Saturday, November 30, 2013
In an Italian family, no celebration is without food and wine. When you get invited to an Italian wedding, be prepared to eat and drink.
According to Italian tradition, when a man wants to ask a woman for her hand in marriage, the woman’s father must give the permission. This can be a daunting task for some men since a girl is her father’s princess. No man can ever be good enough to take her away from the family. The man must get the courage to do this in person, maybe over a meal or drink and openly advise the father of his feelings and intentions. The father then will see the commitment the man is willing to make and that he will be able to support his daughter and their future family. Once that obstacle is overcome, the man can prepare his proposal to put a diamond on the new bride to be.
The bride often prepares a “Hope Chest” as a young child in anticipation of future married life. The chest contains collected items, such as clothing/household linens and precious silvers. This tradition comes from the many wars fought in Italy, where families would carefully pack and hide previous items in fear that the enemies would invade their homes and steal their possessions.
The wedding ceremony is held in a Roman Catholic Church, however weddings never take place during Lent. No wedding ceremonies are held during the month of May as the month is set aside to worship the Virgin Mary. In addition, getting married in August is believed to be a sign of bad luck. The ceremony takes place on a Sunday since it is the luckiest day of the week. These days, however, more and more couples are getting married on Saturdays so they have one day of recovery after the party of the night before.
On the day of the wedding, a large ribbon is draped across the doorway of the church to let everyone know a joyous occasion is taking place. In the past, brides would wear a green gown as that symbolized fertility. Most brides these days opt for a white dress. It is tradition for guests to throw rice or paper confetti at the couple as they exit the church. Confetti represents good fortune and money, which is why it is thrown most at weddings. Another common tradition practiced in Italian weddings is the release of two doves to symbolize love and happiness.
The groom carries a piece of iron in his pocket to ward off the “evil eye”. It was believed that envy and jealously will destroy a couple’s happiness. Tearing a bride’s veil is believed to be a sign of good luck. After the wedding ceremony, the couple shatters a wine glass or vase. The number of broken pieces represents the number of years the couple will be happily married.
At the reception, the best part of the Italian wedding comes – the feast! No one leaves an Italian wedding hungry. There are about 7 courses in an Italian wedding meal: the antipasto, appetizers, soup, salad, meat, pasta, and dessert. No one will ever leave the wedding hungry.
With the joyous occasion taking place, Italians believe in celebrating and feasting with family and friends. Nothing is better than festive food and wine with the people you love - your 250 closest friends and family members.
Bill Giannos Photography