Traditional Italian Weddings

Folded hands

If you've decided to have a traditional Italian wedding, there are many things you'll need to remember so you can make the affair as authentic as possible. From the ceremony to the reception, there are many ways you can incorporate Italian touches, even if you don't live in Italy.

Plan a Classic Italian Wedding

When planning a traditional Italian wedding, you will want to consider Italian traditions both new and old. By bringing in elements of both you can create an event that is both traditional yet uniquely yours.

The Proposal

A proposal with a diamond wedding ring has been considered the norm for Italian engagements for centuries. Following the proposal, the bride-to-be begins to amass what's called her trousseau, a collection of items for her future home and for her husband-to-be. In traditional Italian engagements, this often includes a dowry of money or jewels, as well.

Family Heritage

If one or both sides of the family are Italian, ask those that were married in Italy about their wedding gowns. It can very meaningful to wear a family member's gown and will only add to the tradition. Because veils are traditional, it's a good idea to ask about those too. In addition, it can be a fun walk down memory lane to revisit the weddings of family members through old photographs and stories. It's also a great way to get ideas for your own wedding.

Traditional Invitations

Another Italian custom is handwritten or engraved wedding invitations. To add a special touch, weave a few Italian words and phrases into the verbiage.

The Ceremony

Because so many Italians are Catholic, it's common to hold this type of religious wedding ceremony with a large mass in the morning hours. However, just because you aren't Catholic doesn't mean you can't incorporate some Italian tradition into your big day. Consider the following wedding day traditions:

  • Have a Sunday ceremony. Many Italians prefer to get married on Sunday later in the day after attending morning services.
  • Walk to the church. Some traditions have the bride and groom walking together to the chapel, symbolizing the marriage journey.
  • Tie it up with a bow. Another Italian tradition is to tie a wedding bow at the door of the chapel to represent the unity of bride and groom.

The Wedding Reception

Italian wedding receptions are generally a large affair with family and friends in attendance. There are several components to the actual reception, including the following:

  • Food: Italian receptions often include several courses. How many courses you have depends on how formal or informal you want the wedding to be. Formal dinners can have a dozen or more courses. Foods include bread and cheese, pastas, chicken or lamb entrees, desserts, and of course Italian wedding soup. Sugared almonds are a popular Italian wedding candy as well.
  • Entertainment: Traditional Italian weddings would include a band, preferably an Italian band that can play traditional wedding songs. Dancing is very popular at Italian weddings as well.
  • Decorations: Italian weddings vary when it comes to decorations, but generally flowers and ribbons are used abundantly in colors and styles based on the wishes of the bride or the bride's family.

Incorporate the Traditions You Love Best

There are many Italian traditions and personal touches that can be added to make your wedding an event to be remembered and cherished for all time. You don't have to incorporate them; just use the ones that will have the most meaning for ceremony.

Traditional Italian Weddings