When getting married abroad it’s always nice to incorporate some of the local traditions into your wedding day. But it can be difficult to know where to start.
Here’s our handy guide to the various Italian wedding traditions you might want to weave into your wedding…
…before the Wedding Ceremony
Remove gold jewellery
…other than your wedding ring, of course. In some Italian regions, it’s believed that wearing any gold jewellery other than your wedding ring can bring bad luck.
No pre-wedding glimpses
The tradition of the groom not seeing the bride before the ceremony is almost universal, but in some Italian regions it’s taken further — the bride isn’t allowed to even see herself. Once they’re dressed and ready to go, they’re allowed to have a glimpse of their reflection (but only once she’s removed a glove or a shoe).
The groom buys flowers
Whilst the bride is allowed to choose the blooms and colour scheme, the groom must pay and ensure its safe delivery on the wedding day. In some of the Northern regions, the groom hands over the bouquet when his bride arrives at the church.
…at the Wedding Ceremony
Make your own luck
It’s custom for grooms to carry a small piece of iron in their suit pockets, and for brides to rip a small portion of the veil to invite good luck to the marriage.
No white dresses
…for guests, anyway. Even if the bride isn’t wearing a white dress, the guests still should avoid wearing the colour.
White hasn’t always been the colour of choice for brides either. In Tuscany, it could be a black dress with white hat, and in Venice brides would have two dresses — the more superior gown being reserved for the first dance.
Tailor your veil
A tradition in Southern Italy is that the length of veil should reflect the length of engagement; one metre for every year.
Get Married on a Sunday
Friday weddings are considered bad luck, whereas Sunday ceremonies are viewed as the luckiest day — bringing couples fertility and prosperity. Tuesday is also considered a bad day for weddings, as its believed couples married on this day will constantly fight.
…after the Ceremony
Break a glass
After the wedding ceremony, the couple break a glass vase — the number of fragments indicating the number of married years ahead.
Rice, rice, baby
Traditionally, when the newly married couple leave the church, guests throw rice at them to symbolise fertility.
Give sweet favours
The Italian word for wedding favours is ‘bomboniere’ — the small gift presented to guests as a thank you for attending. In Italy, the bomboniere is usually an odd number of sugared almonds. These used to be thrown at the couple as they left the church, but this has now been replaced by the more environmentally-friendly biodegradable confetti.
No, not with family. But rather the groom’s — at the reception. It’s cut into tiny pieces and sold to the wedding guests, with the proceeds contributing to the couple’s wedding expenses.
It’s customary for brides to carry a small satin bag for guests to place money in.
Traditionally, guests hold colourful paper streamers tied the the happy couple’s hands — so that they become entangled (representing good wishes, love and luck for their future).
Dance the tarantula
Fortunately, not the eight-legged kind, but rather a traditional Italian dance called ‘La Tarantella’ — guests hold hands in a circle and move clockwise as the musics speeds up, before reversing the same motions.
During the reception, friends of the bride and group sneak away to play practical jokes — either in the new couple’s house, hotel room or car. If none of these are feasible, they plan them for the future.