Sicily wedding, things to know

savoca-marriage-godfather-sicilyIf you think of organizing your wedding in Sicily, you had better read this article, where I discussed about the most important tradition of my loved island. Maybe you want to get married in Sicily because you heard about the most famous Sicily wedding of the movie history, namely the one between Michael and Apollonia. In the Godfather movie, the couple organizes the wedding in the perfect Sicilian landscape of Corleone. As a matter of fact, the place where the wedding was shot was Savoca, a beautiful village in the province of Messina. The director of the Godfather, Francis Ford Coppola, choice this village instead of Corleone. From this premise, you could choose just Savoca and Corleone for your wedding in Sicily. But, there are many beautiful Sicilian villages where you can organize the most important day of your life. Follow the subsequent paragraphs and you’ll discover many things about Sicily wedding that maybe you never knew.

Wedding in the tradition of Sicily

sicily-wedding-traditionFor Sicilians, wedding has always been the most important event of their life. In the past, that was a necessary duty, to gain a social status and don’t feel excluded by the fellow villagers. Indeed, unmarried people were considered weird or unlucky and not worthy of social attention.

In the Sicilian language, an unmarried woman was called: “schetta” (maiden), while an unmarried man, “ capuni”. These were insulting words in Sicilian, such as whore in English, for women, and cursed for men! In the past centuries, due to this heavy tradition, Sicilian people got married without love and through a marriage arranged by their parents.

Usually, parents or other relatives contacted a sort of broker, called “sinsali” in Sicily, who took care to find a good husband for the unmarried daughter or a good wife for the unmarried son! At that time, the engagement lasted a few months or weeks and couples get married without knowing each other. This kind of Sicilian marriage was a mere formality, without confidence,  respect and love. You don’t know how many children were born in Sicily from arranged marriages.

The broker was also able to find an expat groom for an unmarried Sicilian girl. The bride married this unknown man only through a certificate and an image. In short, she bonded her life to a husband that she never met. That was the so called “marriage by proxy” or “marriage at a distance”.

I don’t know if the wedding broker was paid for this work, but surely he was always repaid by the favours of the parents of unmarried guys. Sometimes, when a couple of Sicilians fell in love, and they didn’t get the consent of their parents to the wedding, they escaped together, in order to force their parents to give the consent to the marriage. You have to know that when a couple escaped, it meant that they had experienced a sexual intercourse before marrying and also this event was considered a shame by the most of Sicilians.

fuitina elopementIndeed, in the past centuries, girls must be virgin to get married. When a girl had a sexual intercourse before getting married and her boyfriend left her, this girl ended up doomed to remain unmarried, namely “schetta”, because no Sicilian man would ever accept to marry a not virgin girl. The escape of unmarried Sicilian couples was called “fuitina” (elopement). That custom was a trick to get the marriage consent from the parents.

The wedding after the fuitina was called “reparative marriage”. It served to hide the shame of the sexual intercourse of the woman happened before marrying.

About the virgin wife, there was another strange custom in Sicily. To be sure to marrying an “untouched” woman, after the sexual intercourse on the wedding night, the husband had the duty to hang the sheet of the marital bed on the balcony to show it to the fellow villagers, relatives and parents.

If the sheet stained with blood, it meant the wife was virgin. That is the so called “bed sheet proof”. This sicked tradition was worth only for women, while men could have many sexual relationships before getting married, because, in the Sicilian tradition, the long sexual experience of a Sicilian man was a proof of his masculinity. Rather, due to this twisted tradition, Sicilian husbands continued betraying their wives after the marriage.

And it is not a chance that Sicily has always been the region of Italy with the highest rate of extramarital relationships accomplished by husbands. The marital betrayal of women, instead, was unforgivable for Sicilian men.

In the worst case, a Sicilian husband who discovered the adultery of his wife was authorized to kill her. That was the so called “Honour killing”, the worst custom of Sicily and Italy tradition.

Fortunately, this wicked Italian tradition has died and nowadays Sicilian people get married for love and without the consent of their parents and even though they have had sexual relationships before marriage. Virginity is not longer a duty for Sicilian women and Sicilian men are less betrayers of their Sicilian ancestors. However, due to the economic, social condition, many Sicilian couples get married after an engagement which lasts over 10 years, as well. But, when they decide to marry, they are ready to spend any amount of money.

For Sicilians, wedding must be magnificent and unforgettable. The wedding venue must be stunning and the bridal dress, unique, original and perfect. Nowadays, for Sicilians, expensive wedding is the proof of a good social status. They can spend over 50,000 euros to organize a scenic wedding day and can be available to make a mortgage to pay for all of the wedding expenses. They don’t care if their marriage lasts for a short time.

Indeed, in comparison to the past, Sicilian marriage breaks down within ten years and many married couples divorce only after a couple of years of marriage. Unfortunately, this trend is widespread in the entire Italy, not only in Sicily. However, wedding has still a strong traditional value in Sicily thanks to the fabulous landscape of my loved island and the endless locations for any kind of wedding.

