the ultimate guide on how to plan a wedding in italy by a destination wedding photographer
Planning a wedding in Italy can be an incredibly fun and exciting experience. There are so many beautiful places to get married in Italy, from the stunning Amalfi Coast to the rolling hills of Tuscany. And of course, who could forget about getting married in Rome? I actually got engaged in Rome, and Italy holds a very special place in my heart. My husband and I visit at least once every year and as a result, I'm very familiar with the country, the people and the culture.
Planning a wedding outside of the UK is naturally more challenging than having a wedding in the UK. At times, it might feel like an impossible feat that you just want to give up on. However, my advice is - don't give up! Getting married in Italy is an amazing idea and will be entirely worth it. To help you with planning a wedding in Italy - I have used all of my experience as a destination wedding photographer and put together an extensive guide to how to plan a wedding in Italy.
Italy is a dream that keeps returning for the rest of your life.
destination wedding photographer
ITALY WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY
My name is Leah and I love travelling the world with my couples to capture once in a lifetime moments on their special day. I've put together this guide as I have had the fortune of shooting in Italy, but I also spend a lot of time in Italy exploring beautiful little towns, drinking amazing coffee and tucking in to pistachio cream croissants!
I'd love to be a part of your special day and would love help you plan your wedding in Italy. Get in touch and see if I have your date free...
let's plan a wedding in Italy
WHY PLAN A WEDDING IN ITALY?
There are so many reasons why planning a wedding in Italy is such a great idea. For starters, the food is incredible. Italians know how to cook and they sure know how to eat. The wine is also excellent - try getting that at your local wedding venue! And of course, there's the weather. Even in the middle of winter, the weather in Italy is usually much milder than in the UK. planning a wedding in Italy also allows you to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy beautiful countryside views and rolling hills.
Not only is planning a wedding in Italy an incredibly fun experience, but it's also very romantic. If you are looking for a truly unique and romantic setting for your wedding day, then Italy is the place for you.
Villa Cetinale, Tuscany
HOW TO DECIDE WHERE TO HAVE YOUR ITALY WEDDING
There are so many beautiful places to get married in Italy, it can be hard to decide where to have your wedding. However, there are a few key things to consider when deciding where in Italy you want to get married.
The weather is obviously an important factor when planning any kind of event, but it's especially important when planning a wedding. You want to make sure that the weather is going to be perfect on your big day, so it's worth doing some research in advance and finding out what the average weather conditions are like in the region of Italy where you're planning to get married in.
It goes without saying, but if you'd prefer to avoid the scorching heat, prioritise the North of Italy, perhaps places like Portofino, Milan, Lake Como or Venice. If you're happy with the sun (which let's face it, might be why you want to get married in Italy in the first place!), then perhaps somewhere in Tuscany, Rome or even the Amalfi Coast may be the best option.
The venue is another important factor to consider when planning a wedding in Italy. You want to make sure that you find a venue that is both beautiful and unique, and that will fit all of your guests comfortably. There are so many incredible wedding venues in Italy, from stunning castles to picturesque vineyards. It's definitely worth spending some time researching different venues before making a decision.
Of course, the cost is always an important factor to consider when planning any event. However, it's especially important when planning a wedding. weddings can be very expensive, so you want to make sure that you are getting the best value for your money. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to save money when planning a wedding in Italy. For example, many venues offer discounts for weddings that are booked in advance. We will talk about this later in the article.
Another thing to consider when planning a wedding in Italy is the language barrier. Unless you or your guests are fluent in Italian, there are bound to be some communication difficulties. However, this is usually not a big problem as most Italians speak at least some English. This is especially true of locations near major cities or in tourist hotspots.
For example, if you're near Rome, Florence or Milan - you're bound to encounter Italians who are used to having to speak a bit of English here and there. That being said, it's always a great idea to try and learn the native language as this will help with planning and also be hugely appreciated by locals. My best advice would be to try using an app like Duolingo or Babbel. Luckily for me, my husband speaks a bit of Italian! Although I have picked up a fair bit of the Italian language myself over the years.
