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There are periods in life where you seem to be either IN or OUT of the wedding circuit.  We Cichellos never got invited to weddings when we were kids.  Our parents got invitations, but imagine adding seven hungry children to your guest list.  Too expensive.  The mid to late 20s is an active period for weddings, and for accumulating bridesmaids dresses that you will never wear again, or remember in great detail.  In your 30s you still get the occasional invite, but by the 40s the mailbox is empty, all summer long.

Then this crazy thing happens.  The unimaginable.  The shift.  Our generation, mid 50s or so, once again starts to get invited to weddings.  But hold on!  The weddings are not for our contemporaries.  Instead, we watch our friends’ children start off on their new lives together.  Oh dear!  It will be our children, too!

We just experienced our first generational-shift family wedding.  What a weekend it was!  The setting was magical – the New York State Museum in Albany, the outside terrace for the wedding, and the marbled interior for the reception.  A carousel was the backdrop for many photos, with views of the Albany skyline as you look outside to the right, and vaulted marble ceilings inside as you look to the left.

The dresses were spectacular: Megan, our athlete and bride, more likely to be comfortable in running gear, was absolutely stunning, a model of understated elegance.  Seriously fabulous.  Her bridesmaids complemented in blue, each in a variation of the same dress, each loaded to the top with happiness, as well as great make up and hair!  The mothers of the bride and groom also shone in full length dresses that made them both look like they belonged in bridal magazines.

Mystical and magical, as weddings should be.  But from this different vantage point, there were also other indicators as to the future that awaits Megan and Pierce.  Pierce, the groom, looked like he was still somewhat surprised to have won the big prize, the Win for Life ticket, his bride, who loves sports almost as much as he does, but boy does she clean up well too!  Turns out she’s also a pretty good mom to pooch Brucie, and she has an underlying concern and care about societal injustice.  You could see all this in the groom’s face: this is happening to ME!

Pierce’s family gave us some insight into how they function at the rehearsal dinner.  Two generations performed rap versions in honor of Megan and Pierce, with significant teasing of Pierce included.  The father of the groom gave a heartfelt toast, doused with humor and wit.  A slide show of both the bride and groom though the years walked us all down memory lane.  Turns out Megan won the big prize too!  Her Win for Life ticket comes with a family that enjoys spending time together, and finds humor in just about any situation.  Their “go to” emotion is laughter.

Indicative of family values on Megan’s side: the cousins, with Megan as the leader.  The goofy photos they took after the wedding demonstrate a closeness and an ability to be completely and comfortably idiotic with each other.  They function more as siblings than as cousins.  As they move into adulthood together, they tease and they support, always with Megan leading the way!

In this marble, revered setting, would you expect quiet tables of people sitting and eating demurely?  Nope.  The dance floor never cleared at this wedding.  Was it the band?  Yeah, they were good.  But is was the people, the individuals that Megan and Pierce have chosen to surround them in life – this interwoven network of family and friends coming together to celebrate and support them in their new marriage.  Even Aunt Helen got out of that darn wheelchair (that she hates) so she could dance to Michael Jackson’s Thriller.  You did not want to sit at your table at this wedding.

This was truly a storybook wedding, but there was more than just glitter and starlight.  There was much more depth and promise at this event.  This is a marriage with a solid foundation, a house well anchored, two great families close by, and a robust group of friends.  And Brucie.  Who probably needs to go out for a walk, if any of those family and friends want to be supportive.

Congratulations, Megan and Pierce.  Well done!


About Claire Ziamandanis

Claire Ziamandanis is Professor of Spanish at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY. Over her 20 years at the college, she has been a champion for study abroad, establishing the first affiliation for Spanish students, and then working with the Study Abroad office to open the doors to students from other majors. Claire loves travel, food, wine and Spanish but not necessarily in that order!


  1. If I’m correct [and i always think I am] – that carousel was a gift to the museum from Karl and Carol Ernst, friends of Pam and me. [smallbany…]

  2. How wonderful! After attending a couple of my friends’ kids weddings, we know what you mean. A new chapter – and one where we can wish them all the joy that awaits them – and know that they have the stuff needed to deal with the less than joyful items. Best wishes to the newlyweds!

  3. Wow, Claire!!!

    You have summed it up fabulously, and touched some emotions I have yet to put words to! Megan’s classic elegance that joyful day, the strength of their love, and the foundation of their strength. The total love fest between all the cousins, as well as the palpable love all weekend long.

    Well done! You have brought me to tears 🙂
    Mother of the Groom

  4. This is a beautiful piece. It really was a magical weekend full of laughter and love. Cheers to Megan and Pierce!

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