How to pick a wedding venue in Italy

Let’s face it, most of us have dreamt about our wedding day since we were kids.  We’ve dreamt about the dress, the flowers, the bridesmaids—-really the person standing on the other side was irrelevant as long as it was Justin Timberlake)— but the place was one of the most important parts of that dream.  I went to high school in Tulsa, OK. I remember being around 16 walking around the Gilcrease museum.  Do I remember the art work? … kind of ?? But what I do remember was an outstanding room with a view, one of those views that makes you think “ Me and JT are going to get married here one day” , did that happen?  No, but we’ve all been there.  We have ideas of what our venue will be and what we want it to be. My job as a wedding planner in Tuscany is to bring couples to reality on what they realistically can have on their wedding day and making it a fairytale.  I’ve come up with a few pointers to help you on your quest for the “perfect venue”. 

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  1. Wedding Planner- You should hire a planner before you start seriously looking at venues. They know the venues!! They know the pricing, the constraints, they know everything about it. I’ve had couples pick a venue and then come to me afterwards having regretted their decision. There may be extras they didn’t know about before they paid the deposit. They might have certain vendors they work with. For example: There is a certain castle venue that shall remain nameless that obligates you to buy only their wine for your wedding and it is not good!!

  2. Locations- I like my weddings to be theatrical, where guests are lead to different parts of the venue throughout the event. They won’t see the entire venue until dinner time or even the after party. It’s a great way of keeping your guests entertained throughout the day.

  3. Plan B- It’s every couple’s worst nightmare— you book the venue in a time where it isn’t supposed to rain and then it rains. It’s happened at my weddings in August! I always tell couples to love the Plan B. Many times venues can accommodate transparent tents, so if you want to keep your original plan and cover up in case of rain make sure to contact a tent company and make a deposit. Some venues have lovely plan Bs where this isn’t even necessary and others have beautiful Plan A’s but ghastly Plan B’s. This is why I always say, “ Love the Plan B.”

  4. Catering- Some venues have their own internal catering. The food can be really good or not…it can also be very expensive. If this is the case try the food before booking the venue to make sure it is within your budget and meets your expectations. Other venues may have agreements with certain catering companies—-again get estimates and have trials with these catering companies before you book the venue. Most the time the recommended caterers quite are good but the pricing may just put you over budget!

  5. Where will guests sleep- This is the number one concern for almost every couple I meet. If you want your guests to sleep at the venue you’ll need a castle or a hamlet. If your not keen on spending all of that quality time with your friends and family you may want a venue that sleeps just your bridal party or even just rents the wedding venue for the night having your guests sleep in the local town nearby.

  6. Be date flexible or plan far in advance- If you have a precise date in mind remember that the good venues fill up sometimes 2 years in advance. If you’d rather get married sooner than later be flexible with your dates so you’re not disappointed when they don’t have the date you want.

  7. Curfew- You’ve dreamt about dancing the night away under the stars on your wedding day?… the problem is most of the neighbours around the wedding venue don’t want to hear it. City laws normally have curfew at 11:00 pm… don’t fret! You can move the party inside until 1:00 am and normally go even to 5:00 am for an hourly fee. Make sure to agree on this beforehand with your venue!

  8. Time of year: This is another question I get asked quite a lot, Jill, what is the best time to get married in Tuscany? Well…if I had to say the all time best month to get married in Tuscany, I’d say September. The weather is still warm but mild…not normally stormy and it’s the beginning of wine season. Need I say more? May is also a good month to get married in Tuscany but it is more likely to rain. June is also great but busy. The second half of July and August are literally hella hot and I strongly do not recommend it. The first half of October is also lovely for weddings. The winter months are good months if you are ok with an indoor wedding.

photo credits: Gabriele Fani

photo credits: Gabriele Fani


I hope this little guide will help you better choose you wedding venue in Italy. We’d love to hear from you and let us know if you have any questions; info@tuscanwedding.com




S+Z catholic gala wedding

S+Z decided to get married in Tuscany as S Italian origins. The London locals chose a Medeci Villa for their party and a mediaeval church nearby for their lavish catholic wedding. There definitely was a vintage vibe going on during the planning of this wedding.