Something to think about when planning a wedding in Italy is the distance. If you or your guests are coming from overseas, then it's important to factor in the travel time and costs. Italy is a large country, so depending on where you are getting married, it could take quite a while to get there.
For example, if you're getting married in Rome, it's likely that most of your guests will be able to get there relatively easily and without having to spend too much money. However, if you're getting married in a more remote location like the Amalfi Coast, then you need to consider the fact that some of your guests might have to spend a bit more money on travel.
Of course, this is not always a bad thing as it can actually make your wedding feel even more special and intimate. But it's definitely something to keep in mind when planning your big day.
WHERE IN ITALY SHOULD YOU GET MARRIED?
PLANNING A WEDDING IN ROME
If you're planning a wedding in Italy, then the eternal city of Rome is definitely one of the best places to do it. Not only is Rome one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in the world, but it's also incredibly easy to get to. There are direct flights from all over the globe to one of Rome's two main airports (Fiumicino and Ciampino), so your guests should have no problem getting there.
Rome is also a great choice if you're looking for a wedding venue that is both unique and stunning. There are so many incredible places to get married in Rome, from the Colosseum to the Trevi Fountain. And, of course, there are a number of amazing restaurants and hotels where you can hold your reception.
The only downside to getting married in Rome is the cost. Rome is one of the most expensive cities in Italy, so you need to be prepared to spend a bit of money if you want to get married here.
Florence is another excellent choice for a wedding in Italy. Like Rome, it's incredibly easy to get to, with direct flights from all over the world straight into Florence's main airport Toscana Aeroporti. And, of course, it's one of the most beautiful cities in Italy.
There are a number of incredible places to explore in Florence, from the Duomo to the Ponte Vecchio. And, like Rome, there are a number of excellent restaurants and hotels where you can have your reception. I know I shouldn't have favourites, but Florence is maybe my favourite city in all of Italy. It's a charming and beautiful city full of history and romance.
Another bonus is that the cost of getting married in Florence is often slightly cheaper than getting married in Rome. So, if you're looking to save a bit of money, then Florence might be the perfect choice for you.
If you're looking for a truly stunning location for your wedding in Italy, then the Amalfi Coast is definitely worth considering. The Amalfi Coast is one of the most beautiful places in Italy, and it's easy to see why so many couples choose to get married here.
There are a number of incredible places to get married on the Amalfi Coast, from the cliffside town of Ravello to the beach town of Positano. And, of course, there are a number of stunning restaurants and hotels where you can have your reception.
However, the Amalfi Coast is quite a remote location, so it can be difficult to get to. And, because of this, the cost of getting married here is often quite high. You would need to fly to Naples' main airport, Aeroporto di Napoli, and then either hire a car or get a taxi to your final destination. Bear in mind that towns like Positano and Sorrento are over an hour away from the airport. This could make it tricky for guests to get to your Italian wedding venue.
My advice would be, if you have your heart set on the Amalfi, consider a small intimate wedding with just close family. Unless you have a large budget and then, of course, anything is possible!
If you're looking for a truly unique and special location for your wedding in Italy, then Lake Como is definitely worth considering. Lake Como is one of the most beautiful places in Italy, and it's easy to see why so many couples choose to get married here.
There are a number of incredible places to get married on Lake Como, from the town of Bellagio to the village of Varenna. And, of course, there are a number of stunning restaurants and hotels where you can have your reception.
However, like the Amalfi Coast, Lake Como is quite a remote location. And, because of this, the cost of getting married here is often quite high. You would need to fly to Milan's main airport, Milano Malpensa and then get a taxi or hire a car from there.
Lake Como is around 1hr 40mins in the car from the Milan airport.