Sicily wedding dress

sicily-wedding-dressAn indispensable item of Sicily wedding is the dress of the bride. This dress has a heavy traditional value within the most important day of life. This dress can be romantic, magnificent , princely, but above all, it must be perfectly suitable to the tastes of the bride. Today, the wedding dress is ivory or white, but in the ancient Sicilian tradition, this dress was not white, at all, rather, it was pretty coloured. The noble brides wore a gold and green dress or azure, while the white dress was used only for poor brides. The brides escaped with their boyfriend, instead, wore a black coat and married in the winter, because they lost their virginity before the wedding. You can see magnificent and ancient Sicilian wedding dresses in various museums in Sicily, such as in Messina.

sicilian lace wedding dressIn the more recent years, the main colour of wedding dress become ivory and white, even though many Sicilian fashion designers proposed new models in pink and other pastel colours. However, an original Sicilian wedding dress must be made with Sicilian lace. That is a precious handmade fabric with embroiled wires shaping a sort of jewel around the other fabric of the dress, usually chiffon. Sicilian lace serves to decorate the dress and make it more elegant. Today, there are few resellers of original Sicilian lace and the most of this fabric is replaced with macramé lace coming from France. The price of an original Sicilian dress with original lace of Sicily can also be over 10,000 euros. But there are pretty lace wedding dresses for less money. About the style of a modern wedding dress, I advise you choose only upon your size and the shape of your body. For 2018 and 2019, mermaid wedding dress is the trend. In high demand also models with lace corsage and simple gown sweetly slipping along the body.

Where to buy original Sicily’s and Italy’s wedding dresses online

In the past months, I committed to look for Italy wedding dress online shops where you can buy handmade wedding dresses with perfect Sicilian and Italian styles. I know that Sicilian tailors don’t love sell their wedding dresses on the web. For this reason, I honed my search and found a true Italian wedding dress designer who sells her stunning creations also online. She is Maila Lunardi from Florence, Tuscany. Her online atelier is The Italian Bride. There, Maila crafts and sells tailored wedding, evening and bridesmaid dresses on demand and with Sicilian and Italian styles.

With her, you also have the opportunity to design your favourite Italian wedding dress with the features I described in this article. Maila is an expert Italian wedding fashion designer who already sells her creations in her physical atelier in Florence.

She developed the idea to sell tailored wedding dresses online only recently. Indeed, her online shop has been updated in October 2019. Browse this Italian online atelier  and reach Maila to achieve the dream to have an handmade original wedding dress created only for you in Italy. You’ll receive it straight to your home, everywhere you are. Sicily is in Italy and a tailored wedding dress made in Florence will allow you to achieve the dream to wear an Italian wedding dress for your wedding, even though you’ll celebrate it in Sicily, in another region of Italy or in your Country. You can also order models made with the legendary macramè and chantilly lace.

In the real life, you should pay over 6,000 euros to get a wonderful, handmade Italy wedding dress with the above mentioned style. On the Italian wedding dress online shop I found for you, you can buy your Italian wedding dress with a range of prices going from 390 to 1500 euros (shipping costs excluded).  They are really outlet prices for Italian original and handmade wedding dresses.

Sicily wedding gifts and accessories

After the Sicilian wedding dress, I listed the best Sicilian shops to order wedding invitation cards, wedding gold rings and wedding favors straight from your device.

You can find original sicilian wedding invitation cards at an online shop called Fatti di Segni. The shop belongs to Irene, a Sicilian artisan who lives in Modica and creates beautiful wedding cards with Sicilian subjects, such as lemons or prickly pears. Irene sells her creations on her online shop.

For original Sicilian wedding favors, instead, you can buy on the online shop of DDceramichesiciliane. The shop is in Palermo and sells the stunning ceramic favors of Caltagirone. They are all handmade.

And finally, here is the online shop where you can find and buy precious and handmade rings for your wedding in Sicily. These rings are not all Sicilians, but they are original ideas to use as wedding gifts. There, you can also find silver and steel rings to use even as a gift for the engagment party.

Also rembember that you can use the above mentioned items as Sicilian  gifts for the wedding of your relatives and friends and not only for your wedding day. 

Explore and buy these Sicilian wedding gifts and accessories and let me know, with a comment, if you were successful to organize your Sicily wedding through the tips of this post and straight from your device! It seems hard, but I assure you it is very easy.

Sicily wedding legal documents

sicily weddingLegal Documents are required for wedding in Sicily. This is the most important side to consider for your wedding in my loved island. Sicily is located beneath the Italian boot and the language spoken is Italian! Hence, to celebrate your wedding in Sicily, you must get an official translator during the ceremony. For your wedding in Italy and Sicily, you also need a legal international wedding certificate. For the religious ceremony, you must also obtain two impediments, one from the church in your country and another one from your embassy. The Italian law also requires two witnesses who attend and sign the wedding documents during the ceremony. No documents required, instead, for a symbolic wedding. In this case, you can only enjoy a wedding party in a beautiful location in Sicily.

