Updated: Aug 13, 2019
The Rabbi has 5 children, three girls, and two boys; they like BIG weddings. I write this from Ravello on the Amalfi coast as I prepare for another wedding bonanza. In keeping with the current trend of celebrating over at least 3 days, the Rabbi’s daughter has signed us up for a week in this rather crowded, rather pricey, rather romantic slice of the world in the middle of August. I count today as her fourth wedding this year. First we had the engagement party, worthy of being the actual day itself. Then we had the English ceremony with just a few dozen guests hosted at Somerset House. Number 3, the opening night in Italy, set in a castle jutting out over the sea with all the splendid views, bubbles, cuisine and dancing of a Bond film. I count today as number 4, and sadly despite shooing us to the bottom of the boat in the middle of the summer it is raining.
I feel there is a competition between the siblings to upstage each other when they take to the wedding platform. The second son married a Spanish girl in Madrid. That was only a four-day event. It seems that weddings, especially foreign ones, have become like Hamburgers. The first layer of bread pickled with salsa is the opening night, necessary for integration purposes. The juicy beef in the middle - the wedding day. And then the soft landing – the day after, the second layer of bread just lightly dusted with mayo. The Spanish wedding was in an enormous cathedral in Madrid followed by a bus journey to a chateau in the hills, with 200 plus guests. Despite the searing heat, the Spanish family kept their jackets and ties on throughout.
What is nice about this family is the international dimension. Son number one has come from New York with his family, twin baby boys, and a Dutch wife. Son number two from Madrid along with the Spanish grandparents, pro-Franco middle-class Madrilenians, which adds an explosive mix to dynamics. The Rabbi’s first wife was American so relatives from California have joined us along with the inevitable contingent from Israel.
Of the Rabbi's 5 children, 4 are married (or marrying today). I have two brothers we are all in our thirties, none of us are married, none of us even have a partner. I am not counting League (the older of my two brothers who lives in Nigeria) who does indeed have girlfriends, last time we spoke there were two in London and three in Lagos. In the future, therefore, I will only be expected to attend one more BIG wedding, the final of the Rabbi’s daughters who is obviously in a long-term relationship so expecting an announcement a safe distance away from today’s milestone. Four down, one to go…
Coming from a divorced family I don’t believe in the institution of marriage and therefore by association weddings. I don’t doubt that if you have children then marriage for the purpose of succession laws should be considered. That is why I prefer the French model, many couples with children don’t marry but they ‘PACS’ a civil union which allows you the legal benefits of marriage without the whole fun fare. The French also don’t seem to comply with the invisible ladder of life: partner, engagement, wedding, homeowner, kids, best schools, second home etc. They mix and match from the above in any order they chose, have children out of wedlock – imagine? Don’t buy a home but rent long term in a desirable area – mais quoi?! They don’t worry about schools because the state education system is standardised with few variations across schools – mais non?!
Its 2 pm and the wedding starts at 4 pm, I’m still in my nightie staring out at the beautiful coastline as it hammers it down. I haven’t washed my hair all week, so I suppose I should look for some conditioner in Ravello on a Sunday... I’m not hopeful.