Friday, 25 February 2011

How the Italians do it!

Traditional Italian folk dancers dance the Tarantella.
What would an Italian wedding be without food and fun? Italian wedding receptions today are lavish, full of energy and place a tremendous emphasis on food and drink. To kick off a wedding reception, guests enjoy
cocktail hour, during this time the bride and groom have their photos taken happy in the knowledge their guests are being looked after.
After cocktails the guests gather in the main dining area while the bridal party enters the room. A pathway is formed by the guests in order for the bride and groom to walk through, but not before being acknowledged as a newlywed couple.

Energy is already buzzing around the room as the couple dances their first dance, followed by the members of the bridal party and finally, the guests. Italian weddings are very well choreographed.
After a few dances everyone takes their seats and then speeches (given by family and friends) begin. The new couple is treated to more than their fair share of champagne toasts throughout the speeches. And there is plenty of food and drink for the celebration. Before any food is served, women are treated to sweet liquors and men to something stronger.

Generally the first thing served is antipasto and it includes such delicacies as stuffed mushrooms, olives, salami, pickled peppers, calamari and prosciutto. Italian receptions include many different courses, sometimes as many as 12-14. There are sufficient amounts of pasta, salads, soups, meats, and fruits for everyone. No one goes home hungry after an Italian wedding reception; in fact it's generally the opposite- most people feel as if they might burst upon leaving. Wine is available at dinner and so are a variety of other beverages. Symbolic foods that are a part of every Italian wedding celebration because they bring good tidings include twists of fried dough, powdered with sugar called bow ties (wanda) and Italian wedding candy.

The dessert course includes an array of decadent delights such as pastries, cakes, fruits and as much coffee as a person can drink. Of course there is also wedding cake to enjoy. A Viennese Table is often presented in Sicilian customs to usher in the dessert course, filled with mouth-watering treats. There is a special name for this- Vienna Hour. Usually hosted in a separate room or it could be a table stacked with sweets, coffees, and liqueurs.

Italian wedding cookies

Wedding toasts are common and frequent at Italian weddings. “Evviva gli sposi” (or “Hurray for the newlyweds”) is commonly shouted and met with applause from other guests. They’ll also shout “Kiss the bride,” which is your groom’s cue to kiss you in front of everyone.

Before the reception is over you and your groom will likely break a glass; the pieces of shattered glass represent the number of happy years you’ll enjoy together. At some Italian weddings, doves are released around this time, symbolizing your love and happiness as newlyweds.

The hardest part of writing one page on Italian wedding traditions is that every region in Italy has their own wedding traditions! So I have mixed and matched the most popular and I apologise if your favourite Italian tradition was not included.

For some more Italian wedding traditions you might be interested in:

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