27 September 2008

10-19 September 2008: Tuscany, Italy (Jason and Caroline's wedding)

Not only was this holiday about my brother's wedding (Jason), but it was also the first Lind family reunion in 15 years! My parents and sister came out to London a week before and split themselves across myself, Jason and my other brother, Geoff's family. It seemed to work and we all had 'mini' reunions before flying out to Italy on Sunday 14 September.

The wedding venue was Villa Maiano - a beautiful villa (built in 1400) that is situated on a olive farm, about 10km from Florence. The Villa has 5 halls on the ground floor, splendidly furnished with original seventeenth and eighteenth century furniture and a panoramic garden overlooking all of Florence.

Our actual accommodation was in an old nun's convent next door - luckily the whole Lind family (11 adults, 3 children) could stay together in one apartment - though my 14 month old niece Grace ensured everyone was an early bird for the whole week! Three other apartments were booked for other family members of the bride, and friends.

The week in Tuscany was filled with catching up with each other (two sets of aunts and uncles were out from NZ and Australia), seeing some of Florence (and even Rome), going to a very exclusive spa resort (organised for the ladies), and generally helping with any wedding preparations that Jason and Caroline needed doing.

The sun was shining most days though the temperature had dipped from 35 degree the previous week to c.20 degrees while we were there. And of course the rain had to happen....on the wedding day...but thankfully only for the morning!

The wedding (Fri 19 September)
I was bridesmaid so had a few things to do like turning up for my hair appointment and makeup, getting ready and basically helping the other bridesmaids to ensure everything went smoothly for the bride! A few stress moments at the hairdressers and then when the makeup artist turned up late, but considering all, Caroline was fashionable late for her wedding, but only by about 15mins!

The wedding ceremony was held under a marque (i.e. as it was spitting slightly), and it went very smoothly. Everyone remembered their respective parts, (particularly the 'I will' part), there were three beautiful readings and also a singer. Once Jason and Caroline were official 'joined in matrimony', they went off for their photos and everyone else enjoyed the antipasta buffet and champagne. The sun also came out and the terrace (which also overlooks Florence) was put to good use.

The rest of the wedding was filled with a dinner (gorgeous food), speeches (well written), an improvised theatre production (extremely funny - though most of it was in Italian and French), cutting of the wedding cake (lots of fireworks), more speeches (letting the 'cat out of the bag' on a few occasions) and final the 'first dance'. Caroline and Jason did an amazing Latin American dance that they had practiced and was choreographed for them specially - I am sure the wedding photos won't do it justice! (Caroline changed into a figure-hugging red dress for this dance and then changed back into her wedding dress for the rest of the evening). [PICS TO COME]

After the 'first dance', there was dancing, drinking, eating, sitting around chatting, or cooling off outside on the Terrace - something for everyone. The party started to dissipate around midnight with the die-hard party animals staying on until 2am - when the DJ also packed up. Then some of the more awake (or should I say, less drunk) guests moved across to an apartment and continued drinking (and eating more of the wedding cake) until the early hours of the morning.

The wedding went perfectly, the bride and groom looked radiant, and everyone had a fantastic time. Thank you Jason to Caroline and I wish you the happiest of lives together!

More photos...