1. Set a budget…. This is essential
Try to keep to your budget as much as possible. Mаkе sure уοu sit down аt tһе beginning οf tһе process, agree οn һοw much money уου′re going tο spend, аnd stick tο іt!
Sticking to a budget will be one of the most difficult things you will need to do, but it is important that you know how much money you can spend. Try and over estimate costs as much as possible as you will see that once you start getting involved in the planning, your requirements do start to take shape and you will see and want things that you never thought you may have wanted or needed for your wedding, trust me it happens all the time. I once had a client who did not have a budget and who said from the beginning that she was not the “typical bride” …… (I have never understood this) and that she was not one for flowers and bouquets etc. This bride ended up spending more than £ 5000.00 sterling on flowers and spent a lot of time going through this as during the process it was as if she was rediscovering herself and it will be a journey!
When I speak to couples many do come back and say that they have no budget which I do find a little strange. Getting married is a little like buying a house or a car, you set yourself a budget and start the process. Perhaps the reason for not advising your planner or wedding venue may be that you think that only the higher price will be applied, well yes that could happen but the majority of people in this industry and this includes the travel industry work hard and really want the best for you, so they are going to try to ensure that they provide you with the very best at the budget provided. or you may think that if you provide a budget, then you will be restricted with just a few choices. This is not the case as Italy has many options to offer wedding couples, it is all about being realistic with budgets.
By giving your planners a budget they can direct you in the right direction and wedding venues can try to see what they can offer you, it may not be the works but at least they can advise you further and see how best to assist you. Without a budget you will be inundated with ideas and recommendations which not only are weddings you cannot afford but it will take over a lot of your time and with time you will start getting confused and stressed so it is best to be as direct as possible from the very beginning.
2. When setting your budget be realistic and try not to bury your head in the sand.
For Weddings Made In Italy, the first port of call is to give you a brief outline within the structure of the proposal so that you can see what the main fixed costs as we call them are.
Once the organising then starts to take place and we know how many people may be staying at the venue, the flowers required, the number of people at the reception and so forth, the proposal then starts taking on a different shape and also the costs may change as there is far more negotiation power available. This does not always happen but it can. Consider the first port of call as a preliminary proposal to ensure that this is the place for you, and then once details start to get agreed, costs can then be reviewed.
Also when we quote for a wedding, we do try to ensure as many others do, that you do get the best rooms, that full details regarding your wedding are communicated, that you are the bride and groom and that you are special. There are so many things which costs take into consideration which couples should not be bothered with and these are the “hidden” costs to ensure that perfection is attained.
3. Many couples choose Italy as a wedding destination perhaps for one of the wrong reasons, because they consider Italy to be cheaper than other places, which to be perfectly honest, is not true. in comparison to Greece or the Caribbean or other places, Italy I would say is ranked as one of the most expensive, the main reason being it has so much to offer. So with this in mind, if you are having 80 to 100 people coming to your wedding, then there is no way that a budget of £ 5000 sterling will suffice, it is quite impossible.
Getting married is a major event and should be considered as one. It is a one in a lifetime experience and you will need to come to terms that like all things which in this world are categorised, as soon as you say “wedding” prices change and the main reason for this is the total involvement of all the suppliers to ensure that each aspect of your wedding is covered.
4. Create an image of the day in your mind and try to communicate this to your coordinator who will then be able to help you realize it. Many of the couples I speak to and I have spoken to many over the years, have a range of wonderful ideas regarding what they want, how they envisage the wedding and much more. Others however do not. Try to be as literal as possible when talking to your planner, tell him or her everything, and try not to miss things out as only in this way can the perfect venue be located. 8 out of 10 couples I have spoken to over the years, really have no idea whatsoever, have never been to Italy and want to be tempted with places and this is when the budget comes in handy.
