These top ten myths often discourage even the most adventurous of couples and while there are challenges when planning a destination wedding in Italy, most are very manageable and well worth the effort. Below are the ten of the most common concerns of brides and grooms and the reasons why you shouldn’t let them stop you from planning your dream wedding in Italy.
1. I can’t afford it
Weddings in Italy are not just for the rich and famous. Destination weddings are becoming more and more common, with Italy being one of the top locations. Here are just a few of the ways you’ll save:
Location: Venues in Italy are surprisingly affordable. The costs are similar to what you find in the US but your options range from renaissance villas and medieval castles to town halls filled with frescos and beautiful ancient churches.
Catering: You’ll find that catering is comparable to US costs and for that money you’ll get five amazing courses with the wine and champagne often included. Italy is known for it’s food and wine and a wedding meal filled with local specialties such as handmade pici pasta in a wild boar sauce, porcine risotto, and Fiorentina steak served with Chianti and Prosecco is one certain to impress your guests. The fact that you’ll have twenty to forty guests as opposed to one hundred and fifty will also save you a bundle.
Decor: The venues here are so stunningly beautiful, you’re also able to save on decor since they need very little dressing up. From olive groves to vineyards to Italian gardens, people travel from all over the world to see the countryside and the buildings of stone, stucco, and frescos are the perfect setting for any grand event.
Timing: If you and your guests are already here, you can have the ceremony any day of the week and often receive a lower rate from all of your vendors.
Combining: It’s a wedding, a family vacation, a trip with friends, and your honeymoon all paid for with one plane ticket. What more can you ask for?
2. My guests won’t be able to afford it
Accommodations: These days many guests have to travel for a wedding anyway. Depending on your venue, the length of your stay, and the size of your group, you can often get rates for a fraction of what it would cost each couple to stay in a hotel. Many locations have villas suitable for large groups and apartments for smaller groups or extra guests as well as wedding halls and gardens for your ceremony and reception, making everything convenient and simple for you and your guests.
Transportation: When you have a group there are many options for travel that don’t require each guest to rent a car. You want to spend time with everyone so why not arrange the week so that you sightsee together? Small groups can share the price of renting a ten-person van and larger groups can have private buses that will pick you up at your location and take you to your destinations for much less than a rental car.
3. No one will come
While you will have fewer guests, destination weddings typically average about 40. Those who come will be your closest family and friends, or your most adventurous. With those two kinds of people you’re sure to have a great time. When you choose a location like Italy, with it’s grand cities of Rome, Venice and Florence, and the allure of the countryside in Tuscany and Lake Como, you might be surprised how many are ready for a vacation and will combine your wedding with a sightseeing tour of Italy. Bonus, you can avoid offending people you might feel obligated to include if the wedding were local.
4. The bureaucracy is too difficult
While Italy is infamous for this, and it does require some extra work, a consultant can guide you through the steps necessary. A legally binding ceremony in Italy requires an Atto Notoriofrom an Italian Consulate in the US as well as Nulla Osta from the American Consulate in Italy. This is then followed by an appearance before the appropriate Ufficiale di Stato Civile three days before the ceremony to receive the Authorization. The necessary requirements to obtain these three documents will vary depending on the couple and the region of Italy. Additionally, there are some limitations on where a legally binding ceremony can be performed. It is possible to do it on your own, but we always recommend the assistance of a professional since you may find yourself in Italy without the proper documentation and unable to proceed. While it is less romantic, there is always the option of having a legal marriage in the US and a symbolic ceremony in Italy. You’ll save yourself a lot of work and your guests never have to know.
5. I won’t be able to personalize my wedding
If you choose a wedding planner who will work with you every step of the way, you can infuse as much of your personality into your wedding as you want. It’s all about finding the right help as opposed to choosing a package or having your location do the coordinating, which often only includes the coordinating of the vendors. A wedding planner will not only be able to bring your vision to life, but will also be able to suggest Italian details such as a the confetti, a traditional Italian millefoglie or Charlotte wedding cake, or even traditional Italian wedding songs to give your wedding a few extra special touches.
6. I’ll lose too much of my budget in currency exchange
What you lose in exchange, you often make up for in value. A wedding in Italy is a once in a lifetime experience. Your venues are medieval castles and villas and no one does food and wine better than the Italians. Be smart with your currency exchange. Talk to your bank and see what they can offer you. Make sure you’re absolutely clear on their fees. Many will say that they only charge a certain fee, but neglect to tell you that they add 10 cents to the exchange rate. Then talk to other banks. When banks know they’re competing for your business, you may find that one can suddenly give you a better rate. If you intend to use credit cards for any transactions, make sure you talk to your credit card company. Most charge an international transaction fee of around 3% but some may offer better while others charge more. Either way, this is not something you want to have as a surprise on your bill.
7. I’ll have to pay for my guests travel expenses as well
While we’d all like to pay for everyone’s travel costs, there are very few of us that can. Etiquette holds that guests are responsible for their own travel and accommodations though anything on your part to help with those costs will always be noticed and appreciated. A gesture of thank you for your guests is always a nice touch. A welcome dinner highlighting the local Italian specialties such as pecorino cheese from Pienza, buffalo mozzarella, and prosciutto or a sightseeing activity are both lovely ways to show your guests that you appreciate their efforts to attend your wedding.
8. I’ll have to coordinate travel for everyone
Though it is not required, it is a common courtesy to manage the accommodations and help with transportation. You are not required to book airline tickets, but it may be a good idea to have something arranged once everyone arrives in Italy. It can be a daunting job to coordinate 40+ arrivals at different airports at different times and make sure they all find their way safely to your venue so make sure you know what you’re getting into before you undertake this task. Ask your wedding planner if this is something they an assist you with.
9. I’ll never get all of my things there/ my dress will be lost, ruined
If you pack smartly, there is no reason why you can’t have everything you need for your wedding week and your honeymoon in the bags allowed by your airline. If you want to bring special keepsakes or pictures to display consider asking your parents or the wedding party if they could each bring one or two items. Keep in mind they have to pack a lot of extra attire as well so don’t overload them. With proper preparation, your dress will arrive safe and sound. Talk to your bridal salon for advice on how to pack your gown and how to care for it once you arrive.
10. It’ll be even more stressful than a regular wedding
With the proper help, this is the biggest myth of all. While you do have some extra paperwork requirements, you will find that the planning is much easier than you expected and your destination wedding in Italy will be one of the greatest experiences of your life.
Best of luck and happy planning!