So, You're thinking about choosing Italy as your dream destination to say 'I do'?
Here's everything you need to know about planning a wedding in Italy …
The desire to travel has set the trend of destination weddings on an all-time high. Everyone wants a special place for their special day and if you have been dreaming about a wedding in Italy… we totally understand why!
We’ve put together a few points to keep in mind when planning a wedding in Italy so it turns out to be as picture perfect as it is in your dreams.
Top Tips to Note
The Letter Of The Law
First and foremost, get the legalities out of the way. Italy recognises both civil and religious wedding ceremonies and as there is no legal residency requirement, anyone can get married there. That’s great, however, they do have some other factors that you need to be aware of before rocking up to say your ‘I do’s’.
Any idea what a ‘Nulla Osta’ is? Let us tell you, a ‘Nulla Osta’ is a certificate which proves you are legally allowed to get married, it is also known as a ‘No Impediment Certificate (NIC)’ and yes, you’ll need one. In general, the required documents will depend on the couple’s nationality and the type of ceremony they wish to have. As well as a religious ceremony and civil ceremony weddings, you can also opt for a symbolic one, which is not legally binding. Same-sex couples can also make their partnership official in Italy without getting married through a civil union.
Plenty of Planning Makes Perfect
Some weddings are so elaborate; they take years to plan. Even if you’re not planning a “wedding of the century”, it is still likely to involve more thought than you realised, especially being a destination wedding away from your home country. Here are some helpful to ways to stay stress free and “plan your plan”:
• Choosing the date: As with any event, you’ll want to start by determining when and where it will be held. It’s a good idea to coordinate the time and day with the weather of the location. It can get pretty toasty in Tuscany during the summer and icy cold in the Alps during ski season, which is fine, as long as you are aware of the general temperature and what to take into consideration. Scheduling your outdoor ceremony at midday under the sun, won’t be such a cool idea.
• Choosing your wedding venue in Italy is definitely up there as one of the most important aspects of planning a wedding in Italy . Before you start, decide whether you are having an intimate affair or an all-out festa (‘party’ in Italian). Knowing a rough guest count will help you to choose a suitable and sizeable venue. Picking the perfect place for the ceremony can be overwhelming because honestly, there are sooo many wonderful choices for all styles and budgets. From the gorgeous spots you’ll find on our ‘Venues’ page to your endless instagram searches, a certain spot is sure to steal your heart, and you’ll just know it’s “the one”. Top tip: popular venues can get booked up years in advance so be sure to start your venue hunting right away.
• Choosing Italian wedding vendors Photographers, Planners, Florists, Caterers. Let’s go! Once you've figured out the look and feel of your wedding in Italy you can start gathering your local team of wedding pros to make it all come to life. Why not browse through our wedding directory and save your favourites to contact, or send the shortlist over to your wedding planner to organise for you.
Figure Out The Budget
Yep, we’re talking about the dreaded budget. A destination wedding in general can seem like a costly expense – the travel, the accommodation, the before and after celebrations – but it doesn’t have to be. As long as you plan strategically and give yourself enough time, your wedding in Italy can cost less, and most often you’re bound to get more for your money. After all, you’re surely not travelling to Italy just for one day, so your destination wedding will probably be combined as your holiday and honeymoon all in one.
The extras to look out for:
• The Pluses: Don't forget about the taxes. Make sure you ask your vendors to highlight the VAT applied to their fees. In Italy these taxes are known as IVA (Imposta sul Valore Aggiunta) and can be up to 20% of the total service cost.
• Music Tax: If you are having music played at your wedding, you need to register for an SIAE, which is a permit from the Italian performing rights organisation. Check with your band or DJ as to whether this fee is included, otherwise you or your wedding planner will have to organise the payment and printing of the permit before your wedding in Italy (that’s not what you want to be doing pre-wedding).
• Bonus tip: Gratuity and tips are not expected for weddings in Italy. If you plan to offer your vendors a tip as a sign of your appreciation, make a note of the expected cost so you are prepared on the day.
The Fine Details
It’s often the intricate particulars that make or break the way your wedding day actually goes down. Failure to foresee unexpected snags or not thinking things all the way through can end up getting you in a bit of a pickle. Avoid the wedding blues of your red letter day by putting it all in black and white. Make a thorough list and check it twice. Include such details as:
• Dress for success: Having an idea of what the weather is generally like in your chosen region will determine the style of wedding dress or suit you go for. Think about the materials that will keep you warm or cool enough on the day, this also goes for your bridesmaids and groomsmen.
• Timing is everything: While most wedding invitations are sent out six to eight weeks before the event, you’ll need to give your wedding party and guests a much longer notice if you want them all to make it for your big day. Allow for them to book their flights (or whichever transportation they are using) well ahead of time to assure availability and to allow them the opportunity to get advance notice bargains, yes!
• Expect the unexpected: Go over all the “What ifs”. If it rains during your outdoor wedding, will you opt for an alternative room inside or grab some umbrellas? Do I need an extra pair of shoes for the evening or perhaps a change of outfit? What if we run out of limoncello? Gasp! (it could happen). There are lots of little details of when planning a wedding in Italy that we can neglect, so have a think about how the day will plan out from start to finish and it will no doubt help the day go a little smoother.
Go the Extra Mile
A little help along the way is nice. If it’s within your budget, acquiring the assistance of a wedding planner is something that you will most likely never regret, especially for a destination wedding. Some of the things a local professional in Italy will bring to the table are:
• Guessing Games: Taking the guess work out of the equation.They know the language, the customs, legalities and of course the best places.
• Helping hand: A professional’s service should actually pay for itself in the long run. It is not uncommon for venues and vendors in any foreign land to take financial advantage and spike up prices when they hear the word “wedding”. A good wedding planner will see to it that this does not happen.
• Dish it out: If you decide to go ahead without one, why not give up a little control and delegate tasks to those in your bridal/groom’s party or even your family members. Planning a wedding can be a challenge in itself, especially if you are doing it from afar, spread the work load and make it an enjoyable journey.
Your Happily Ever After
Planning a wedding in Italy offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to celebrate in a stunning and romantic foreign destination. As you get started on this exciting journey, in-depth preparation, thoughtful chapter-by-chapter planning, and the guidelines provided above will ensure that your Italian wedding will truly become a dream come true.