If you have your heart set on a wedding by the lake, perhaps consider Lake Maggiore. I was fortunate to be the destination wedding photographer for a wedding in Lake Maggiore and it's simply stunning. It's also a fair bit closer to the airport and easier to get to.
If you're searching for a genuine one-of-a-kind and special place to have your wedding in Italy, then Venice is definitely worth considering. Venice is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy (if not, the world!), and it's easy to see why so many couples choose to get married here.
There are a number of incredible places to explore in Venice, from the Grand Canal to St Mark's Square. And, of course, there are a number of excellent restaurants and hotels where you can have your reception.
One of the great things about Venice is its proximity to the main airport, Venezia Marco Polo Airport. It's literally a 15-minute taxi ride into the heart of the city. This makes it ideal for a wedding with a tighter travel budget and also removes some of the stress.
If you're looking for a truly unique and special location for your wedding in Italy, then Venice is definitely worth considering. Just bear in mind that it might be difficult for your guests to get there!
PICKING A WEDDING VENUE IN ITALY
As we've discussed, some locations in Italy are easier to get to than others. Make sure you pick a venue that is accessible for your guests. From experience, sometimes a venue will list itself as 'Rome' or 'Florence' but actually it's an hour outside of the city, so be sure to load up trusty Google maps and having a look for yourself.
SIZE OF WEDDING
How many guests will you have? Make sure you pick a venue that can accommodate them all comfortably. Always aim to find a venue that accommodate slightly more than you need as the last thing you want is a wedding that feels cramped. Especially in the heat, people will appreciate not being on top of each other.
Of course, your wedding budget is a big factor in choosing a venue. According to some data, couples tend to spend between 40-50% of their total budget on their venue. So get your spreadsheet out, know your total budget and then consider what you have to spend on a venue.
villa-d'este, lake como
STYLE OF WEDDING
What kind of wedding are you planning? A rustic Italian wedding in the countryside might lead you to Tuscany, a chic city affair is likely to find you in Rome or if it's romance over everything - maybe Venice makes sense. I always advise my couples to sit down nice and early and consider what style they want for their wedding that best reflects them, then let that decision help you make further selections. Be sure to pick a venue that reflects your style and feels authentic to you as a couple.
LEGAL REQUIREMENTS OF GETTING MARRIED IN ITALY
Let me start off by saying that as you may have noticed, I am not a law expert. So please do your own research as legal requirements are known to change. However, I'm happy to provide my non-official and non-expert tips.
There is a bit of paperwork involved in getting married in Italy, but nothing too strenuous. You will need to obtain a Nulla Osta, which is basically a document from your embassy stating that there are no legal impediments to your marriage.
You will also need to provide a few other documents, including your birth certificate, passport and proof of residency. It's a good idea to get in touch with your local Italian consulate for more information on the specific requirements. They will be able to provide you with a list of everything you need.
Once you have all of your paperwork in order, you need to submit it to the local town hall (Comune) in the area where you will be getting married. They will then issue you with a marriage license, which is valid for 6 months. Be sure to use the UK government's getting married abroad tool, it's very useful.
So, that's the legal stuff sorted. Let's move on to planning the wedding itself!
DO YOU NEED A WEDDING PLANNER FOR YOUR WEDDING IN ITALY?
If you're planning a wedding in Italy, you might be wondering if you need to hire a wedding planner.
The short answer is, it depends.
If you're planning a small, intimate wedding with only close family and friends, then you might be able to get away with not hiring a planner. However, if you're planning a larger wedding, then it might be a good idea to hire someone to help you with the planning process.
There are a few things to consider when deciding whether or not to hire a planner. The first is budget. Wedding planners can be expensive, so if you're working with a tight budget, you might want to try and plan the wedding yourself.
The second is time. If you have a lot of free time on your hands and you're happy to spend it planning the wedding, then you might not need to hire a planner. However, if you're short on time, then hiring a planner might be a good idea as they can help to take care of the details for you.
