Known for romance, fine-food, stunning scenery and unique culture, Italy is unsurprisingly one of the most popular luxury wedding destinations in the world. Who wouldn’t want to get married in the country where Romeo & Juliet (arguably the world’s greatest love story) was set?
Within its 300,000 km² area, this European country encompasses a variety of wonders to suit any bride and groom’s taste. Whether you want to get married surrounded by art and gardens in Lombardy or say your vows amongst the vineyards of Tuscany, anyone can find their perfect wedding in Italy.
The mild climate is ideal for an outdoor wedding, but indoor-bound couples can find love in the vast choice of wedding venues in Italy – from monuments like Ca’ Sagredo to castles like Castello Bevilacqua. And you can always bring the outdoors in with a floral display from flower arrangers like Franci’s. All in all, if you’re looking for an idyllic, classy atmosphere for your luxury wedding, look no further.
2. Italian Wedding Traditions
If a luxury destination wedding takes your fancy because you love sampling local culture, you’re sure to be enamoured with Italy’s wedding traditions.
These traditions can span across all aspects of the wedding, from the venue to the entertainment. If you’re planning a Christian ceremony, expect a ribbon tied above the doorway of the church to signify your union. Fans of Italian cuisine will be pleased to know that food takes a starring role at the reception. Culinary delights on offer include everything from pizza to pasta to prosciutto. But don’t fill up too much – you don’t want to feel queasy when dancing La Tarantella! Italian for ‘The Tarantula’, this fun dance involves holding hands and moving quickly in a circle to the speed of the music.
Of course, you may not want to adopt every Italian custom. Many conventional Italian weddings scrap the idea of bridal parties, with the best man and maid of honour in the only starring roles. And if you love the veil and garter you bought, forget about the Italian tradition of ripping them for good luck!
The Italian language is one of the most romantic aspects the country has to offer. If your guests only have time to learn a little lingo, the essential wedding phrases are “Evviva gli sposi!” (meaning “Long live the bride and groom!”) and “Auguri!” (Italian for “Best wishes!”).
3. Popular Wedding Locations in Italy
There’s no region in Italy that doesn’t lend itself well to a picturesque wedding, but some are inevitably more popular than others. Like many other countries, Italy is officially divided into ‘regions’, which are similar to counties. Each region is home to dozens of villages, towns and cities featuring the best wedding venues in Italy, and you’re bound to find variety wherever you go. Here are 3 Italian regions that are loved by brides and grooms across the world.
Tuscany is often viewed as the heart of the Mediterranean, offering a diverse mix of gorgeous greenland and mesmerising coastlines. Many people know Tuscany for its cuisine, making it a prime destination for foodies. Fans of Chianti wine will be charmed to know that it’s produced in this region.
Those who have a tame palate, lower budget, or large family will enjoy the foundations that Tuscan cooking is built on – simplicity, economy, and quantity. Locally grown produce like beans (locals are known as mangiafagioli – ‘bean eaters’) and cured meats are the staples of many meals. If you prefer culture to cooking, Tuscany is home to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, one of Italy’s most well-known monuments.
Popular Tuscan Destination: Florence
Florence is no stranger to lavish marriages. In fact, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West tied the knot here in 2014 in a famously luxurious ceremony. Known for it’s rich, historical culture, Florence is home to a wide range of wedding venues.
Whether you’re looking for a villa like Villa Mangiacane or a resort on the outskirts like Castello di Velona Resort there’s a venue for everyone here. If you’re looking to see the sites during the days leading up to your wedding, Florence has galleries, museums, and inspiring architecture abound. The city is also perfect for buffet dinner receptions, with bread, meat, and wine being prime ingredients in Florentine cuisine.
If you enjoy glittering waters, Lombardy could be your ideal wedding location. One of its biggest selling points is its great lakes, including Lake Como and Lake Garda. It’s not all wet, though. Expect greenery too. Bordering on the Swiss Alps, Lombardy features grand hills and rolling valleys – the perfect backdrop for photos. Home to Milan, this region blends cosmopolitan with countryside, drawing in couples who want a culture-filled wedding day. Thrill-seeking brides and grooms can take a ski trip, and calmer couples can take a peaceful trip around one of the region’s heritage sites. As for culinary delights, Lombard chefs challenge the Italian norms of olive oil and tomato, preferring dishes made of grain, meats, and butter.
