If you are planning a wedding in Italy, I would always suggest that you incorporate some of the many wonderful Italian wedding traditions.   A wedding that blends some of the local traditions with those of your own culture are always incredibly memorable.  In my humble opinion, there would be no point in hosting a destination wedding in Italy without embracing at least some Italian wedding traditions.

Destination wedding planner - italian wedding traditions - Italian wedding cake - Millefoglie

Food and Drink

First off when talking about Italian wedding traditions is Italian food and drink.   I promise you that your Italian wedding food will be delicious, beautifully presented, with excellent service.  Italians take their food extremely seriously, so much so that the wedding meal is rarely interrupted.  No entertainment, no speeches, just serious enjoyment of the food and wine.   I am not suggesting that you omit speeches and entertainment, but do embrace the wonderful Italian food.

A typical Italian wedding menu will include:

  • Food “corners” during your drinks reception, known as the “aperitivo”. These are small but plentiful buffets serving items such as caprese, cheeses, meats, fried vegetables, and other gastronomic delights.  No hanging around waiting for a small number of  canapes to appear;  instead a relaxed drinks reception,  with sufficient informal seating and opportunity to mix, enjoy the surroundings and watch the sunset
  • A “primo” course similar in concept to our own starter course
  • A pasta course
  • Your “secondo” is the main course and can be meat, chicken or fish
  • Desserts are usually served later on, often buffet style and feature the wedding cake (more about this later)
  • A late night snack such as pizza slices

Destination wedding planner - Italian wedding traditions - wedding food

Destination wedding planner - wedding food corners


The Italians take their Prosecco and wine very seriously.  And don’t forget their signature cocktail, the Aperol Spritz.

Beer, spirits and cocktails only come out later on.

Destination Wedding Planner  - Italian wedding drinks

My favourite Italian Wedding Tradition –  Millefoglie Wedding Cake

Possibly the most well-known of all Italian wedding traditions is the Millefoglie wedding cake.  This is not obligatory, and a tiered wedding cake can be an option, but my advice would be to seriously consider the Millefoglie.  Not only is it a spectacle, but it tastes delicious.

In essence, the Italian wedding cake show takes place in front of you and your guests.  The chefs assemble layers of flaky pastry, chantilly cream and fresh fruits (though other fillings are also an option).  Some chefs will actively involve the couple.   The grand finale, where allowed, is a firework show which commences at the end of the wedding cake show, as the couple cut the cake.

The wedding cake is then served along with a sweet Prosecco.

Destination Wedding Planner - Italian wedding traditions - Millefoglie wedding cake

Destination wedding planner - Italian wedding traditions - fireworks

Outdoor Setting

This is not so much one of the Italian wedding traditions, but more of a fact.  By planning your wedding during the summer in a country such as Italy you are able to host your wedding outdoors.  Not just the ceremony, but the wedding dinner also.

You can host your wedding surrounded by either beautiful countryside,  gorgeous gardens, a lake view or overlooking the sea.  It all depends on which region of Italy that you choose but ultimately you have endless possibilities for locating your wedding in a spectacular setting.

Destination wedding planner -Italian outdoor wedding


Turning now to more of a logistical Italian wedding tradition.

Italian weddings do not start at lunch time or early afternoon, or even mid-afternoon.  They are an evening event, and your ceremony will typically commence at around 6pm.

I can hear you all thinking “but that means I lose hours and hours of my wedding”!

The reality is that it is typically too hot to start until the main heat of the day has ended.  It makes it much more comfortable for you and your guests and furthermore, the timings typically work towards watching the sun set during the aperitivo hour.

Not only do we start later, but Italian weddings generally go on into the early hours.  So you don’t necessarily lose out on the length of your wedding, you just “shift” it a few hours.

Destination wedding planner - wedding party


Earlier this week I was joined live on Instagram by the lovely Maria of  Bomboniere by Maria  .  During our live we talked all about the beautiful Italian wedding tradition of “Bomboniere”.  These are the Italian equivalent of wedding favours,  but with a uniquely creative and bespoke touch.  To find out more,  you can catch the recording of the Instagram Live over on my Instagram TV @elegantebymichellej

Destination Wedding Planner -  Bomboniere guest favours


Should you wish to discover more about  Italian wedding traditions or about my destination wedding planning services,  you can contact me directly either by email at michelle@elegantebymichellej.com or via my website.  You can also call me on + 44 203 930 9459.

And if you would like to see some of my favourite Italian wedding venues, you can download my showcase of 10 spectacular luxury wedding venues in Tuscany.   You can access it hereItalian Wedding Traditions - Destination Wedding planner recommendations