The Wedding Venue

Everything about this venue is stunning and just, well, otherworldly. The villa known as La Ferdinanda, Artimino or Cento Cammini (100 fireplaces) was once home to the Medici family, mainly the son of Cosimo the first, Ferdinand. The villa is perched on a hill overlooking the world below as if it were in a cloud. On a clear day you can easily see the towns of Prato, Pistoia and Florence. I believe my absolute favourite thing about this villa is the little village of Artimino itself. They are connected by a narrow road and the walled city has all of the piteresque qualities that every Tuscan village should. The entire package makes it a one of a kind venue. Every turn of the corner will leave you awe inspired with some little masterpiece in plain site. A couple could easily feel like royalty at this venue.

The Dress

The dress was a beautiful lace gown with a sweetheart neck and a diamond belt. The dress was originally strapless but S had the dress tailored to make it church appropriate and then removed the sleeves later on during the night. Her look was complimented with a tiara, veil and diamond earrings from The Diamond Store.

The Wedding Party

I have to admit I was a bit skeptical at first of S and Z’s color choice, but all and all her bridesmaid looked absolutely stunning in their red dresses. I think they were the most beautiful bridesmaids of the season. Their grecian chiffon form complimented all of the girls and the colour really made them all stunning. S gave all of her bridesmaids gifts from Pandora and The Diamond Store.

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The Wedding

Z arrived in a red Ferrari before the bride, whereas S was accompanied by her mother in a powder blue Alfa Romeo. The bride’s father had passed away and they wanted to commemorate him by driving S to the church in the car he used to drive. The ceremony commenced with beautiful music offered by organist Cecilia Iannandrea. Once the ceremony finished the couple exited to bubbles and flower petals. The couple drove off into the sunset in Z’s red Ferrari.

The Wedding Dinner

Dinner was served up by the villas internal catering in the great hall. Wedding Music and Lights lit up the room with up lights. The table was set with white table cloth, white and red petals, crystals and lovely red and white rose centre pieces. We also created cover sleeves for the menus and filled the room with candles. Mid dinner some very entertaining singing waiters surprised the guests with musical numbers. They had the guests up on tables dancing, twirling napkins and weaving throughout the room in a conga line.

The Wedding Cake

The cake was a showstopper. The five tiered beauty by Marisa Vitali had a poppy seed lemon, pink champagne, pistachio, and chocolate layers. It was divine and covered in GOLD…my favourite colour!

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It was truly a fabulous Tuscan Wedding in royal fashion. Look below for some of my favourite moments of the day.

If you want to have your wedding in Tuscany give us a shout out and we would love to help you plan your special day!!

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Credits:

Wedding Planner: Tuscan Wedding by Jill Romanelli

Photographer: Gabriele Fani

Venue: Villa la Ferdinanda

Catering: Artimino

Stationary: Tuscan Wedding by Jill Romanelli

Flowers: Violamalva

Cake: Sugarcups Greve by Marisa Vitali

Hair and Make-up: Pamela Leti

Bermudians tie the knot with an Elegant Castle Wedding

Most people choose Bermuda for their destination wedding but R and H decided on doing something a little different. When R called my last Christmas she described a simple family affair at a rustic location. However, as the months progressed and more guests accepted the invitation to escape Bermuda for the fall weather in Tuscany, their wedding developed into the social event of the island…just on a different continent.

The venue

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Every wedding planner dreams of planning a wedding at Castello di Vincigliata. It is literally out of a storybook…you me even see briar rose turning the corner or Cinderella running down the stairs. It is a stunning venue nestled into the hilltops above Florence. The castle was built for entertaining by the Englishman, John Temple Leader during the mid 1800s on the remains of an ancient tower so it is no surprise that it is one of the most chosen venues in the Tuscany area. The castle has a back winter garden, a front terrace overlooking the city, sunken garden, stunning courtyard and is encircled by vineyards and olive orchards. The famous wine label, Bibi Graetz grows his fruits on the land. This is a must pick for any bride or groom looking for a classy statement on their wedding day.

The Dress

R’s dress was like the castle. You have a stunning beginning to work with and then everything else should accent it. She chose a simple but very elegant satin halter dress with a train and strappy criss cross back by BHLDN. She complemented the look with a comfy pair of black velvet Come Shun shoes and diamond tear drop earrings. Her messy bun and simple yet elegant make-up by Pamela Leti had a very old Hollywood glam style to it.

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The Groom

The groom wore a black suit with hunter green bow ties by Portabella suits. He accented the suit with a white and green buttonhole, a hunter green pocket square and brown leather belt. The buttonhole had ornamental berries, olive branches and small white roses.

