There is just something so romantic about Italy. It is the wine, the food, the ambience, and above all, the warmth and passion of the Italians. Having a destination wedding in Italy would be truly incredible. But even if you cannot transport your wedding to the Tuscan countryside, you can bring some of the exuberant spirit of an Italian wedding home.
Weddings are a very big deal in Italy. They are about more than just the marriage of one man and one woman; weddings are also the union of two families and all of their friends. This is a cause for great celebration! Italian weddings often start with a Nuptial Mass in the morning, followed by feasting, drinking, and dancing that can last well into the next day. (Tip: if you are having a full Catholic Nuptial Mass, it should be indicated on your invitations.)
Speaking of feasting, food is of paramount importance for any Italian special occasion. Food has strong associations with family and togetherness in Italy, so of course at a wedding reception, everyone will want to mange. The wedding dinner often consists of up to fourteen courses, followed by cake with espresso and coffee (to aid in dancing until dawn, no doubt). Whether your wedding is in the United States or in Italy, treat your guests to a proper Italian wedding feast. If your wedding is in America, a wonderful way to honor your Italian ancestry would be to serve the dishes that are the specialty of the region from which your family hails. Skip generic Italian-American dishes in favor of true authentic Italian cuisine.
The Italians have some very charming pre-wedding traditions that any American bride would love. It is customary for a young man to serenade his beloved with music before proposing marriage (if he is tone deaf, he can bring along friends to help out). How romantic is that? Also incredibly romantic is the reason that Italians give diamond engagement rings: they believe that diamonds are created by the flames of love. Ladies, are you swooning yet?
As with any wedding, la sposa (the bride) is the center of the day. The wedding gown is very important to Italian brides, and they have a great variety from which to choose. Traditional long sleeve gowns are still seen for Nuptial Masses, but so are all manner of gowns from modern to fanciful. Simplicity is valued by some brides, but many love the fine laces and embellishments that are offered by designers. Since Italian lace is some of the finest in the world, it would be perfect for an Italian wedding gown. Veils are usually worn, as they were once thought to protect the bride from evil spirits. Italian women love jewelry, but there is a superstition that says a bride should not wear any gold on her wedding day until the groom gives her the wedding band. To play it safe, choose custom bridal jewelry handcrafted with sterling silver. Sparkling Swarovski crystals and lustrous pearls can be intertwined with the sterling silver to create fabulous custom bridal jewelry that is both unique and affordable.
The Italians have many other delightful customs that you can include in your wedding. One fun tradition is for the couple to shatter a vase or glass at the end of the evening. It is said that for every shard of glass, the newlyweds will have a year of happiness. The Romans would break a loaf of wheat bread over the bride and groom for fertility. For good luck, the guests ate the crumbs. Another good luck charm used by Italians is a piece of iron that the groom carries in his pocket to drive away jealous evil spirits.
For couples who have Italian heritage, highlighting the wedding customs of Italy is a very special way to honor your relatives while personalizing your event. Even if you do not have a single drop of Italian blood, it would be fun to include some of the joyous spirit of the Italians in your wedding festivities. And don’t forget to raise a glass to the favorite Italian wedding toast, “Per cent’anni!” (for a hundred years).