Each culture has its own wedding traditions that are influenced by a variety of factors, including history, religion, location, and superstitions. Italy is no different and when weddings take place here, the families often engage in a number of customs before during and after the ceremony. Whether you are of Italian origin, want a wedding with Italian influences or are simply interested in Italian culture; the customs of Italian weddings are interesting to learn more about.
The Hundred Year Toast
Traditionally, the Best Man makes a toast at the rehearsal dinner before the pasta is passed. The toast is usually “Per cent’anni” and this translates as “A hundred years”. This is intended to give the couple one hundred years of good luck. An alternative toast is “Evviva gli sposi!”. This means “Hooray for the newlyweds!”.
Green for Luck
Italians believe that green will bring a bride good luck, so she often chooses to wear an outfit in this color for the rehearsal dinner. If green isn’t really her color but she wants to include an element of green to benefit from the luck, she may choose to wear a green accessory, such as a broach or a sash.
There are several customs that take place at the actual ceremony that Italians believe will bring good luck. The first is to tie a ribbon across the doorway to let passers-by know that a wedding is taking place that day. The second custom is for the groom to carry something made from iron in his pocket. It is a superstitious belief that iron will ward off any evil spirits. Finally, the bride will rip her veil for extra good luck.
Leaving the Ceremony
When a wedding is taking place, locals will usually wait outside so they can applaud the couple as they leave. Cheering is often accompanied by shouts of “Auguri!” to offer the couple best wishes. The car that takes the bridal couple away from the ceremony is often decorated with flowers along with the front grill as a symbol of paving the way for a sweet life.
Food and Drink
Food and drink are an important part of Italian weddings. Typically, fresh and seasonal food is served in as many as fourteen reception courses. Receptions are usually less formal in Italy than in many other countries and food is simply served throughout the day. Wedding wine is often from the local vineyard. Some regions of Italy do not serve a wedding cake and offer guests a gift of candy-coated almonds instead.
This is a tradition where guests place envelopes of money in a satin bag carried by the bride. The more Hardcore Italian brides will actually wear the bag around their neck and offer dances to men in exchange for them placing money in her bag.
Dancing at the Wedding
Traditional dance at a wedding is ‘La Tarantella’. Guests form a circle and hold hands and dance in a clockwise motion. As the music speeds up, they change direction. Both tempo and direction continue to change until the group falls over. This is one of the most fun parts of Italian wedding celebrations.
Each Italian wedding is different and not every bride and groom will choose to include these wedding customs. Also, there are often regional differences in wedding traditions so there are many variations to the aforementioned customs. Most of the customs are intended to bring good luck to the marriage of the bridal couple but also add a sense of both tradition and fun to the proceedings.
- Images: Orlova Maria on Unsplash