Civil weddings in modern-day Italy are fairly proscribed. There's not a lot of scope for the bride and groom to influence the ceremony. And the reason for that, as with many Italian wedding traditions, is based in ancient Roman culture. The peoples of the Roman Empire were deeply rooted in tradition and customs, and the wedding ceremony followed a very strict format. To families in ancient Rome, following that structure would have been as important as the legalities of wedding services in Italy are today.
Love and sex
The ancient Roman marriage ceremony: where did it take place?
Roman marriage The Roman marriage was between a man and a woman. It may seem obvious but in the ancient world monogamy was definitely not the norm. In many of the ancient civilizations, men, and especially wealthy men, had many wives. Therefore, it is quite a remarkable fact that marriage was officially only between a man and a woman in the Roman and Greek world. It is worth noting however that Roman men were allowed to have a concubine. These concubines did not have the same rights as wives. Most marriages were not romantic but rather arranged between families seeking to maintain or improve the family wealth and social status.
Marriage in ancient Rome conubium was a strictly monogamous institution: a Roman citizen by law could have only one spouse at a time. The practice of monogamy distinguished the Greeks and Romans from other ancient civilizations, in which elite males typically had multiple wives. Greco-Roman monogamy may have arisen from the egalitarianism of the democratic and republican political systems of the city-states. It is one aspect of ancient Roman culture that was embraced by early Christianity , which in turn perpetuated it as an ideal in later Western culture. Marriage had mythical precedents , starting with the abduction of the Sabine Women , which may reflect the archaic custom of bride abduction.
Roman weddings were the source for many of our own marriage traditions. A ring on the third finger of a girl's left hand symbolized engagement. At the wedding ceremony the bride was dressed in white, wore a veil and was accompanied by a bridesmaid.