Traditional Italian Weddings
Like every country worldwide, Italy has a rich culture infused with unique and charming traditions. These customs have a vast palette that can range according to location and region. Many couples who wish to get married in Italy wholeheartedly accept and include some traditions, especially if they have such ancestry.
In this article, I will talk about the most important customs that you can honour if you are having a traditional Italian wedding.
- Engagement & Party
The proposal is as common as in almost any other country in the world. Because offering a ring during the engagement dates back to medieval times, it has been widely accepted in many cultures. It is considered to be a loving token of devotion that makes the couple officially engaged. On the other hand, when it comes to the engagement party, this is not a tradition that Italians honour. After the engagement, there will be a gathering of both families and announcing the couple’s beautiful news.
- Hen night
The Italian way is to have a lovely night out with your friends about two weeks before the wedding and share your excitement over a delicious dinner.
- On which day to tie the knot
According to the Italian wedding traditions, it is favourable to unify your love on a Saturday. Because Fridays are seen as days when evil spirits are conceived, it is considered that bad luck will follow if you choose that day as your wedding date.
Regarding the bride, there are several superstitions. The first one is that she must not see her reflection in the mirror before the ceremony. If that sounds too drastic, then this might be a relieving fact that she can do that but only if removes a shoe or maybe a glove. Secondly, the Italian wedding traditions require the bride to spend the final night before becoming a married woman in her parent’s home. Third, it is thought to be bad luck for the bride to wear gold apart from the wedding ring. Finally, if you are planning an Italy destination wedding, this following custom is something that I adore – the bride must wear “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and something given as a gift”.
- Groom fun activities and obligations
The groom must pay for the bouquet for his fiancee as a final gift before she becomes his wife. If the bride wears a garter then the groom must remove it during the reception and throw it to the guests, and if she is not, then the right shoe will do the trick! Also, during a traditional Italian wedding, his tie will be cut into many pieces by his groomsmen and then offered for sale. The guests will give money that will serve as help for the couple’s expenses.
- Dress code
Generally, it is not allowed for the female guests to wear white unless otherwise specified; as white being a symbol of pristine innocence worn by the bride. When it comes to bridal dresses for an Italy destination wedding, then the beauty of Italian tailoring will be preferred and dominant. Their seamless craft is poured into traditional dresses which can be combined with accessories aligned with the bridal theme. If you wish to have it made by local tailors, I would advise you to do so only if you are able to go several times for modifications because it will be custom made.
Another thing to consider is whether the ceremony will be held in a Catholic church, then a low cut front, strapless dress or a mini skirt would not be appropriate. However, you may alter those by adding a bolero or stylish shawl. In the case of a civil ceremony, there are no rules so the bride can freely tailor her look to her liking.
The fabrics can vary according to weather. When it is summer, the climate will be very warm so I would advise breathable fabrics.
The guest dress code is usually mentioned on the invites. If it is an informal dress code, you will have more liberty, but if the wedding is held in a church then formal or semi-formal attire will be appropriate. Depending on time, brighter colours are preferred in the morning and afternoon, while darker tones for an evening celebration. If you wish to learn more about types of dress codes and what to wear, follow my other blog post Dress code for a summer wedding that is entirely dedicated to this subject.
- Ceremony & After
During a traditional Italian wedding ceremony, the holiest part that unifies two loving hearts is the exchanging of rings. The fact that the ring is worn on the left hand can be traced back to Roman times when the left ring finger had been considered to be connected directly to the heart by a vein called the vein of love or “vena amoris”. After the ceremony and in front of the church, the couple will be bound by a ribbon which symbolizes the iconic “tying of the knot”. While they exit, white rice will be thrown as a symbol of fertility.
This follows right after the ceremony, so more or less, the guests will be in the same dresses. Wine is the traditional drink along with aperitifs which are offered as soon as the guests enter. When the couple enters, they will be encouraged to kiss more times in front of the guests, sharing the joy of this special day. There might be fun activities involved, like the newlywed’s friends, sneaking out and playing tricks in their new home with practical jokes. In some parts, Italian wedding traditions require the cutting of the tie to be offered by the bride and groom, to go from table to table and in a way offer their attention to every guest. The first dance might be another fun aspect as there will be colourful streamers attached to them, so when they waltz, they will be symbolically wrapped by good wishes. Furthermore, another lovely tradition of course is the throwing of the bouquet to all the single ladies attending, and as you know, whoever catches it first – will marry next! The cake will be traditionally tiered and all white with a lovely topper that represents the newlyweds. Also, if you are having an Italy destination wedding with local guests as well, you will witness a dance called “La Tarantella”. This is their way of wishing you the best of luck in your marriage!
This part is the Italian favours that are given to their cherished guests before they depart. The bomboniere is usually made of sugared almonds and printed ribbons, symbolizing family life. Another key point is that the number must be an off number like 7 for good luck!
If you are interested in any additional information concerning traditional Italian weddings, I would love to hear and answer your questions!