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4 Fun and Sophisticated Italian Wedding Traditions

Wedding Reception
Are you planning a wedding with an Italian theme? Include both old and contemporary Italian traditions in your nuptial celebration to enhance your theme. For example, did you know that Italian brides used to wear green dresses before or during their weddings? You could wear a green brooch or emerald shoes with your white dress to carry on the tradition at your modern wedding.
Here are four other elegant Italian wedding traditions to incorporate on your special day.


1. The Rule of Bridal Decompression

After the wedding ceremony, a bride can be overwhelmed with emotion and exhaustion. Italian tradition allows the bride an hour to compose herself between the nuptials and her reception. Her attendants serve the bride cocktails and a few appetizers to refresh her energy.
There's no reason not to include the groom in the tradition. Or the groom can hang out with the guests as the crowd enjoys served appetizers and beverages before the meal.
While the bride has her refreshments, her attendants place a small satin purse at her waist. La borsa, as the bag is called, is part of the tradition of “buste.” Guests place envelopes of money in the buste purse to help the new couple begin their life together.

2. The Importance of Fish, Fruits, and Nuts

When choosing your menu for an Italian-themed wedding banquet, remember the Italian tradition of serving fresh and simple foods at marriage celebrations. In ancient Roman times, fish, fruits, and nuts were common wedding-reception menu items.
A simple ancient treat of honey-drizzled melon can be incorporated in a reception today by serving fresh cantaloupe and authentic prosciutto slices. Also serve shrimp, calamari, or other seafood for more Italian coastal flavor and taste.
A pastry-bedecked Venetian hour may be customary at some Italian weddings, but offering guests an array of figs, cheeses, pears, and walnut treats as a dessert course is just as classy and traditional.
If you serve a frosted wedding cake, have your baker add berries, almonds, grapes, and fresh mint to your cake. A fruit-and-nut-topped cake is a fruity, nutty twist on simple ancient desserts.

3. The Tradition of Five or Seven Almonds

Almonds are signs of fertility, happiness, good health, and prosperity. At Italian weddings, it's customary to be served or gifted candy-coated almonds. The almonds are covered in a crisp, smooth candy shell that may be colored white, pastel, or a specific color from the bridal theme.
Another common Italian custom is to wrap either five or seven candy almonds in tulle, netting, or other material secured with ribbon. Seven and five are lucky numbers to consume, and the confetti bomboniera — as the almond favors are called — are taken home and enjoyed in support of the couple's good fortune.

4. The Multitude of Toasts

A traditional Italian wedding provides multiple opportunities to toast the new couple, their parents, their ancestors, the priest, the guests, and anyone else who comes to mind. Learn a few Italian toasts to salute your newly betrothed and your other loved ones at an Italian wedding.
Some toasts and their meanings include:
  • Auguri — best wishes
  • Evviva gli sposi — hooray for the newlyweds
  • Per cent'anni — for one hundred years
  • Un bacio per la sposa — a kiss for the bride
Props to you if you clap while making the toast and upon hearing other toasts made. Remember to have guests throw lots of confetti (if it's allowed at your venue) to represent prosperity.
The Italian tradition of breaking a vase is no longer a standard after-ceremony superstition. In the past, guests counted the number of shattered vase pieces to forecast how many years of future wedded bliss the newlyweds would experience. Break a chocolate or candy vase instead if you want to carry on this fun — but messy — Italian wedding custom.
Thrill the guests at your wedding banquet with old and new menu favorites from Picano's Italian Grille. Serve up to 100 guests in our three private dining rooms, or have your reception fully catered at the site of your choice.