11th June 2018
The Jewel in the Crown: Marisa and John Zammit
Marisa and John Zammit have recently celebrated their 43-year wedding anniversary. They talk about their special day on a spring Easter Sunday – and about the secret to a long-lasting marriage.
Marisa and John Zammit have known each other since they were very young, playing in St Paul’s Bay, where both their families had summer homes. They swam in the same bays, hung out in the same places and were very close friends throughout their childhood and teens. “I used to share practically everything with Marisa,” John says, “and one day it clicked.” So, one day, on the cusp of adulthood, John decided to suggest a change. “I was 18 and he was 20 when he asked me to go out for a drink,” Marisa smiles.
And that was that. Two years later, they got engaged (and “we had two engagement parties!”) and in the morning of 30th March 1974, when Marisa was only 22 and John was 24, they tied the knot in a special ceremony at the Capuchins Church in Floriana. “We had a very big wedding, around 800 people,” Marisa describes. As was the tradition at the time, Marisa’s parents took care of all the wedding preparations. “It wasn’t stressful at all,” John jokes.
The wedding dress also involved some planning: Marisa and her mother trawled fabric stores in search of the right material. The gown was custom-made by a dress-maker, who also helped the bride choose the style of the dress. There were only two things Marisa wanted: a long train and buttons at the back. But, all did not go exactly according to plan on the big day. “The dress-maker had to come down from Rabat with the dress on my wedding day but, by 9:30am, she still hadn’t arrived, and the mass was starting at 11am,” Marisa says. Luckily, the dress-maker, who had gotten stuck behind a procession, made it just in time and Marisa walked down the aisle surrounded by the couple’s family and friends.
John had a bit of an easier time in the run-up to the wedding, which meant he could really savour the day. “I was really relaxed,” he says. “When Paul, the best man, came for me, I was a bit anxious since this was a decision which was going to affect my whole life but, otherwise, I was very relaxed at the wedding. Some people told me I would not eat anything at the wedding, but I tasted everything!” he laughs. He looks back fondly on the day describing Marisa as “the jewel in the crown of our wedding,” and it is evident that those feelings have not faded.