From the Sky - Part X

And Zia? Most of her work was done ahead of time. The invitations were gorgeous: foil with a delicate floral motif, and a beautiful, elegant font. The band was a local favorite, Amore, and they could play anything from Italian classics to Motown. The band had two singers: a thin, wiry man with slicked back hair and a blonde who would have been perfect for my sweetheart neckline wedding dress. They were backed by a four-piece band versed in an array of instruments from guitars and mandolins to accordions and trombones.

Zia's choice of flowers was colorful, and coordinated perfectly with both the church and the reception hall. I had no idea how much work went into flowers until I got married. There is so much to consider! Flowers for the bridal bouquets; boutonnières; bridesmaid posies; the basket for the flower girl; the centerpieces (where she worked closely with Sal); the arrangements to compliment the dessert stations and other nooks and crannies. So much! She did have a near nervous breakdown when the florist arrived with the wrong flowers. She treated it with a few bourbons (and I've no idea where she got them) and she was already somewhat aglow by the time the wedding started. She continued to feed that little fire at the reception. She likes her occasional drink, Aunt Zia, but I've only seen her really toasted once. And that's when she toasted us at our wedding.

I've nearly forgotten the cake, haven't I! Another joint effort between my aunts and me. We have pictures of it, of course, before the catastrophe. The top tier miraculously survived, and Joe and I shared it on our first anniversary. The cake was four tiers, wrapped in pale gold fondant with gorgeous grapes and leaves made of gum paste. Grandfather would have approved. It was put on a most spectacular pedestal: It sat atop a round glass shelf supported by pillars of flat-topped bottles of red and white wine which in turn rested on a round table covered with Sal's linen and Tuscan red organza. The cake was to the left of the head table from my vantage point. Every time I leaned over to kiss Joe (and quiet the ringing of knives on wine glasses) I saw that cake in its glorious splendor waiting for Joe and me to cut it.

You remember I mentioned that I wanted a little "lightness of spirit?" Well, Joe took care of that. He has an Uncle who collects classic cars. He drove us to the reception in a 1951 Mercury. It was purple, with green and yellow flames painted on the hood and across the doors. His uncle was dressed as a chauffer, and when Joe and I left the reception I'm sure we were quite a sight as we cruised slowly through Walnutwood's quiet streets to our hotel. His uncle picked us up the next morning, too, and drove us to the city to catch our flight to Florida for our honeymoon on Captiva Island.

Among the things I recall most vividly of my wedding day are the sounds. I have put a lot of effort into remembering them: The rich, resonating sound of the organ as I walked down the aisle in church on my father's arm. My aunts crying softly during the ceremony. Joe saying "I do." Knives tapping on wine glasses at our reception, urging Joe and me to kiss over and over again. Zia's toast. The crash of the wedding cake hitting the floor. So many sounds! I've kept them all alive in my memory.

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