Sunday 21 June 2009

Getting married Italian Style

**This post has since been edited since I had a lovely comment from Malitano(that means a man from Malito) who told me that weddings are even more confusing then I thought. Giuseppe is his name (bel ragazzo knows him)and thanks to him my information is now more acurate. Grazie Giuseppe :)

Bel ragazzo and I popped down to Malito on Wednesday night so we could be there for the brothers promessa on Thursday. After 18 odd years together the brother is finally getting married...and what a big wedding it is going to be. Not only has it been building up for 18 years, but both the brother and his fidanzata are the eldest siblings so it is going to be one massive affair.

Let me explain to you a bit about Italian weddings. There are 3 aspects to a wedding: 1 is the promessa- promise - at the church. Since the brother is going to have a religious ceremony, we went to the church so they could sign some documents saying that they are single, Catholic and understand the conditions of marriage. The priest was talking forever and I kept floating in and out of the conversation as he was slipping into dilect quite often. I did snap to attention when I heard to word orgasm mentioned. Yes - the priest was telling us about all aspects of a marriage...

After that was the comune promessa, which is technically the registry office. A couple has to go to the comune and sign some documents then legally (on paper) they are married. **EDIT - this is not true. Giuseppe who commented told me that you still need to have the actual comune wedding, as well as the comune promessa** If you are Catholic however this piece of paper means nothing as in the eyes of God you are not married until you are married in the church. BUT if you don't intend to be married in a church, then this piece of paper means that you are now husband and wife. **Opps...another little wrong piece of information*** So bel ragazzo and I went down to Malito for the church promise and the comune promise.

I found it a little odd that although the brother and the fidanzata are now legally married, they still went and slept in their parental homes after the ceremony. In their eyes they are not married until August after the church wedding, and God forbid should they live together first!

I could write all day about Italian weddings and still have much more to say. This was my first promessa and it was much quicker then I had expected and the party afterwards with all the gift giving was much larger then I had expected.

In some parts of Italy, or at least Malito, there are many traditions to be followed. In this case bel ragazzo's mother bought the fidanzata's wedding dress. The fidanzata's mother has to buy the brothers shirt and tie for the wedding ceremony. Bel ragazzo's brother bought the fidanzata an engagement ring, and his parents bought her a beautiful necklace and earrings. The fidanzata's mother is in charge of furnishing aspects of the house, such as buying all the towels, kitchen goods etc.. Gosh! So much money is being is going to the biggest wedding I have ever been to and I have been to some big weddings before.

There are many more things that someone has to buy someone and someone else has to do this or that but I cannot remember it all! I was stressed enough after going suit shopping with the bel ragazzo and the brother. We got them all sorted with suits, vests, ties, shoes etc...(I never knew wedding suits were so expensive)and after seeing their elegant suits I suddenly was paranoid that my dress is far from appropriate! What with the promessa, the wedding in August, another family wedding in July I was so confused about what I can and cannot wear that I had to try on all my dresses and do a mock fashion parade in front of the family so we could decide which dress would be appropriate for what. God forbid that I wear an inappropriate dress and create brutta figura.


Unknown said...

If you decide to get married in "comune" it is not completely true that after "promessa" you are husband and wife. The "promessa" purpose in church and in "comune" is to publish your intention in getting married. I (from Malito, got married in "comune", 5 minutes cerimony) can confirm that after the "promessa" in " comune" I had to have a official ceremony in "comune" to confirm with legal meaning the wedding. And if you decide to get married in the religious way the "promessa" in "comune" it's necessary to give to the couple the rigths for mutual support in front of the Italian State.
Congratulations to Bel ragazzo of my favourite schoolmate!!!

Leanne was in Italy now in Australia said...

Ciao Giuseppe,
Grazie per l'informazione. It is quite confusing with all these wedding and comune promessa things... Il mio Giuseppe non sa niente anche! Grazie :)

Iain-down under said...

It makes me grateful that my daughters wedding is now not as complex as it first seemed!

Thanks again for your blog Leanne, I enjoy reading of your adventures.

Kataroma said...

The whole thing sounds stressful, bureaucratic, expensive and not particularly fun for bride and groom - which is why we got married at the registry office in Sydney with 3 people present! My dress costs A$49.99 at Myer and my husband's outfit cost a bit more than that. We had a fun day, not much stress, a casual lunch with friends and family after the ceremony and no one went into debt. :)

IMO the problem with weddings, particularly here in Italy, is that they are often more for the parents of the bride/groom than for the bride and groom themselves. Also people get so bound up in the 'bella figura' stuff that they end up going into debt/spending their life savings to pay for all these expensive OTT goo gaws and it becomes a huge consumerist/overeating extravaganza.

Leanne was in Italy now in Australia said...

Hi Ian,

I am sure your daughters wedding was a joy when compared to this. (Also glad you like the blog :)

Hi Kataroma
I like the sound of your wedding. Your dress too. I will not even tell you how much has been spent on the bridal gear for this wedding..but I am sure you could buy a small house for that price. (Ok well not really but you know what I mean!)

Kataroma said...

Well if the bride and groom (and their families) have plenty of money then they can spend it any way they want including on their wedding. If I were rich I would have gotten a really expensive gown too.

But we decided we'd rather use the money on the baby (I was preggers at the time), a nice holiday, buying a flat.