Marta and John's Rehearsal Dinner
Trip Start Aug 08, 2006
36Trip End Oct 11, 2006
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Place: Lodosa, SPAIN
Event: THE REHEARSAL DINNER
Throughout the last two days, the frequency of drop-in visitors and family members had been increasing dramatically. The doorbell and telephone in Marta's house kept on ringing incessantly with good wishes and congratulations from Europe and America. Bouquets of fragrant flowers also had been arriving in all sizes. The atmosphere around the house could be described as festively chaotic. In this town of 5,000 people where one could not walk more than a block without being stopped by friends with warm greetings, the town was one big family. Everybody knew each other here, and going to the corner grocery store or stopping at a cafe meant saying hi to someone you knew well
At 18:00, both Marta's and John's families went to the medieval cathedral in the town center for a brief rehearsal of the ceremony with the Polish priest. Because of the presence of the non-Spanish speaking American guests, the priest would conduct the service in both Spanish and English. Also, Marta and John asked the priest permission for me to play a piano piece I had written for them. The priest gave his consent that it could be played at the conclusion of the ceremony. Now, the pressure was on for me to practice on the family's piano at home. I also tried to cajole Victor, Marta's cousin with a great tenor voice, to sing the lyrics of the piece. He so far reluctantly agreed, so we rehearsed many times together.
At around 21:00, John's parents invited all of Marta's family and relatives to a rehearsal dinner at a hotel restaurant. In America, a rehearsal dinner was a practice party traditionally hosted by the groom's parents on the eve of the wedding, the general purpose of which was to present a great opportunity for two families to get better acquainted before the wedding day
Everybody was dressed very formally. The matriarch of the family, Marta's 92-year old grandmother, was present with all of her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren -- in total almost 35-40 people strong. On John's side were his parents, sister, and friends from various parts of the US. It felt like a gigantic Thanksgiving Dinner where everybody close to the heart was congregated for a huge celebration. Because of the language barrier between the two families, I suddenly found myself called on, quite spontaneously, by John's family and friends as well as Marta's family to serve as the official impromptu translator. Before dinner, I heard my name called out quite often when the two families were chatting. John's father, Marta's father, the uncles, friends, many people would wave at me to come offer some translation assistance. Because I had just spent 2 weeks in Italy, where I was speaking a lot of Italian, I found myself sometimes translating into Spanish with a tint of Italian -- which sometimes sounded very awkward.
The dinner was sumptuous -- a barrage of typical Spanish appetizers, beefsteak with Roquefart cheese sauce or Spanish pimiento sauce, and various desserts
The wine was flowing amid laughter and joy. Marta's grandmother also sang a traditional folkloric Spanish song, a jota, a capella. She got a resounding applause. After the rehearsal dinner ended at around 12:30AM, I went with the younger crowd to a club to have a few drinks while the parents and uncles of the couple went to a local cafe. This was only the prelude to what was to follow on Sep 30. The wedding party indeed was now underway!