5 Unique Italian Wedding Traditions

I wish that I had incorporated more Italian wedding traditions into my own wedding day. That is because so much of my relationship has to do with Italy. Jimmy and I met in Rome, dated in Rome, and still live in Rome – but we got married in Ireland.

But Italian wedding traditions are easy to incorporate wherever you plan to get married.

For that reason, I am thrilled to have a guest post by Monica, the founder of Italy destination wedding companies Rome on Demand and Weddings on Demand. So without further ado – here’s to your happy planning!


Traditions are a very important part of the Italian culture and of course, weddings have their own. Brides often ask us to tell them something about Italian wedding traditions, both because they are curious or because they are tempted to borrow some of them to add to their wedding experience.

Although wedding traditions vary from region to region, most of them are quite rooted in Italian culture and heritage.

Here is a list of the top 5 Italian wedding traditions to not miss out on:

La serenata

The night before the wedding there is the custom for the groom to arrange a serenade under the window of his bride. Often family and friends are informed of the serenade to come, but have to keep the secret with the bride. The groom meets up with musicians under the balcony or window of the bride and starts singing along with them to wake the bride up. The serenade is considered to be a very festive moment, prior to the important day of the wedding in which both families reunite and celebrate with a rich buffet and music.

wedding tradition in Rome

Confetti & Bomboniere

Confetti are internationally known as the colored paper shapes that are thrown at the bride and groom at the end of their wedding ceremony. Here in Italy confetti are sugar-coated almonds, that come in many different colors, and that generally are displayed on a sweet table at the end of the wedding dinner. The confetti form part of a bomboniera, which is the gift traditionally given to guests as a thank you. The bomboniera is also given at communions and christenings and can be compared to the wedding favours used in other parts of the world. The bomboniera represents the symbol of the family life, a wedding tradition which dates back to the Romans who used confetti to celebrate unions and births.

The bride’s dress

The wedding dress has superstitions of all kinds, the main one is that the bride should not look into a mirror with the wedding dress on her wedding day.  And if she really wants to has to first remove a shoe, an earring or a glove.

At the wedding, all guests should avoid using the white color for their clothing because the bride should be the only one wearing it.

The bridal bouquet 

In Italy, traditionally, it is the groom’s job to supply the bridal bouquet. This is considered to be his final gift to his girlfriend before she becomes his wife. The bride may choose the floral arrangement she wants, but it is the groom who must pay the bill and make sure it is delivered to his intended.

La giarrettiera

In some regions, especially in the southern part of Italy, it is a tradition for the bride to wear a garter. The garter dates back to the 14th century when it was thought that wearing the wisp of lace would bring the Bride good luck. In Italy, the garter is taken off by the groom, in a special moment at the end of the wedding dinner and thrown to the wedding guests. If it’s found out that the Bride isn’t wearing a garter, her right shoe is taken off her and thrown!

Are there any other Italian wedding traditions that you included (or plan to include) on your big day?

Many thanks again to Monica for her expert insight. Monica is the CEO and Founder of an Italy-based wedding planning company Weddings on Demand, as well as the new Rome-focused Rome on Demand boutique planning agency.  Visit the sites for more information about their Italy destination wedding services run by English mother tongue professionals.


19 thoughts on “5 Unique Italian Wedding Traditions

  1. dena says:

    I married an Italian , and at our wedding , when leaving the church some threw rice, but an Italian custom is that some threw coins, ( mostly dimes , pennies and nickels,) someone picks up the money ( children works best) and puts in bag and gives to bride and groom , coins are to be kept forever , for luck .( meaning that you will forever be rich, and have money). I kept them for the longest and one day , got robbed and my little baggie of coins were stolen , even with the bag marked from wedding day on it. We were blessed with 6 children so we were forever rich.

  2. Bernadette says:

    There are so many! Grooms carry a piece of iron in their pockets to ward off evil, neither the groom or the bride are permitted to wear gold jewelry—only the wedding rings which will be exchanged during the ceremony, the bride carries a bag—the buste—into which the guests place their gifts of money. Evviva gli sposi e per cent’anni!

      • Barbara says:

        We also had at my wedding, a dollar buys a dance with the Bride, which is also placed in the Satin Bag along with the cards with money. Lol…my husband was not Italian and loved when we got to the hotel, he had a blast counting all the money, back in 1970 we made $ 2,000.

