Italian Wedding Soup Origins

Did Italian wedding soup gain its name from being traditionally served at weddings?

Claim:   Italian wedding soup gained its name from being traditionally served at weddings.


Origins:   A bit of lore asserts that what has come to be known as Italian wedding soup began as a dish traditionally served to the bride and groom at wedding receptions to impart to the
nuptial couple the extra strength and vigor to see them through the wedding night. However, that origin is naught but invention; Italian wedding soup gained its name not from the occasion that might bring it to the table but rather from the harmony of its

ingredients. The phrase rendered in English as “wedding soup” actually means “married soup” (minestra maritata) in Italian. Said mistranslation has led to a misunderstanding of how the dish came by its name.

While quite different from each other, meats and green vegetables go well together, hence the “married” aspect of the dish. Italian wedding soup contains meat and greens in a clear broth; the meats either sausage or small meatballs, the greens escarole, chard, cabbage, spinach, broccoli, rabe, chicory, endive, lettuce, or kale.

The modern Americanized version of wedding soup is far lighter fare than its progenitor, which was a rib-sticking dish intended as the main (and sometimes only) fare of the day.

Barbara “soup (and nothing but) of the day” Mikkelson

Last updated:   16 April 2013


    Gunn, Deana.   Cooking with All Things Trader Joe’s..

    Encinitas, CA: Brown Bag Publishers, 2007.   ISBN 978-0-9799384-0-5   (p. 81).

    Johnson Larsen, Linda.   Knack Soup Classics..

    Knack, 2009.   ISBN 978-1-5992177-5-8   (p. 64).
Since 1994
A Word to Our Loyal Readers

Support Snopes and make a difference for readers everywhere.

  • David Mikkelson
  • Doreen Marchionni
  • David Emery
  • Bond Huberman
  • Jordan Liles
  • Alex Kasprak
  • Dan Evon
  • Dan MacGuill
  • Bethania Palma
  • Liz Donaldson
  • Vinny Green
  • Ryan Miller
  • Chris Reilly
  • Chad Ort
  • Elyssa Young

Most Snopes assignments begin when readers ask us, “Is this true?” Those tips launch our fact-checkers on sprints across a vast range of political, scientific, legal, historical, and visual information. We investigate as thoroughly and quickly as possible and relay what we learn. Then another question arrives, and the race starts again.

We do this work every day at no cost to you, but it is far from free to produce, and we cannot afford to slow down. To ensure Snopes endures — and grows to serve more readers — we need a different kind of tip: We need your financial support.

Support Snopes so we continue to pursue the facts — for you and anyone searching for answers.

Team Snopes