13 Tips to Survive a Traditional Italian Wedding

Wedding Scene
Wedding Scene | ©Matthew Hutchinson/Flickr
Francesca Masotti

Got an Italian wedding to go to and no clue about what will happen? Don’t worry! Follow our list of dos and don’ts, and you will survive any big, fat Italian wedding.

Loved by over 40s

Pay Attention During the Ceremony

Most Italian weddings are held in a Catholic church. If you’ve attended a Catholic church service before, you might have noticed a lot of movement: standing, kneeling, sitting and even some shaking of hands. If you’re not sure what to do, just follow along with the oldest ladies at the service; they almost always know what comes next. Remember to participate in the ceremony, and don’t fall asleep, even if it feels like it’ll never end!

Duomo of Rivarolo

Don’t Eat Before

Or, better, don’t eat for two days before. The wedding meal will be giant. It will be bigger than any meal you’ve ever had in your life. Expect 10 courses or more plus drinks and snacks! Make sure to eat a light meal early in the day, and be careful when offered bread—it just takes up room that could be saved for pasta and traditional Italian wedding cake.

Wedding cake

Pace Yourself

The excellent Italian wine will be flowing, and you will drink a lot of it. Uncles and cousins of the bride will fill your glass about every five minutes. Then you will dance and drink, dance and drink, and so on. There’s no problem if you are able to hold your alcohol—otherwise, consider switching to soda.

Red wine

Be Stylish

Italians might have a lot of flaws—they’re always late, they joke around a lot, and they don’t speak English well—but they are always stylish. Fashion in Italy is serious stuff, so if you are invited to an Italian wedding, you will need to dress your absolute best.

Prepare to Dance All Night

A typical Italian wedding is like a party; from the late afternoon until late at night, everyone dances, including the older crowd. In the south of Italy, they often do traditional dances such as the tarantella or pizzica, which are very lively, so pay attention, and don’t forget to bring comfortable shoes.


Learn a Few Italian Words

When invited to a wedding in a foreign country, it’s always good to learn few words in the official language. In Italy, visitors should try to learn as much as possible because Italians talks a lot. It might be difficult, but you should at least know auguri, meaning “best wishes,” and vi auguro una felice vita insieme, which means “I wish you a happy life together.”

Learning Italian

The Reception

Be sure you’ve brought an envelope full of money—it’s common, especially in the south, to bring cash as a gift for the newlyweds. Usually, there is a person in charge of collecting the gifts at the reception, who is never hard to find.


Don’t Wear White

If you want to avoid some drama, don’t wear a white dress unless the bride has specifically requested you do so. This is one of the most important things you’ll need to know to keep the bride happy on her big day.

Bring Some Rice

When the ceremony ends, everyone leaves the church and then waits for the newlyweds to exit. Then, you’ll yell “Auguri,” and throw some rice or confetti (but not too much), which are symbols of good luck.

Wedding day

Talk With the Other Guests

Italians love to talk, especially the nonni (grandfathers) and nonne (grandmothers) who are always ready to chat with strangers. Unfortunately, they don’t speak a word of English, but you can get by with gestures, which is a typical way of speaking in Italy.

Prepare for the Gossip

At a wedding, the best time to gossip is during lunch. Despite the happy atmosphere, there is a lot of talking over food. The older women tend to talk about other women or men sitting across the room or sometimes about the food. They always comment on everything.

Be Patient with the Children

Italian families are big, especially in the South where many couples have three or four children. Every family brings the kids to the wedding, and sometimes the celebration looks more like a kindergarten. Try to be patient—or just avoid them whenever you can.


Saying Goodbye

When you are too tired and drunk, maybe you have the bouquet in hand, but you can no longer walk straight, it’s time to say goodbye. Leaving an Italian wedding takes at least a half hour—you’ll need to find the bride and groom and then kiss everyone else on the cheeks. Don’t forget to take the bomboniera (a small box of candies). Once you have done all these things, you’re finally free to go home!

Time to say goodbye
culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.