If 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
For 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.
Indeed, 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
An 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 .
In 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, mermaid wedding dress is the trend. In high demand also models with lace corsage and simple gown sweetly slipping along the body.
Sicily wedding legal documents
Legal 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
As 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 Matrimonio.com