Wednesday, 30 July 2014


According to Italian traditional marriage, when a man wanted to ask for a woman’s hand in marriage, he had to speak to the bride-to-be’s father. Once the father agreed and both the families were fine with it, presents of acceptance between families were exchanged. These could be home items and so on. It was customary for the prospective groom to place a diamond ring on his bride-to-be’s middle finger before the engagement was announced and later on after doing a small engagement party a wedding date is set, though they were not to marry in the month of May and August. Since the month of May was dedicated to Virgin Mary because all Italians belong to Catholic Church. August instead was considered to be the month of sickness and bad luck. Most couples were getting married on Sundays as it was considered a lucky day.

During the wedding day a white ribbon above the church entrance was tied. this shows that a union was taking place in the church. The bride and the groom to be used to walk towards the altar together symbolizing the journey of marriage.

In those days the brides were to wear green gowns symbolizing fertility or a long white handmade gown. Neither the bride nor the groom was to buy wedding rings. It was to be bought by the wedding testimony couples as a gift and a sign of commitment to the new couple, also there was no dowry payment but both families of the groom and bride divided the wedding ceremony expenses equally. This is carried out up to today.

After exchanging vows as the bride and the groom walk outside the church door, rice was thrown to the newly wedded couple as a sign of prosperity both in wealth and children. It is also kept till now. After taking some photos in the church, doves were released as a symbol of love and happiness. The doves could be bought by either friends of the wedded couple or family relatives. Then they all headed to the reception which was to be in a restaurant, never in the open air. Once through with the eating and some show dances, a toast had to be made. No wedding could be without a toast; they were to do so with a half filled cup of white wine. They then used to toast “Hurray for the newlyweds!” (Evviva gli sposi).

Presents were then given to the newlyweds by members of the family and friends. The bride’s family used to give towels, bed sheets, pillows and bed covers,  they were to be all in white as a sign of marriage and beginning of new life together. A golden necklace was given by the groom’s family to the bride as a sign of acceptance. This brought the end of the ceremony. As the guests walked out the groom and the bride gave each of them confetti. These are packed sweet-like colour white put in a small silk cloth together with some coins – sign of richness, rice-sign of many children and a ceramic small angel –sign of God’s love and protection.

This was given as a thanksgiving to the ones who attended the wedding and their beginning of a new life as a couple. Up to today some of these traditions are still kept.

Story Prepared By:
Elisa D’Andrea

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