Italian wedding traditions vary even from region to region. Traditions that might be celebrated in Lazio may never even have been experienced in Lombardia. Here are some of the most popular and common ones:
In other western traditions the bride usually carries four items for good luck; something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. In Italy, however, the bride carries a fifth item, a gift given to her by a friend or a member of the family.
After the wedding ceremony, the married couple travel in their car through villages to the wedding reception. The wedding guests follow in their cars which often have ribbons tied to the car antenna and honk continuously as they pass through towns. This is to announce joyously the union of the couple.
The wedding reception consists of an ‘aperitivo di benvenuto’ (welcome aperitif) which includes canapés. This buffet can be quite ‘abbondante’ (abundant – plenty of choices) with alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Next are courses served at the table starting around three and finishing at up to ten o’clock. These dishes include hors d’oeuvres; first courses (usually two dishes, which are based on pasta or rice); second courses (based on fish and/or meat); sometimes there is a cheese buffet with a wide range of cheeses from different Italian regions and of course local ones; a fruit buffet with a chocolate fountain; a traditional dessert (dolce) or selection of dessert mignon. Then the highlight of cutting the wedding cake and a toast to the married couple. To finish the dinner, coffee, accompanied by ‘digestivi’ (after-dinner liquors). And then dance the night away!
Another Italian tradition is cutting the groom’s tie into little pieces. In Italy this is often done by the groom’s best man or friends and sold to the attending wedding guests. The money is an extra ‘surprise’ gift for the newlyweds.
Guests start to chant ‘Bacio! Bacio!’ This is to urge the newlyweds to kiss each other. The guests continue to chant until they are pleased with the length of the kiss, at which point they cheer and clap. Quite often the couple is encouraged to stand on a chair or in other strange places and positions to kiss each other. This happens many times throughout the party.
Favours are known in Italian as ‘confetti’ and these are normally sugared almonds wrapped in elegant fabric. Traditionally the new couple will give guests five sugared almonds to signify; health, long life, fertility, happiness and wealth. They can be given at various occasions, depending on which Italian region you are. In Veneto the confetti are in most cases, delivered personally to friends and family members together with the wedding invitations. In other Italian regions they are displayed on the wedding guests table in porcelain ornaments or decorated with little flowers.
Traditional Italian weddings see the married couple give their guests ‘bomboniere’ at the end of the wedding day, which are little presents thanking the guests for their company and gifts. Bomboniere offers numerous possibilities and are subject to many creative ideas. Bestweddingaway have some bomboniere suggestions, please see our online shop for further details on bomboniere . Other gift ideas locally available in shops include figurines made of Venetian glass, wine aerators for wine, mini clocks and many more presents. Do you know more about Italian traditions and are you willing to share them with us? Please let us know and go to our discussion page on Facebook and stir up the conversation.