The third is stress levels. If you're the type of person who gets easily stressed out, then hiring a planner might be a good idea as they can help to take some of the pressure off.
Ultimately, it's up to you to decide whether or not to hire a planner. If you do decide to go ahead and hire one, be sure to do your research and pick someone with good reviews who you feel confident about working with.
Let's assume you're planning yourself, let's continue to consider the logistics for to plan for a wedding in Italy.
CREATING A GUEST LIST FOR YOUR ITALY WEDDING
The first step in planning any wedding is to create a guest list. This can be a difficult task, especially if you have a large extended family or a lot of friends.
Start by making a list of everyone you would like to invite and then start narrowing it down from there. Remember to consider your budget when making your decisions. It can be tempting to invite everyone you know, but if you're on a tight budget, you might need to be more selective.
Also, consider the location and wedding venue you have selected; what is the capacity of the venue? Would you rather have something small and intimate? Does your venue offer accommodation for your guests? Consider these things when selecting a number of guests.
Once you have your guest list finalized, you need to start planning how to get them all to Italy.
If you're planning a wedding in Italy, chances are most of your guests will need to travel there. This means you need to start planning the travel logistics for your guests.
The first thing you need to do is figure out how they will be travelling. Are they going to fly? Drive? Take the train?
Once you know how they will be travelling, you need to start planning their route. If they are flying, what airport will they be arriving at? Are there any direct flights or will they need to make a connection? If they are driving, what is the best route to take? What are the roads like in Italy? Are there any tolls? If they are taking the train, what train station will they be arriving at?
Once you have all of this sorted, you need to start thinking about how you're going to get everyone from the airport/train station/etc. to the wedding venue or accommodation. Are you going to organise transportation? Or will you provide directions and let your guests sort it out themselves? If you're planning on providing transportation, you need to start planning this in advance as it can be difficult to organise last minute.
These are just a few of the things you need to consider when planning travel logistics for a wedding in Italy. Be sure to start planning early and allow yourself plenty of time to sort everything out.
planning accommodation for a wedding in Italy
If you're planning a wedding in Italy, you need to start planning your accommodation options.
The first thing you need to do is decide where everyone will be staying. Are you going to book hotel rooms? Rent an apartment or villa? There are a lot of options available, so it's important to think about what will work best for your guests.
Once you have decided on the type of accommodation, you need to start planning where everyone will stay. If you're booking hotel rooms, you need to start contacting hotels in the area and see if they have any availability. If you're renting an apartment or villa, you need to start searching for options that will fit your budget and the number of guests you have.
If you're on a budget and feel like your family is happy to contribute, you could perhaps encourage your guests to find their own accommodation and instead just provide a list of hotels/villas that you'd recommend nearby.
Once you have a few options sorted, you need to start thinking about how your guests are going to get from their accommodation to the wedding venue. Are you going to provide transportation? Or will you provide directions and let your guests sort it out themselves?
picking a destination wedding photographer for a wedding in Italy
One of the most important things to consider when planning a destination wedding is who is going to capture your special day.
There are a lot of great photographers out there, but not all of them will be right for your wedding. When selecting a photographer, it's important to think about their style and whether it will fit with the overall feel of your wedding. You will need to get on with them well, so be sure to book in a call to see if you're a good fit.
It's also important to think about the logistics of having a photographer at your destination wedding. Do they have experience shooting in the country you're getting married in? Are they familiar with the culture and customs? These are all things you need to consider when selecting a photographer for your destination wedding.
Of course, this is where I mention that I am a destination wedding photographer who not only has experience shooting in Italy but spends time there every single year. Italy feels like a second home for my husband and me and I love the opportunity to celebrate with my couples on their wedding day in Italy.
