Sunday, March 13, 2016


One of the features of life in the Italian family back in the early 50’s was the wedding. If you had a daughter, it was very important that she got married, otherwise she would be considered an ‘Old Maid’ and Poppa couldn’t have that.

Like any engagement, the announcement was presented under a cordial and some cookies, “Salute” was the word and ‘Whewww’ was the whispered word Poppa used when it was finally announced.

Daughters had the extra or added burden of Mamma, who would assume command of everything and everyone, there was the cleaning of the house, the cooking, the hall, the cooking, the church, the cooking and the wedding dress, and don’t forget the cooking.

In the old days, fear of grandparents from the ‘other side’ was the norm, and who you were marrying was important to the grandparents, thus important to you as the parent of the bride. First the criteria: Had to Italian, from the same home town, e.g. Napolitano or Siciliano, Catholic and the opposite sex helped too. However this need proved to be untrue!

My oldest cousin was poised to get married. She was breaking all the rules, and everyone was worried Grandma would find out. She was marrying a gentleman of German extraction, was a Lutheran and God only knows what else he was. Someone would have to approach Grandma and lay it on the line. Fear was high that she would be unhappy, angry, mad and not pleased. The job went to the stranger who had nothing to lose but his bride. He told Grandma he was a German Lutheran! He actually told her that!

Well when the smoke cleared, and the dust settled, there was Grandma making her announcement. She announced in her own words, part Italian and part Broken English that she was pleased! Was she hitting the sauce? No, she thought that that might happen but then again, that was one of the reasons she come to this country to escape the poverty of prewar Italy in the early 1900’s.

And so the happy couple would march down the aisle into wedded bliss, as soon as my aunt was done giving her wedding orders, fussing with the bride’s dress and giving my uncle Hell for acting like himself, a slob and not comfortable in his new shoes and tux. It was a football wedding, a live band and I will never forget it! Grandma was ahead of her time, and wiser than her children, and my uncle couldn’t smoke his di Napoli cigars.


  • Quite an interesting post! I really didn’t know about these Italian wedding traditions. Thank you very much for details. I just got engaged at one of prominent Chicago venues. My sister and her fiancé are making plans to have a destination wedding in Italy and trying to help them.

    By Blogger Drew Watts, at 2:59 AM  

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