Diamonds are by far the most popular stone of choice for an engagement ring, but for Italians, diamonds are not just beautiful and durable.

Denoted the symbol of the “flames of love,” diamond engagement rings hold special meaning for traditional Italian weddings. Dramatic proposals are common, complete with serenades or something equally show stopping. In short: the proposal itself marks something central to Italian wedding traditions–a need to showcase love in an unfiltered and whole-hearted style.

With little holding back, traditional weddings are show stopping, gorgeous, and full of culture. Here are the highlights:

  1. The Engagement: While a few secluded places in Southern Italy may still have arranged marriages, an overwhelming majority are not. The most popular type of diamond is a “veretta”, signifying the ‘eternity of love’. It’s traditional to meet the parents and in laws for a cup of coffee before planning begins. Sometimes a bride-to-be will give her future husband a gift.
  2. Plenty of Superstitions: Sundays are the most popular day of the week for weddings, as they are considered the luckiest, while Friday weddings are very rare. Superstitions leading up to the wedding abound: brides wear green the night before the big day for good luck, while gold is considered bad luck.
  3. The Attire: The groom carries a piece of iron with him to ward off bad luck, and the bride’s gown will vary by region. While white is common, black gowns with a hat are the traditional choice in Tuscany. In Venice, a bride wears her ‘second-best’ wedding gown to the ceremony, and changes into a new gown for the reception.  The veil is a marker of the couple’s love for each other, and its length often indicates how long the coupe has been engaged.A groom wears a tie during the ceremony, but it is soon cut into pieces during the reception, in the spirit of a symbol of being married and paying for his guests.
  4. The Ceremony: With the Vatican City located in Rome, Italy is predominantly Roman-Catholic, and this can be seen as the main element of most traditional ceremonies. Full Mass is an important sign of the couple’s commitment to each other, the church, and their devotion to God. The family of the bride sits on the left, while the groom’s family sits on the right side in the pews. The father of the bride gives her away, and the groom lifts the veil at the altar. The exchanged rings often have the couple’s names engraved on them.
  5. The Reception: The party goes full in swing following Mass. Guests join in the traditional dance, called “La Tarantula”, which is said to have been practiced since the early 1300’s. Food is generous, and often elaborate. Multiple courses are common, even as many as fourteen! More typical is a three or four course meal. Antipasto trays and cured meats and cheeses are popular appetizers. The main course is typically baked pasta and veal. The meal is finished with a tiered cassata cake with raspberry filling.          Dancing,, plenty of wine and plenty of music are the highlights of often very large weddings. An added twist: guests wishing to dance with the bride can slip envelopes of money into her satin purse, in other words, trying to oubid one another.

Simply put: there’s nothing quite like a traditional Italian wedding.

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