Italian Weddings Now and Then

Italian weddings include numerous traditions. There are many local traditions too.

When talking of a wedding day even smallest details counts. Some Italians believed that there are good days for the wedding and those less appropriate ones. Sunday was believed to be a very good day. Everyone avoided Friday and Tuesday. Both days were related to bad things in life. Nowadays most couples get married on Saturday.

Months for the wedding ceremony also have certain rules. Weddings are usually not held during Lent and Advent. Some avoid May as it is dedicated to the festivities held across the country in honour of Virgin Mary. Once there was a belief which stated that the bad month for weddings is August.

A bride used to spent a day before her wedding with her parents. She was supposed to wear green clothes as it was considered lucky.

A variation to this tradition says that a bride should not see a groom on the wedding day. It exists in some parts of Italy. There a bride should not even see herself wearing her wedding dress in the mirror. There is an exception with a slight twist. She can do it but she should not wear her shoes or a glove.

A bride's dress is white like in many other countries. Still in the past brides in the province of Tuscany wore a black dress, white cap and carried a fan.

A bride's veil has its symbolism too. In the south of the country its length is related to the time the couple spent as engaged. For example, an 1 metre long veil means that the couple was engaged for a year.

Some believe that it is lucky to have a veil that used to belong to a woman who is happily married.

A bride carries a flower bouquet. Traditionally it is paid by the groom. Still a bride can choose what flowers will be included. In the north of the country a groom gives this bouquet to a bride in front of the church.

Across the church door there is a tied ribbon. This a sign that there is a wedding ceremony going on inside the church.

When the happy couple gets out of the church lot of rice or "coriandoli" (tiny pieces of paper) are thrown at them. Coriandoli symoblize wealth, prosperous life. So, throwing large quantities is a must.

There is yet another tradition held then. A pair of doves is released. Doves are symbols of love and happiness.

A wedding (nozze in Italian) is a very important matter so Italians do some unusual things just to be on the safe side. Several things are done for good luck. A bride cuts her veil a bit. She should also wear a garter.

At the wedding reception a garter is traditionally removed by the groom and cut into small pieces which are shared among people at the wedding reception. There is an exception if the bride has no garter she will take off her right shoe and throw it away.

On the wedding day a bride should not wear any gold jewellery apart from her wedding ring. A groom used to carry a small iron object ("toc ferro") to protect himself from evil spirits.

"Buste" is the name of tradition held at the wedding reception. A bride carries a special bag known as la borsa. People gathered at the reception put envelopes with some money in this bag. Sometimes men who put the envelope get the special prize which is a dance with the bride.

According to an old tradition a groom's tie is cut into small pieces. They are offered to the present men who pay some money for each piece. The collected money is given to the happy couple.

Being happy in life together is the most important thing. Italian couples used to break a glass or a vase and then counted the broken pieces. Each piece means a year of happiness.

The most famous of all dances at the Italian weddings is definitely La Tarantella. This fast folk dance is originally from the southern Italian region of Apulia (Puglia in Italian). The melody for this dance is traditionally performed by musicians playing a mandolin, an accordion, a guitar and some tambourines.


People present at the wedding reception traditionally get a small bag of "confetti". Confetti are sugared almonds. Each person should get an odd number of almonds. Usually 5 or 7 almonds are given. Confetti symbolize happy and prosperous life.

Confetti offered at weddings are white. Confetti are also served at the wedding anniversary celebrations. They differ in colour - beige (15th anniversary), yellow (20th anniversary), silver (25th anniversary), aquamarine (30th anniversary), blue (35th anniversary), green (40th anniversary), gold (50th anniversary), ivory (55th anniversary), white (60th anniversary).


Italian Wedding Traditions and Superstitions

Italian Wedding Traditions

Margie Longano Miklas, Italian Wedding Traditions, Yesterday and

Anika Logan, Traditional Italian Wedding

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