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Cultural Italian wedding day traditions that couples still use today

At an Italian wedding, you may find very unique cultural traditions that include cutting the groom's tie and enjoying millefoglie as the cake served.

Cultures are full of traditions. Most often, if you've heard of a cultural tradition, it's likely to be associated with food or weddings. 

Wedding day traditions span across many cultures, and for Italians, weddings and food go hand in hand. In Italian culture, there are traditional practices that can be woven into every part of the wedding day, and even some that begin the evening before. From the food served at dinner, to the cultural dances, to the gifts provided to guests, some Italian wedding traditions have spanned decades.

These are Italian cultural wedding traditions that still remain popular to this day. 


Traditionally, the bride and the groom do not spend the night before their wedding together. Instead, the bride will usually spend the night before the big day at her parents' house.

This tradition dates back to when a couple's marriages were arranged. Brides and grooms were not allowed to see one another before they wed at the altar. It is considered unlucky to see one another before the ceremony. 

While many couples have opted to see each other in their wedding attire before the ceremony with a modern first look, this is not common for a traditional Italian wedding.

Not only is it against tradition to see one another, but it is also traditional that the bride doesn't see herself either. If the bride wishes to catch a glimpse at her reflection, she must take off an accessory so her look is incomplete.

Except for her ring, it’s tradition that an Italian bride doesn’t wear any other gold jewelry on her wedding day. 

The wearing of any additional gold jewelry on the day is considered to be bad luck.


In Italian culture, it’s traditionally the groom who buys the bride’s bouquet. This is considered to be his last gift to his bride before they wed.

It’s the responsibility of the groom to pick out the bouquet and make sure it’s safely delivered to the bride the morning of the wedding.

White is a color reserved only for the bride on her wedding day. If you are attending an Italian wedding, choose another color to wear that day.

If you are having trouble deciding what to wear as a guest, speak with friends or family attending the wedding, or pull from seasonal items at a department store. 

For example, if you are to attend a wedding is in the spring, pastel colors will nicely compliment the season, versus a fall wedding, when deep colors like maroon or green would pair well.


When the couple leaves their wedding ceremony, they are often greeted by their guests waiting for their departure. 

In Italian culture, guests often throw rice toward the couple after the ceremony as a symbol of fertility. This tradition dates back centuries. In Ancient Rome, the Romans used wheat or oat seeds as a symbol of new life. Throwing rice at an Italian couple outside the church is a nod to well wishes for a full life.

If you've been to an Italian wedding reception, you may have seen the groom's tie being cut up into little pieces. 

These pieces of the tie are auctioned off to wedding guests. The knot of the tie is the most valuable and expensive part. The money received is given to the couple. They can use this for any future expense they may come across, or even their upcoming honeymoon.

Today, it is much less used as a tradition and more as an enjoyable way for brides and grooms to greet their guests as they walk around with tie particles.

"La Tarantella" is a very popular folk dance performed at Italian weddings. The dance is nicknamed "dance of the spider." The steps are quite simple and, whether Italian or not, guests can join in with very little effort.

While the music plays, guests will hold hands or interlock arms in a large circle and dance around the newlyweds. 

The song and dance stemmed from the heel of Italy's boot all the way down in Puglia and dates back centuries to ancient Italy. The city of Puglia gets its name from a wolf spider that is native to this area in Italy. The dance received its name from the reaction to a spider bite. It is believed that after the venomous spider claimed a victim, the person would begin dancing.

Millefoglie, which means 1,000 layers, is a traditional wedding cake served at a reception. The cake includes layers of puff pastry, filled with custard or cream. 

It’s traditionally topped with an array of colorful fruits, including strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. The cake is then topped with quite a bit of powdered sugar. The cake is very fresh and not overly sweet. However, dessert tables at Italian weddings are usually crowded with traditional cookies and other pastries with much sweeter flavors.

You may also find a millefoglie at the baptism or birthday party of an Italian child.

A bride and groom typically give out a party favor, called a bomboniere at their wedding. The favors traditionally given out at an Italian wedding are confetti, or sugared almonds. 

Guests will usually receive five to seven almonds as a sign of good luck.

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