Villas, hotels and venues for wedding in Sicily

wedding-cyclops-riviera-sicilyAs said in this article, Sicily offers many beautiful venues for an unforgettable wedding. They also work like hotels with rooms where to spend the first wedding night. In this case, to select the best option, you must consider the style and the season of your wedding. In summer, for a wedding on the beach, I advise you choose the Riviera of Cyclops in Acitrezza, a beautiful village nestled among Etna mount and the Mediterranean sea, with the stunning view of magnificent rocky cliffs called “faraglioni”. I attended weddings in this beautiful place and the effect has been awesome! Of course, you can choose the traditional venues in Taormina or San Vito Lo Capo, but also Erice and Castelmola, namely perfect medieval Sicilian villages for your honeymoon. In the other seasons, such as spring and autumn, you can select a venue in the beautiful Noto Valley. I celebrated my wedding in September and just in a venue in Noto Valley. For you, I advise Dimora delle Balze, an ancient villa built in 1800 and outfitted with swimming pool, lounge and all the charm of the true green of Sicily. Another beautiful venue for your wedding in Sicily is the castle of Falconara, in the ancient village of Butera, in the province of Caltanissetta. That is an ancient castle perched on a rocky cliff and the unique one overlooking the sea. Inside the castle, you’ll see the full charm of the ancient historical villas in Sicily. For a wedding in the chief town of Sicily, namely Palermo, you can choose Villa Alliata Cardillo. This beautiful villa was built in the XVIII century and renovated with a flower and liberty style. It offers a spectacular view of the surroundings, including Mondello. The villa is outfitted with a chapel and a 200 ha garden and a space for 1000 partakers. By the way, if you are also looking for a wedding band or a singer capable to sing the Godfather theme song for the most beautiful day of your life, you can see this link.

Sicily Wedding Cost

This is the thorniest side about the topic. The average cost of a wedding in Sicily for locals is 20,000 euros, while for foreigners, you need to keep in count the roundtrip travel cost and the one for international documents, I addition to venue, wedding reception menu, car, flowers and so on…
Well, for a perfect wedding abroad, above all in Italy and Sicily, you can also spend over 50,000 euros, but not less than 30,000. But if that is your dream, you have to know that dreams are never a waste. They deserve only to be achieved.

Photocredits in order of appearance:

Luigi Strano Flickr

Wedding Lande  Flickr

Michele Crimi  from–e66163

10 thoughts on “Sicily wedding, things to know

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  2. Thomas Hudson

    My fiancee is Sicilian on both sides and loves the Sicilian wedding dress (white top to yellow bottom part) in the article above. How and where can we get one. We live and plan to marry in California?

    1. Rosalba Mancuso

      Hi Thomas, I understood what is the weddig dress your fiancee would like to have. The dress you saw in the image of the article is not yellow on the bottom. That is a traditional Sicilian lace wedding dress. The gown seems to be yellow because of the lights in the image. In reality, this wedding dress is ivory, namely the traditional colour of Sicilian wedding dresses. It is hard to find a model like that. Anyway, I searched the wedding dress you want and found it on this link: You can ask the wedding dress designer to create the same top of the dress you saw in my article. Don’t forget to provide the sizes of your spouse! The tailor will be happy to do this for your fiancee and deliver the customized wedding dress with a Sicilian style straight to your home.

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    i am a fashion runway photographer, can i contact any fashion designers here! i am looking to make friends , i also am a published runway photographer this year in 4 magazines. i am sicilian!

    1. Rosalba Mancuso Post author

      Hi Gerald,
      I don’t know if you can find fashion designers through this blog post,
      but I am hope that if they visit this page, they’ll reach you as soon as possible.

  7. Darija

    Irony that you would put picture of gf.
    Apollonia was a goldigger who married Michael for money. Michael, on the other hand chased her at the hight of the danger, conned her into marrying him in the middle of the mafia war so he can satisfy his thunderbolt aka eraction and killed her with the wedding.
    Wedding , that was village circus during which Michael was completely detached. Never even looked at her….. he did at one point lean over to see little girl passing by and smiled. She is not that impressed by children .

    Michael:” I spent many nights in this room thinking of you ”
    Kay :” Than you got married ”
    Michael:” I still thought about you “.

    1. Rosalba Mancuso Post author

      Hi Darija, that is not irony, but a picture which well depicts wedding in the tradition of Sicily.
      In the rural framework of my island, many people married for money and to gain a social status or simply to escape poverty and misery.
      These people had regularly a secret lover, while their spouses accepted the adultery, because the divorce didn’t exist at the time, in Sicily and Italy.
      It is a sad facet of the Sicilian history, but it happened, unfortunately. I invite you to read the article, to learn more about that. Thank you so much for quoting the movie, anyway.

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