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  • Planning an Italian Wedding in Italy?
    Here are some must-have tips for brides and grooms who want to get through a wedding in the homeland
    Our Paesani

    by Francesca Di Meglio

    I'm back in Ischia, Italy, home of my ancestors and my soon-to-be husband Antonio. With just a few weeks until our Italian wedding ceremony, I spent the weekened fulfilling the duties of an Italian bride.

    For starters, I had to put little cards with our names and the date on all of the traditional bombonieri (favors) for our guests. Then, I had to attach a little sack with five Jordan almonds for good luck to each package. Finally, my sisters-in-law and a cousin filled cones with more Jordan almonds and adhered silk flowers and other little cards with our names and the date for other favors that will sit on each person's dish.

    Today, I had to deliver - in person - the wedding invitations to my half of the guest list. Sometimes, the couple does this together but it would be impossible with our work schedules. You have to sit and have tea or coffee or orange juice or wine and chat a bit with every family you visit. I was out all day. Even though I adore my relatives in Italy, I was longing a bit for the love stamps of the good ol' U.S. of A., where wedding invitations arrive by mail.

    One of my deliveries included another wedding task - choosing the music for our ceremony. This was absolutely my favorite part of the planning so far. My cousins, who usually sing for their church in Testaccio, Ischia, will be performing for us. And they are not your typical church choir. They come replete with guitar, tambourine, and bongo drum. The music was uplifting and even fun. It got me super excited for our nuptials. I can't wait for the big day!

    In the meantime, however, some of you have asked for advice for those planning to wed in Italy. Here's what I've learned so far:

    First, if you're marrying an Italian (as opposed to marrying someone of your culture in Italy), then check with your in-laws about the details - from invitations to favors. You don't want to step on anyone's traditions because it just creates unnecessary tension that you should avoid leading up to your wedding.

    Second, suggest - in the nice way - that your traditions are somehow recognized and included. You should respect their ways, but they should respect yours, too.

    Third, leave lots of time for delivering wedding invitations. Your Italian friends and family will want to visit with you. They will want to hear all about the wedding preparations and they'll want to feed you. This takes time, much more time than mailing the invitations like we do in the States.

    Fourth, remember that many Italians are obsessed with the bella figura, the idea of making a good impression at all costs. That's their problem, not yours. You create a wedding that is to your liking and let them talk if they'd like. The important thing is to keep the significance of the wedding - making a lifelong commitment to one another - in perspective.

    Di Meglio is the guide to Newlyweds for About.com, where you can get advice on everything from finding the perfect love seat to picking out china.

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