If you'd like to get in touch with me to discuss your wedding in Italy, I would absolutely love to talk to you about it. Being an Italy wedding photographer is always a dream. My experience of the country and weddings in Italy will allow me to really help and advise you with the planning of your special day.
finding a celebrant in italy
One of the most important parts of planning a wedding in Italy is finding a celebrant for your ceremony. A celebrant is someone who officiates the ceremony and makes sure everything goes according to plan.
There are a few things you need to think about when choosing a celebrant for your wedding in Italy:
- Find someone who speaks your language: This is important so that you can understand everything that's going on during the ceremony.
- Choose someone who's familiar with Italian weddings: They'll know all the ins and outs of planning a wedding in Italy and can help make sure everything goes according to plan.
- Make sure they're available on your wedding date: This is important so that you don't have to worry about finding a last-minute replacement.
There is a wonderful website called the celebrant directory that helps you find a celebrant for your wedding in Italy, be sure to take a look. Once you've found a celebrant you're happy with, it's time to start planning the ceremony. This includes things like the order of events, and what you're going to say during your vows.
picking a dress and suit for a wedding in italy
When planning a destination wedding, it's important to think about what you and your partner are going to wear.
If you're not sure what style of dress or suit you want, it's a good idea to start looking at some options early on so that you can get an idea of what's out there. Once you have an idea of what you want, you can start contacting designers and retailers to see if they can help you find what you're looking for.
It's also important to think about the weather and whether your outfit will be comfortable in the heat. If you're planning a summer wedding in Italy, it's a good idea to avoid heavy fabrics like wool and opt for something lighter like linen or cotton.
Making sure you have the perfect outfit for your destination wedding is an important part of the planning process. But don't forget, you're on vacation so make sure you pack something for the beach or the pool too!
preparing your guests for a destination wedding in italy
Your wedding in Italy is sure to be an amazing day that you and your guests will remember forever.
But before you start sending out invitations, it's important to make sure your guests are prepared for what's to come. Here are a few things you need to think about when preparing your guests for a destination wedding in Italy:
Help your guests plan their travel by providing them with information on flights, accommodation, and transportation.
Give your guests a packing list of items they will need for the trip. This can include things like sunscreen, insect repellent, and appropriate clothing for the weather.
Let your guests know what they can expect to spend while they're in Italy. This includes things like meals, activities, and sightseeing.
What to expect
Give your guests a rundown of what they can expect from the wedding itself. This includes things like the ceremony, reception, and any other events you have planned.
Making sure your guests are prepared for your destination wedding in Italy will help them make the most of their trip and ensure they have a great time.
SENDING OUT INVITES FOR YOUR ITALIAN WEDDING
After you've sorted out the logistics of planning a wedding in Italy, it's time to start sending out your invitations. When planning your invitations, you need to think about the design, the wording, and who you're going to send them to.
For the design, you want to make sure it fits with the overall theme and feel of your wedding. If you're having a formal wedding, you'll want to use formal wording and design. If you're having a more relaxed wedding, you can be more creative with your invitations.
As for who you're going to send them to, you need to make sure you have a list of all the people you want to invite. This includes family, friends, and any other special guests you might have.
Once you have your list, you need to start addressing the invitations and getting them ready to send out. This is usually done up to a year before the wedding. If you're planning on having a destination wedding, it's important to send out your invitations as early as possible so that your guests have plenty of time to make travel arrangements.
finding wedding caterers in Italy
Some venues will provide caterers for you, but if they do not you will need to plan for it.
The first step is to create a list of caterers that are available in the area. To do this, you can ask for recommendations from friends, family, or your wedding planner. You can also search online for caterers in Italy. One particular website that offers a directory of caterers is In Italy Wedding.
Once you have a list of potential caterers, you need to start narrowing it down. The best way to do this is by reading reviews and looking at portfolios. This will give you a good idea of the quality of their work and what you can expect from them.
Once you've found a caterer you're happy with, it's time to start planning the menu. When planning the menu, you need to think about the overall theme of your wedding and the type of food your guests will enjoy. You also need to make sure there's enough food to go around.