Popular Lombard Destination: Lake Como
Like Tuscany, Lombardy has a popular celebrity wedding destination of its own – Lake Como. The 3rd largest lake in Italy, Lake Como has seen the marriages of John Legend and Chrissy Teigen, as well as Emily Blunt and John Krasinski. Water lovers can enjoy a tranquil sailboat ride before marrying in a villa or church, enjoying a waterfront restaurant reception afterwards.
Lake Como gets less coverage than big towns and cities, so you may need the help of wedding planners in Italy who are familiar with the area. Why not enlist Visionnaire Wedding, TML Wedding, Infinity Weddings or Italian Wedding Company to assist you?
Are you drawn to Sicily because of its island charm? As the largest Italian island, Sicily lives up to its grand expectations. It plays host to every type of scenery imaginable, from swirling seas to a breathtaking volcano. Or maybe it’s the food and drink that pulls you in? With the Arabic influence of sweet fruits and spices, the Spanish influence of cocoa, and the Greek influence of fish and pistachio, Sicilian dishes are a melting pot of goodness.
Your guests will love the opportunity to engage with Sicily’s many spas and water sports before the big day arrives. The Verdura Resort is a catch-all destination with something for everyone in your wedding party, be that golf, fine dining, or wellness.
Popular Sicilian Destination: Taormina
As a holiday destination, Taormina has drawn in some of the most famed figures, including Oscar Wilde and Elisabeth Taylor. It’s all about the incredible views in this town. Taormina overlooks the sprawling seas, as well as the smoking peak of the Mount Etna volcano. The atmosphere borders on magical, capturing your romance perfectly. Taormina is less well-known than many other destinations, so don’t forget to hire a planner like Wedding Sicily to help you bridge the barriers with local suppliers.
4. Popular Activities in Italy
Aside from eating great food and drinking great wine, what exactly can you do in Italy during the days surrounding your marriage?
Why not start by taking your love of cuisine one step further with a vineyard or restaurant tour? These guided journeys show you a behind the scenes look at the making of some of your favourite dishes and beverages. Many vineyards and restaurants also offer cooking classes for foodies of all ages and skill levels, so they’re an ideal day excursion for large groups.
If you like tours but you want to keep extra weight off before the big day, a gallery or museum tour may be more your style. Some of the greatest artists of our time were Italian, including Renaissance painters Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo. This country hasn’t lost its love for the arts since then, displaying some of the best works in galleries like the Musei Vaticani (Vatican Museums, Vatican City), the Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria (National Gallery of Umbria, Perugia), and the Galleria degli Uffizi (Uffizi Gallery, Florence). Italy’s love for vibrant culture and history is also still strong.
Couples fascinated by ancient times will love the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli (Naples National Archaeological Museum, Naples) and the Museo Egizio (Egyptian Museum, Turin). Grooms inspired by fast cars will be in their element at the Museo Ferrari (Ferrari Museum, Maranello), but couples who can’t make the trip can still get a taste of Italian classics with car providers like Canestri Autonoleggi.
Indoor excursions can be fascinating, but your guests will want to spend time outdoors too. If you’re getting married by the water, why not advise your friends and family to enjoy a blissful boat ride? Tickets will always be available for private trips, but sailing enthusiasts may wish to take the lead and hire a boat to man themselves.
Once everyone’s had enough of the gorgeous waters, the luscious greens of the land can be explored on horseback. Couples and guests alike will enjoy seeing the rolling hills and quaint villages the country has to offer, led by one of Italy’s many regal horse breeds.
And what will your guests do while you’re busy at the rehearsal dinner? The bigger towns and cities in Italy are abuzz in the evening. Family and friends can enjoy a dinner and cocktails at a high-end restaurant, then make their way to an upscale disco or nightclub. A stroll back to your lodging at night-time is one of the most beautiful ways to see an Italian location.
