One by one the 120 candles are being lit and the 160 guests make their way in.
The noise of the chatting turns into silence and the sudden quietness is a loud empty moment made of unspeakable wonder. Guests are mesmerised by the beauty of the settings: the long white candles, white as the hydrangeas that laid inside gold cups, against gold table settings, give a sense of beauty and elegance that transcends any spoken attempt of describing that what is before the guests’ eyes. Some take pictures,some take pictures of those taking pictures and it’s like a flash back. The first attempts to frame for ever a memory of this wedding was two nights earlier.
Long olive leaves were laid all across a long table with shimmering candles lighting up the night. At the background a church not more in use and the view of Venice’s lagoon. It was the rehearsal dinner that Hannah wanted just for the dearest and closest. The first warm welcome to her friends and family that made it all the way from the UK and Cyprus and other parts of the world, to celebrate the most important day of her life.
Only birds and a soft background music can be heard as the evening flows by.
Excitement as well as tension is tangible. The following day will be the big day. Details are being finalised and last guests arrived. Busy waiters make their way up to the roof terrace preparing for the welcome buffet dinner. It will start at 5.00 sharp. Sizzling pans cook live pasta in different sauces; fragrant homemade bread and local cheeses are sitting on the table at the corner for people to help themselves; a waitress is cutting slices of fresh prosciutto on demand; cocktails and nibbles are being served by passing waiters while strings of a background violin are plucked to a soft music.
It might rain…we all wake up to a ruffled sky. It’s the wedding day, worry is a fine string that runs in everybody thoughts. We trust the sky’s promise to clear out later in the day.And so it is. Heads pop out of shops and diners stop eating and stand up. They are all giving way to the Bride. She has just stepped out of the boat and walking to the church, arm around her father’s arm.
It’s a traditional Orthodox Ceremony celebrated in the Church of the Greeks in Venice with the Bride and Groom walking in circle with the celebrant while a corner of vocalists sing words of love.
The last course – the one of many as per the Italian tradition banquet – is being served and the guests one by one make their way to the dance floor. The night is deep and the violins are now playing the traditional greek dance while guests take their turn to pin money on the newly wed couple and break plates to wish them luck.
The 120 candles lights are fading away. The sky at the end did not keep its promise clouding over us a brief summer shower. Hannah and Matt promise to love each, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, will indeed last for ever.