The Italian Dream
Many people dream of having a beautifully charming Italian wedding in the hills of Tuscany...and understandably so, with the enchanting villas filled with historic frescos centred in acres of countryside, who wouldn't want the Italian dream as their wedding day setting?
To help you create just that, there are a few things you should know when planning your destination wedding in Italy...
1) A Wedding Planner Is A Good Idea
When planning a destination wedding, a wedding planner is always a good idea. As much as you may want to organise everything yourself, it isn't always possible when you're not located in the same country as where you intend to get married.
Not only that, but you're unlikely to be familiar with the venues or the suppliers so recommendations from a reliable wedding planner are always advantageous.
2) June And September Are Great Months Too
If planning a Summer wedding in the UK, you may tend to go for July or August therefore these are often considered the best months to get married. In Italy however, June and September should definitely be strongly considered too; in fact these may even be preferable months to July and August due to a slightly more comfortable temperature.
Even if opting for June or September, make sure you plan ahead where possible as these are popular months in Italy and tend to get booked up just as quickly as July and August.
3) It's Not Always Possible To Get Married Outside
Couples are often disappointed when they learn that it's not always possible to have a legal ceremony in the grounds of an Italian wedding venue. There is often a requirement to go to the local Town Hall for your civil ceremony.
This shouldn't put you off as there are alternative options available; you can either make the trip to the Town Hall part of your wedding, with the reception at your chosen venue, or you could have a symbolic blessing (which all your guests would think is the real deal) in the venue and save the legal paperwork for when you're back home; this is also a good money saving option.
Depending on your preferences, this may or may not be a significant factor to you so discuss your options with your wedding planner.
4) Site Inspections and Supplier Meets Are Recommended
Where possible, it's always beneficial if you're able to visit the venue at least once before your wedding day as this helps you get a feel for how your day will flow. Ask your wedding planner to organise meetings with your (to be) chosen suppliers too so that you can make the most of your trip to your wedding destination. It will make you feel a lot more relaxed when it comes to the wedding day itself.
5) Timings May Differ
It's not uncommon for a wedding in the UK to start at 11am; it is however uncommon for it to start this early in Italy, particularly in the summer months.
Don't be surprised if it is recommended that you start your ceremony around 4pm; this not only allows you to enjoy your day, but also is a more comfortable heat for both you and your guests.
Many outdoor venues will have music restrictions from around 11pm, however there will often be an indoor space which allows you to party until as late as your like so you'll still get the most out of your wedding day even if you start that little bit later.
6) Italians Do Food Well
If you're planning a wedding in Italy then, if possible, it's best to go with an Italian menu. The food will be locally produced and if there's one thing that Italians know how to do properly then it's their food!
A typical menu consists of several courses, including Aperitifs (with prosecco), Antipasti (starter), two Primi piattos (pasta), a Secondi piatto (main), and Dolci (dessert) so your guests are guaranteed to be well fed.
7) Check Out Your Legal Requirements
If you're planning a civil ceremony in Italy make sure you familiarise yourself, in advance, with any required paperwork, documentation and town hall payments that need to be completed prior to the wedding day.
Costs for paperwork completion will vary depending on several factors such as your nationality and the region your getting married in so do your research to avoid any last minute stresses.
8) Wedding Cake Is Not The Same
A lot of venue food packages will include a 'wedding cake', sometime in addition to dessert. It's worth pointing out that Italian wedding cake is not the traditional iced fruit/sponge cake that we would tend to think of.
That said, it is extremely yummy and actually quite light which can be well received after a large Italian meal; Italian wedding cake, millefoglie, consists of very delicate layers of pastry, filled with strawberries and cream...so when in Italy, I'd recommend you do as the Italians do and opt for a super scrummy millefoglie instead.
9) Think Of Your Guests
One thing to bear in mind is that, unless getting married in a beautiful city such as Florence or a quaint Italian town, it is likely that, if you've chosen a picturesque villa in the Tuscan countryside, your guests will need to hire a car to get around, especially if staying with you for more than a couple of days; this shouldn't be a problem, and most guests will be happy to do this, it's just another thing to consider when choosing the right venue for your wedding, particularly with large wedding parties.
10) Make It An Experience
The best thing about a destination wedding is the fact that your wedding day isn't just a day; it's a wedding experience. You get to enjoy the build up with friends and family, and continue the celebrations over the days either side too, so when planning a destination wedding, budget allowing, consider before and after events too such as a welcome dinner and post-wedding lunch.