It is possible to live the childhood fairytale, Cinderella does exist and it can all be recreated in Italy, your magical kingdom. I know it can sound corny but it is true. Of course creating an atmosphere can cost money but the whole purpose with your wedding planner is for them to give you ideas. However silly you think your idea is, don’t be put off, just communicate, that is the secret. If you find that you cannot communicate with your wedding planner then it may be time to change planners as you both need to understand each other as how can your dream come true if your planner does not understand or visualize it with you? This wedding is all about you and yes I admit I can be bossy within reason but it is meant with love and affection. On occasions couples can be convinced about certain things and it just does not work. A couple of years ago I had a superb couple and for the majority of the planning I dealt with the groom who was both charming and funny. We got to the table names and the display of these names and I was told that the tables names would be photographs of Dogs that they as a couple had during their life together who had died and they would be the centerpieces and on these photographs, we would have the table names of these dogs who had passed away. At first I did not say much as it was something that they were quite emotional about, however it would have been a complete disaster and would not have complimented the venue and all the time that had gone into the preparations. I left it and with time I dissuaded them “nicely” not to opt for this as it would not work.
5. Over estimate the number of guests attending rather than underestimate as this will help in the long run. When talking to wedding couples, we start off with a set number of guests. All the couples who overestimate numbers come back lower, all the couples who underestimate finally find out how many people actually want to attend their wedding.
Once you start adding partners, boyfriends, girlfriends, children and infants, you find that you have at least double the amount you had thought would attend. With weddings abroad you will find that less people do come to the wedding if compared to weddings held in the UK, however with travel being or having been “cheaper” and the ease of getting to Italy, more and more people decide to attend weddings abroad. In times of recessions and budgets, perhaps this may change however we are yet to experience this.
6. Always ensure that you make a list and divide your list into 2 sections… one for the guests you would like to invite and want to come and the other section for the guests you must invite. Also in this list put in the guests who may not be able to come but you must invite. This will start to give you a picture of the approximate number of guests. Sometimes it may be that you need to have a family conflab, as mum and dad may have people they want to invite, guests who you may have met once when you went round for tea one Sunday…. If you read many of the guides out there they say that compiling your guest list can become the most contentious part of your wedding preparations since it is usually not possible to invite all your family and friends due to the constraints of your budget and venue capacity. Difficulties often will arise if you both have large families and circles of friends, since you will need to decide where to draw the line between family and friends you know well and those that you don't. Usually, parents will want to invite many relatives, whereas you may want to invite more friends. When planning a wedding, great tact, diplomacy and above all, tolerance will be needed if you do not want to end up fighting!
7. Try to keep everything together as much as possible to avoid extra costs like transfer costs from venue to venue and venue to the hotel for guests after the party is over
The best wedding types and the most exclusive are the weddings where everything takes place in the same location or venues which are within walking distance of the town hall or church so that everything is relaxed and calm. It is also a great idea if the venue where you choose to have the reception or even get married has accommodation available for you and your guests, so even here you have more time to relax before the wedding and you can always pop into your room to powder your nose.
8. Use your wedding planner to give you ideas on how to save money and also how to spend it….
As wedding planners we can advise you on how to save money however money can be saved if you show flexibility in what your requirements may be. If you have fixed ideas and this is what I want and there is no flexibility, it makes our job a little more difficult. The role of the wedding planner is not only to save you money, her or his role is to ensure that everything works and comes together and that you are aware at all times of the costs that you will be incurring so that you the couple can make the decision if this is right for you or not. A wedding planner can and should inspire you if given the opportunity by you and a wedding planner can come up with ideas to help you with your wedding and can advise you of ways of saving money.
We are a touch more expensive because we employ suppliers who are able to reflect our product not only as far as the quality is concerned but also as far as punctuality and service is concerned. Also bear in mind that we as wedding planners when paying for your wedding services, work on receipts and statements from our suppliers and receipts means you pay Italian tax and VAT and this is the way we work. This factor is important as it provides us with transparency as a UK based business.
