All over the world, each wedding is full of meaningful traditions, these are the most popular in Italy.
If you are thinking about getting married in Italy, you might be curious about some of the Italian rituals: these could be substantially different between a region and another, as they are based on culture and local history. Some have ancient origins and can also be found in other countries: this is a sign of a common culture bringing together territories that are thousands of miles away from each other.
There are some symbols and tokens that have been passed down for generations: marriage is universally considered a very special moment, with many small gestures and rituals to be respected. While for some people these traditions have a deep meaning and must be respected, others are less attached and consider them a simple curiosity.
The rituals that became traditions around the wedding day have grown over the centuries to ensure a happy, long, prosperous and peaceful marriage for betrothed couples. Some of these well-known gestures are related to the bride: she is the queen of the big day. Let’s see them together.
According to tradition, the bride must wear 5 objects with defined features, to draw a link with her past and to ensure a happy new start, these are:
- Something old. A thread that ties the future wife to her past, in a moment meant to link present to future, which goes beyond the wedding day. On the wedding day, the bride should wear a gifted item, which can also be something precious, like a jewel or a headpiece.
- Something new. An object symbolizing the new life that starts on the wedding day, the beginning of a life journey different from the one lived before that moment. This sign may be the wedding dress or a jewel that will be worn for the first time on the wedding day.
- Something borrowed. Whoever loves us is at our side and supports us. For this reason, the bride should also have a symbol on her wedding day, an object borrowed from a loved one, a maid of honor or bridesmaid, a close friend or a close relative.
- Something blue. Blue symbolizes purity and simplicity. Blue is a color traditionally associated with fidelity and is often found in a garment ribbon worn by the bride or in a blue ribbon sewn in a hidden part of the bridal gown.
- A gift. A gift represents affection. The sign of someone thinking about us and our happiness. A jewel, a personal item or a wedding accessory will be the perfect choice for this occasion.
There are other important signs related to traditions that should be respected on the wedding day.
The bouquet is chosen by the bride, who selects flowers, shape and colors to coordinate it with her dress, but it is given by the groom. On the morning of the wedding day the bouquet is delivered to the bride as a final gift by her betrothed, who will shortly become her groom for life. At the end of the ceremony, the bouquet is launched by the bride towards a group of unmarried girls, as a sign of bond and continuity. According to tradition, the girl who receives the bouquet will be the next to get married.
All eyes will be on the bride on the big day. From her entrance in the church or town hall, the beginning of the ceremony is a mix of emotions: curiosity, amazement, revelation. The wedding dress should be a surprise for the groom: according to tradition the groom should not see the wedding dress before the ceremony. On the wedding day, even the bride should not look at herself in the mirror while she is wearing the dress, or she may only do so if she takes off an accessory like a shoe, an earring or a glove.
Precious figures on the wedding day, the guests complete the big day, because they surround with their affection the new couple united in marriage. On the wedding day, guests are expected to avoid wearing white in order not to outshine the figure of the bride, the queen of the day, who usually chooses the color white for the wedding dress.
Sugar Coated Almonds
These traditional wedding favors are called confetti in Italian. Classic confetti are simple, sugar covered almonds, symbolizing the bitter and sweet to come. Today there are many varieties of confetti, available in different shapes and tastes. From classic dark chocolate and white chocolate to richer flavors such as creams or fresh like fruit. The confetti are placed inside the bomboniera, a candy box or pouch given by the spouses as a token to the guests. Confetti are always an odd number, usually 5, to symbolize the 5 essential qualities of marital life: health, prosperity, happiness, fertility and longevity.
Marrying in Italy for a foreign couple means knowing some of the most popular traditions that are associated with the big day. A journey to discover the Italian culture, rich of traditions and history, to allow you to be guided and embraced by an authentic festive atmosphere.
Image Credits: Cinzia Bruschini ©, David Bastianoni ©, Cristiano Ostinelli ©, Carlo Carletti ©, infraordinario studio ©, Cristiano Ostinelli ©.