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April 5, 2013     Post-Gazette
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April 5, 2013

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POST-GAZETTE, APRIL 5, 2013 Page 13 ,"r! ........ '"" d by John Christoforo JabbiYnonno A Nostalgic Remembrance Now that the Easter holi- days are over, weddings are the focal points of the spring. I remember how few jobs playing music were around during Lent, especially if you specialized in Irish or Italian weddings. Once Easter was over, everyone who owned an instrument worked the wed- ding circuit. Several times over the past few years, I have seen the film The Wedding Planner on TV. It stars Jennifer Lopez as a woman who specializes in designing a wedding con- cept for a young couple. It was cute and entertaining, but it got me thinking about the old days when someone in the family was getting married. In an Italian fam- ily, there were wedding plan- ners: the girl's mother, the girl's grandmother, her aunts Maria, Santina, Angelina, all on her mother's side and a couple from her father's side who came out of the wood- work only at Christmas and Easter. Add to this the input from great aunts on both sides and you have the idea of who was around to help with advice to plan a wedding. Let's say Barbara comes home one evening and an- nounces that her boyfriend, Joey, has asked her to marry him and she said yes. Her parents liked Joey and give their consent, but tell Bar- bara that Joey has to come to the house and ask their consent. When Joey satisfies their wishes over a middle of the week dinner, the word goes out to the rest of the family within minutes of Joey's departure. By the next morning everyone related to, affiliated with or living within ten blocks of Barbara's par- ents know the whole story. The first thing Joey and Barbara have to do is go to Barbara's church and speak to a priest who agrees to marry them. They are then told they will have to attend a few classes where older married couples talk to pro- spective young couples about the do's and don'ts of married life. Another necessity that has to come from the priest is the date and time the couple have the wedding at the church and whether they want a full Mass with Com- munion or a quick service without. Back home, Barbara's mother insists on a full Mass and the couple agrees to her demands. The next step is to find a hall for the reception. If the church has a down- stairs meeting room, this might be the place for a reception. If not, the parents will begin to call people in charge of Sons of Italy hails, American Legion halls, Knights of Columbus halls, Disabled American Veterans halls and VFW halls. Once the place is booked, a deter- mination has to be made as to whether a caterer will handle the food for the guests or if the food should be pre- pared by three generation of women from Barbara's fam- ily. If Barbara's family can afford a caterer, the aunts who were enlisted to help will collectively say, "Grazia a Dio." (Thank God) Barbara's father knows a musician who plays for a band that might be free to entertain the wedding recep- tion. The musician is called and he, in turn, gives the band leader's phone number to Barbara's father. When they speak, the conversa- tion includes, "How much do you cost?" "How many men do you have?" "Does some- one play accordion?" "Does someone in the band sing in Italian?" If all of the afiswers suit Barbara's fa- ther, he will book in the band. During all of this, Barbara and Joey ask their brothers, sisters, closest cousins and best friends if they will be part of the wedding party. This used to include a maid of honor, a best man, six brides maids and six ushers. Not to slight anyone, if they have a big family, these original attendants might be joined by another dozen, six male and six female. Once all of the participants are chosen, Barbara, her mother, her grandmother, an aunt or two and the maid of honor head for a bridal shop, usually one in the old neighborhood that everyone has used for a couple of gen- erations. They will pick out the wedding gown and the dresses to be worn by all the female attendants. Joey will bring his best man and the ushers to a tux rental establishment to get them fitted. Once all of this is over, Barbara's father calls an un- dertaker friend to see if he can borrow or rent one of his limousines for the wedding, just to make it look good. From this point on, all of the ladies plan a bridal shower for Barbara and the guys plan a bachelor party for Joey. Back then, a bridal shower was a surprise event held at someone's house and all kinds of gifts would be given to the prospective