In all secrecy my good friend Arild, his wife-to-be, Kirstine and myself travelled to Rome this Easter (2004). There we meet with a group of Norwegians pilgrims, led by another friend of mine, the priest Torbjørn. On Good Friday we had a ceremony for the happy couple inside the St. Peter’s Church…
Padre, padre – what are you doing?
Not only were all the visitors in the St. Peter’s Basilica curious to what a priest, a lady in a white bridal gown, and men in dark suits with flowers were doing in the church on Good Friday, but towards the end of the ceremony, the guards also took an interest. Luckily, this was at the very end of the ceremony, and Torbjørn took his time for the last blessing before he answered the guards, and we slowly drifted out of the church again.
Not many people can claim to have been wed in the Vatican on Good Friday. And no less inside the St. Peter’s Basilica. The parents of the couple were shocked to say the least when Arild and Kirstine called them from outside the church, on the magnificent St Peter’s Square.
The happy couple barely had time to receive the congratulations and threats (“ARILD; HOW DARE YOU MARRY MY DAUGHTER WITHOUT TELLING ME?”) before they were whisked away in a horse carriage to a lovely romantic old-roman style lunch restaurant in Trastevere where we had champagne and tapas.
Arild had asked me a few months before to be his best man. He wanted a quiet, but memorable wedding, preferably abroad. He had thought about Italy, so the search began. When I found out that Torbjørn was also going to be in Rome over Easter the choice was easy. This was actually not the first time Torbjørn has wed a couple in the St. Peter’s Basilica. He also wed another friend of mine a few years back there.
We planned a little, but not too much. With the good help of Torbjøn’s pilgrims – who helped organise the restaurant, and gave us their good company – Arild and Kirstine got a wedding most people can only dream of. After our dinner at Rome’s oldest restaurant, they even got a proper wedding cake with a bride and groom on top.
Some local Italians had to look twice when they saw the couple and our priest, still in their costumes, drink beer long after midnight in downtown Rome.
Maybe it is a good idea to tell your parents before you get married? Maybe it is more romantic to do it in all secrecy in the historic city of Rome? Regardless, Arild and Kirstine have a memory for life – and I think their parents are starting to calm down now.
P.S. The pope didn’t show up till the day after…