What to consider when planning your destination wedding in Tuscany
Planning a wedding is exciting, but it can also feel a little daunting at times, especially if you are planning a destination wedding in another country, such as Italy. There are so many resources available now to brides and grooms, though. And its not only on-line, there are also plenty of people who are more than happy to offer their expertise to help make your day everything you are dreaming of.
When I first moved to Tuscany, I got in touch with Hewelin from Marry Me in Tuscany. I could tell from our first telephone conversation she is the type of person you want to have at your side throughout your wedding planning journey; friendly, resourceful, knowledgable, and experienced with planning and organising weddings in Tuscany. With her help, I have put together some advice and things to consider when planning your destination wedding in Tuscany.
What is the best time of year to get married in Tuscany?
Summer can get hot in Tuscany, and so Hewelin recommends Spring or Autumn for holding your destination wedding in Italy, “In my opinion the best months are May, June, and September. Any other month for a British couple is too hot, temperatures can reach 40 degrees!”. With summer months being so hot, if you are from colder climates or have guests who do not appreciate the heat, it is best to choose a month when the weather is still good, but perhaps a bit cooler than the height of summer. “Even October is lovely,” says Hewelin, “I like the colours and the products of this season; good wine, truffles, and mushrooms.”
Top tip: Hold your ceremony later in the day to avoid the mid-day heat. Also, you could always place little fans on seats of those you know might need them. And the evening light is just so special in Tuscany for your wedding photography!
Finding the perfect venue in Tuscany
There are so many beautiful locations in Tuscany. If you are looking for a ceremony amongst the iconic rolling hills and vineyards of Tuscany, then the Val d'Orcia may capture your heart. Perhaps you want to indulge yourself with culture, history, and art; Florence, Siena, Pisa and Lucca are all beautifully romantic locations for a destination wedding in Italy. Or maybe you’d like somewhere a little more off the beaten track. Consider then the Apuan or Apennine Mountains with gorgeous views that are dotted with quant little medieval villages. If you are dreaming of a beach wedding, walking barefoot on a sandy beach, feeling the sunshine and sea breeze as you say your “I do's”, there are plenty of wonderfully chic venues dotted down the coast of Tuscany for this.
You will also want to consider the distance from the airport and how your guests will get to the venue. Pisa and Florence are the main airports in Tuscany. It is always worth checking the distance from the airport to the venues you are considering and also the availability of flights from your home country and that of your guests.
Top tip from Hewelin: Make sure the venue is wedding friendly. “I know it sounds silly but not all venues are open to wedding parties. You need to have no owners sleeping in the surroundings, there must be no music limit, there must be a big covered area as well as open air area to host the dinner and dancing. If you are looking for a place to have a civil ceremony you should find a venue that can host legally binding ceremonies. If it's just symbolic, you can also just look for a nice garden or panorama.”
Can you have a legal ceremony in Italy and what does this involve?
“It is easy to get legally married in Italy: you have to ask your wedding planner about the different documents needed depending on your nationality. Of course, if you were born and live in the same country it's easy but sometimes I get couples with different nationalities living in a 3rd country and this is when a wedding planner is really needed. They advise how far in advance you should start preparing your papers and normally they do all the legal stuff here in Italy.” Hewelin advises.
Marry me in Tuscany has a post regarding the legal requirements for getting married in Italy: https://www.marrymeintuscany.co.uk/legal-requirements-for-civil-weddings-in-italy/ You can also contact Marry Me in Tuscany directly with any questions
How long does it take to plan a wedding abroad in Italy?
“At least one year is the minimum time to plan a wedding in a good way.” Recommends Hewelin. “If you can give yourselves a year and a half even better: you can get good prices for the venue and start selecting the suppliers you like the most and comparing quotes.”
Do you need to visit Tuscany to plan your wedding?
“I recommend at least one visit before the wedding to be able to see venues and suppliers. If your wedding planner comes with you for these visits, (as Marry Me in Tuscany do) they’ll explain to you which are the best suppliers and the pros/cons of each of them.” Of course, sometimes there are reasons why you can’t visit Tuscany while planning your wedding. Hewelin says of this, “I’ve planned many weddings without a previous visit. Sometimes I deal with couples of different nationalities and different religions living in another place that is not Italy”. And this is where having a wedding planner really comes into it’s own. They will work on your behalf, connecting you with the best suppliers and help organise and create the perfect wedding day in Tuscany for you.
When should save the dates/ wedding invitations be sent for a destination wedding?
As soon as you know you are getting married in Italy, it might be an idea to send your save the dates. Guests will need the time to organise themselves and to be able to start looking into flights and accommodation. “They can simply specify Tuscany without putting the name of the venue so people know where to book a flight”, says Hewelin. Wedding invitations can then be sent two to three months before the date of the wedding.
Top tip: A wedding website can be a real help to guests. You can provide all the information guests need in regards to where to fly, directions to the venue, places to stay, and keep them informed with any changes or any other useful information for your wedding day and their stay.
How might a wedding in Italy differ from a wedding in the UK?
Italian wedding traditions should be considered when holding a wedding in Italy, but of course that doesn’t mean you cannot bring traditions from home as well. A wedding day should be a reflection of your personalities and your wedding day can be tailored to suite you.
The ceremony may take place later in the day, and food may be served a lot later than you are use to having dinner. Hewelin explains, “Consider that we never sit down before 9pm and we end up cutting the cake around 1am! Of course working with foreigners my suppliers know that we have to stick to normal rules so weddings can be celebrated at 4pm and diner can even start at 6pm”. Also the length of time for dinner is certainly longer - but then isn’t that part of the reason for choosing Tuscany for your wedding - the great food! “We tend to sit down at least 3 hours between speeches and coursers, but the food is so good that no one complains!”
Should I hire a wedding planner for my wedding in Tuscany?
It is worth considering hiring a wedding planner, especially if you would like a legal ceremony in Tuscany. A good wedding planner will be a huge asset to you both with the wedding planning before and on the day itself. They will be able to lead you through the planning process, bridge any language/ communication gaps, and be there to handle any problems that might arise, taking the stress away and ensuring you can relax and enjoy your wedding day.
“As I always use to say wedding planners are worth their weight in gold” says Hewelin, “not only will you save a lot of money, but they take off all the stress from you on your wedding day. You don't have to think about witnesses getting on time to the church, suppliers putting flowers in the right way, favours to be delivered in time: all the hard stuff is our stuff, the couple just has to enjoy their day at its best!”
Top tip: Contact at least 2 to 3 wedding planners and be very careful once you choose one. You have to be sure that all costs include VAT and that there is no commission on top of each package. You may also find some planners will give you good rates if you book a midweek wedding as well as the venues.