ExperiencePlus! Blog

Reflections on Monica and Michele’s Big Fat Italian Wedding

Monica Price bicycling to her wedding

by Maria Elena Malpezzi-Price

True to form, Monica and Michele’s wedding had what one would expect from a multinational, multicultural Malpezzi-Price family event.  Bicycles (of all sort), people (from all corners of the world), medieval folk dancing, lots of food and even more laughter.  Although I (Maria Elena – sister of the bride) was not immersed in the planning until a few weeks before the big event, as the date drew closer I was impressed with how Monica and Michele were able to blend traditions and people from the U.S. and Italy to create an unforgettable afternoon and evening.

The ceremony was held at the Pieve Tho Church in Brisighella, Italy –  the Romanesque church just down from the olive oil Coop on the road from Faenza to Ronta (anyone who has taken our Bike Across Italy tour from Venice to Pisa or Venice to Florence or A Culinary Cycling Circus will have bicycled right by it!).   From the very beginning of the ceremony the differences between the Italian traditions and American wedding traditions emerged.  To begin with, much to the confusion of our American friends, all the guests wait outside of the church to see how the groom and then the bride arrive.  The manner in which the bride arrives at the church is one of the many surprises that both groom and guests enjoy at Italian weddings.  In addition, the groom is the one who “provides” the bride’s bouquet, greeting her with it after she descends from her steed (or saddle).  As you can see in the slideshow below the bride arrived in a 4 person pedal bike powered by Maria Elena, and the parents of the bride, Rick and Paola Malpezzi-Price – the bride didn’t have to pedal!  We soon found out that Michele had also arrived on a bicycle of a much different size.

After the ceremony the entire wedding party (guests and all) caravan together to the reception site.  If you are ever cycling around Italy and you see a caravan on cars with ribbons on their antennas and honking – it is very likely they are going to a wedding reception.  The reception was held on a hill top venue just 5 kms from Brisighella in a building reminiscent of medieval times.  Monica’s old bicycle (her first with drop handlebars)  and Michele’s old Bianchi were the perfect stand for the table assignment cards. Later in the evening we introduced the Italians to the time honored U.S. tradition of the garter toss…. much to their amusement.

Pictures are worth a thousand words, and with that – I leave you to enjoy the rest of the story with photos from our fabulous photographer and bicycling friend, Gregg Bleakney.