Armenian Wedding at San Lazzaro degli Armeni in Venice Italy
Religious Armenian Wedding Ceremony in San Lazzaro degli Armeni Island, Venice.
Venice, the romantic Armenian wedding of Srbuhi and Vahe
Srbuhi and Vahe got married with a religious ceremony on the island of San Lazzaro degli Armeni in Venice. An old-time wedding. A ceremony that seems to stop time and brings the memory back to a more romantic black and white fairy tale. Even if Srbuhi and Vahe live in the third millennium. Both of Armenian descent, she lives in Grenoble, in France, and he in Hamburg, in Germany. They chose the enchantment of the ancient maritime Republic to say yes before God and about 90 guests. The ritual ceremony was followed by a great reception with traditional dances of their culture of origin and then a delicious dinner on a private island in an enchanted atmosphere.
San Lazzaro degli Armeni is one of the most beautiful islands of the Venetian lagoon, home to the monastery of the Armenian Mekhitarist congregation. In the beginning it was a Benedictine monastery, but it changed guests and roles many times over the centuries. Starting from 800 AD, following the welcoming tradition of the Serenissima, it has been home for vagabonds, hospital, leper colony (or lazaret, from Saint Lazarus the beggar, patron saint of lepers) and even shelter for Dominicans refugees and Jesuits. Since the beginning of the 18th century, the island was finally entrusted to the Armenian community and they created a study centre.
The bride and the groom are beautiful. Differently from other traditions, Srbuhi and Vahe set off together toward the altar on the island of San Lazzaro degli Armeni, where the ceremony will take place. From Piazza San Marco it’s only 10 minutes by boat. A romantic kiss and then they leave aboard a gondola. She holds a small white bouquet in her hands. They are impatient. They quiver with love. One close to the other. They stand up and finally reach the island of San Lazzaro degli Armeni. The ceremony is solemn. There is rigour and sensitivity. They exchange the wedding rings. They pronounce the sacred vows. The Armenian wedding ceremony is over. Srbuhi and Vahe are husband and wife. An inevitable cascade of petals as they go out of the curch.
Then the photo tour on gondola and taxi to reach incredible locations. The charm of Venice continues to seduce lovers and movie stars: the Oscar winner Clint Eastwood set here his latest work "The 15:17 to Paris". Meanwhile, the whole wedding crew has already moved to a private island where a sumptuous candlelight reception is waiting for them. In perfect harmony with the magic of the evening, the menu is really the best the local cuisine has to offer. Centrepieces are white as the bride's dress.
Non-alcoholic cocktails, then Prosecco, rosé and Bellini are served with tasty bruschette of pine nuts with burrata and pesto, small pies with mushrooms, supplì of rice with truffles, fruit kebabs and canapés with other snacks with bread. Then it’s time for the Venetian appetizers and main dishes. Cod fish, scampi in saor, scallops, black cuttlefish and rice with seafood. There is also meat, sliced beef tenderloin, and seasonal vegetables.
Before moving on to the dessert, they enjoy a lemon sorbet with prosecco, crudités with assorted sauces, parmesan cheese with grapes, pears and nuts, and Armenian snacks. Bottles of wine are not missing: white wine Custoza Bertani for the fish, red wine Cabernè Castelvecchio for the meat and rosé Bardolino Chiaretto Rose. Along with the wedding cake there is the tiramisù, the traditional Venetian dessert.
After some lighthearted dance steps, Vahe puts a white Venetian mask on and with her husband cuts the wedding cake. Everyone toasts with a glass full of champagne Cartizze. And in the end a feminine tradition, the always exciting launch of the bouquet, with all the girls ready to be blessed by the best wishes for an upcoming wedding... who knows, maybe to be celebrated in Venice.
The cultural heritage preserved on the island of San Lazzaro degli Armeni is impressive. The history of the Armenians has been marked by great sufferings, out of all the genocide, not yet recognized by the Turkish government. It was also thanks to Venice that the Armenian culture has managed to survive. And now, in this peaceful corner of the world, the marriage of Srbuhi and Vahe was an infusion of eternity and beauty. There were their friends and their families. In the air and in their souls there was everything that gives meaning to their existence. Their personal stories seem to be the archetype of life with all its difficulties, but there is a happy ending: the triumph of love.