Italian Weddings


antipastaItalian weddings in the past were arranged by the parents of the bride and the groom.  They look at lineage, which is very important.  So, if the bride’s father is in doubt, no negotiation will be finalized.  Most often, someone from the groom’s family will be sent to the bride’s house to convey a message from the groom that he wants to marry the bride. If the bride’s father consents to this proposal, marriage plans will be done.

Before the Wedding

Commonly, a diamond engagement ring will be given to the bride by the groom.  Italian brides have been on a belief that the flames of love created diamonds. In medieval times in Italy, a groom may “buy” his bride diamonds or any other precious stones.

Before any Italian wedding takes place, it is the tradition for the bride to assemble a trousseau.  She will collect things such as linens and sheets, cooking utensils, clothing, and in some cases, even the clothing of her future husband.  She will start her married life with these things that she will bring to the groom’s home. A dowry in the form of money and domestic goods will be provided to her by her parents.  This tradition is equivalent to today’s bridal shower.

The Wedding Day,

On the morning of the wedding day in some regions in Italy, the groom will pick up the bride from her house and the two of them will walk to the church.  There are also places where the groom is not permitted to see his bride until she starts walking down the aisle to be on his left side in front of the altar

The first tradition is being done in Veneto:  the bride and the groom will walk to the church holding hands.  Friends and the townsfolk usually will put some obstacles on their way, to see how the couple will react.  For example, if the bride sees a broom and picks it up, it means that she is a good housekeeper; if they saw a crying child along their way and they comfort him/her, the couple will become good potential parents. Some regions have the tradition of the bride and the groom cutting a log into half with a double handle saw, to show their partnership in the household responsibilities.

A priest or a civil authority will conduct the official ceremony, which is called sposolizio in Italy. It is a tradition not to marry during Lent or Advent and during the months of May and August.  Sunday is the best day to marry. The groom will carry a small piece of iron in his pocket to ward off evil spirits; and because the Italians believe there are jealous spirits too, the bride is made to wear a veil that will cover her face.  She, also, is not allowed to wear any gold on her wedding day, until the wedding rings have been exchanged.

The Wedding Reception

At the wedding reception, guests are served as many as 12 or 14 courses with beverages and wine. Sweet liquor for the female guests and strong drinks for the male will be served before the dinner begins.

The bride has a satin bag (la borsa) in which the guests will place their gifts which is usually money.  This is worn by the bride as she dances with the male guests at the reception.  The money put in this bag as gifts are intended to help out a little bit in the expenses incurred by the couple and their families in the wedding, as Italian weddings are lavish and expensive. This custom of the bride carrying a bag to put the cash gifts is observed in almost all cultures. This is the same also with the cutting of the wedding cake and the toasts to renew the enthusiasm and the spirit of the crowd, whenever there is a lull in the celebration.

There is also the ritual of the couple breaking a glass.  If the glass breaks into many pieces, it means that they will have many years of life together.  In some regions, the white doves are also released, to symbolize the newlywed’s love for each other and their happiness.

The guests will be given favors as they leave the reception or the new couple will bring the favors to their tables.





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