5. Best Time to Get Married in Italy
While there are no real restrictions on when you get married in Italy, the time of year can dramatically change your wedding’s atmosphere.
Generally, most weddings in Italy take place between mid-Spring and mid-Autumn, around April to October. You can expect temperatures of 15 C to 30 C at this time of year, but temperatures will vary month-by-month, town-by-town. The uppermost regions of Italy are the coldest, including Lombardy (home to Milan) and Veneto (home to Venice and Verona).
The central cities like Rome in Lazio and southern islands like Sicily are much hotter. Despite the climate differences across the country, most popular locations are rarely freezing, even in the winter months. Hot weather may be attractive, but remember that southern weddings at the height of summer may be too hot for you and your guests to bear. In particular, June, July and August may be uncomfortably warm – not to mention the tourist influx during these months if you’re not into crowds.
If you’re interested in following historical traditions, you may want to avoid getting married until June or later – February, March, April and May were reserved for religious celebrations in old Italy. August was generally avoided too; aside from many Italians leaving the country for holidays during this month, it was also thought to bring bad luck. Of course, most locals don’t follow these rules nowadays, so don’t let them impede you!
Of course, it’s not just the date that’s important. The time of day plays a role in how your wedding pans out too. You may have already noticed that many weddings in Italy take place in the afternoon or evening, generally after 4 or 5 PM. By this time, the sun becomes a little more bearable, especially for brides choosing to marry in the hottest months.
You might have your heart set on a classic morning wedding, but a later time is definitely something to consider. Aside from the milder weather, late weddings tend to make for a more enjoyable day. You’ll have plenty of time to get ready, and your ceremony will lead straight into the reception with no problems.
Not to mention, later weddings provide the perfect opportunity for photos at sunset snapped by a recommended photographer like Daniele Vertelli, Studio Fotografico Bacci, Mauro Pozzer. Alfonso Lorenzetto and Pino Coduti
6. Italian Wedding Laws
The last thing you want is to plan an Italy wedding that doesn’t conform to the law. One of the most important things you’ll want to note is that Italy doesn’t permit women who have been divorced or widowed to get married less than 300 days after the date of divorce or death. If you’re in this position, you may need to apply for exemption from the Tribunale Civile. Same-sex unions are also not recognised in Italy, so LGBT couples will need to marry legally in another country before planning a symbolic ceremony in Italy.
If you meet the criteria for marriage in Italy, the next step is to sort out your documents. British citizens will need to apply for all the right certificates less than 6 months before the wedding date to avoid expiry. You’ll need to get a Certificate of No Impediment around 3 weeks after announcing your banns at your local registry office. In addition, you’ll want a statutory declaration from a UK solicitor. Both of these documents will need to be legalised in the UK, and then translated by an Italian court-accepted translator.
These laws can be difficult to understand and stressful to deal with, but a wedding planner will have no trouble assisting you with the details and requirements.
7. Why Hire an Italian Wedding Planner?
Are you thinking about tackling your wedding plans on your own? Even with the help of a few select family members and friends, planning a wedding is an enormous task that should not be undertaken alone. For a destination wedding in Italy, hiring a planner is even more important. Getting stressed out and bogged down by the fine details and intricacies can make your special day feel like a chore. In years to come, would you rather remember getting strung along by difficult suppliers and spending weeks trying to secure a date, or walking down the aisle and cutting the cake?
Kathy and Rondu By BeA – Al fresco Wedding
From language barriers, to venue struggles, to paperwork, local wedding planners in Italy are essential in helping you coordinate. They’ll remember everything you might forget, like transportation and scheduling, and they’ll be able to liaise with suppliers on your behalf. Bear in mind that even a luxury wedding has a budget – wedding planners will negotiate deals and make sure you stick to your finance goals. Hiring a planner saves precious time and sanity for the bride, the groom, and the more helpful guests. You can find your perfect planner here at 5 Star Wedding Directory, the best source for trusted and rated luxury Italian suppliers and organisers.