First among them is the tradition surrounding the first dance. As a child, as soon as we arrived at the Marconi, my cousins and I would rush to the bar to ask for an empty cup. Then we'd impatiently ask our parents all through dinner, when are they going to throw the money?
During the couple's first dance, the floor is quickly surrounded by all the children at the wedding and all the Nanas, Nonas, Aunts and Zias. The old women throw and scatter coins about the newly wed couple's feet as they dance, and the kids dart in and out, picking up as many as they can. The boldest ones reaching right under the bride's long train to go after a coveted quarter or loonie (it wasn't until I was older that toonies joined the mix).
This photo is from my Cousin Krista's wedding in 2012.
From what I've gleaned from it, this tradition is a blessing for wealth (the coins) and fertility (the kids). And while many weddings don't invite the little ones to the party, I can only hope there will be many little cousins and nieces and nephews at mine one day to continue this cherished tradition.
With that on my mind, I spent some time on YouTube tonight looking for all of my favourite Italian Wedding Dancing songs. Here are a few!
Lauretta Mia by Enrico Musiani
Che La Luna Mezzo Mare by Lou Monte
L'italiano by Toto Cotugno