Good morning, hope you had a lovely weekend! I realised two things about Italian wedding traditions when researching this post. The first one was that you probably are familiar with most of them already, as they are common practice at weddings nowadays. The second is that their traditions vary depending on which region of Italy you happen to be in. That said, there are a few interesting ones which I had either not come across before, or else I had but didn’t know their origin story or that they started in Italy.
These are sometimes referred to as ‘Jordan Almonds’ or ‘confetti’- but not in the English sense of the word. Sugar coated almonds go back quite a while at Italian weddings. It is thought that the sweet coating around the slightly bitter taste of the almond is meant to represent the bittersweetness of life itself (or marriage!). They are given out as favours to guests in little tulle bags. I have also come across mention of the bride carrying a dish of them around after dinner when the couple are greeting guests, spooning out an odd number of them to each person as they go along to each table. It has to be an odd number as an even number would be unlucky. Martha Stewart Weddings shows you how to DIY the iridescent guest favour candy cones below.
This dance performed at traditional weddings is thought to have originated as a way to prevent the poison of a type of spider entering the system, in other words it was looked at as a ‘cure’ for the spider’s bite. A funny origination for a wedding custom- although some argue that the dance is named after a region of Italy, Taranto. This site has a description of the Tarantella dance steps.
Bride and Groom Etiquette
It is thought bad luck for a bride to wear any gold jewelry other than her wedding ring on the wedding day. Some Italian brides wear green on the evening before their wedding as it’s supposed to be a good omen and bring abundance and fertility to the impending marriage. In some parts of Italy, it is not uncommon for the groom to walk the bride and the whole wedding party to the church. In northern provinces sometimes the groom waits for the bride at the door of the church with her bouquet- in this case there is also a funny tradition whereby the groomsmen try to convince the groom as he waits that the bride has changed her mind and will not arrive at all. It is thought that the groom carrying a piece of iron in his pocket will prevent this, as well as staving off other misfortunes. A ribbon is tied across the door of the church to symbolize the couple’s harmony and to announce that the joyous event is taking place inside.
Italian weddings are serious about food. Wedding banquets can serve as many as fourteen courses and last for up to five hours. Of course included you will find many traditional Italian items such as prosciutto, olives, salami, breads, pasta, pestos, salami etc. Then there are a few items associated mainly with weddings such as ‘wanda’ (or ‘quanti’ in Italian) a type of sweet pastry cookie that sounds delicious and is found at southern Italian weddings. Here is a recipe for wanda in case you’d like to try it! Pizzelles, waffle-like sweet pastries, are also served.
Do you intend on incorporating any Italian traditions into your wedding?