Need to plan the perfect destination wedding or event in Italy? Then this episode is for you. We talk with event and wedding planner Jeannie Uyanik, who we recently worked with here at Villa Cappelli, all about what makes for a great Italian destination wedding.
Topics we cover:
- Jeannie’s first take on the villa and the importance of communication when planning events
- How space plays a part in planning an event
- How we play concierge for guests
- Why you have to think about guests from arrival point to departure point when planning a destination wedding
- Why a local source is important when planning an event
- Why Jeanie feels like a foreigner without being a tourist in Puglia
- Why Puglia is like “story book” Italy
- How “untouched” Puglia is from Jeannie’s perspective and the special nature that provides destination weddings or any event
- The trends of destination weddings and why they are now focused on doing something totally different
- Why so it’s important to give back to the guests who are attending your destination wedding in Italy
- How important flowers are to a destination wedding
- How having multiple spaces can play an important part in planning your space for a destination wedding
- Why having muted colors is important for any event space
- Why you should always send someone to look at your destination space or go yourself
- And why spending that little bit of extra money to see the space, yourself or through a planner, is so worth it
- Why Jennie believes you shouldn’t have to sell your location to your guests
- How to prioritize your guest list
- Trends for destination weddings
- The cost of items in Puglia and what makes it such a great value for destination weddings
Our tips for destination weddings in Italy
Destination Weddings in Italy: Consider all factors when choosing your dream location
While the location of your wedding determines not the mood (rustic, country, seaside), the ease required to pull it off is also very important. You want your guests to walk away from your wedding weekend saying, “That was so them!” but also have an easy time getting to and from your location, and you have an easy time getting there when planning.
Destination Weddings in Italy: Don’t dismiss locations and look for a blank canvas
Not all the locations you look at are going to spot on the first time you see them. Don’t dismiss a location because of perhaps a single flaw. You can do a lot to disguise something you don’t like or draw the eye away from it. It’s also important the location have muted colors or more of a blank canvas. That way, it’s very easy for you to bring your style and personality to the space.
Destination Weddings in Italy: Start now!
You need to tell friends and right away so they can begin planning. Don’t be upset if some of your closest friends or relatives don’t attend. Fees for travel, hotel, and car rental can really add up. They need lots of time, too. You’ll need to give four months’ notice—MINIMUM—to guests invited to a wedding away. Ten to twelve month befor e is much better so they can book tickets and make reservations before prices skyrocket.
Destination Weddings in Italy: When to book
Bookings should be made between 10 months to a year before the wedding date. It’s hard for a venue to give prices much before that time, as prices are likely to increase between your booking and the time of the event. But you can always try, as some venues might like to lock up some business ahead of time. As Italy is a popular destination, many venues and town halls can get booked up to 10 months before. So if you need those venues, make your booking is 10 months to a year in advance.
Destination Weddings in Italy: Come in the off-season
If you choose to marry during high tourist season, you’ll want to reserve spaces and venues quickly and give guests time to make reservations. However, we recommend you choose the shoulder seasons of spring or fall to save yourself and your guests some money. Italy has amazing weather around that time and the off-season will mean fewer crowds and less hassle.
Destination Weddings in Italy: Visit your location
Try to take at least one trip to your location, and if you can swing it, two or three is ideal. On the first trip, scout and secure your key venues — ceremony and reception spaces, hotels for guests, a rehearsal dinner venue — and local suppliers such as caterers, florists and photographers. On another trip, you’ll need to schedule “tastings” with your caterer, see sample bouquets from the florist, plan a hair and makeup session with a local salon and organize activities (tours, dinners, museums) for your guests.
If you can’t make, be sure you communicate very clearly with the venues and vendors you’ll be using. And if you can’t make the trip yourself, you might thing of sending someone else. See the next tip.
Destination Weddings in Italy: Use a planner
If you’re hosting a destination wedding, you will need to entrust at least part of the planning to someone else’s capable hands. A wedding planner can shoulder the burden of researching and securing local vendors (especially valuable if said vendors speak English only as a second language), dealing with logistics, and handling any last-minute fires that may start in the weeks leading up to the wedding. Set aside about 10 to 15 percent of your total budget for a local planner. If you go with a planner from home, expect to cover his transportation costs for planning visits and the actual wedding.
Destination Weddings in Italy: Tying the knot legally
The legal side of tying the knot in Italy can be complicated. Here is some official info from the U.S. Embassy in Italy on what is required: http://italy.usembassy.gov/acs/marriage/general-marriage.html This would be a good area with which to have an agency or local wedding planner’s help.
Destination Weddings in Italy: Relax, it’s Italy
Remember, you are now on “Italian time” — things happen when they happen — so don’t mistake a vendor’s laid-back attitude for incompetence. Schedule regular check-ins and then trust your vendors to work their magic. But they do work at their own pace, which may seem slower to those from the home.
Destination Weddings in Italy: Bring pros from home
If something is extremely important to you, bring pros you trust from home to handle critical aspects such as the photography or hair and makeup. Actually, when it comes to photographers, we highly recommend this for Italian destination weddings. Italian wedding photography seems to be stuck in the 80s Sears portrait stage and can be pretty corny. Sorry Italian photographers! We’d love to be proved wrong, so send us your websites if you disagree!
Destination Weddings in Italy: Take care of guests
In addition to arranging group rates for flights and rooms, list information for getting to and from the nearest airport to your wedding locale, invite everyone to the rehearsal or welcome dinner and next-day brunch, and deliver welcome bags to their rooms, full of essentials for the trip, like suntan lotion, water, bug spray, maps, lists of local attractions
You should also plan out a lot of activities for guests. They don’t have to join every one, but they took the time to come to your wedding, it’s time to give back and make their stay extra special and exciting.
Also, figure out if anyone will need special help, from wheelchairs to cribs, and make sure they are taken care of.
Think of your guests when choosing a location as well. Grandma might not be able to make around rocky terrain if your ceremony is outside. Or if there are a lot of kids, a location with a pool or other entertainment will probably be key.
Destination Weddings in Italy: Make it special and different
Try to get away from the stereotype of Italy and Italian locations. Italy has so much to offer and many couples are attracted to the well-known destinations such as Tuscany, Sorrento and Lake Garda. However, places like Puglia offer some absolutely spectacular scenery and are excellent values. You won’t have to compromise on the quality you’ll be discovering a completely untouched part of Italy.
And a special thanks to these sites for their advice and knowledge when forming our tips: www.weddingtv.com, www.theknot.com. and www.bridalguide.com