Planning a Destination Wedding in Italy: Location, Cost, Budget, and Timeline.
Getting married in Italy, what could be better? Italy is inviting, offering you and your guests an unforgettable and delightful celebration. Indeed, Italy is full of charm, unspoiled beauty, unique settings, and, of course, great food and wine.
Emotions aside, if you consider a destination wedding in Italy, you should wonder how much it would cost.
Before I became a wedding planner, I was an innovation technology consultant, managing complex international projects. And I know how important it is to set realistic expectations right from the beginning.
My clients need to understand the main contributors to the wedding’s cost and the specifics of a destination wedding.
Here are the key factors affecting your wedding cost: location, venue, number of guests, food and drinks, florals, lighting, and entertainment.
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 most US or Canadian couples plan their weddings mainly in Tuscany, followed by the Amalfi Coast, Lake Como, and Lake Garda. UK couples add Apulia to this list, while the French favor Venice.
Tuscany, Chianti Region
Tuscany, Montereggioni Region
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, finding out what is available there on your chosen date is essential. The earlier you start researching, the better, as you will have a better inventory of venues. Make sure that the selected place can 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. My first meeting with my clients is dedicated to budgets and breaking down costs. No worries: we will spend time on exciting things, discussing entertainment, decor, dining options, etc.
As a rule of thumb, my couples spend between USD 1,000 – 2,000 on a destination wedding per guest with an overall budget ranging from 80,000 – 250,000 USD. It does include a Welcome Party and extra activities, such as sightseeing, wine tasting and /or farewell brunch, as well as partial lodging.
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, and entertainment, depending on their vision and priorities. Consider transportation for the wedding party and your guests when not everyone stays at the same location or if you have different events at different places. In addition, it’s hard to imagine a wedding without a photographer and a bride without her hair and makeup done.
And then, there are always some extras. Some couples will want to include bespoke stationery invitations, video services, fireworks, live bands, live painting, 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 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 and 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 additional funds (sometimes your guests will split the costs) and 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.
Having a clear picture of what you will get for the money you pay is crucial, and one of my work streams is to set the expectations right. When I consult my couples, I always ensure 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 essential to avoid disappointments and unpleasant surprises at the last minute.
Planning 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 couples are looking into 2024 and 2025. There are many exciting choices, and I will be happy to discuss them with you!
Let's get in touch!
Photo credits: Pasquale Cuorvo Photography, Innar Hunt Films, David Bastianoni Studio, Stepan Vrzala Photography, Ivan Rubino Photography, Matteo Cuzzola Photography, Aqua Wedding Photography, Irene Fucci Photography,