We are full of creative ideas, however ideas can only be given based on the venue and budget as there is no point in going for an idea which may work in one place but not in another as environments are so very different, something may work well in modern surroundings but could go amiss in a baroque environment.
9. Always aim for “seasonal” be it food or flowers
Let's consider the time of year. Italians always eat fresh foods, especially seasonal fruits, and vegetables when they are at their peak and plentiful. Italians want to eat fruits and vegetables as near to the time of harvest as possible and aren't particularly impressed by foods that are out-of-season or that have been shipped a long distance. Rarely will you find restaurants serving asparagus in December or figs in early spring. During winter, cold weather keeper-foods like cabbage, winter squash and beets are on the menu. So when considering getting married in Italy be aware of this as this is how it works here. Once we start heading outside of the comfort zone and ask for foods which are out of season or not available, you will see that your menu price jumps by an extra 5 to 10 euros and this is because it needs to come from somewhere else. Also remember that food in Italy is extremely territorial, so it may be that in southern Italy you can eat one thing while in another part you cannot or the specific area you have located yourself in “refuses” to use this specific food product. Each area offers something unique and our suggestion is to leave yourself in the hands of the experts as one of the major selling points is the reception, the food and the wine…..
10. Another favourite topic is flowers, which can make or break a wedding. This is all down to the seasonality of the flower, the design required and how many flowers are needed to create the piece, however for the sake of this section we need to concentrate on seasonality.
It is possible to have al the flowers on the planet for your Italian wedding however if they are not in season then you will have to pay for it. The best of the flower table is the Rose, it always seems to be available and it is in season for most of the year. It is only when we start expanding on the rose and start requesting specific roses that availability then becomes an issue however for the standard rose there is no real issue. The other 2 flowers which also seem to be Ok as far as availability is the gerbera and the Phalaenopsis. It is from this point onwards that we start having issues with seasonal flowers. I cannot go into too much information at this point however I would just like to touch on the seasonality of some flowers.
Available from January through to the end of July and then again November and December
Heather & Bouvardia & Lillium
Not always in season but available
Available until the end of June and then again in December
Available May to the end of July
Available April to the end of July
Available May to the end of October
June to the end of September
My recommendation to you is stay seasonal and save money!
11. Don’t skimp on the food and the entertainment for the evening
It is not only the food you need to think about it is also the drink. The main difference between an Italian wedding with 2 Italians marrying and an Italian wedding with 2 English people marrying is the amount of courses. Generally the Italian wedding starts off with the serving of antipasto, and this can be an array of the following, olives, affettato misto,, stuffed mushrooms, pickled peppers, calamari, Prosciutto, crostini…..and then this is followed by many different courses, sometimes as many as 12-14. There are different pastas served, meats, salads, vegetables and even fruit. Wine and other beverages are offered throughout the meal and once the reception comes to an end it is time for dessert. Here we have an array of pastries, cakes, fruits and sweets and this is accompanied by coffee and then Grappa and Limoncello ….Once the Italian reception comes to an end it is time to sleep or explode or many used to head outside for a Marlboro and some air.
Of course we do not expect you to do this in Italy as you do not have the numbers to warrant a good discount and if you opt for this wedding type it could seriously affect your budget and also your health, however you need to ensure that your guests have a good time and get to savour the fruits of your reception as after all they have come all the way to Italy to be part of your wedding.
Once the reception comes to an end you may want to consider putting some money behind the bar perhaps for your guests, or decide to have an open bar throughout the evening or at a set time and why not choose your drinks… the other thing which is possible is to have a paying bar set up, as the night after the reception can be long and you want to ensure that your guests remain refreshed throughout.
Now we come to the entertainment and there is so much to choose from. Music at your wedding apart from being an integral part is also an expensive part and my opinion is that if you want a range of different music types but do not have the funds to spend on a range of bands or different music types, then the best thing to do is to get yourself a DJ. There is great flexibility with a DJ. If the real purpose is to dance the night away to a range of different music types then just ensure that the DJ you choose has the range and you are fine. You will find DJs with their own specialisations providing a range of different music types from the 60s right through to present day.
