1. Get the help of a wedding planner – choose a wedding planner who is based locally. It’s important for the wedding planner to be based in the country where you plan to get married as they will be able to advise you on everything from logistics to bureaucracy, they know the area and the right questions to ask you to get the most out of your day, your venue and your budget. A reputable company will be registered with that country’s Chamber of Commerce. Also make sure your wedding planner uses a contract. A contract is a great way to protect your rights and ensure that the services which are delivered are done so in a professional and reliable way. Any reputable wedding planning company will not only use a contract for their own protection but also committing to certain responsibilities to their clients. Listen to your wedding planner, they have all the knowledge and experience to make your day run smoothly and ensure your guests don’t pass out from heat exhaustion or get lost trying to find the venue.
2. Bookings should be made between 10 months to a year before the wedding date. Nearly all venues in Italy don’t give out prices or allow bookings more than 14 to 18 months in advance. Asking prices 2 years ahead mean that it’s extremely likely that the price will change between now and your wedding date. As Italy is a popular destination many venues and town halls can get booked up to 10 months before. It is for this reason that the best time to make your booking is 10 months to a year in advance.
3. Gather information the area of Italy you would like to get married such as the geography, temperature, infrastructure, etc – Many people make requests for venues which show they do not know the area where they would like to get married. For example, Florence is over 100 kilometres from the sea which means you won’t get sea views in your Florence wedding venue! It’s important to bear in mind the temperature for the month you would like to get married. In December it snows in Italy so don’t expect a beach wedding in the winter months. July is a fantastic month for relaxing and topping up your tan but temperatures can soar into the late 30s – do you want to be in a traditional wedding dress and your groom in his morning suit with the sun beating down? How easy is it to get to the venue. Some areas of Italy for example Tuscany have few or no public transport which means your guests will have to be very independent and hire their own car. Many venues in Tuscany can be quite isolated so if your guests don’t drive they can get stuck at the venue for a whole weekend.
4. Transparency with prices – if you’re using a wedding planner make sure they are willing to show you in a transparent way the break-down of costs. It’s difficult to compare overall package prices which include all services such as reception, hairdresser, DJ etc. By getting the breakdown of each item you can be sure to see where you are getting value for money
5. Don’t underestimate importance of bureaucratic issues – if you’re looking at a last minute wedding you need to be aware that with the paperwork procedure you need at least 4 months before the wedding date to do everything. Also be aware of unusual laws such as the 300 day waiting period for divorced women, paperwork requirements for the British Consulate and also the Italian town hall. It’s important to note that in Italy it’s possible to get married in a venue which is managed or owned by the town hall, but this doesn’t mean grimy depressing buildings, this can mean, castles, lakeside villas, sea view terraces, the choice is endless.
6. Comparing prices – It’s not possible to compare prices between uk and Italy because many services differ, the Italian wedding market is slightly different to the UK, for example to get your hair done at a salon in the UK with a trial can start at £50 (depending on your relationship with your hairdresser), in Italy the same service can start at Euro 150. These prices can also vary from region to region in Italy, in Tuscany for example prices to get your hair done at a salon in Tuscany with a trial start at Euro 200!
7. Try to get away from the stereotype of Italy and Italian locations – Italy has so much to offer and many couples are attracted to the well-known destinations such as Tuscany, Sorrento and Lake Garda. Italy offers some absolutely spectacular venues which are a little off the beaten tourist track and for this reason are excellent value for money. You won’t be compromising on scenery or quality of food but you will be discovering a completely new side to Italy.
8. Think of your guests – it’s your big day but to ensure your loved ones make it it’s important to consider their needs, for example if your grandmother has problems walking then Positano on the Amalfi Coast is a big ‘no no’, steep steps up dramatic cliff edges can be a challenge for even the most fit people! If you have lots of young children in your group a venue with a pool or close to attractions is important to keep the children happy then also their parents! How close is the venue to the airport or other cities?
9. Budgeting – get your wedding wedding planner to assist you with this. By knowing your overall budget a wedding planner (who already knows the general costs) can advise you of the right venues and services. Make sure that when budgeting you prioritise what are the most important elements – amazing scenery, amount/quality of food, many decorations at the town hall and wedding reception, type of wedding car, etc. You are looking to have your dream day but be ready to compromise some elements because of budget constraints.
10. Try not to replicate a UK wedding in Italy – get to know Italian traditions and customs and mix and match them with British/Irish ones to make your day that extra special and personalised. For example Italians don’t do speeches so maybe save the best man from that duty, the top table in Italy is laid out differently or what’s becoming fashionable in Italy now is to have the bride and groom on their own table and in between courses they go to their guests to chat. In Italy only the groom wears the full suit and waistcoat as it’s important for him to stand out from the other guests, you could compromise by having the groom in one colour of waistcoat and tie and the groomsmen and father of the bride in another.
For more information on destination weddings and the services offered by BestWeddingAway please visit www.bestweddingaway.co.uk