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The Wedding Stationary

Just like Italian cooking, beauty is in the simple quality of great materials. We used organic and simple tones on hand pressed paper and vellum. I’ve always adored velum, it gives you a peak into something even more exciting. R an H chose white and hunter green for their colours. Vincigliata is already a stunning venue but needs a special hand to take its rustic flare and make it super chic. We decided to do the same with the stationary, focusing on the natural tone of the hand pressed paper and the simple elegance of herbs used in Italian cooking, such as rosemary and sage. The look was topped off with a laurel leaf wax stamp and a stamp with the couples initials. The addresses were hand written with a quill pen and simple black ink.

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The Bridesmaids, Groomsmen, and Flower girl

The Wedding party wore chiffon hunter green gowns from David’s bridal. I love chiffon and it’s movement in the wind. The gowns had a slight slit up the right leg that showed when the girls whisked down the aisle. The girls wore matching diamond teardrop earrings and carried smaller versions of the bridal bouquet. There hair was in a messy chignon. The bride’s niece was the flower girl with a tulle skirt and green sash. Her adorable hair was crowned with a baby’s breath wreath.

The groomsmen had the party started from the time they arrived in Florence. All of them have nicknames related to something fishy—- I guess it’s a Bermuda thing. H lovingly showed me the time he caught the largest marlin I had ever seen in my life on his youtube channel…so maybe I can see where the fishy nicknames come from. One of his groomsmen…I think Chum…told me multiple times that he only drank rum. Even during the pre-wedding lunch overlooking Florence with fine Brunello red wine…he ordered rum. These characters kept things interesting. I passed by Villa di Fiesole to check on the wedding party as they were dressing outside of their room in black Portabella suites with hunter green bow ties and hunter green pockets squares.

The Wedding

R and H decided on a civil ceremony at Castello di Vincigliata. The ceremony was held on the front terrace. They chose natural wood cross back chairs an a stunning organic flower arch done by my friends at Violamalva. As R pulled up with her dad I scurried the groomsmen into place and rushed H to the front of the aisle. R who is normally a very relaxed person started to feel the intensity of what was about to happen and broke into tears. Emotions were high, but we started the bridal procession. The look on H’s face when he saw R coming around the corner was priceless. During the ceremony bridesmaids and groomsmen told stories and read poetry. It was truly very beautiful, and simple. H’s kiss to R was probably my favourite moment of the entire day. He literally grabbed her and kissed her as hard as he could in excitement. It was really sweet.

The Wedding Dinner

After the ceremony the couple went around the castle to take pictures. Their guests enjoyed a cocktail and canapés made with organic and seasonal ingredients by Zenzero Biocatering from Florence. After the cocktail the couple sat down for a 3 course dinner with pumpkin soup, saltimbocca, salad, and other delicious treats. The tables were elegantly dressed with white linen tablecloths and napkins. The white Ginori plates were set on top of glass chargers with silver utensils. Each table was decorated with greenery and candles. The courtyard was lit with glass bulbed bistro lighting, uplighting and torches by Alma Project. Guests found their seats according to Bermudian Parishes. The menu was vellum with a botanical print underneath, and kept together with a wax seal of the couple’s initials. I always love to hear the '“oooooh and the aaaah” when people turn the corner and see the dinner area for the first time. After dinner the couple had a dessert bar with local treats.

The Cake

Originally R and H didn’t want a cake…but I convinced them otherwise. Since they already had a dessert bar they decided on a small cake by Marisa Vitali at Sugar Cups Greve. It was a simple chocolate cake with butter cream frosting. Marisa and I used eucalyptus branches and white roses to decorate the cake. Leila at Zenzero set up a cute table along with some eucalyptus and olive branches. When the couple made their first cut fireworks lit up the sky. Afterwards the couple danced the night away.

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Credits:

Wedding Planner: Tuscan Wedding by Jill Romanelli

Photographer: Gabriele Fani

Bride’s dress: BHLDN

Bride’s Shoes: Come Shun

Bride’s maids dresses: David’s Bridal

Groom’s and groomsmen’s suits: Portabella

Venue: Castello di Vincigliata

Catering: Zenzero Biocatering

Cake: Sugarcups by Marisa

Stationary: Tuscan Wedding by Jill Romanelli

Flowers: Tuscan Wedding by Jill Romanelli

Hair and Make-up: Pamela Leti

Wedding planning by: www.tuscanwedding.com Video by Waterfall Visuals

J+F civil wedding overlooking Florence

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What can I say about this couple—-they were the cutest! A+K decided on early summer to marry in a symbolic ceremony at Borgo di Petrognano in Chiantishire. The couple wanted a small and intimate ceremony only inviting their closest friends and family.

