Getting hitched in Italy is as joyous an occasion as it is in the UK, if not more. A day filled with laughter, tears, and the people we love, Italian weddings, just like ours, are naturally coupled with the finest food, wine, and gifts one can offer. So should you be planning a wedding in Italy, soon to attend one, or just want to bring a little mediterranean style to a your big day, we’ve put together a quick guide to our favourite Italian wedding traditions.
In some regions it is quite common for the fiancé to serenade his fiancée the night before the wedding – think Romeo & Juliet. The soon-to-be husband will traditionally sing romantic songs accompanied by musicians outside his in-law’s apartment where his bride will be staying and she will appear on the balcony! The serenata is normally followed by a party with lots of food and wine!
On the day of the wedding the guests wait outside the church for the bride to arrive and then follow her inside. The groom will already be inside with his best man sometimes to be found with a small piece of iron in his pocket to ward off evil spirits and bad luck!
Should a wedding ring be dropped during the ceremony the bride and groom must never be the ones to pick it up for fear of bad fortune.
After the ceremony the guests file out of the church to welcome the bride and groom. It’s customary to throw rice at the couple as they exit the church to symbolize fertility.
This is when the cutting of the tie takes place! The groom’s tie is cut into small pieces and the guests offer money to buy a piece as a keepsake of the occasion!
Naturally as with any Italian ‘festa’ food is of the utmost importance with the number of courses ranging from 5 to 15! Aperitives and fizz will probably be served to begin (and are usually enough to keep you going for the rest of the day), and the main meal will be a looooong, noisy, sit down affair. There are usually two ‘primi’ – a pasta dish and a risotto, two ‘secondi’, normally meat with an array of vegetables and potatoes, and then often a huge table of desserts to help yourself to, washed down with coffee and liquers of course.
As the guests depart they are each given a wedding favours or ‘Bonbonniere’. This is a small gift chosen by the bride and groom along with a card with the date of the wedding and the names of the ‘sposi’ (newly weds). The bombonniere will also contain the traditional sugared almonds or ‘Confetti’. The almonds are usually coated in white sugar and the amount given must always be an odd number, given that a marriage is always of two people!
The tradition of la busta (the envelope) is widespread across Italy, but particularly common in the south. An envelope of money (normally equivalent to at least the cost the number of your party invited) is the main gift given to the newly weds. The offering of money is considered the best option as guests don’t have to worry about getting the right gift and those tying the knot don’t receive things that aren’t to their taste or that they already have.
If you are due to attend a wedding and are not so keen on giving an envelope there are of course many other options if you’d like to gift something with a little more personality to your loved ones. Whether the wedding is in Italy, Italian-themed or if your hosts are just fans of great food and wine, what could be better than a beautiful hamper filled to the brim with the finest Italian products from a wide range of regions? Our ‘Mr & Mrs’ Deluxe Wedding Hamper boasts an award winning, organic Chianti from the vineyards of Florence, handmade pasta, chocolate figs, and much, much more for the just married couple to enjoy when they get home – or even on their honeymoon if they can’t wait that long!