An Experience Like None Other
Planning a destination wedding in Italy is an experience that is quite unlike any other. For many couples, Italy’s indisputable romantic appeal, beautiful scenery, and renowned cuisine make it a top destination.
As an Italian wedding photographer, I can attest that Italy truly does offer a perfect setting for a magical wedding.
However, planning a destination wedding requires a whole new level of planning with careful organization and great attention to detail.
Let’s look at the steps and considerations you must take into account as you plan your destination wedding in Italy.
Picking Your Ideal Location
Italy is diverse and magical, brilliant with its history and unique charm.
There are many, many regions in Italy and all are pockets of their own culture and beauty. And you can truly create any type of event you want, from ancient country villas to glamorous modern city-based affairs.
Start by researching the various areas and see what fits your personal preferences. As you look at each area, think about ease of travel for your guests, how the location fits into your wedding vision and any personal connection with the location. Your wedding is one of the most personal experiences of your life — and the location should be meaningful also.
Here are a few of my favorite regions:
Florence and the surrounding area of Tuscany are some of the most beautiful areas in Italy. With rolling vineyards, a stunning connection to art history, and beautiful villas, you would be hard-pressed to find an area that is more indicative of Italian culture than Tuscany.
Some of my favorite historic villas are found in Tuscany but beyond that, the endless vistas alone make it worth hosting a wedding here.
From a logistical standpoint, Tuscany is easily accessible from both Rome and Milan airports. Florence also has an airport but it is smaller and doesn’t host quite as many international flights.
Who knew so much beauty could fit into 25 miles of rugged, spectacular coastline?
Amalfi is officially a destination hotspot and with good reason. Between the views, the food, and its hosting the quintessential Italian summer, Amalfi is a great place for a wedding. Not only will you have the experience of a lifetime, but your guests will also.
Amalfi is, quite honestly, one of the most dramatic and unforgettable areas. There are several towns dotted along the steep Amalfi coast — Positano, Ravello, and Amalfi being three of the most popular and scenic. They are great places to base your wedding weekend as your guests will have plenty to do in the area.
Be warned, getting to Amalfi can be a bit of a trek but the journey is worth the destination. Most people fly into Rome or Naples (if coming from Europe) and then take a train or private car down to the Amalfi Coast.
Lake Como, with its stately villas surrounding the glacial lake, is the epitome of grace and elegance. There is nothing about Lake Como that doesn’t say “glamour” and a wedding here is nothing short of spectacular.
Lake Como is perfect for the couple that loves the Italian culture but wants a bit more of an emphasis on nature. Completely surrounded by the Italian Alps, the Lake Como area is an easy place to incorporate the natural world into your wedding. Plus, your guests can spend their free time boating on the lake or hiking in the mountains.
Getting to Lake Como is easy from the Milan airport, either by train or private car.
For a slightly less crowded experience, consider Puglia for your destination wedding in Italy. You’ll have the best of all worlds — sunny resort-style beaches, perfectly preserved Medieval villages, and amazing cuisine.
Don’t get me wrong — Puglia is still widely visited, but it isn’t generally as busy as other Italian coasts, such as Amalfi. But you’ll still get a world-class experience that will leave you and your guests with memories for a lifetime.
Nothing quite says Italian luxury like Venice. With its canal-lined streets, ornate architecture, and its festive culture, Venice is fun and glamorous all in one breath. Plus, Venice is on everyone’s bucket list so your guests will love coming to your wedding here.
From the United States, most people fly into Milan and then travel the 2 and a half hours to Venice by train. For those coming from Europe, there is an airport closer to Venice.
From popular beach resorts to glamorous cities and rugged mountains, Italy really does offer it all.
Finding the Right Team of Vendors
Nothing can make or break planning a destination wedding in Italy quicker than not having the best team of vendors on your side. Hiring people who are local to Europe, know the language, and know the area is so important.
The first steps are finding a venue and a planner. This sets a good foundation for the rest of your planning experience. I recommend always having a wedding planner but, at the very least, hire a day-of coordinator who can manage your wedding day so you don’t have to worry about the little details.
Once you have the venue and the planner, you can start looking at other vendors such as caterers, photographers, videographers, and florists. Your wedding planner will help guide you through most of this process but make sure you look at all of the fine print of what your venue offers in-house and what all of their regulations are. You don’t want to hire someone that your venue requires to be handled in-house (such as catering).
Generally, both the venue and the planner will have a good list of other recommended vendors that will guide you to other essential vendors. Listen to their input and guidance but don’t necessarily only look at their recommendations. For instance, if you find a photographer that you love but isn’t on the list, don’t let that discourage you. Instead, research the vendor online, looking at reviews and their portfolio. Schedule a phone call with them to see if you would be a good fit. And listen to your instinct. If you feel really compelled towards a certain vendor, then listen to that!
To help get you started, you can see a list of my favorite Italian wedding planners here.
Legal Requirements for a Destination Wedding in Italy
Whether you have a destination wedding or a local one, you will have to look into the legal requirements for getting married. The best advice that I have for this is to reach out to your local licensing office and ask for their guidance as these rules vary widely, even among a single country. Tell them your plan and then ask what you need to do to make the marriage legal in your country.
The next step would be to reach out to the embassy of the country where you want to hold your wedding (Italy!) and see what they have to tell you. You may have to legally get married in your home country and then have a symbolic ceremony later. Or you may be able to transfer the documents from Italy.
As you plan your destination wedding in Italy, make sure you keep your guests’ experience in consideration. Your wedding is all about you, but you are asking your guests to travel a very long way and you want to be cognizant of this.
When hosting a destination wedding in Italy, it is nice to plan events for your guests surrounding the wedding. From boat excursions, dinners filled with local cuisine, or wine tastings, you want to give your guests the opportunity to experience what the area has to offer.
If your timeline doesn’t allow for outside events, consider putting your guests in touch with a local travel agent to allow them to book local excursions that they desire.
If you aren’t getting married at a resort or villa with room for all of your guests, consider working with a few local hotels to get your guests a decent rate at a place that is close to your venue. As well, make sure you give detailed instructions on ways for your guests to get from the airport to the venue where you are getting married. Give them several options to make the journey easier for them.
As you plan your destination wedding in Italy, remember you are getting married in one of the most beautiful, gracious countries in the world. Try to incorporate as much of the local culture as possible — from food to florals to local musicians. You want to infuse your experience with as much Italian culture as you can!
Another way to incorporate the local culture is to have your photographer take you around the local area to capture images in those spots. Dedicate time during or before your wedding to have your images taken artfully and beautifully, documenting your time fully.
I’d love to talk to you about your wedding plans, whether they be in Italy or another location. Reach out today to schedule a chat!