In larger Italian cities such as Rome, Florence, Venice, Trieste and Naples you can find Jewish synagogues. All of them celebrate only Orthodox marriages. To have your ceremony in Italy, you’ll need to get permission from your own rabbi, who will prepare the documentation to present to the Italian rabbi.
Otherwise, you could plan your modern Jewish wedding in Italy in a private venue in the reform tradition. A progressive/reform rabbi can conduct this type of ceremony. The ceremony usually combines Hebrew and English (or other languages if needed) and the rabbi can personalize your Jewish wedding in Italy with a tallit or kiddush.
However, most of the Jewish couples coming from the US, Canada, Russia or Israel bring their own rabbi. This will avoid any paperwork and you’ll be free of having your big day in any location.
Many rituals can be included in your ceremony, such as the Badeken, when the groom veils the bride and see each other for the first time few minutes before the main ceremony begins under the chuppah, the typical ceremonial centre of Jewish weddings and symbol of the house that newlyweds will build together.
Seven circles of the bride around the groom can be part of your ceremony. Nowadays, sometimes also the groom walks around the bride seven times.
Seven blessings or Sheva Brachot are said (or sung) over a cup of wine, from which the couple drinks, giving them these blessings for the rest of their life together. Either the rabbi or relatives and friends can sing to the couple under the chuppah.
At a very Jewish wedding, the most epic moment is the smashing the glass. At the end of the ceremony, the groom is supposed to break a glass by smashing it with his foot against the ground.
Right after the ceremony, it’s time for the Yichud, where the bride and groom to be alone for a short period of time as a public act symbolizing their new status as husband and wife.
A typical Jewish wedding in Italy often involves a kosher catering, that has to follow many strict rules, including the use of special cuisines and a rabbi. There are several strict kosher catering companies in Italy. But, there are also kosher-style caterings that are frequently used and don’t follow the same strict requirements. In any case, meat and dairy products are never combined, and often fish will be the main dish; shellfish and pork-based products will not be included in the menus.
For what concerns the entertainment, at Jewish weddings dinner and dances are inseparable and meals are often interrupted by music. The hora (or chair dance) is a must. It’s a traditional dance the newlyweds are lifted into the air while their family and friends dance in circles around them. During the hora, the couple each holds one end of a handkerchief or napkin to signify their union.
If you’re planning your Jewish wedding in Italy, please feel free to get in touch with us!