Vacation Archives – Day #2: The Wedding

This is an entry from the Vacation Archives, a somewhat tardy report of my adventures in Croatia and Italy. On June 1st, 2012, I went to one of my best friends’ weddings. This post was written in the early morning hours after returning from the event…

Katie & Nikola

Katie & Nikola, on the way to the wedding

Today was the wedding. It was beautiful and very different from anything I’ve seen in the states. The day started off early, since the bride needed help setting up the pre-wedding cocktail hour, and we wanted to hang out to help her dress and get ready.

I helped her mother iron the wedding dress, then just hung out and acted awkwardly. I really don’t do well in touchy freely situations, and weddings are always too emotional for me. Not in that I cry (which I do) but in that I’m annoyed at crying, and feeling weird about having to keep getting hugs and kisses. I’m just a dork when it comes to PDA from my buds. They all know this about me, though, so when I’m all awkward they think nothing of it, thankfully.

So to keep it short, there were a ton of photos, Bride got dressed, everyone teared up, then we had a party. The tradition is for the groom’s family to come and collect the bride to take her to the church, so the Bride’s family has a small party prepared. The neighbors are all invited, and it’s a good time for the community at large to wish them well. Typically both bride and groom would also host a three day open house at their family homes leading up to the wedding, but they skipped that. A cute little traditional band played a trumpet and two accordions, and lots of bread, cookies, steak tartar, cheese, and dried meats were served.

The cool little band that played the pre-wedding reception.

After the party, everyone stuffed into cars, and we drove as one procession down to the town, horns honking the whole time. The band was in the first car, and played during the drive, in the parking lot, and all the way through town to the church.

The church dated from the 11th century, and was mind boggling in its beauty and upkeep. The only way to get there is on foot, and we stood as one party in the courtyard for a few minutes before being allowed in. The wedding itself was blessedly short, even more of a blessing since it was a Catholic ceremony, all in Croatian. I won’t lie, I would have fallen asleep if not for the beautiful frescos that caught and kept my interest.

After the wedding ceremony ended, everyone went up to the front of the church to meet the married couple and wish them luck. As soon as everyone had paid respects, we were marched back out to the parking lot (actually the local fire department’s lot), the band playing and by this point, drinking. We got back in cars and drove up, up, up the mountain to the reception. This was seriously the most gorgeous spot I could imagine having a wedding reception in. The building had been there, built into the mountain, since at least the end of he 19th century.

There was a large patio looking out to the ocean on one side, a lush valley on another, and onto the next mountain from the third side. It was very modern and chic, and felt like something you’d see in Oregon or California, maybe in wine country, but infinitely more spectacular. Inside, the tables were gorgeously set, and there was awesome local art throughout. We started out with endless champagne and hors dovres on the patio, then eventually moved to the tables. There was plenty of time between each course, enough there was actually dancing between courses, something I’ve never seen in America. we started with asparagus soup, then had pasta stuffed with ricotta and herbs, followed by a pasta and young asparagus dish for the vegetarian crowd, and fish for the others. I had requested a veggie meal, since i knew I would be using this vacation to either go veg or at least pescetarian.

Bestie & me at the post-wedding reception.

Dancing went on all night, and the reception rolled until at least 4am, though I went home at 2ish. We were given parting gifts of homemade grappa and olive oil, too. So cool. Overall, it was a lovely evening. I was down for part of the evening, just feeling out of sorts for a variety of reasons. It turns out that Bestie just found out she’s pregnant, and now Bride’s married, and there I was at the reception with no one to drink with or dance with. My boyfriend was on the other side of the world, too lame to travel, missing all of this, pissing me off, making me realize how many more times I was going to have to sit out the dance because of him. But eventually I moved on and had great conversations with bride’s brother and cousin, and then the old school friend from London (who’s so cool, so I’m pumped that we got a chance to talk that day and the next).

Near the end of the night, a friend of Bride’s started a food fight that thankfully stayed small. It was a good laugh, though, and several members of the party ended up covered in wedding cake. I wish I had gotten a photo…

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