Getting Married in Italy: Travel, Location, Cost, Budget, Expectations
I literally can’t wait to celebrate our Silver Anniversary in Italy this coming October!
We had to postpone it due to COVID-19, just like many of my clients had to postpone their weddings.
But as of today, fully vaccinated people from the US or those who had a recent negative test can finally come to Italy and enjoy it without having to quarantine.
The vaccination process in Italy is now progressing at full speed to reach herd immunity in September 2021.
It makes life easier and brings back joy and excitement to the planning process.
There are multiple vital things to consider when planning your destination wedding or a milestone celebration.
Let’s start with the location. There are 20 regions in Italy, including two big islands: Sicily and Sardinia. But it’s safe to say that the majority of US or Canadian couples plan their weddings mostly in Tuscany, followed by the Amalfi Coast, Lake Como, and Lake Garda. UK couples add Apulia to this list, while the French favor Venice.
There are always couples who select different regions in Italy, and everyone is welcome to explore. I keep studying and learning about new areas all the time. But as of now, I am ready to provide advice and guidance for the places I know well.
Once you get an inkling for a region, it is important to find out what is available there on your chosen date and if it is able to accommodate the number of your guests and your overall budget.
Understanding your budget is a must. Many couples who get in touch with me have a vague understanding of how much a wedding may cost. Weddings are expensive events: it doesn’t matter where you want to celebrate. A reception in a popular and sought-after venue in the US will often cost more than a classy and unique celebration in Italy. This holds true for both local and destination celebrations.
My couples spend between USD 65,000 – 90,000 on a destination wedding of 60-110 guests.
When we start working together, we focus on a budget and look at different vendor options. Couples allocate different budgets to the venue, food and beverages, florals, lighting, entertainment, all depending on their vision and priorities. In addition, it’s hard to imagine a wedding without a photographer and a bride without her hair styled and makeup done.
And then, there are always some extras. Some couples will want to include watercolor stationery invitations, video services, fireworks, live bands, additional entertainment, extra activities for their guests, etc.
Italy allows for a wide range of celebration options, and it all comes to costs and budgets.
The essential thing is to find the right venue and then plan everything else around it. Different couples have different preferences and desires, and professional planners help them find the best solution, which reflects their personality, style, and vibe while remaining within their budget.
Destination weddings are a fantastic opportunity to spend a few days with your most cherished family and friends and to bond over happy moments. In addition to the ceremony and reception, guests participate in the welcome dinner events and, quite often, in some additional activities. Wine tasting and leisure brunches are the most popular. But couples also hold barbecue parties, organize sightseeing trips, wishing to create unforgettable experiences.
Some couples offer Ferrari rides, old car excursions, horse riding, hot-air ballooning – you name it!
As exciting as it sounds, these activities require not only additional funds (often your guests will split the costs) but a lot of planning, research, and organization. I always recommend planning these extra events well in advance. Not only will it free you later in the process when your wedding is fast approaching, but it will secure the availability of inventory and services.
It is crucial to have a clear picture of what you will get for the money you pay, and one of my work streams is to set the expectations right. When I consult my couples, I always make sure they understand what they can and cannot expect, their contracts are well understood before they are signed, and what extras they may or may not need. Keeping this conversation going along the planning process is important to avoid disappointments and unpleasant surprises at the last minute.
The planning of a destination wedding usually takes 18-20 months, sometimes even longer.
I love it when my couples perceive it as an exciting journey and adventure on their own.
Destination weddings in Italy are in high demand, and if there is no rush, I recommend looking into 2023. There are many exciting choices, and I will be happy to discuss them with you!