and pistachio nougat prepared by my aunts and mom. The candies were devoured in minutes and the cake was quickly surrounded by cameras and flashes.
Not only did our guests have a great time, but I also enjoyed myself. Everything went better than I had imagined. I was actually happy that it turned out to be a bigger event than what I had originally planned.
After this traditional, but epic baptism, only one question remains: How are we going to top this?