Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

On this day in 1994

My wife, Sue, on our wedding day, with my best man

Until the day of our wedding, my wife and I weren’t a hundred percent sure we’d actually be able to get married. For reasons that now escape us, we had decided to do the deed in Italy, and we enlisted our Italian teacher to make a few phone calls for us to pave the way. The minute we got to the American embassy in Rome to fill out some bureaucratic forms, we realized the odds were stacked against us. There we were told we had to jump through a number of Italian hoops nobody had told us about, but the weekend was approaching and we would have little time to deal with both the Italian national government and the province of Arezzo, where we were aiming to tie the knot.

Somehow we got through the Roman slalom and were bound for Arezzo with what we thought were the necessary papers that would require only rubber stamping there, but when we arrived at the commune offices (city hall, basically) and asked to speak with our contact, Signora Carletini, nobody there had ever heard of us. Signora Carletini could not be found. Language immediately became a huge problem as we tried to explain what we were up to, waving our Roman papers in the clerks’ faces, but at last La Carletini appeared and greeted us: “Americani!”

We sat there as the Italians scrambled to put our anatre in a row, and then a stylish woman in navy Armani named Christina arrived, telling us in English the wheels were turning but we would still have to phone the next day with the names of two witnesses, yes? Of course we knew nobody who could be witnesses for us, other than the American hosts of our farmhouse lodging in the Tuscan countryside. We told Christina we’d do our best. But the next day, after learning that our hosts had other obligations on the day, I called the commune from a phone booth in Siena and informed them we were sensa witnesses. All we could do now was show up on our wedding day and hope Christina could pull some strings for the Americani.

When we arrived at the chapel that sunny Saturday morning, we couldn’t have been more surprised and delighted. Christina had arranged for the commune janitor and his wife to serve as our witnesses, both in their Sunday best, so the ceremony could proceed. The justice of the peace figure was a cheerful bird-faced man in a tweed suitcoat with a sash in the colors of the Italian Tricolore—red, white, and green—and as Sue and I sat at a table across from him, he ran through the vows in rapid-fire Italian while we followed along with the translation Christina had written up for us. In a few minutes, we were man and wife.

The justice popped a bottle of champagne someone had provided, and the cork flew up and struck a large seventeenth century portrait of some bewigged civic hero. Everyone laughed. Another woman who had taken a shine to us, Mirella, gave Sue a bouquet of flowers. All brides must have flowers, she said with a happy tear in her eye. We thanked her in our pigeon Italian, gushing about our full cuori, our hearts. Grazie! Molte grazie!

Our reception saw the two of us with a picnic lunch on a country trail overlooking distant Tuscan hill towns, accompanied by two dogs, Porciolino (above) and his partner, Domino.

We were married, and we couldn’t have been happier. Twenty-eight years later, our only regret is that life ends.


13 comments on “On this day in 1994

  1. kingmidget
    October 22, 2022

    Congrats to you and your wife!!

    • Kevin Brennan
      October 22, 2022

      Thanks, Mark! Time sure flies when you’re having fun. 😬

  2. pamkirst2014
    October 22, 2022

    Happy anniversary; congratulations on the memories you’ve created together!

  3. Audrey Driscoll
    October 22, 2022

    How romantic! Sounds like a movie. Congratulations, and wishing you many more years together.

    • Kevin Brennan
      October 22, 2022

      If it was a movie, it felt like a comedy. 😂 Thanks, Audrey!

  4. Marie A Bailey
    October 22, 2022

    Happy Anniversary! What a great story. Here’s to many more years together for you and Sue.

    • Kevin Brennan
      October 22, 2022

      Thanks, Marie. And to you and Greg too. Isn’t a long happy life together just the ticket? 😀

  5. justdrivewillyou
    October 22, 2022

    Slendida giornata! Happy Anniversary, you two. Wishing you many more. ❤️

  6. justdrivewillyou
    October 22, 2022

    Splendida, that is.

  7. denizb33
    October 27, 2022

    Congratulations! Happy anniversary ❤

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