Many cultures around the world practice some variation of a bridal garter tradition. According to Italy Magazine it dates back to the 14th century and is said to bring good luck. In the U.S. the groom removes the garter and tosses it to a group of bachelors, lined up at the event. The one who catches it is said to be the next to wed. In Italy the garter is torn to pieces and given out to guests. If the bride is found garter-less her right shoe is removed and thrown.
In Italy there is also a tradition surrounding the groom’s tie that is similar to the garter. Before sitting down to eat his tie is removed, cut into pieces, and given to male guests who offer the newlyweds a cash contribution for it.
Pretty much everywhere in the world the groom is not supposed to see the bride before the wedding day. There is nothing new there. The unique part in Italy is that in some parts the bride cannot even look at herself. Some other superstitions include the bride staying at her parents home as well as not wearing gold jewelry on the wedding day - the wedding ring is the only gold allowed. Brides practice the old, new, borrowed, and blue tradition, but green is also a color that is thought to bring luck.
Selecting a wedding date takes careful consideration in the Italian culture. By and large Sunday is thought to bring the best luck when it comes to fertility and prosperity. You don’t often seen Friday weddings because it is said to be the day that evil spirits are created, so it brings bad luck.
Italian wedding tradition dictates that the bride and groom exit the church after their guests. In many cultures the bride and groom are the first in the recessional. We do this in Italy because as the newlyweds exit the church or ceremony location their guests shower them with rice or confetti. It is also common to release a duo of doves after the wedding to signify love and happiness.
Confetti is a popular tradition adopted by destination wedding couples. They all love the photos with confetti raining down on them in celebration.
In most cultures the couple gives guests a wedding favor as a memento of the day. Today more and more couples are doing things that are personalized to their style and personality. But, in Italy it’s traditional to give guests sugared almonds called confetti. The confetti are packaged in lace and ribbon ("bomboniera") with a specific number of almonds symbol of luck and prosperity. Generally an odd numbers - like five or seven - because they are lucky in Italy. For example 5 confetti are symbol of fertility, long life, health, richness and happiness.
Food and wine are a cornerstone of Italian wedding traditions. It is such an integral part of the culture in general that it naturally has a primary emphasis at an Italian wedding reception. Receptions here tend to be quite lavish starting with the traditional Aperitivo. For western society it is similar to cocktail hour, but with a great deal more food. After aperitivo the full meal is served, which generally includes primo - often two or more pasta dishes, then secondo of a main meat dish and sides.
For dessert Italian brides have adopted the American and English tradition of a grand tiered wedding cake. They have also started creating an Italian version of a ‘candy bar’ with a table of different flavored sugar almonds called 'confettata', spread out among candles, flowers, cages, and other decor.
In Italy guests used to yell “Bacio! Bacio!” (Kiss! Kiss! in italian) and clink their wine glasses with silverware until the newlyweds would kiss. It’s fun for the guests to interact with the couple and they often enjoy distracting them from their meal. Today, guests also yell, "Evviva gli sposi", which translates to "hurray for the newlyweds”, which used to be primarily shouted during the recessional after the ceremony as the guests threw confetti and petals on the newlyweds.
Incorporating Italian wedding traditions into destinations weddings is a fun way to localize your wedding to the area. Have some fun with it!
Evviva gli sposi!
See how some Extraordinary Wedding couples have incorporated Italian Tradition into their wedding celebration:
Real Wedding: For Love & Wine http://www.extraordinaryweddings.com/en/blog/real-wedding-for-love-and-wine.html
Real Wedding: Pop the Prosecco http://www.extraordinaryweddings.com/en/blog/real-wedding-pop-the-prosecco.html