AS JULY turns into August, we are not only enjoying some of the finest summer weather you can hope for in the UK, we are also in the middle of wedding season.

While most people will opt for a summer wedding, many will choose to jet abroad to enjoy the weather and the scenery there while they tie the knot.

Italy is a popular country for destination weddings, but usually, couples traveling there from the UK will still observe UK wedding traditions, rather than Italian ones.

UK and Italian weddings have both their similarities and their differences.

One tradition that is observed in Italy, that we do no have here in the UK, is the serenade.

The serenade is a traditional party that takes place on a day in the run up to the wedding, during which the groom gathers his friends, relatives, and a few musicians, and stands outside his wife-to-be’s window and sings love songs until she appears. When the bride joins the groom downstairs he gives her a red rose, before everyone joins in with the music and raises a toast to the happy couple.

Another tradition observed in Italian weddings that we do not have here is the cutting on the nuptial ribbon. Accompanied by her father, when the bride is all set to leave her family home, she cuts a white ribbon over the threshold, which is usually held by two of her bridesmaids. This is a symbolic of the important step the bride is taking, and of the big change that marriage will bring into her life.

In an Italian wedding, confetti is something completely different. Confetti is not the shredded, colourful paper that is thrown over the bride and groom in the UK, it is what Italians called sugared almonds, that are given as party favours at the end of the day. They are usually given together with something Italians call bomboniere, which are also party favours, usually a piece of china, a vase, or a picture frame. With these types of party favours, Italian couples usually give one to each family who attends their big day.

Italians are big fans of food, so you can bet that food will feature heavily during a wedding. Italian wedding banquets are huge, boasting many courses. At a traditional Italian wedding, guests will start with a large buffet boasting a variety of hors d’oeuvres, which some might even consider a meal in itself. Next up, guests can enjoy two main courses, like pasta dishes or rice dishes.

If that is not enough, the next course is the meat or fish course, followed by another large buffet, this time with fruit and desserts. Then it is time for wedding cake, and if you have any room left after that, it is time for coffee and liquors.

During the dessert course, Italians enjoy something called Crostata di Frutta, which boast layers of fruit and custard in sweet Italian piecrust. If you want to sample a little bit of an Italian happy ever after, you can make these tarts at home and try them for yourself. Feel free to experiment with different fruits, to tailor the dish to your preference.