If your budget allows there are so many options available to you. My favourite is putting on a show for your guests and the In-thing this year 2009/2010 was and is to have a band. A live band adds a certain amount of elegance and charm, and if your budget really allows we can arrange a proper show with a dancing troupe, a gospel choir, a tribute bands, we can even go as far as a the 3-Tenors, all is subject to the atmosphere you want to create.
Don’t miss out on music however do not feel that you must have music at your wedding reception, you have to bear in mind that you are in a beautiful place and sometimes it is enough just to hear the sea lapping on the beach and realise and appreciate you are truly in heaven.
12. Delegate….. jobs like meeting and greeting guests, giving out the printed orders of service…. All those things that the bride and groom should not be even contemplating
I remember my wedding… it was so funny. It took place many years ago so quite a long time and of course I arranged it all and set things up. I had booked a villa for 2 weeks and my choice had been Positano, there were many other options but the reason I chose Positano was apart from its being completely beautiful, it was easy to get to for my UK friends and family and it was also easy to get to for the Italian contingent. I remember the morning before, we all gathered on the villa of the terrace as I strutted up and down. My mother, father, brother and his girlfriend (who later started to work for me), my friends Sue and Andrew and Bradley and my husband to be and in laws all settled at the mosaic table with note books to listen to my commands……... “Ok so when I come out of this room and turn to go down, you dad are waiting for me here, at this point and you Andrew have to ring this bell so that everyone knows that I am walking down the aisle and you have to … …do not forget… blah blah….you have to be ready by this stage because at this point I will need to have my hair curled and ……The meeting lasted for about 1 hour and 30 minutes and everyone knew what they were doing. HOWEVER…. it did not go according to plan as everybody got extremely emotional and I ended ringing the bell to announce my arrival and it still ended up being the very best day of my life.
The main thing had been that I had tried to delegate too much to too few and the other thing was that I had wanted it to be as simple as possible and had taken too much of the responsibility upon myself. What getting married taught me is that the bride and groom should think of every possible scenario pre and post as family and friends are just too excited and do forget some of the more “intimate” arrangements and your wedding is for you and you must put you first. I know it sounds selfish but this is just one day, and make it your day…..By putting everything in place before the wedding and delegating, a lot of the pressure is taken away from you. We put a lot of work into our wedding itineraries which we give to our couples, however how many couples give this itinerary to their best man or bridesmaids or ushers, to read and ensure that they know the arrangements and what is going on at what time etc so that any pressures can come away from the bride and groom?
13. Always opt for an afternoon wedding giving you time to relax and sunbathe in the morning and then start the preparations after a light lunch and don’t forget to eat before the ceremony!!!
When getting married in Italy or abroad, why get married in the morning? Why not relax and take it easy and also think of the temperatures and the heat. Wake up in the morning, have a long breakfast, go for a swim perhaps or sunbathe by the pool for a few hours and then start getting ready… why rush it all? Your wedding should all be easy, allowing you to savour each and every single moment. After a relaxed morning, do not forget to have a light lunch, some salad perhaps or a sandwich of some kind, or perhaps a plate of pasta… do not get married on an empty stomach as your body will be anxious as it is a normal reaction and cannot be avoided. You will be the centre of attention and all the planning and the preparations come down to this one moment so you need to be ready, you need to be fed and watered and ready to go…….I have spoken to some couples who say that they want to have the ceremony early as this is the hardest part for them so that they do not have to worry about it for the whole day and then they can just relax. There is no need to worry about the ceremony. Just treat the whole event as special and a one in a life time experience and you will be fine. The fundamental part is to relax and to have fun….do not forget this. Have Fun….as it is truly enjoyable and over so quickly.