As you may or may not know, I’m part Italian. Oh, you didn’t guess that? Xochitl Gonzalez didn’t strike you as Italian? LOL. Statistically, it probably only accounts for about 1/4 of my makeup, but culturally there are about 50 Lubrano descendants in Brooklyn and beyond who I have shared a wealth of Sunday dinners with involving boatloads of pasta and somebody’s homemade wine. So, today, while simultaneously preparing my Sausage and Pepper run to the San Gennaro Feast and reading the paper, I was particularly intrigued when I saw this story about Italian Americans dealing with discrimination in the CUNY (City University of New York). Anyway, I realized that we have written about wedding traditions from all over the world, but we really haven’t ever written much about Italian wedding traditions. I think these are some fabulous small details that, if you are Italian-American, or marrying an Italian, are wonderful to incorporate into your wedding day. They are subtle, lovely nods to culture that extends beyond cuisine. Many of these traditions have died out over the years, but I think they are delightful, symbolic touches to add to your day.
1. Green at your rehearsal dinner. Wearing green the night before your wedding is considered the ultimate in good luck charms, so plan your outfit accordingly.
2. This one CLEARLY dates back to the “old country”, where the groom should “pick the bride up” at her house and walk to the church with her. Barring that from reality, the groom should actually wait outside of the church (or in modern day, ceremony site) for his intended and have their first greeting BEFORE the ceremony.
3. DECORATING THE CHURCH. An old, longstanding tradition is to tie the doors to the ceremony location with a large ribbon symbolizing the uniting of the couple… obviously, this presents a few challenges when it’s actually time to go inside!
3. FAVORS. I can’t COUNT how many times on this blog (and to our clients) I have spoken against favors. HOWEVER, they are in fact a long standing Italian tradition… Though, it didn’t involve ugly knick knacks, just “confetti” (those sugar covered almonds) which are meant to represent good luck.
4. CALLING FOR KISSING. Funny how what I thought was just something annoying that my family did at wedding receptions is actually a VERY long standing tradition- guests SHOULD feel welcome to call out for the couple to kiss. Sometimes in the past we have actually gotten bells to place on tables to avoid the screaming of “Kiss, Kiss”, but, now that I know it’s a time honored tradition, I’ll be more patient. And of course, toasting with “100 years!” or “Per Cent’anni” is a must!
and finally… (and this one was a mystery to me!)
5. BREAKING A GLASS. Not during the ceremony, but during the reception. The number of pieces is supposed to represent the number of fabulous years together!