Italian Wedding Sayings

by Ellen Douglas

The traditions associated with life events are what gives flavor to individual cultures. Because Italians are known for their passionate natures, it's no surprise that Italian adages about weddings abound. These proverbs, whether playful, profound or pessimistic, may be evoked during a wedding toast or simply in greeting the happy couple. The well-worn sayings bring a sense of tradition to even ultra-modern nuptials.

Merry Maxims

It's traditional to express best wishes to the bride and groom on their wedding day. Common Italian sayings include, "Evviva gli sposi," meaning "Long live the bride and groom." To express joy at the event, you might say, "Matrimoni e vescovati sono destinati dal cielo," meaning, "Marriages are made in heaven." A similar sentiment, "Matrimoni e viscuvati, di lu celu su mannati," translates to "Marriages and bishops are heaven sent."

Wise Words

As in other parts of the world, it's part of the Italian custom to wax philosophical at weddings. One piece of advice you may hear is, "Tra moglie e marito non mettere il dito," meaning, "Don't put a finger (meddle) between wife and husband." To calm a sulky bride-to-be if her special day comes with raindrops, Italian parents will likely repeat the proverb, "Sposa bagnata, sposa fortunata" -- "Wet bride, happy bride."

Bridal Bywords

There is no shortage of Italian words of wisdom when it comes to brides, and wives in general. Among those known to be uttered at weddings are those made in tribute to the bride, such as "La moglie e' la chiave di casa" -- "The wife is the key of the house." Some more rueful sayings you may overhear at an Italian wedding include, "Chi ha moglie ha doglie" and "Chi non ha moglie non ha padrone," meaning, respectively, "Who has wife has strife" and "Who has no wife has no master."

Groom Guidance

One of the wedding proverbs directed at brides about their husbands-to-be is the somewhat cynical advice, "Meglio il marito senz'amore, che con gelosia," or "Better to have a husband without love, than with jealousy." Women may also be told that they hold the key to whether their grooms will be good husbands. "La buona moglie fa il buon marito" is a common wedding saying, which means, "A good wife makes a good husband." Prospective grooms get their own admonitions, including "Moglie e buoi ...dei paesi tuoi," which literally means that both one's wife and one's cattle should be chosen from one's own hometown. In other words, this proverb advises that men should not travel far afield to find a bride.

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