Wednesday, 28 October 2020
Englishman in Dubrovnik Englishman in Dubrovnik

Something old, something new….and an uncle with a tie

By  May 05, 2018

Forget Prince Harry and Meghan Markle the wedding of the year took place last weekend in Cavtat! Marin Čilić and our own Katarina Milković tied the knot it what was a truly romantic ceremony, elegant indeed.

I followed proceedings with interest to see if the a, b and c conditions of Dubrovnik weddings were respected, and yes of course they were. “If you have been to one wedding in Dubrovnik then you have been to them all,” once told me a wise old friend. I wasn’t so sure that I understood him…until I went to my second wedding.

So did the Čilić’s follow the three golden rules. A) wave a Croatian flag the size of a King Kong’s blanket – check. Yes, of course there was a flag, as well as a man desperately struggling to check it moving whilst giving himself a hernia. I am not sure if it was hanging out of the car window, or sunroof, as they made their way to the party but the flag was certainly spotted…well difficult to miss. And of course all the drivers leaned constantly on their horns as they formed a convey to the party. Maybe the horns should have been rule D. I was about to say that waving the British flag at a wedding isn’t really the done thing, but on the 19th of May, when Megan says “I do,” there will be more British flags flying than there is rice in China.

But I digress. And then one of the most important rules, rule B, sing the same songs your great-great grandparents sung at their wedding. Yes, I took my just two weddings to get into the swing (and learn the lyrics) to all of the cheerful songs. I wonder of the songwriter gets royalties every time there is a wedding. Basically these songs are all based around love for Dalmatia, where people were born, how they are now married, their love of the sea and sorrow at the loss of a son. Rule B should be repeated several times throughout the day until you are brainwashed and singing the songs for the next two weeks. Now there were a few traditional tunes sung around the church, so I can only presume that the “love for Dalmatia” continued in the evening with Mr. Gibonni.

The only rule that I am not sure about is rule C. This rule involves a Croatian invention, an uncle and a vast amount of alcohol. You’ve all seen it, maybe even you are the drunk uncle. Yes, at a certain point in the evening, normally just as an old classic song starts, an uncle who has had rather one to many glasses of wine jumps up onto the dance floor and feels the need to remove his tie and wrap it around his forehead. As I say I wasn’t invited to the big party in Revelin so I can’t confirm that a slightly older man with a tic was bouncing around the dance floor, however I am willing to bet that there was. I can only hope that the three golden rules were followed.

And while I am talking about uncles, or should I say all slightly older men, why is it that they still think they have those Travolta moves. You can guarantee that after a few glasses of bubbly the uncles will explode onto the dance floor thinking they are re-enacting a scene from Dirty Dancing, you half expect them to lift Jennifer Grey above their heads. “Come on darling, this is our song,” they scream as they try to drag wives, and in fact anyone who they pass on their way to the centre of the boogying. And inevitably their spin on the floor (with their tie waving around their head looking like a Red Indian) is short lived as their bodies aren’t quite as young as their minds think they are. That was always one of the highlights of a wedding here for me. In fact, I think I even joined them with a tie around my own head once…if you can’t beat them join them. Could Prince Harry be spotted with a tie wrapped around his forehead…well I wouldn’t be overly surprised.

Whereas the British follow the traditions of - something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue – here it is more of – something to wave, something to sing and something to tie around your head.

We are certainly in wedding season, and over the warmer summer months we can expect another influx of foreign brides and grooms taking their vows in Dubrovnik. And why not. Who wouldn’t want to tie the knot in such a romantic city? Weddings just have the certain special feeling with St. Blaise looking down on you. You just get caught up in the romance. And it isn’t only us mortals that fall in love at weddings, “When I was a seminarian, I was dazzled by a girl I met at an uncle's wedding. I was surprised by her beauty, her intellectual brilliance... and, well, I was bowled over for quite a while.” Who said these passionate words - Pope Francis.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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