On Saturday, B and I, flanked with our dedicated moms, got the local parish in Florence to nail down a time. I know this sounds simple, but you have to understand, this is no quick phone call. We've made those. We've made follow-up calls. We've sent monetary gifts. Ok, so we haven't done that, but more than one of those four people listed about were willing to do so!
The day after we got engaged, B called the church (because they only deal with the Catholic party, which I was not invited to) and asked to reserve the church and what we should do from here. The response was pretty close to a dial-tone. I'm guessing that lots of grooms and brides-to-be have already researched this stuff by the time they get engaged, but B and I were clueless.
So finally he found out that he had to deal with his home parish, which called and booked the church. Then we started talking with the church secretary about times. Seems that 2pm was the norm. But I'm not Norm and I wanted a late afternoon/evening reception, so I was willing to go to bat on this one. B's mom did some recon work and found out that it's better to meet in person than it is to simply call and ask. Easier to say "no" to a voice than it is to four pairs of pleading eyes, in my opinion.
Ok, before you start, I know that the time doesn't matter, but to me it did. And I'm the bride. So deal. (Your honor, I'd like to enter this statement into evidence as "Bridezilla Moment #1".)
So there we sat in the Abbot's living room of the parish house. Test number one.... five people (me, B, moms, and Abbot... the dads stayed home to make sure the football teams would still play if no one watched), four chairs and one couch. We lined up on the couch, B, his mom, and I, and my mom took a chair. Abbot took the wooden, hard, uncomfortable chair that was situated just so in front of the printer so that he had to hunch slightly despite the fact that there were two other pillowed, recliner-type chairs available. Abbot: 1; Us: 0.
We small talked about the weather and B's home parish for a few minutes before he cut us off and said, "I think there's a matter you're here to discuss... the time of the wedding Mass." Eep! B's mom and I had rehearsed in the hotel before hand, so I dove into our request to have an afternoon Mass at 3pm and what could we do to make that possible. Abbot paused and said, "Well, the standard time for wedding ceremonies here is 1pm, so why don't we compromise at 1:30."
Double eep! 1pm? What would we serve at the reception, snacks? Would I start getting ready the night before? (Again, I know this isn't the important stuff, but it's my stuff, so leave it.)
Clever Abbot, he'd scored himself half a point just by the looks on our faces as we all sat back a bit. Cautiously I pressed on, asking when Mass that evening was, when confession was, when we could be out of the church, if we could hire someone from his parish to ensure the church was back to "normal" by a certain time, etc. I talked until I was blue, and he, amazingly, relented. And happily so, like he was fine with it all along, but just wanted to see us ask. Maybe it's about respect for the church, and I don't blame him for that.
Either way, we damn near skipped out of that parish house before hustling into the car. After all, I can just imagine him leaning out the screen door and saying, "So we agreed on 2 then, right?"
By the way, for you naysayers out there, I think I do get some credit in this... when we first asked for 3pm, he asked if the invitations had already been printed. Now, I have no idea what he would've said if we'd replied "yes," but the point is that I didn't. I did not lie to an Abbot, which is good, because B's mom was sitting next to me and she had specifically told me she didn't want to get hit by a lightening bolt that day. I wonder if that counts as my wedding gift to her...