Yes, it is true that various forms of connections are used in all sorts of religious and cultural traditions at weddings–including Celtic handfasting, the “white cloth” ritual in Arabic weddings, hand binding in Portuguese weddings, and cording ceremonies in Mexican and Filipino ceremonies–just to name a few. So if you like this notion, you could certainly adopt it from a “multi-cultural” perspective.
I was curious about any Italian traditions I might find and noticed a few:
The “Le Buste” (or La Borsa, by one reference) is a silk bag or satin pouch that the bride carries to hold envelopes of monetary gifts (not everyone’s cup of tea)
Also, Bags of almonds known as confetti, symbolize the bitterness and sweetness of life, are given to the guests as keepsakes. Apparently the number of almonds should be an odd number (5 or 7) for good luck.
In on of The Knot’s guidebooks, they mention that The Tarantella is also a customary dance of the bride and groom at the reception.
Other Italian folklore, I have read, is that the groom should carry iron in his pocket to ward off evil spirits on the wedding day.
On one website, I noticed they said that Southern Italian brides and grooms break a glass at the end of the wedding day. The number of pieces that the glass shatters into represents the number of years the couple will be happily married.
Of course, once I (or you) get going with the line of research…..it can go on forever 🙂 I just noticed a website specializing in “Italian Wedding Favors” with Murano glass bouquet–the glass is made in Venice.
Bottom line, here, is have fun with this and there certainly must be some nod you can make to his Italian heritage! It might be nifty to include references to these special ceremonial flourishes in the program, too.