ITALY Wedding ceremony and traditions...
5 Unique Italian Wedding Traditions
I wish that I had incorporated more Italian wedding traditions into my own wedding day. That is because so much of my relationship has to do with Italy. Jimmy and I met in Rome, dated in Rome, and still live in Rome – but we got married in Ireland.
But Italian wedding traditions are easy to incorporate wherever you plan to get married.
Traditions are a very important part of the Italian culture and of course, weddings have their own. Brides often ask us to tell them something about Italian wedding traditions, both because they are curious or because they are tempted to borrow some of them to add to their wedding experience.
Although wedding traditions vary from region to region, most of them are quite rooted in Italian culture and heritage.
1. La Serenata
The night before the wedding there is the custom for the groom to arrange a serenade under the window of his bride. Often family and friends are informed of the serenade to come, but have to keep the secret with the bride. The groom meets up with musicians under the balcony or window of the bride and starts singing along with them to wake the bride up. The serenade is considered to be a very festive moment, prior to the important day of the wedding in which both families reunite and celebrate with a rich buffet and music.
Confetti & Bomboniere
Confetti are internationally known as the colored paper shapes that are thrown at the bride and groom at the end of their wedding ceremony. Here in Italy confetti are sugar-coated almonds, that come in many different colors, and that generally are displayed on a sweet table at the end of the wedding dinner. The confetti form part of a bomboniera, which is the gift traditionally given to guests as a thank you. The bomboniera is also given at communions and christenings and can be compared to the wedding favours used in other parts of the world. The bomboniera represents the symbol of the family life, a wedding tradition which dates back to the Romans who used confetti to celebrate unions and births.
The bride’s dress
The wedding dress has superstitions of all kinds, the main one is that the bride should not look into a mirror with the wedding dress on her wedding day. And if she really wants to has to first remove a shoe, an earring or a glove.
At the wedding, all guests should avoid using the white color for their clothing because the bride should be the only one wearing it.
The bridal bouquet
In Italy, traditionally, it is the groom’s job to supply the bridal bouquet. This is considered to be his final gift to his girlfriend before she becomes his wife. The bride may choose the floral arrangement she wants, but it is the groom who must pay the bill and make sure it is delivered to his intended.
In some regions, especially in the southern part of Italy, it is a tradition for the bride to wear a garter. The garter dates back to the 14th century when it was thought that wearing the wisp of lace would bring the Bride good luck. In Italy, the garter is taken off by the groom, in a special moment at the end of the wedding dinner and thrown to the wedding guests. If it’s found out that the Bride isn’t wearing a garter, her right shoe is taken off her and thrown!
The most popular Italian wedding traditions...
The wedding day should be one of the most memorable of one’s life, and this is often the reason why some people pick Italy for their destination wedding. They want to create special memories by getting married amid enchanting sceneries and historical architecture. Italy and its beauties represent for someone a delectable dreamland and the idea of celebrating one’s wedding there is captivating.
What is also captivating are the traditions related to Italian weddings. Brides often ask us to tell them something about Italian wedding traditions, both because they are curious or because they are tempted to borrow some of them to add to their experience.
We have a lot of traditions regarding weddings, some of them vary from region to region, some are superstitions, some others are no longer practiced; the nicest are respected everywhere.
We don’t want to bore you with a long list of these traditions, so we have selected the most popular among Italian people, those that are more cherished.
Traditionally the bride would spend the night before her wedding at their parents’ house and would wear green because it is said it brings good luck. On her wedding day, she is expected to wear a garter that after the ceremony is removed and torn into pieces for the guests to keep. This is a very ancient tradition, that dates back to the 14th century, when it was thought that to keep a piece of the bridal trousseau would bring luck.
When it comes to the groom, he is supposed to bring the bouquet to the bride. She can choose the typology and the floral arrangement, but he is the one who must pay for it and make sure she will get it on the wedding day. Sometimes, the groom awaits the bride outside the church (or any other location they choose) and give it to her personally before taking his place for the ceremony. The bouquet represents the last gift she receives as a “single” person.
On the night before the wedding, the groom organizes a serenade under the bride's window. He goes there, with his friends and relatives who will sing along accompained by a musician with a violin, guitar or accordion.
The Groom must not see the Bride before the wedding ceremony, but we can say that this tradition is respected almost everywhere. In Italy is the father who accompaines the bride at the altar, and after shaking the groom’s hand and kissing his daughter he ”gives her away to him”.
The day choosen to get married has its relevance as well and it must be considered carefully. Even if today, Saturday is a very popular choice, Sunday has always been considered the best day to marry for luck, fertility and prosperity. It is a holy day, and for that, ensures a lifetime of happiness. We don’t know if this is the reason, but Sunday is still a top choice for Italian couples.
One of the most classic traditions of Italian weddings are the bomboniere that you better know as wedding favours. In the past years a bomboniera had to be made of crystal, silver or porcelain, but today couples choose any kind of item and material, and look for original and unusual presents. What is still as important as it was years ago, is that everyone must receive the same wedding favor: there are no friends or relatives who are more important than others. The bomboniere are always equipped with confetti, not to be confused with the small pieces of colored paper that are scattered around during the course of festive occasions, that we call coriandoli.
Confetti is the Italian word for candied almonds, or Jordan almonds, as you wish to call them. For a wedding, the almonds must be coated in white sugar and every bomboniera must contain an odd number of confetti because the union of marriage is of two people and the amount must never be divisible by two. Usually you find five confetti in a bomboniera, because it is also thought that they represent the five qualities that must always be part of the life of the new couple: health, fertility, longevity, happiness and wealth. Years ago they were thrown at the couples coming out of the church, but nowadays, they have been replaced by rice.
Rice is thrown at the bride and groom as they leave the Church or wedding hall. Little bags or containers full of rice, that become part of the decorative elements of the wedding, are prepared in advance to be distributed to the guests. This task is usually given to sisters, cousins or close friends.
This tradition symbolises the richness and abundance that relatives and friends wish for the new family that has just been created.
If you want to take the cue from one or more of these traditions and add it to your special wedding experience in Tuscany, we would be happy to work out the details.