The venue

A & K chose Borgo di Petrognano in Chiantishire for their May nuptials. They wanted something intimate, and in the countryside yet polished. Borgo di Petrognano sits atop a hillside overlooking the rolling hills of Chianti and the medieval towers of San Gimignano. The venue was once part of a city wall for the abandoned town of Semifonte.

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The Dress

The dress was made my a local seamstress in Hong Kong. The cocktail length gown with a toile outer bodice had beautiful embroidered flowers and stars. It really complemented A’s petite figure and bubbly personality. The look was topped off with a pair of Venilla Suite shoes in antique blush

The Wedding Party

The Bridal party was clothed in light and airy olive coloured chiffon gowns. The groomsmen wore smart black suits and ties….the groom—being very stylish wore a bow tie complemented with an olive and blush coloured David Austin rose.

The Wedding

A and K chose to invite only their closest friends and family—- they wanted it to be intimate and relaxed..it was. Andrea Piana from Tuscan Pledges organised a beautiful symbolic wedding ceremony overlooking the Chianti countryside. The couple passed their rings around for friends and family to warm them and share their wishes for the future.

The Wedding Dinner

This was almost as important as the wedding ceremony for A & K. They decided on a formal dinner on Borgo di Petrognano’s beautiful terrace overlooking the Tuscan countryside. Guests admired the rolling hills and the outline of the medieval town of San Gimignano as the sun set behind them. The tables were elegantly dresses with white chiffon runners and filled with candles. Tuscan Wedding made special bespoke menus for the couple complete with a rose gold custom wax seal with the couple’s initials. The menus were closed within a grey sleeve. Olive branches and David Austin roses were laid out on top of the chiffon runners. A vase was placed at the head table for the bride to admire and enjoy her bouquet throughout the evening. The wedding guests enjoyed a delicious typical 5 course Tuscan meal. K even wanted all the guests to try Florentine tripe…and it was a hit. Guests enjoyed other local delicacies on white Ginori plates and rose gold utensils.

The Cake

Despite my best efforts to convince the couple to go with a Tiramisu cake from Giorgio Pasticceria in Florence—- they chose a traditional Italian Crostata filled with custard and topped with delicious fresh berries. The cake cutting was illuminated with bistro lights and sparklers. Afterwards the guests danced the night away overlooking the countryside.

Credits:

Wedding Planner: Tuscan Wedding by Jill Romanelli

Photographer: Gabriele Fani

Bride’s Shoes: Venilla Suite

Venue: Borgo di Petrognano

Catering: Golden Catering of Italy

Stationary: Tuscan Wedding by Jill Romanelli

Flowers: Tuscan Wedding by Jill Romanelli

Hair and Make-up: Pamela Leti

Mood Board: Mediterranaea

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Foliage on tables is very ‘in’ lately but why not give it a little pop of color—- what better color than orange. First of all it’s incredibly complimentary to green and secondly they channel a slew of Mediterranean plants—-i.e. pomegranate, oranges, and other beautiful flowers. If you want to add a bit more depth to your greenery you can go outside of the mediterranean and include some lovely eucalyptus branches. Enjoy!

Mood Board: Chianti in Autumn Part 1

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We love Pinterest as much as the next person—-well I love it. I find myself spending hours and hours on it. I’ve created a mood board through one of my hobbies—hanging out on Pinterest—-hoping one lucky couple will choose it! This look was inspired by the earthy tones of early Chianti fall—-the olive picking, the leaves just start to turn, the fluffy fall clouds, the grey of the beautiful Pietra Serena… This is the epitome of Chianti…rustic yet neat and elegant…earthy yet formed by some other hand hundreds of years before us. Artisanal touches include hand made place cards with bronze wax stamps on handmade paper. Can you tell I am just waiting for a bride and groom to pick this look for their Tuscan Wedding…? Enjoy

Same-Sex Weddings in Tuscany

You've seen Master on None, Under the Tuscan Sun, and one or two of the other hundreds of movies filmed in Tuscany...  Maybe you and your partner toured in Italy and it was so amazing and special you dreamed about saying 'I do' in a field of sunflowers.  Then your heart sinks---Does Italy allow same-sex unions?