bride. If the fathers of the bride and groom were in- vited to the bachelor party, the guys would have to keep it rather tame as compared to what might be planned if it were just the guys. While all of this is going on, the wedding list has to be determined. Family and friends have to be invited, and back then, no one was left out. Relatives, even dis- tant ones, could count on being invited, as well as most of the people in the neighborhood. From here, all of the ladies in the family would get together and write out the invitations that were picked up from the local card shop owned by a relative. Another relative, who owned a flower shop, would supply the bridal bouquet and all the other flowers that were to be displayed at the church and at the reception. Joey and Barbara would decide what they wanted to spend on gifts for the wed- ding party and what kind of cigars to buy that Joey would pass out to all the men at the reception. When all of this was determined, a meet- ing at Barbara's house would be held to examine the costs. The woman's side usually paid for tie wedding, mean- ing the cost was coming out of Barbara's father's pocket. The rehearsal dinner would be paid for by Joey's parents held at their home or at a restaurant they picked. Lastly, the two fathers would get together to see what they were going to give the wed- ding couple for a gift. Should it be the money for a honey- moon or some money to help get them started in life as a married couple, who knows, maybe it was both if they could afford it. Now with everything set, where will the newly mar- ried couple live? Chances are, one of the parents or a relative had a three-decker in East Boston, the North End, Revere or Medford and an apartment was available. Hopefully, the apartment was within walking distance of where all the parents lived. The wedding day arrived and Nonna's prayers were answered ... it didn't rain. All went well and they lived happily ever after. Is this a Cinderella story or just the way it used to be if you were lucky enough to be part of an Italian family??? GOD BLESS AMERICA -- FOR YOU WHO APPRECIATE THE FINEST -- THE MUSIC FOR ALL OCCASIONS 781-648-5678 ST. JUDE ANI ST. ANTHONY NOVENA May the Sa,red Heart of Jesus be adored, gloriied, loved and preserved throughout fie world now and for- ever. Sacred Heart of Jesus pray for us. St. Jude, worker of miracles, pray for us. St. Jude, help of the hopeless, pray for us. St. Anthony, most loving protector and wonder worker, pray for us. Say this prayer 9 times a day and by the 8th day your prayer will be answered. It has never been known to fail. Publication must be promised. My prayers have been answered. Favor received. A.T.P. Socially Scene (Continued from Page 9) Scottish Beauty Julie Fowlis will make her way to the MFA on April 11th. (Photo courtesy of MFA Productions) in the Remis Auditorium, 161. The MFA is located at 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston and can be reached at (617) 267-9300 for tickets and show times. Also, for more information on upcom- ing performances you can visit A Tasty Treat to Comple- ment Your Time in the City .... Abe & Louie's repre- sents the ultimate in clas- sic American steakhouses, while still maintaining local charm and appeal. Their philosophy focuses on the finest quality food and ser- vice; this emphasis on qual- ity is showcased in their drcor and atmosphere. Abe & Louie's commitment to quality is best represented in their signature prime steaks that are selected from the finest corn-fed, local and Midwestern beef. All the steaks served are aged six weeks on the bone to ensure the most flavorful and juicy steaks. Guests will marvel at the menu's em- phasis on fresh seafood and produce. The lump crab cake and swordfish chop are signature dishes, outstand- ing in their own right, in addition to the exclusive bone-in filet mignon and other fine steaks and chops. The high quality cuisine is paired with an award win- ning wine list featuring a selection of over 200 wines from the best regions in the world. Abe & Louie's restaurant is located at 793 Boylston St., Boston and can be reached at (617) 536-6300 for reserva- tions or further information. k Fully Insured Lic #017936 :hani :a] Heating & Air Conditioning Sales, Service & Installation Ken Shallow 617.593.6211 Leave the -LIntEl to Us! I With a Gift Subscription to the ]7 \\ Post-Gazette, your generosity will be remembered every week of the year. announcement of your gift. Their subscription will [ - ] begin with the current issue .............. 7..... and continue for one year. Fill out coupon below and mail with payment to: .. 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