Interesting Facts You May Not Know about Italian Weddings
Planning to have an authentic Italian wedding? If you are looking to celebrate your wedding as Italians do, then you have come to the right place. Learn more about the different wedding ceremonies, customs and traditions followed by Italian couples as you read along.
Types of Italian Wedding Ceremonies
There are three types of ceremonies followed in Italy such as the following:
1. Religious Ceremony
This type of wedding ceremony takes place in a church or a religious place of worship. For Catholic ceremonies, couples should undergo pre-cana classes and gather required documents before they could receive the Nihil Obstat signed by the bishop from their local diocese. There are also certain documents and practices followed 6 months before the wedding day when getting married according to Orthodox, Jewish or Protestant rites.
2. Civil Ceremony
A civil wedding ceremony is held in a villa, garden, town hall or a palace. Based on Italian law, this type of ceremony must take place in a location approved by Italian authorities. It is usually performed by a functionary such as a Mayor, and there are two witnesses required to attend the ceremony.
In a civil wedding, traditional marriage vows, along with the Italian Civil Code articles are read and translated by an official interpreter. After the ceremony, the couple will receive their wedding certificate, which they can register in their home country.
3. Symbolic Wedding
Couples also have the option to have a symbolic wedding, which is perfect for those who want a non-traditional and personalized ceremony without any restrictions or limitations. The ceremony may be presided by a pastor, a family member or any Italian officer. Wedding vows are less formal and may be in the form of a song or poem. The idea is to make the entire ceremony as personal, warm and unique, according to the preference of the couple. Locations for this wedding ceremony may be in a lush vineyard, a medieval castle, or a romantic garden.
Traditions Followed by the Bride and Groom
As early as the 14th century, brides wear a garter on the day of their wedding. It was believed that by following this tradition, they could expect good luck in their life. The garter is worn during the wedding ceremony until the reception when it is removed from the bride’s thigh. Then, it is torn into several pieces, which are distributed to the guests.
Typical wedding gowns in Italy are white as a symbol of purity and virginity, although a black dress paired off with a white hat is the common attire worn by brides in Tuscany. Bridal veils in Ancient Rome are orange or yellow in color, and a bride is expected to have her face fully covered with a veil before her wedding day. Moreover, brides from southern Italy wear a long veil, which symbolizes the couple’s strong and loyal love. The length is usually one meter per year that they are engaged.
Prior to her wedding day, a bride should spend the night with her parents as a way of bringing good luck to her future marriage. In addition, the popular tradition of the groom and bride not seeing each other before they get married is also practiced in Italy. To prevent bad luck, brides should avoid wearing any gold jewelry or looking at themselves in the mirror unless clad in their wedding gown.
In Italy, the groom is the one responsible for giving the wedding bouquet to his wife-to-be. While it is acceptable to have the bride decide on the flowers and arrangement for her bouquet, the groom pays for it. Some provinces in northern Italy require the groom to stand outside the church while holding the bouquet, and he must wait until his bride arrives to receive it. Only after he hands the bouquet to his bride can he enter the church.
Pre-Wedding Traditions Believed to Bring Good Luck
For Italians, the day of their wedding must be planned carefully as it has a direct impact to the kind of luck they will have in their marriage. Generally, Sunday is the most preferred day as it is believed to bring the couple prosperity, success and fertility. On the other hand, it is considered as bad luck to get married on a Friday or Tuesday. According to legends, evil spirits that bring bad luck were created on a Friday while Martedi or Tuesday came from the rootword Marte, the god of war. Hence, couples who choose to marry on a Tuesday may suffer from a bad marriage with frequent arguments.
During the rehearsal dinner, the bride must wear a green dress for good luck. A more modern take to this tradition is by wearing a green scarf or any accessories (jewelry or brooch) in emerald. Then, the best man wishes the couple good luck by saying “Per cent’anni” or “Evviva gli sposi” with a glass of wine called prosecco.
Wedding Ceremony and Reception
In a typical wedding in Italy, a ribbon is tied on the church’s doorway to let the public know that a ceremony is taking place. As the bride and groom exit the ceremony, guests greet them with a loud cheer and exclaim “Auguri”, which means best wishes. Confettis symbolize prosperity and fertility, and these are thrown to the newly weds as they leave the church and head off to the reception party. Popular forms of confetti include rice, flowers, nuts and almonds covered in mesh bags.
It is also customary for the couple to break a glass vase after the ceremony. Then, they count the pieces or shards of glass. The number of broken glass indicate the length of time the couple will share a happy marriage together.
An Italian wedding reception is indeed a feast. Appetizers include prosciutto, olives, salami, brioches with bacon, toast slices with chicken liver, quiches with a selection of vegetables and quail eggs with truffles. There are also fried tidbits of vegetable served such as baby carrots, zucchini, and sage leaves.
As for the main entree, these may include gnocchi with gorgonzola, ravioli with treviso radicchio, tri-color pasta with fossa cheese, bucatini with tuscan sauce, buckwheat straccetti, risotto with porcini mushroom and garganelli with zucchini and shrimp. Veal, pork and fish fillet are also served as an entree along with a side dish.
Mille foglie is a traditional wedding cake, which highlights the reception lunch or dinner. The cake has a later of vanilla cream, seasonal fruit and chocolate cream. It is commonly made from a fine layer of light filo pastry. Italian wine is used for the wedding toast, which is primarily the prosecco.
At the party, guests take part in a dance called “La Tarantella”. Dancers race clockwise while holding hands, and they move to reverse directions after the music speeds up. The direction and tempo of the dance change until the dancers stop after such dizzying experience.
Italian weddings include unique traditions and customs that add to the significance of the ceremony. From the engagement to the wedding ceremony, couples follow traditions that are intended to bring them good luck in their marriage. Indeed, an Italian wedding is a festive and romantic occasion shared by the bride and
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