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The answer to this questions is---yes... As of April 2014 Same-Sex civil unions are now allowed in Italy.  Here are a few tips! 

Civil Unions are similar to marriages with a few exceptions---depending on the town hall---other documents may be necessary.  However, in most cases, same-sex couple have the same documentation as other hetero couples who wish to marry in a civil ceremony---with the exception that they must meet at city hall at least 15 days before the ceremony is to take place.  This exception may change at any time, so make sure to contact of is you are thinking about this option for your nuptials.

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Civil ceremonies can only be done at designated sites preassigned by the town hall.  Some villas don't have the possibility to civilly marry a couple and the couple chooses to marry back in their home country or earlier in the day at town hall.  Some venues have agreements with city hall to perform a legally binding ceremony on site.  If you are interested in a venue like this please contact us. 

If you aren't concerned about 'the where' you are legally married---but want to celebrate your wedding with family and friends in Tuscany---one can always get married at their local town hall and celebrate a symbolic ceremony with one of our lovely officiants here in Tuscany. The main rules to be able to get married in Italy are:

So you don't care about the bureaucracy and you want to get married in Italy---what documents do you need for a same-sex union?

  • Both of you will have to be either single, legally divorced or widowed.

  • you cannot be related by first or second degree: brother/sister, father/daughter, or mother/son or brother/cousin. NOT EVEN IF the relationship is from an ADOPTION (without legal recognition).

  • You must be in Italy at least 15 days before! 

What documentation do I need to have my same-sex ceremony?

If none of you are Italian or residents of Italy, bans are waived and you just need the authorization (usually called a NULLA OSTA)  issued by a consular of foreign authority in Italy (for some nationalities, a consul’s signature shall be legalized by the prefecture).

The legalization is not requested for the following countries (it may apply to some others, please consider the following list as a refernce, contact us for confirmation even if your nationality is not listed): Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, UK (including the Isle of Man), Greece, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Norway, Holland (including the Netherlands, Antilles and Aruba), Portugal, the Czech Republic, the San Marino Republic, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, and Hungary. Alternatively, you need the authorization of a competent foreign authority, confirmed by the Italian Embassy or Consulate.

The authorization shall attest that there are no impediments to the marriage. It also shall include the following data: name, surname, date and place of birth, residency, nationality, marital status, paternity and maternity (full names of the parents), and a birth certificate (when maternity or paternity are not provided on the authorization).

Some countries will need other documents on top of the Nulla Osta, as mentioned above, i.e. USA citizens and AUSTRALIAN Citizens (contact us about this).

Other nationalities will require the couple to meet the consulate in person, you may need to schedule extra time to visit consulates in Rome or Milan.  

Now if you still have the will after reading this short blog article please contact us so we can start planning your destination wedding in Tuscany!  info@tuscanwedding.com

Wedding Photography Checklist

I am not a wedding photographer, but I am a wedding planner.  I started the list for myself as I've wanted to seriously yell at wedding photographers over the years for missing special moments.  Let's be honest, wedding can be hectic and the happy couple can get distracted.  This is why I made a checklist so you don't miss a single detail of your special day! Print these pages out and give them to your wedding photographer or wedding planner.

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FAQ: Where can I get legally married in Italy

Getting legally married in Italy can be a bit of an Odyssey.  What may seem obvious in your country isn't so in Italy.  The most obvious answer is to choose a lovely city hall, follow directions, and set a date. You will have to pay a fee to the municipality that is normally around €400.  Some more famous city halls, such as Florence's Palazzo Vecchio can cost thousands of euro for a ceremony lasting about 15 minutes---but come on, it's Palazzo Vecchio.  

Florence's City Hall, Palazzo Vecchio

Florence's City Hall, Palazzo Vecchio

The red room inside of Palazzo Vecchio

The red room inside of Palazzo Vecchio

Another option is to legally marry directly at the venue of your choice---there is a catch.  Not all venues are authorised for legally binding ceremonies.  The ceremony is still performed by an official from the municipality in which the venue is geographically located and the venue has to be registered to do so.  Make sure you check with your wedding planner or with the venue directly to guarantee this type of ceremony is possible which will help avoid disappointment later on.  You will have to pay an extra fee to the venue, similar to that of the municipality in order to legally marry at your chosen venue.

Get married at your preferred venue

Get married at your preferred venue

Same-sex unions have been legal since 2016 in Italy and the procedure is the same as above.