Italian wedding ceremonies
by Dalila Negri and the contribution of Vitti Carlotta and Diao Aram
In Italy we celebrate weddings in two main ways. People can marry in a Church, if they’re catholic and if it’s the first marriage of both the groom and the bride.
If the couple is not catholic or if it’s not the first marriage of one or both of them, they have to celebrate the wedding in the town hall.
The ceremony in the church is composed of some prayers and the famous sentence: “(name of the husband) do you really want to take (name of the wife) as your wife, honouring and respecting her, in fortune and misfortune for the rest of your life?” And the husband says “yes, I do.” The same happens for the wife. They exchange the rings that the ring bearer had previously brought to them, and the priest who celebrates the wedding tells the husband: “You may now kiss your bride”. And the two spouses kiss each other.
Usually the guests wear elegant dresses and the bride wears a white dress, but nowadays it is not always so. The tradition also says that the groom can’t see his bride before they meet each other at the altar, but even this “costume” is not always respected.
After the wedding, there is often a big party, where the guests and the spouses usually eat and drink something, dance and laugh together. In the south of Italy weddings are especially long and they play a very important role in the spouses’ lives. They usually start in the afternoon with the ceremony, and it goes on with an aperitivo and a dinner, which is composed of around eight courses, in between which people dance. Around midnight the spouses cut the cake and the guests eat. Afterwards people start drinking alcohol and the party continues until the next morning.
The town hall-wedding is celebrated more or less in the same way, but there aren’t prayers. Sometimes however people choose to perform a special ceremony: for instance, after exchanging the rings, the spouses light up a candle together, or they plant a seed. After the ceremony there is a party.
If someone marries in a Church, the wedding is also recognized as efficient by the state, but the wedding in the town hall is not accepted by the Church.