Take forty or so friends and family, some of whom know each other but are mostly only connected through the bride and groom, put them in two villas and two adjacent manors in rural Tuscany, stir gently with copious amounts of wine and great food over four days and you have one hell of a great party.
Chris and Nicole threw one of the greatest wedding bashes of all time last week outside of Lucca, at a five-hundred year old villa just at the cusp of Spring. In a part of the world famous for "slow food" the pair cooked up just the perfect mixture that simmered as old friends, new acquaintances and family members from two absolutely distinct backgrounds lounged in five-hundred year old kitchens cooking pizza, had formal dinners, hung-over breakfasts and languid red-wine afternoons conversing in sun drenched atriums.
There was opera before dinner, a whole roast pork (yes, the entire pig), and some of the best wine that had been fermented on the property from grapes picked in the villa's vineyards by the Dini family, who own the Buonvisi Estate.
One of the secrets of superb party planning is that you should never notice the planning part. The entire four days seemed so seamless and deceptively effortless, as we moved from tasty "crostini" appetizers at cocktails before dinner to sit-downs banquets for more than three dozen people. Somehow it just seemed like a modern revel of Bacchus.
On still moments, you should hear Spring last week, as every winter-barren twig, branch, vine or field erupted in new growth during these four days. This was the week that Proserpina, the Roman version of Persephone, came stumbling out of Hades, reunited with Ceres and Jupiter after four long months away.
As a treat, on the last night, Renee Beltranena Bea, Anna Lipski Winslow and I went out for dinner to what may be one of the world's greatest restaurants, Ristorante Buca de San Antonio, in Lucca. Renee and Anna are both friends of the bride, Nicole Eppolito, and both live in Manhattan. All three of us had left our spouses back at home in New York and spent most of a lovely meal and a bottle of local chianti talking about them. It was time to head home!