Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Serenade

There's a tradition in South Philly before a couple gets married called the "Serenade." I'm not sure if it's a tradition anywhere else, but I had definitely never heard of it until I moved to this neighborhood. Tradition is for the groom to visit the bride sometime before the wedding to sing a song professing his love. This has evolved into a full-fledged event, which is no surprise since South Philadelphians don't really need much of an excuse to have a party or a parade. Anyhow, last night I went to my first Serenade.

The serenade is kinda like the reception before the reception. At this particular serenade, there was a heated tent in the middle of the street with porta potties and lots of fru fru wedding decorations. There was a big decorated arch and some decorated trees at the entrance to the tent. Inside, there was a full buffet of very delicious food, a bar, a DJ, and tables for the 100+ people who attended. I had to call somebody ahead of time to find out what you're supposed to bring -- I had no idea. The answer, you don't bring anything. No gift, no nothing. You just show up. Weird, huh? I think you're expected to show your appreciation and well wishes with your wedding gift.

At most South Philly wedding serenades, it's not uncommon for some Mummers to play instead of (or in addition to) the groom singing. At this particular serenade, there were no Mummers but the groom sang. Apparently this groom is quite the singer and at one point had a sponsor fly him somewhere to audition for American Idol. He never made it to Hollywood, but he definitely had center stage in the middle of South Philly last night. He did a nice job singing a sentimental love song to his bride-to-be while the crowd hovered around with their video and cell phone cameras. Other than the actual singing, I'd categorize it as a big dinner and dance party. Very fun. In fact, I wish I got invited to more of them.

What to wear to a serenade? Outfits were quite varied. I saw everything from camouflage to hoochie tops. Jeans seem to be most common, but if you want to flash some sequins I don't think anyone in South Philly would ever bat an eyelash.

The official party lasted til around 11:30, then we left as the party after the party got underway. What I assume was the bridal party was hanging out doing shots and the father of the groom was upside down doing his second keg stand.

So there you have it -- the inside scoop on a South Philly serenade.


Los said...

We've had many a karaoke serenade in my basement over the years ... not for weddings, though ... just to celebrate being intoxicated.

The Baroness von B. said...

In a time when all I seem to be doing is going to the funerals of my friends' parents, how great to hear of such a celebration. What I've learned in the last little while is that life's wa-a--ay too short not to revel in the good moments. Again, lucky you!