This week is Italy week. From Tuesday, October 22 until Monday, October 28, I’ll post something from my recent trip to Italy.

When I got married on October 10, 2009, I got married in a boutique hotel in Downtown Denver in front of approximately 150 of my closest friends and family members.

When my friend Jamie got married on October 14, 2013, he got married at the top of a mountain on a gorgeous, tiny island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea in front of 10 of his closest friends and family members.

Also, a whole bunch of Japanese tourists who wouldn’t shut the fuck up and a group of weirdos from God knows where, some of whom filmed the entire event for purposes unknown.

It was at once the most romantic and intimate wedding I’ve ever had the privilege of attending, while simultaneously serving as one of the most anonymously public events I’ve ever watched two people unwittingly star in.

Capri is one of the most breathtaking places I’ve ever visited. About 40 minutes by ferry from Sorrento, the island is a large sandstone and limestone rock. It sits tall, and features sheer cliffs on all sides. Journeying (a better description would be “cheating death”) on the narrow roads to the top of the island frequently feels like climbing to the top of a very high tree house.

The wedding itself took place at the top of Monte Solaro, the highest point on the entire island. To get there, everyone had to ride a chair lift that wouldn’t look out of place from a Warren Miller movie released 35 years ago. Here’s a shot of Jamie on the chair ahead of me:

I’d never experienced the joy of riding a chairlift solo in the summer. Nor while wearing a suit. Nor while sipping whiskey from a flask I had stashed in my jacket pocket because I’m a goddamn genius. As I was on my way to the wedding of one of my best friends, and had a nice little buzz going, I cued up the wedding mix on my phone and relived some of my own wedding day.

The brutal irony of it was that I would have killed for it to be 75 degrees and sunny at my own October wedding four years ago as opposed to the 20 degrees, snowing and fucking miserable it actually was, but hey, at least they cancelled the Rockies playoff game that day and all of my friends could experience the delayed misery of watching the Rockies gag against the Phillies. And you know what, fuck Ryan Howard. I’m getting off track.

The scene could not have been more idyllic. The bride looked gorgeous. The groom beaming. The weather impeccable. The small collection of their friends and family rapt with joy and attention. A slight breeze. The carefully chosen and inspiring words of their officiant filling the air.

And then, as if from nowhere, a disphit throng of Japanese people wearing absurd hats and absurder socks yammering on and on oblivious to the understated peaceful beauty of what’s happening right next to them showed up like they were trying to prove every stereotype about Japanese tourists right all in one shot. Right behind this impossible group came a different gaggle of slack-jawed mouth breathers who see this beautiful scene, feel compelled to duck the ropes, stand at the back, and videotape it. I’m convinced they thought this was the remote wedding of an American celebrity couple. Why else would one tape the wedding of strangers? Who sits at home months later and says to their wife, “Honey, let’s watch that nice American couple get married again” in whatever the hell language these goofs spoke.

I couldn’t believe the juxtaposition of what I was experiencing during this ceremony. I sat in amazement at the remoteness of where I was, coupled with the joy of watching one of my best buddies get to experience one of the greatest joys anyone can have. And I was flabbergasted that I had to cut that feeling with the sound of a group of braying Asian jackasses opening three bottles of champagne not 30 feet from there and shout “Opa!” every time they did it.

What is it about tour groups that turns everyone in them into booger eating morons? More on this tomorrow, but it’s like paying a few thousand dollars to let some glazed over tour guide who (not so) secretly hates you lead you around by holding up a flower at the end of a stick is a license to forget all your manners.

In the end, none of it mattered. We asked the bride and groom about all the extraneous noise, and neither heard it. Perfect. The only thing they heard was once they were announced as husband and wife and their friends and family clapped, so did all of the surrounding tourists.

No matter if you’re standing in front of 150 guests, all of whom you invited yourself, or 10 of your closest friends and family and bus loads of idiot tourists who just happen to share proximity in your ideal wedding chapel, by the end of the ceremony, everyone knows who the rightful stars of the day are.

Congratulations to Jamie and Caryn, from, quite literally, everyone who got to see you that day.

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