Italian Wedding Traditions

Each country has its own customs and traditions for special occasions. These are influenced by many factors, including culture, history, and religion. When the Italians celebrate a wedding, they have their own special traditions that take place at various points in the celebrations. As a predominantly Catholic country, many of these customs are based on their religious beliefs. Here are some of the wedding traditions in Italy.

The Engagement

Like in many cultures, the man asks the woman to marry him and gives her a ring. This is representative of everlasting love and dates to Medieval times. There is not usually an engagement party. Instead, the two families have a meeting for the couple to declare if they have a previous engagement and also to express their desire to share their lives together.

The Wedding Ceremony

The Italians rarely invite a large number of guests to a wedding. IN fact, the bridal party often consists of only the best man and a maid of honor who are both witnesses to the ceremony. So that passersby are aware there is a wedding, a ribbon is tied on the door to the church. For good luck on their big day, the bride tears her veil and the groom carries a piece of iron. Locals shout wishes of good luck as the couple leaves the church. Rice is often thrown at the couple as rice is a symbol of fertility. The grill of the wedding car is adorned with flowers. This is symbolic of paving the way to a good life together.

The Reception

The wedding reception is the most celebratory part of a wedding for the Italians and the food and drink are served in abundance. Seasonal produce is often served in as many as fourteen courses that vary from canapes to formal dishes. Wine flows freely and guests often bring additional supplies of alcohol with them. Throughout the reception, brides attach envelopes to themselves for guests to place money. Instead of a slow dance for the couple, the highlight of the reception is for the guests to perform ‘La Tarantella’. The music increases in pace and the dancing becomes more frenzied.

Wedding Candy

At most Italian weddings, a cake is not served. Instead, guests are given gifts of sugar coated almonds. These are symbolic of the bitter and sweet aspects of married life. As an alternative, a mille-foglia is served. This is a dessert layered with filo pastry, cream, and strawberries. Sometimes the dessert is topped with a candy dove as this represents the lasting love of the married couple.

These are just some of the traditions that take place at an Italian wedding. At modern weddings, not all these traditions are now followed as couples may prefer an alternative wedding or they may add traditions from other cultures. However, for many couples, the traditions and superstitions are an important element of their day and give their wedding a sense of formality and importance.