I recently did one of the most research-involved DJ gigs to date; a 50th Italian Wedding Anniversary, NO ENGLISH, with all Italian music straight from Italy!
Italian music has long been the staple of weddings in that culture. The vow-renewing bride and groom at this renewal were great people and I really wanted to give them what they wanted. I had a heck of a time, however, finding all the traditional Italian favorites song by the original artists, but I did it, four hours of Funiculi Funicula fun!
THE MEETING – When I met with them originally, I was under the impression that Italian-American artists would be great for this event. I pictured lots of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Andrea Bocelli, and my personal favorite, Louis Prima! However, I was told by a charming old Italian woman in broken English that, in so many words, “Prima is a hack and a poor imitation to the original.” The problem was, she didn’t know who the original artist was, who sang say, “Zooma Zooma / Cella Luna Mezzo Mare,” which Prima called “Angelina”.
It took many phone calls and visits to the library to learn that I really wanted Mario Lanza, Lou Monte and Al Bano, for example. However, in the end, everyone had such a great time… and the food… Mama Mia!
In talking with the Italian couple, I learned a lot of things. I thought these three points would be an interesting quick read on those of you planning or interested in old Italian Wedding Traditions:
THE ITALIAN MONEY DANCE – The money dance is still very common at Italian weddings and today the money is most often placed in a satin bag carried by the bride. It has crossed over to the mainstream internationally at weddings around the world, known as “The Dollar Dance”.
MAY & AUGUST RESTRICTIONS – Many years ago, devout Italians avoided getting hitched during the months of May and August. The reasons could be deemed superstitious, but practiced, none-the-less. The month of May was reserved for the veneration of the Virgin Mary, and August was thought to invite bad luck and sickness.
MASSIVE FOOD SPREADS – eating large quantities of food was said to ensure fertility and thus always played a large part in traditional Italian weddings. They idea was to encourage large families, not necessarily large waistlines.