Traditional Italian Wedding Gowns

Written by michelle barry
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Traditional Italian Wedding Gowns
Italian fashion has long been known for its stunning and elaborate wedding dresses. (wedding dress image by Mat Hayward from

Whether you and your husband-to-be are Italian, one of you is Italian or you are simply interested in and fans of the Italian culture, a traditional Italian wedding will be a theme that adds romance and elaborate details to your nuptials. A centrepiece of any wedding is the bride's gown. Italian fashion has for centuries been admired and duplicated, and this rings true of the gown as well. The details of the gown, many elements of which are designed to bring the couple luck and good fortune on their wedding day and throughout their marriage, can be incorporated into a gown worn even today.


The traditional and popular religion of the Italian culture being Roman Catholic, a traditional gown for an Italian wedding will bear elements of this influence as well. Since the ceremony will be religious and likely held in a church or cathedral, the gown itself will have to convey the traditions and morals of the religion. The gown should be modest in nature, forgoing a low neckline or sheer fabric on the bodice. A long hem, customary of most wedding traditions, is necessary in this case as well. Long sleeves would also be appropriate.


While today white gowns are the overwhelming choice in colour both in the United States as well as in modern Italy, this was not always the case for Italian weddings. Green dresses were the custom in Italian tradition. The colour green was meant to symbolise fertility. The wearing of the green dress was a custom performed to help guarantee ample offspring to the newly married couple.


Veils are a popular element of a wedding gown ensemble even today. Shielding the bride's face evokes both a sense of mystery and intrigue, as well as a symbolic transformation when the groom unveils his bride to kiss her as his wife. This theme is also true in traditional Italian weddings. Not only does the gown symbolise the transformation from betrothed to wife, however, it also is meant to ward off bad spirits from the bride, in Italian tradition. The veil, in this custom, acts like a shield to protect the bride and keep away bad luck.

Tearing the Veil

While a veil is worn by the bride as a part of the wedding apparel tradition, it is not a veil in pristine and perfect condition. Traditionally, brides would tear a small piece of the veil before proceeding down the aisle. The tearing of the bride's veil is intended to promote luck for the bride and groom. To accommodate this tradition in the modern world, simply tear a small piece of the veil underneath or in the back, so it will not be visible to guests unless you want it to be.


A fundamental part of a traditional Italian wedding is the dancing. The tarantella is the traditional wedding dance performed by the bride and groom as well as the wedding guests. Since the bride will need to spend a great deal of the event dancing and moving, the gown should be able to accommodate. The Italian wedding gown should be light enough to move in, with the dress flowing enough as to not impede the bride's dancing. A dress that is too tight, heavy or constricting will limit her performance of the traditional Italian dance.

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