@aconnor82: Before my wedding, I was in the “your wedding, you get to have it your way” camp. Having now gone through, and reflected on the experience, you have a leg up on us, in that you’re asking these questions now, and trying to make the wedding more inclusive of family, and make it an opportunity to bring family together. So, while you do get the final say, trying to make sure your future in laws feel included, and welcomed, and considered, at their own son’s wedding is an absolutely smart, and immeasurably appropriate, thing to do.
I don’t think that 15 minutes of Irish dancing as entertainment is offensive, but feel it out. Don’t do it if it’s going to cause strain; I really wouldn’t say it’s worth that. But, I doubt it will be an issue – but I would start talking about including Italian traditions. Ask his parents about some of their traditions; tell them you want both of your heritages represented, so you want to include traditions from each side. While you should do some research on Italian traditions, and get an idea of what you might want, and not want, [This next part is important!] ASK THEM what their traditions are, and what is important to them. Get them to talk first, listen, and show respect. This will show them you really do respect them, their feelings, and their culture. Then you can say “well maybe this would work, but I don’t think that is really us” and “I read about this thing; is it one of your traditions? Do you do it a different way, maybe?” Whatever you decide t do that is theirs, odds are it will only count, in their minds, if you do it exactly their way. I’m not trying to be condescending, or suggest you aren’t respectful of them, but there’s a generational gap there (I also realize I don’t know your age, so this might not be so relevant if you are over 35), about how people express, and perceive others’ atttudes and intentions.
Lucky for you, there are a few Italian traditions that involve people giving you money! People pin envelopes of money to the bride all night long, is my understanding. I’m part Italian on my mom’s side; that side of the family lived in another city, so I’ve only heard about, not experienced, most of these things. There are bombonierre, which are sachets of five sugared almonds that each guest is given, and they cost virtually nothing. You can do them in white, or get them in your wedding colours. We did them in green and navy. Sweet table is one from our family, which comes out later n the evening, and is covered in Italian, diabetes-causing awesomeness.