Thanks to Jimmy’s cousin Janet we got two buddy passes to fly to Italy for my sister Avril’s wedding. With the van safe at Camping World and Francie been spoiled by Thomas and Brian, we left three days before the rest of my family as going on stand –by could prove to be a lengthy process. However, it must have been our lucky day. We got the first flight at 7am from Phoenix to Philadelphia and straight onto the first flight to Rome that night. We couldn’t believe our luck. We arrived in Rome at 8.30am the following morning and three train journeys later we were in Sorrento. We found a hotel to stay in until my family arrived and had a couple of days rest before the madness kicked in.
My sister had booked a villa for the entire family and asked me to collect the keys for her as they were arriving late at night. When we went through the gates of the villa and I saw the size of the place I thought we probably just had use of the west wing. I was astonished when the lady said we had the whole place to ourselves. It was like a castle! There were 3 stories with a basement the size of a football field, nine ensuite bedrooms, a terrace on the second floor and the rooftop, its own elevator, kitchen, sitting rooms, dining rooms, 20 million more bathrooms and a huge back yard with a table that could seat about 40 people.It was just out of this world amazing. The family who owned it had left all the furnishings and décor to make it feel even more homely. It was only a 10 minute walk from Sorrento town and there was a fabulous view of the Mediterranean from the rooftop with Mount Vesuvius in the background. After exploring the villa I sat twiddling my thumbs for the rest of the day bursting with excitement to see my family. My brother and family were the first to arrive from Toronto. I, Jimmy and Charlie headed downtown to get the beverages for that night. The locals stared a bit when they saw us pushing two trolley loads of wine and beer up the cobble stone streets. Finally at 11pm that night the bus arrived from Naples with the rest of gang. After plenty of hugging, kissing, crying, champagne popping we tucked into the wine and beer and stayed up til the wee hours chatting. I could tell it was going to be a brilliant week.
There was so much to do around Sorrento and seventeen people were a lot to try organize. Over the next few days leading up to the wedding we all went to Amalfi coast, Isle of Capri and Pompeii in staggered groups. It is such a gorgeous romantic place to be. At night we went out for meals and even had a barbeque one night at the villa. It was brilliant to have not just one special day with my family but a whole week of special days. Never in a million years would we ever dream about going somewhere like Sorrento together.
And so the wedding…that morning we all had our hair done and got into our bridesmaids dresses. The lads ran around ironing shirts, shining shoes and frantically fighting with tie knots. Avril actually remained very calm despite all the chaos around her. She had not allowed anyone except Breda see her wedding dress so we all waited patiently for the grand appearance. She looked like an angel coming down the stairs. Her dress was stunning and she just looked absolutely beautiful. More hugging, kissing, crying, champagne- popping. The bus had arrived for everyone so on we piled. The church was fifteen miles away in Positano. The scenery on the way of the Amalfi coast was amazing. Halfway there we had to get off the bus and get on a smaller one as the roads got narrower the closer we got to the town. Then when we got to the town we had to walk the rest of the way downhill through artsy cobblestone side streets towards the church. Everyone else except the bridesmaids went on to the church. We stayed and waited for Avril to arrive who travelled with Mammy in a car. When she arrived we all paraded through the town down to the church. We were like rock stars walking down. All the locals and tourists stood back taking pictures and making room for us to walk. Avril got cheers and applauds and best wishes from everyone. When we got to the church I could see why Avril had chosen it. It was so picturesque sitting on the side of a mountain with a full view of the sea ahead. It really was like something out of a fairytale. The ceremony was beautiful and finally after eleven years Avril and Phillip were pronounced husband and wife…ahhhhhh
The day continued to get better and better. We went back to Sorrento to the hotel for the reception. Before dinner there was plenty of champagne and hors dourves served on the balcony, again with a fabulous view of the town and Mediterranean. The food was divine. We had prawn cocktail, gnocchi, sea bass, lamb and loads of Italian ice-cream. The speeches were intimate and heartfelt. The wedding cake looked like a work of art. And then the party started….We had more drinks on the balcony and danced for a few songs. In Italy the receptions finish at 9pm but Avril still wanted to keep some kind of Irish tradition to it. She had booked a classy bar with a DJ. Phillip whisked Avril away in a horse drawn carriage and we all followed. The rest of the night was brilliant craic. Myself and Jimmy gave the DJ our Ipod and kept the music going all night. A bunch of Offaly and Monaghan people in Sorrento trying to do the Siege of Ennis was a sight to behold. It was perfect ending to a perfect day.
The next day we all nursed sore heads before heading out again for the final night. We had a lovely meal and plenty of more wine. Avril’s best friend Rosie announced her engagement. Her boyfriend proposed that day on the Isle of Capri! Avril and Phillip headed off the following day to Ischia for their honeymoon and everyone else went to Naples to get their flights back to Ireland. We got a lift to Rome with Charlie and his family and stayed two nights with them before getting a flight back to the States.
It was the best wedding we were ever at. Thank you Avril and Phillip for bringing our family together in such a wonderful place. It was truly special and will always be remembered. You are a fantastic couple and I know you will have a happy life together. Love you loads
(I think we should go back for your first year anniversary!)