  3. F*cking Bitchy Bride w/ BS to worry about. says:

    My fiancé and I are marrying next June. He’s Sicilian and I’m from Fruili and Basilicata.
    My fiancé’s family who accept me as one of their own, refuse to pay for their guests at our wedding shower? That doesn’t fly with me. Allo, we’re Canadian, 2nd generation. And it’s 2019. Not 1940. The money isn’t even for just me, it’s for my fiancé and I for our wedding. Just saying. I hate being a bitchy bride but I told my mother that if they don’t pay for his 30 guests at the shower, his families NOT coming to the shower. Simple. His sister who is my 2nd MOH and is opinionated as fuck. And she WILL NOT BE INVITED. WTF is the Sicilian “tradition”. Because I refuse to believe in that shit. He is marrying me, a human. I’m not cattle that my parents are trying to get rid of . Therefore the money accumulated would be OURS! For the wedding or honeymoon or to fuck with as we please.

    • Lisa says:

      I’m no where close to getting married( still in my early 20s). But, in my family we would have a very few people to invite that are family.lol. We don’t like any of our cousins/aunts/uncles. . But, my brother is dating someone from a VERY large family with 2 other siblings and then ZILLIONS of cousins/aunts/uncles.My brother since dating her always has to go to events for her family-birthdays/weddings/baby showers/family vacations ( I think she is just a selfish girl because he is not in the best place finance wise/job wise yet she expects him to travel all over from her family events . and she is a decade younger than him and really wants to get married but he is not financially there now. She pressured him to move in with him and he is 38 and probably desperate at having a family when everyone else he knows is married. He has a habit of dating crazy people lol. the last one wanted a promise ring like after 8 months haha) Anywho, my mom always jokes that the girls family should pay for everything when they get married because my brother would have like 3 family members to invite only and then under 20 friends probably. But, i think that in general people should pay for the guests they invite you know. It’s just sensible and fair. I mean I don’t know how weddings work and who pays for what.
      on a random note we are italian americans but i hope to incorporate some italian traditions whenever i get married.:)

    • Barbara says:

      You’re not just marrying your fiance, but also his family and he yours. Usually people pay their own way unless they’re millionaires. I had relatives come to mine and my aunts, uncles, grandmother and cousins got to my wedding on their own dollar including their hotel. So settle down before you cause detrimental damage, not just to your wedding but your marriage and family relationships.

  4. shelli says:

    Your lucky that you have a big family! My Mama and Papa past away last year 5weeks from each other. Which they only will watch from the heavens of me getting married in March.
    I think its okay, families don’t get on! and just accept it. Life is too short and live for each other and the moment. If your marring into a traditional Italia family you should respect their ways are your man respecting yours family. My Mama was Italian but father was English and he converted into a Catholic faith not because he wanted to but the pure love for my Mama. Reason being on why they couldnt live without each other from their last breathe.

    Have you considered your man feelings and asked him? Hope it all works out I would love to meet your family BTW! Ciao, Amore xxx

  5. Lisa says:

    What a lovely article! I am italian-american and hope one day to incorporate some italian traditions whenever i get married( which is a long time from now haha).
    The only one that doesn’t sit right with me is the one where they give the bride money in a bag or something to dance with the bride. My mom did’t want that at her wedding, because she felt that was a bit tacky. I think doing that in Italy where it’s common has a different feel to it then doing it in the US. One day though i love to get married in Italy or England.

  6. Marion Bale says:

    Hi there, great article. I have a question though. I have my wedding planned for a few months from now. I guess the coronavirus is spreading fast though. Do you think it’s smart to just stay the course or should I plan for a new date?

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Marion, I have written about the coronavirus in Rome and linked to all the official data/sources for info to keep you updated as you make your decision. So much can change in a couple of months. Congrats on your wedding!

    • AngieG says:

      I hope that you were able to hold your wedding on a safe date and am so sorry that this pandemic has added stress to brides. We have our wedding planned for May 2021 and are hoping we are able to travel in from the US and keep our date.
      Also, we definitely hired Monica and Weddings on Demand after seeing the company here. <3

  7. Sameer Dal says:

    Natalie, thank you for sharing this beautiful post. I really liked the idea of the serenade. I think there should be such occasions prior to the wedding that help the families to get together. I also liked the idea of confetti being sweets gifted to guests. Very nice post that helps the global readers gain insight into Italian wedding traditions.

  8. Barbara says:

    We also had at my wedding, a dollar buys a dance with the Bride, which is also placed in the Satin Bag along with the cards with money. Lol…my husband was not Italian and loved when we got to the hotel, he had a blast counting all the money, back in 1970 we made $ 2,000.

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