Location, Location, Location. I don’t know why these things sound better in groups of three. This is probably the most important element. I bet you are thinking—but Jill, this entire article is about choosing a Wedding Location—yes, I know—but I am speaking about something much more generic. i.e. What setting do you want? Castle? Villa? Hamlet?—Do you want an outdoor wedding? Do you want to get married in the city vs. country vs. seaside? Once you have decided this tidbit you are ready for step 2.
Budget. It may be tacky to talk about money—but let’s face it—everyone is thinking about it. In reality this should be bullet 1A as your venue depends on your budget. You shouldn’t set your sights on a 5 star €48,000 villa if you have an all-in budget of €20,000. You also have to think about extra costs that may occur during the planning of your wedding—flowers, ceremony costs, DJ, singing harpist, fireworks, etc. If you have a clear budget in mind from the get-go you won’t be disappointed when it comes time to book your venue. Always budget in €5000 for unanticipated expenses—if you don’t spend it you will have more money for your honeymoon souvenirs.
Ceremony. Are you super religious? Are you not? I know one should never talk about money religion or politics—but in the wedding business the first two are mandatory for wedding planning. I promise I won’t talk about politics! This is an important factor in Italy as you have the choice of a religious, civil, or symbolic ceremony. Some venues will have a church on property or a church nearby. Most venues allow civil ceremonies—but you should always double check. If they don’t allow civil ceremonies you have to be ready to get married in city hall. Religious and civil ceremonies can cost a pretty penny—so if you are tight on money—you may consider getting married at home and then have a symbolic ceremony with your guests in Italy.
Guests. How many guests do you want to invite? Do you want a lunch or a dinner? Dancing? Do you want to have your guests sleep at the venue? You might like a venue but it might not have the capacity for your guests. Make sure to ask the max capacity before you make anything permanent.
Curfew. Some venues in Italy have curfews of 10:00pm. If you had dreams of dancing the night away you need to double check the curfew.
Hire a Wedding Planner. I promise this isn’t shameless self-advertising—well maybe a little. You will need someone who knows the ins and outs of the industry, the destination, and will shield you from vendors, venues, and occasionally your family and friends. If you hire a competent wedding planner—wink, wink—you may also end up saving money in the end. How is that possible you may ask? Many venues will charge you if you ask for help not related to the venue itself. Vendors often charge higher prices when not tied to someone they do a lot of business with—and those are just two possibilities where a wedding planner can step in and save you money. Wedding Planner = knight and shining superwoman/man protector (maybe I am exaggerating a bit)