Today Oronzo and I will be celebrating our 3 year wedding anniversary. We've been together much longer than that (our first date was on Valentine's Day 9 years ago) but I've learned that married life is different than dating.
People ask us all the time, why Ireland? Getting married in Ireland was Oronzo's idea and it was his compromise to me. You see, I thought I needed to have a big, traditional Catholic wedding complete with hordes of family and friends and a dinner/dance reception. If you haven't guessed by now, large hordes of family (or even small ones) are not Oronzo's style. He likes things small and simple. He tried to see if I'd consider eloping and getting married in Vegas by Elvis. "Hell, no!" was my resounding response.
We went round and round about what type of wedding to have. I wondered if we'd ever get married! Then one day Oronzo came to me and said, "Let's get married in Ireland!"
"Ireland?" I said. "Why Ireland?"
"Well, you always talk about how much you loved going to Ireland with your brother back in '95 and how you want to go back someday. This would be your excuse to go back."
"I'm not sure our families would be able to attend a wedding in Ireland," I said as I pondered the idea.
"That's the whole point!" Oronzo explained. "I'm sure some of our immediate family members would come, but not all the riff raft that likes to show up for a free dinner. I'd get my small wedding and you'd get your Catholic wedding in a country that you love like your second home."
I was skeptical at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I warmed up to the idea. I did love Ireland the first time I went there. It was breathtakingly beautiful! And I learned that although I'm only part Irish, I was easily mistaken for a local several times while my brother and I were there. It truly did feel like coming home.
Once I got on board with Oronzo's idea of getting married in Ireland, I called my local priest and got the ball rolling. Then, we started breaking the news to our families.
Many of our family members were disappointed, some even angry, that I was getting married so far away. A lot of them couldn't or wouldn't come. But when it came down to it, for the most part the ones that mattered most to us found a way to be there. We had 10 people from the States and 10 locals from Killarney attend.
The trip to Ireland was fantastic! We arrived 2 days before our wedding and worked with our B&B owner to get everything lined up that we couldn't do over the Internet. We picked out flowers, we picked out our rings (I wanted rings from Ireland), we met with the restaurant owners that we were using for our rehearsal dinner and reception dinner, and we tied up other loose ends. We made sure to have time to hang out in the pubs at night and drink Guinness and Smithwicks beer and listen to the local musicians perform. Amazingly, everything just fell into place.
The day of our wedding, I got ready in the gorgeous manor house honeymoon suite that we'd be staying in the night of the wedding, while Oronzo got ready in the B&B that we had been staying in (I insisted we didn't see each other the day of the wedding until we met at the alter in church). The picture on the right is me walking down the stairs to get into the horse drawn carriage that Oronzo had hired to take me and my maid of honor (my older sister) to the cathedral. I felt like a royal princess!
When I arrived, with my family in tow, I found Oronzo and his family and best man already there waiting for me. I was too far away to see, but Genevieve took a picture of Oronzo as he caught his first sight of me walking down the eye. His eyes were misty and filled with tenderness and love.
We had a full Catholic mass wedding in the huge Cathedral that you see on the left. It was magnificent! Our wedding was witnessed by those that loved us dearly. The wedding day was not just my day, it was Oronzo's day too. It was our day! I'm eternally grateful for this. I realize now that if I would've forced Oronzo to give me my way, he would've been miserable and that's no way to begin a marriage. As a result of getting married in Ireland, he's happy to tell anyone that will listen about our day!
After the wedding ceremony was over, our horse drawn carriage took Oronzo and I to a nice restaurant in the local town square. The restaurant that we had chose for our reception dinner had only been open a year and they were thrilled to have their first American couple celebrating a wedding in their establishment. They even asked if they could have a local newspaper reporter come and take our pictures and interview us that night, so we made the papers the next day!
After the dinner, our wedding party hit the streets and went to the pubs for a few drinks. We had far more than a few drinks! The locals were tickled that we were making the pub rounds in our wedding attire and Oronzo and I had many drinks purchased for us and many Irish men and women toasting to our health and happiness and showering Irish blessing down upon us. I was having so much fun that I didn't want to leave, but eventually Oronzo and I were loaded up and taken back to the manor house to spend our first night as husband and wife.
We spent the next two weeks touring various parts of Ireland for our honeymoon, staying in B&B's wherever we went. I couldn't have asked for a more relaxing, romantic honeymoon!
That was 3 years ago and I remember it all like it was just yesterday. Just writing about it makes me ache to go back to Ireland, my second home. Oronzo is determined to get us back there before our 5 year anniversary, we may be going back next year.
And how have the past 3 years treated us? Quite well actually. We've moved twice, we've purchased a new house, we've adopted the most precious child alive, and our married life has been pretty darned good!
Don't get me wrong, Oronzo can drive me nuts at times (like when family comes to stay) but I love this man with all my heart! He's my friends, he's my lover, he's the father of my child, he's my dear husband. He was gun-shy about getting married because he had been married and divorced 2 years before I met him, but despite the 5 agonizing years of dating and wondering if he'd ever come around and marry me, I realize now that he was well worth the wait!
And now, dear readers, because you've patiently waded through this anniversary tribute, I'm going to treat you with a picture of Oronzo and me, leaving the cathedral as husband and wife. I normally don't like to post identifying pictures on this blog, but for you I'm going to make an exception. Yes, my Italian husband wore an Irish kilt (in the proper Irish fashion) and looked pretty damned sexy, if I do say so myself!
Happy Anniversary to us!