The start of any major event such as a wedding is an exhilarating yet decidedly stressful period. From the moment you announce your engagement, the pressure is on.
And for those planning a wedding in Italy, sometimes even more as expectations and cultural differences can affect every planning stage.
It’s no surprise that Italy, one of the most romantic countries in the world, is a popular choice for destination weddings. A Country as romantic as complicated from a burocratic point of view.
But no panic at all: Italy My Way is here to help you.
Here are few tips you might want to keep in mind for an Italian wedding without worries.
1. VISUALIZE IT:
Do you want your wedding on a white sandy beach? In the middle of an art city? In the countryside? Then factor in your budget and guest list. Once you know where your wedding will be, you can work on the small details like your style, colors and design.
2. PICK UP A DESTINATION:
Once you’ve picked the setting, it’s time to choose the city where you’ll be saying, “I do.” following your heart. For instance, if you’re looking for something intimate and lovely, rent a small home or a B&B in Tuscany. If you are a historian, Rome might be the perfect destination for you. You’ll also want to consider how easy it will be for everyone to travel to your chosen wedding destination.
3. COMBINE YOUR WEDDING AND HONEYMOON INTO ONE VACATION:
Holding your wedding in a romantic place means you don’t have to rush off after the ceremony – you can spend your honeymoon exploring the place where you said your vows, creating a lifetime of memories rather than rushing off after your big day.
4. SELECT A DATE:
If you’re throwing a destination wedding, you’ll have to factor in the weather of your proposed location. Second, ask your family members and closest friends what date will work best for them. That way, the people you care about most will be able to make it. You’ll also need to accept that you won’t be able to pick a date that works for all your guests. Forget being a people pleaser: when it comes to planning a wedding, you will never make everyone 100% happy, and a destination wedding is no different.
5. WHEN TO BOOK A VENUE IN ITALY:
Wedding venues should usually be booked 10 months to a year in advance so lock this down as soon as you get engaged. But book your wedding well in advance if you hope to use one of the most popular locations, as these tend to get booked up faster than you may expect. Consider even off-season weddings which often mean great deals: while May to September continue to be the ideal wedding times in Italy (or anywhere in the western world), consider a date in November, January or February even with risk of unpleasant weather. Especially for those on a budget, you can often negotiate a cheaper price for the rental price of a villa or location.
6. SEND OUT INVITATIONS EARLY OR SAVE THE DATE CARDS
When it comes to a destination wedding, you’ll want to send our invites early. Aim for at least three months earlier if not sooner. Consider dropping hints or sending out save the date cards on the intended date up to a year early, so people can block out that day on the calendar and save money looking for cheap flights and hotels.
7. WEDDING SIZE and GUEST LIST
Destination weddings vary greatly in size. Some destination weddings involve just the eloping couple, others include a few close friends and family, and others are full blowout affairs with multiple parties over a long wedding weekend. Since destination weddings are typically smaller in nature, you can expect approximately 40 percent of those on your guest list to actually attend. Your guests will also appreciate a destination that’s easy to get to, saving both their budget and vacation days.
8. VISIT THE LOCATION OR HIRE A PLANNER YOU TRUST FOR HELP:
Visit your wedding location as often as you can. This will give you a chance to meet in person with vendors and scope out venues. If that’s not a possibility, hire a planner who can facilitate on your behalf. Have a B Plan: When it comes to weather, this is very important to consider when planning the location. Always have a plan B when it comes to rain, even in summer as the past few years have proven to be more than unpredictable weather-wise.
9. KNOW THE RULES:
There are two different types of ceremonies you can have for your destination wedding. The first one is a legal ceremony, where you’ll receive a marriage certificate at the destination, you’re married in. This type of ceremony is legally recognized back home, but it may take several months before you receive the paperwork to make it legal in your Country. It also requires more paperwork, additional fees, and occasional blood tests. A symbolic ceremony has no legal binding and is performed just like a legal ceremony, so your guests will never know the difference. This type of ceremony makes up approximately 80 percent of destination weddings. The bride and groom typically marry at a local clergy or courthouse before they leave.
10. UNDERSTAND LOCAL CUSTOMS:
Weddings in Italy are usually fairly traditional, often Catholic affairs, without the added extras which are common in other countries. For example, Italian couples will usually have only one best man and one maid of honor, who also act as the legal witnesses, rather than a troupe of bridesmaids. Ceremonies are held in the morning at around 11 and receptions are a long lunch, lasting five or six hours. There usually isn’t any music played at weddings unless the bride and groom have a party with their own friends later in the evening. It is even true that unconventional is the new conventional even in the traditional Italy: the bride and groom are much more present during the planning stages of their wedding.
11. DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF HELP:
For foreigners coming abroad, hiring a wedding planner is ideal for helping navigate through sticky paperwork and contacting local vendors. For those who want to take on the burden of planning themselves, a day-of coordinator is another option. They will make sure guests get from point A to point B, will make sure to follow your time schedule of events the day of (speeches during dinner, first dance, cake cutting) and help call taxis the night of. Essentially take care of details while you actually get to enjoy the day. For those coming abroad who don’t speak Italian, it is highly recommended to have a point person, like a day-of coordinator, so that you don’t get overwhelmed with questions on your special day.
12. WEDDING WEBSITE IS A MUST:
If many of your guests are coming from abroad, a wedding website is highly recommended and typically easy to obtain and use. This will be the ‘place’ that details your wedding day, including location information and gift registry. It also is a nice place to include a little bit of info on you two.
13. MENU AND FLOWERS:
When it goes to planning the menu and also flowers you have many choices. The easiest and cheapest way is to go seasonal. Part of the beauty in Italy is how close locals are to seasonal changes.
14. THE DRESS:
If you plan on getting a dress in Italy, consider hiring a dressmaker! It’s a once in a lifetime experience to get your dream dress made by hang but it is one that is incredibly special.
15. WEDDING FAVORS:
When it comes to favours in Italy, consider something a bit more creative than the average chocolate-covered almond candy. For instance, personalized small bottles of extra-virgin olive oil or of Chianti Classico, Murano glass pieces or bottles of balsamic vinegar.
16. SAFELY PACK WEDDING ESSENTIALS:
When it comes to traveling for a wedding, there are certain things that just can’t be replaced (and that you absolutely can’t forget at home). That’s why it’s essential to pack anything of value in your carry-on. This includes the dress, suit or tuxedo and the wedding rings.
Italy My Way are exhibiting at The National Wedding Show, Olympia London on stand DW20