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”. 

  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;