If you are planning a wedding in Italy or if you have been invited to an Italian wedding, there are some Italian traditions you should be aware of or which you may like to integrate into the big day.

Confetti and favors

Confetti is internationally known as coloured paper thrown at the bride and groom but confetti in Italy means sugar-coated almonds that are displayed on a sweet table after the dinner.

Five of these sweets are also wrapped in sheer fabric and given to guests at the end of the night as a thank you. The five sweets in the bomboniera, as it is called, symbolise health, wealth, long life, fertility and happiness and should always be given in an odd number so that the couple cannot be divided in two. These were the original ‘wedding favors’ that became popular internationally.

The serenade

The night before the wedding, the groom with some musicians serenades the bride under her bedroom window, with friends and family in tow. It’s kept as a surprise for the bride but usually turns into a festive evening.

The bouquet

The groom buys the bride’s bouquet; she can choose the preferred arrangement but he must pay the bill. In some parts of Italy it is customary for the groom to wait outside the church to give the bouquet to the bride before he takes his place at the top of the aisle or walks with her into the church.

La borsa

You won’t see guests bringing a toaster or something from a gift registry in Italy; it’s cash all the way! So much so that the bride carries a satin bag (la borsa) which guests put envelopes of cash into. Some brides wear a bag around their neck which male guests pay into to have a dance with the bride.

And that is not the end of the cash contributions. At the reception, the groom’s tie is cut into many pieces and sold from a tray to the wedding guests by his groomsmen. The money made is given to the couple to cover the expenses of the wedding.

After the ceremony

After the church ceremony the couple are showered with rice to symbolise fertility (just be sure it is the uncooked version). The couple traditionally walks to the reception led by musicians and followed by their guests.

No looking

While it is traditional for the groom not to see the bride before she arrives at for the ceremony, it is also considered unlucky for the bride to look at herself fully ready in a mirror before the wedding. Remove a shoe or earring before taking a peak.

The garter

The Italian tradition of the groom removing the garter from his bride’s leg and throwing it to the wedding guests has spread through the western world. However, in Italy if the bride is not wearing a garter, her right shoe is thrown instead – this hasn’t quite caught on elsewhere!