Father of the bride

My second daughter just got married for the second time.

Let me explain. She’s the first of my four daughters to get married and it was actually her first marriage, but she was married in church a month ago and then had her vows renewed last week during a reception on the Hudson.

Typically, most people wait 25 years to renew their vows, but with the divorce rate so high these days, it’s probably better to renew them every few weeks so you can remember what you got yourself into.

Now while most people have the wedding ceremony and reception on the same day, we’re Italians so we believe in dragging out the festivities. So next week everyone is headed to Geikie Gorge in Australia to wrestle crocodiles, which actually isn’t as life-threatening as, say, wrestling for the garter.

My son-in-law is a nice Italian boy, whose parents speak Italian, have a home in Tuscany and know how to make real ravioli. We, however, are make-believe Italians, which means we go to Bertucci’s and eat Ragu sauce, and when we speak Italian, it’s only the swear words.

Even though I contributed little to the wedding planning, I was a vital part of it. Being the father of the bride is a great honor because you’re the one who gets to pay bills and everyone from the florist to the priest and the chauffeur respects you for that … or at least pretends to until they get paid.

Wedding planning brings out the worst in humanity, not to mention your family. It’s more intense than plea bargaining your way out of jail time and it provokes more arguments than Obamacare.

This wedding started out as a “non-traditional” celebration on the beach until my wife got into the act and everyone quickly learned to love tradition, which means they ended up in church in front of a priest and left their Speedos at home.

We had a wonderful celebration with shrimp and steak, more wine than they drink at the Vatican and music by great Italians like Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga. What would a wedding be without red meat, booze and Sinatra? Thank God, tradition prevailed.

The occasion brought us closer together than the Waltons, not to mention the Corleones, and I saw long-lost family members like my cousin Bobby Bartone, who is renowned for his fancy footwork with such classics as The Twist, Shout, and The Locomotion.

When Little Eva starts singing “C’mon, Baby, do the Locomotion!” Bobby jumps from his seat and whips the crowd into a frenzy, which isn’t hard to do because some of them have had so much to drink they think they’re at the World Cup playoffs.

He leads them in a conga line around the hall, with hips and other body parts bouncing all over the place, and then he takes the procession out the door, through the parking lot and onto major interstate highways … until someone sobers up and asks, “Where the hell are we?”

So by the time the wedding cake comes out, the room is empty because everyone is instead doing the Locomotion across the Tappan Zee Bridge, which means I get to go from table to table, rummaging through purses to pick up spare change to help pay the bar tab.

Actually, I didn’t do that and I don’t want you to think I would, although the thought crossed my mind. I did, however, grab someone else’s gelato, which is not a body part, but, rather, Italian ice cream, in case you non-Italians didn’t know.

Now I just hope they find those wedding guests who ended up in New Jersey.


Joe Pisani may be reached at [email protected].

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