Same as in many cultures, the groom presents his bride with an engagement ring which signifies his decision to marry the woman he loves. The difference is that an Italian bride will not wear any gold jewelry until the wedding ceremony is over. The family of the bride collects everything required for the couple to start their new life together, which is a sort of dowry which would be very helpful to them.
Brides in Italy wear the traditional long white gown with the veil covering the face, which in some regions is torn to bring good luck to the couple. White is worn as a symbol of purity and it is unlucky for the groom to see the face of the bride before the wedding. Another custom handed down the ages is one where the bride wears a green outfit on the day before the wedding, green being the color of fertility.
In many villages the bride groom will walk with the bride and bridal retinue to the church passing many obstacles in their path. This is a very traditional custom where one of the items, a broom, is picked up by the bride to show her skills in household chores, comforting a crying child to signify her abilities in child care and another being giving alms to a beggar. But in some regions the groom waits holding the bride’s bouquet of flowers at the door of the church which is handed over to her when she arrives. The bride arrives last, while the groom waits anxiously and carries a piece of iron with him which is also a traditional symbol to ward off any misfortune that would prevent the bride from arriving at the church. Together they will enter the church and see the length of ribbon tied to the door of the church which is a symbol of their blessed union.
Once the church ceremony is over the new couple will make their way to the bridal car decorated with flowers, while the bridal couple is showered with confetti consisting of tiny tulle pouches filled with candy almonds as a symbol of the bitter-sweetness of married life. Ancient Romans however used to throw nuts and grains at the couple as was their custom.
Italians love their food and drink and no wedding celebration of theirs will be complete without a banquet of appetizers, soups, pastas, meat, fruit, salads and rich desserts, not to mention the wedding cake and wine flowing in abundance to get the revelers in the mood for dancing and making merry. Another quaint but unusual custom is to shatter a glass with the pieces it breaks into signifying the years the couple will be together. Traditional and beautiful, Italian wedding celebrations encompass the village community providing an opportunity for everyone to enjoy.