Once you have the menu planned, you need to discuss it with the caterer and make sure they're able to provide everything you need. Once everything is finalized, you'll need to sign a contract with the caterer and make a deposit.
Making sure you have everything sorted out with your caterer is an important part of planning a wedding in Italy.
organising a wedding cake in Italy
One of the most delicious things to think about when planning a wedding in Italy is the cake. The cake is often the centrepiece of the reception and can be a big part of the overall design of the event.
This may be something that is included with your package that your venue/planner handles for you and if thats the case your wedding cake will be traditional to Italy and will look like the cake in the picture above. If not you will need to find a baker to make your wedding cake and transport it to the venue for you on the day.
When it comes to choosing a baker for your wedding cake, it's important to do your research. There are many great bakers in Italy, but you need to find one that fits your style and budget. Once you've found a baker, you need to start planning the design of the cake. This includes things like the flavour, the filling, the icing, and the decorations.
The best way to get inspiration for your wedding cake is to look at photos of cakes online or in magazines. You can also ask your baker for ideas and advice.
If however the language barrier is preventing you from going down this route, having a planner on board can help massively with this. They will have access to local bakers who they can take your designs too. Although, if you're looking for a real Italian experience then speak to your wedding venue about this and they will help you with a similar cake to the one pictured next to this piece of text.
useful Italian phrases for planning a wedding in italy
If you're planning a wedding in Italy, there are a few useful Italian words and phrases that can help you with the planning process.
Here are a few of the most useful Italian words and phrases for planning a wedding in Italy:
Buongiorno - Hello
Arrivederci - Goodbye
Come stai? - How are you?
Sto bene - I am well
Grazie - Thank you
Per Favore - Please
Mi chiamo… - My name is…
Voglio sposarmi in Italia! - I want to get married in Italy!
Devo organizzare il matrimonio! - I need to organize the wedding!
Dove vuoi che sia il matrimonio? - Where do you want the wedding to be?
Vorrei che il matrimonio fosse a... - I would like the wedding to be in...
Quando vuoi che sia il matrimonio? - When do you want the wedding to be?
Il matrimonio è a giugno/luglio/agosto - The wedding is in June/July/August
Quanti ospiti vuoi che ci siano? - How many guests do you want there to be?
Ci saranno 100 invitati al mio matrimonio - There will be 100 guests at my wedding
Cosa vuoi che facciamo per il matrimonio? - What do you want us to do for the wedding?
Vorrei che aiutassi a pianificare il mio matrimonio - I would like you to help plan my wedding.
Learning some Italian before planning a wedding in Italy can be extremely useful. It can help you communicate with vendors, understand Italian wedding traditions, and make the planning process go smoother.
the ultimate checklist for planning a wedding in italy
There's a lot to think about when planning a wedding in Italy. Hopefully you have found this guide helpful, my aim was to provide a resource that you can keep referring back to during your planning process. My final offering, to help you keep track of everything, is a checklist of all the things you need to do when planning your big day.
- Choose your wedding date
- Pick your wedding location
- Book your venue
- Hire a wedding planner
- Book your photographer and videographer
- Start planning your guest list
- Send out your save the dates
- Begin planning your travel arrangements
- Book your accommodation
- Arrange transportation
- Start planning your wedding attire
- Choose your bridal party
- Book your entertainment
- Plan your menu
- Order your wedding cake
- Make sure you have all the necessary documents
- Apply for a marriage license
- Get your marriage certificate
- Start planning your honeymoon
Following this checklist will help ensure that you don't forget anything when planning your wedding in Italy.
Planning a wedding can be a daunting task, but with the right preparation you'll be able to plan the perfect Italian wedding that you and your guests will remember forever. I have experience of being a destination wedding photographer in Italy and helping my couples plan their wedding in Italy.
I'd love to speak to you about your plans and see if I can help. Get in touch today.