At a cousin’s wedding a few weeks ago, we asked the nonna of the bride why the newlyweds were wrapped up in streamers during their first dance. As an Italian, it’s a tradition that I’ve seen at weddings my whole life but never understood. I expected it to go back to the old country, a longtime legacy of Italian weddings. To my surprise, she responded that it was not an Italian tradition at all, that the first time she saw it was at an Italian wedding here in Canada. It made me think about other wedding traditions that make the great Italian-American wedding so unique from both typical Italian and typical American weddings.
If you’ve ever been to one, you know it’s the best party around. And if you haven’t, here’s what you could expect.
1) It doesn’t matter how many people the venue holds, it will be maxed out. There are always more cousins waiting to party.
2) If you can’t remember someone’s name, try Tony. If you guessed wrong at least they’ll assume you just confused them with their cousin.
3) There will be wine on every table and multiple people will claim that their dad makes it better.
4) The bride and groom should be on constant alert of falling almonds as people try to shower them in the hard candied treat for good fortune in the future.
5) During the couple’s intimate first dance, a barrage of young girls will run around and wrap them with streamers. No, they are not misbehaving.
6) Speeches are always wrapped up by 9 because the bride knows how much everyone just wants to dance.
7) And everyone does dance. Including Nonna and Nonno.
8) After dinner espresso tends to garner more attention than the couple’s first dance.
9) The bridesmaids are at least 50% family of the bride. And will 100% have taken off their shoes by the time they hit the dance floor.
10) There will be more food served at the midnight snack than at most typical American weddings.
11) The tarantella will play. At least once.
12) But the last song of the night is still journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”.
13) And everyone’s still there for the last song because they’ve had such a great time.