Wedding Traditions in Italy

by K M

Wedding Traditions in Italy

Ancient architecture and breathtaking vineyards and countryside stand in stark contrast to the cosmopolitan and bustling cities in Italy. Despite many modern advances, Italy has retained many of its traditions. Find out what they are and how you can incorporate them into your modern-day wedding.

Wedding Traditions in Italy

Wedding Traditions in Italy

Pre-Wedding Traditions

A Sunday, preferably in June, is the optimum time for a wedding, as all other days of the week have been ruled out by Italian folklore.


Guests drape a ribbon at the church’s entrance to signify the spiritual ties of the couple. The bride and groom shatter glass or vase at the end of the ceremony; the number of pieces resulting is believed to equal the number of years the couple will be happily married. After the vows, the bride and groom are showered with sugarcoated almonds, a staple at Italian weddings.



The groom carries a piece of iron in his pocket to ward off evil spirits; the bride wears a garland to ensure fertility.


Reception Rituals

The custom of buste is practiced — guests give the bride envelopes of money, which she places in a boursa (satin bag). Crumbs of a piece of cake broken over the bride’s head are gathered up as good luck tokens. The couple releases a pair of white doves as they depart the reception. Guests are given small bags of sugarcoated almonds as wedding favors.


Food, Drink & Toasts

Women drink sweet wines (like Marsala) and men drink grappa (strong spirits) before food is served. The appetizer is a finger sampling of foods: peppers, olives, calamari, and salami. More than a dozen dishes follow including pasta, seafood, and meat dishes. Wanda (bow ties of fried dough dipped in powdered sugar) and confetti (sugar-covered almonds) are traditional wedding foods.


Starting Your Lives Together

Before the newlyweds depart the reception, guests decorate their car with colorful flowers.


Tips and Ideas for Incorporating Traditions Into Your Modern-Day Wedding

  • Mangia! Italian weddings, like Italian life, tend to revolve around food. We’re not ones to fix things that aren’t broke, but 12 dishes may be a bit much on the budget. Try selecting a few favorite family recipes and serving those instead!

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