Last week I was in Lucca for Janice and Chris’s wedding, a wonderful couple from Boston USA that had dreamed of an Italian wedding and so had brought their family and friends over to a wonderful villa in the Luchese hills for a week of good food and lots and lots of wine, fortunately they found a local producer that sold them bottles at €2 each so they were very happy!
Bureaucracy is something that makes all of us cringe and I’m no exception, the documentation required for a civil ceremony especially if you are American can make even the strongest men weep with desperation and is not helped by officials that either don’t know what is required or are such jobsworths that you feel like telling them to lighten up.
Such a thing happened last week, Janice had finally sorted out her documents in the States, not helped by an official translator who got her place of birth wrong (“it’ll be fine don’t let them look at it too hard”) and then sent the documents through with a hole so big you could see the sun. I met up with Janice and Chris at the American Consulate, as always security is high here and you’re not allowed within 5 metres unless you have business there, I inadvertently left my jacket on the wall and nearly started an international incident.
From there we went up to Lucca for the verbal hearing, I left the villa early on Wednesday morning to take the much waited for and prized Nulla Ostas to be legalized only to find half way down the hill that I had a flat tyre…of all the days… the road was narrow and with no where to leave the car I drove on, parked it and then had the dilemma, do I walk back up the hill to the villa and wake people up or down the hill to the bar and the bus stop I could see in the distance… the second won so donning my trainers I set off… bus not for another hour….great! so after a double espresso, I called a taxi and headed into Lucca, got the paperwork legalized and then met up with the happy couple. We entered the office for the verbal hearing and as those of you in the know, know..if you are getting married in Italy your passports have to be stamped on entry into Italy even if you land in Spain or Germany or France, to show that you are legally here.. well that would be great if the custom officers could be bothered to stamp them, so we fell at the first hurdle, but there is a solution, you go to the Questura and file a declaration of presence. So we trek off there and find the world and his wife there, headed at the front of the queue by another American intent on doing the same thing, only her party weren’t with her, so we waited an hour while various family members went to find the groom that was having beers with friends… Is that a good start to a marriage?! We have various people trying to push in (so not British) but between the three of us we fought them off and finally made it to the front of the queue.. Hurray! I hear you cry but wait, you need to have a copy of your credit card to show that you can support yourself while you are here and if you’re like me, you don’t carry a copy of your credit card with you or do you when travelling in Italy?? And guess what the office won’t take a photocopy either!!
So we left there empty handed and trudged back to the Town Hall, disheartened because we had to go back to the Questura and join the masses the following day.. But wait! oh joy of joy the lady who said we had to go there in the first place, clearly doesn’t want us to have to come back tomorrow so she magically finds a way around it and bingo, 2 hours later, verbal hearing is done and they are set to get married, but…”oh no! I hear you cry, the office where you pay is closed so you’ll have to go back in the morning to do that”…a small price to pay, I think.
So after lunch I finally get my car back from the nice man at the garage, who went to collect it and put a new tyre on, only it doesn’t match the other one and he charged me for a new tyre and it’s a re-mould… GREAT!! love it… he saw me coming.
At dinner that night one of the girls didn’t feel well so went to the hospital and managed to get her sorted out with some antibiotics, again more queues but a very helpful nurse sent us to the doctor on call in another building and we were in and out before you could say MARRY ME IN TUSCANY!!!
One of the other couples had lost some money taken from their room so I had to take them to the police station to file a report for their insurance claim, the form was in German, clearly lots of Germans get robbed in Italy! As I filled the form in in Italian we were ushered in to see the Chief Inspector who dealt with the report and was thoroughly charming and very upset that their holiday had been ruined by the incident… so I had to check that he wasn’t going to be sending any policemen up to the villa to look for finger prints as I didn’t want the hit squad turning up during the wedding ceremony but he assured me he wouldn’t so breathed yet another sigh of relief.
It was time to concentrate on the wedding, Friday afternoon, Janice and the girls headed off to the hairdressers and with my trusty assistant Mike we set about trimming the rose bushes and tying the roses onto the back of the chairs and making a lovely aisle guide ready for the ceremony. Diane and Giuseppe the wedding celebrants arrived just as we were re-arranging the parking for Alex so she could get a fab shot later of all the guests from the windows while Chris and Janice looked amazing on the double steps in front of the villa. Finally it was all systems go, the musicians struck up and Nicole the brides little sister started to sing and Janice glided down the aisle on her dad’s arm. By the end of the ceremony there wasn’t a dry eye in the garden, a truly wonderful ceremony for a truly wonderful couple that are so in love it makes you want to whoop for joy.
The musicians then moved up to the Logge, where the wedding breakfast was served a truly magnificent feast prepared by Marco, and entertained the guests until the early hours of the morning.
As one guest threw a napkin on to the table just missing the candles, I did have a slight worry that I would have to call the fire brigade too.. On Saturday I took my wonderful room mate Vivian to Florence airport on the way home, all part of the service and after this wedding once again I have met the most amazing people who am sure will be part of my life for many years to come.
See not all wedding planners do just weddings we also help to make sure that your stay in a foreign country goes smoothly and if you do get into difficulties then we’ll help you to get out of them as quickly as possible..
Don’t be put off by the legalities as you can see there is always a way round them and a happy ending to the story.