It’s wonderful when two people find love together. And it’s a great excuse to celebrate when an engagement is announced. So how do you congratulate the happy couple in Italian?
Fortunately its actually quite straight forward, you just need to decide whether you’re congratulating a friend, an acquaintance or the couple so you get the possessive articles right! (Apologies for talking grammar, I promise not to do it again!!)
The easiest way to congratulate your friend on his or her engagement would be to say Congratulazioni per il tuo fidanzamento pronounced con-grat-oo-laht-see-oh-knee pear eel too-oh fee-dahnt-sah-men-toe. This works for both men and women so is a handy one to know!
If you are not so close or familiar with the person you are congratulating and are still on formal terms with them, the polite way to do it would be to say Congratulazioni per il suo findanzamento pronounced con-grat-oo-laht-see-oh-knee pear eel soo-oh fee-dahnt-sah-men-toe. And again, this is fine for congratulating both the prospective bride or the groom. Excellent!
Alternatively if you want to congratulate the couple, either in person or on a card, for example, you would say Congratulazioni per il vostro fidanzamento pronounced con-grat-oo-laht-see-oh-knee pear eel voh-stroh fee-dahnt-sah-men-toe. Simple eh?
As this is Italian, it’s also quite acceptable, some would say expected, to add some flourishes to your best wishes. You could, for example, add something along the lines of Ti auguro tanto amore e felictià, meaning I wish you much love and happiness and pronounced Tea ow-gur-oh tan-toh a-mor-ray eh fell-ee-chee-TAH with the emphasis on the final syllable.
Italian traditions then differ a little on whether couples have an engagement party or not. In some regions, the party was the moment the man would give the ring to his fiancée and southern Italians are typically more likely to include an engagement party as part of the preparations for the wedding, albeit on a less formal basis.
Today, regardless of whether the couple has an engagement party or not, the one thing that is still viewed as essential before the wedding is that the parents must meet. Traditionally the bride’s mother invites the groom’s mother and father for lunch. The groom’s parents bring flowers to say thank you to the bride’s family and are expected to return the invitation before the wedding.
The idea of stag and hen parties also differs a little in Italy too. The practice of the groom having a stag or bachelor party dates back over 2500 years to Spartan times in Ancient Greece. Men would spend five to six days eating, drinking and gambling with their friends before the wedding as a way of celebrating their upcoming nuptials. Today the celebrations are known as Addio al celebato meaning Goodbye to celibacy! Wahey!
In contrast, women, however, were not expected to party and the idea of the hen or bachelorette party only really began to take hold in Italy around 30-40 years ago. Even now, they’re generally reasonably civilized (compared to a British hen party at least!) with dinner at a local restaurant or a party at a club around a week before the wedding. The bachelorette party is known as Addio al nubilato or Goodbye to being nubile!
And before the end of both the hen and stag parties it is essential that the bride and groom are toasted for good luck, so don’t leave without raising your glass! Un brindisi per festiggiare il vostro amore!
So, there you have it. Once you’ve correctly navigated the etiquette of how to congratulate an Italian couple, all that remains is for you to keep an eye out for the postman to see if you’ll get an invitation to the wedding! If you have any Italian engagement stories or advice for engaged couples, make sure to leave me a comment below! And if you’ve found this useful you might want to check out more of our DreamDiscoverItalia Italian 101 ideas such as How to say hello or How to say please, thank you and you’re welcome, and How to say Happy Birthday, all of which are easy to learn! I can’t promise that we’ll make you fluent in Italian overnight, but with the help of our Italian 101 posts you can learn a little and often and hopefully have a bit of fun doing it!