So you’re still in an engagement bubble, figured out a rough budget and where you may want to get married. The next step that you may want to take is to look at venues.
I thought I would tell you a little bit about how we narrowed down our search in Italy and the venues we looked at.
The first destination we looked at in Italy was Lake Como, but after enquiring with a wedding planner, our budget was laughed at! Its where a lot of celebrities live and hang out so that comes at a price. So we continued our search on Google. We found an array of possible locations across Italy that were set on beaches, vineyards, country houses and Villas, a must for me was definitely a sea view.
Popular locations that kept appearing were Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast and Tuscany. Although Tuscany looked absolutely beautiful, it didn’t have my sea view I so wanted. At this point, we had joined the Facebook group ‘Sorrento and Amalfi Coast weddings’ both this one and also the one with suppliers on too. We actually got approached by wedding planners on here after posting about our wedding search. I will touch on wedding planners more on a later blog post, but this opened up our search more to the Amalfi Coast. I would definitely recommend joining this Facebook group if you are looking in the same area as it was a Godsend, so many questions you can ask and everyone’s in the same boat! There is also one called ‘Weddings abroad guide community’ however, this was more generalised and not specific to a location.
We viewed six different places we could get married, these were all in a similar area, including Ravello, Maiori and Scala after narrowing it down to this part of the Amalfi Coast.
One of the venues for the ceremony we viewed was Basilica of Sant’ Eustachio in Scala which is the oldest village on the Amalfi Coast. It was beautiful with sea views and there are villas near by that we could have used for the wedding reception afterwards or we could have gone further afield. Although it was very romantic, there were many steps up to the venue, a very windy track which was quite cobbley and may have been difficult for those of the guests who were a little older or not as steady on their feet. We didn’t want any injuries on the way up! Another option was to have the reception in another town such as Maiori or Ravello, these aren’t too far away, however, it would have meant hiring transport to take the guests to the reception venue. Although this would be fine for many, you need to factor in the extra cost and we liked the idea of the ceremony and reception venue being quite close together.
Another venue we viewed was Hotel Club Due Torri, it was a hotel in Maiori on the edge of the cliff with an amazing panoramic view of the sea. It really was such an amazing view, so much so it felt like you were on a boat as as far as you could see was the sea! As it was a hotel, you could stay there and family and friends too if they wished which appealed at first, but at the point of viewing ,we hadn’t really got as far as thinking of where our guests would be staying too. We found this to be reasonably priced and a lot cheaper than the venue we had previously fallen in love with just from looking online. The downside to us was it almost felt a little Greek, very white and blue, if we were getting married in Greece then I would have chosen it, but for us, we wanted some Italian charm and to feel like we were in Italy, as silly as that may sound to some. That Italian romantic feel was important to us, I think without realising it at the time, we wanted a villagey feel with beautiful views and to be able to walk from the ceremony venue to the reception, with traditional Italian culture and amazing photo opportunities too.
Which leads me onto the venue we fell in love with online, it was the last one we viewed and I think we saved the best until last, I may be slightly biased as this was the one we went for! Villa Eva in Ravello, Ravello is a small town set above the Amalfi Coast in mountains, it has the Duomo Di Ravello which is the main square, with many restaurants and alleys to explore. Villa Eva is off the square and a walk up steps to get there. The Amalfi Coast is full of steps, you just can’t get away from them, a place to get fit before the wedding! To us it had a lovely feel to it and a sea view at the back of the venue. I think you just know when its the one and I think the glance when we entered at my then husband to be, he was thinking the same. This venue was a villa specific for events, they also had two hotels near by called Hotel Villa Maria and Hotel Giordano. You are able to get married there but only a symbolic ceremony, whereas we wanted a civil ceremony, which is explained later in this blog post the different types you can have.
In Ravello if you are having a civil ceremony there is the Town hall gardens – Gardini Principessa di Piemonte. This is where we got married, they are beautiful gardens overlooking the sea and mountains, it is off the main square up (some more) steps. This is outdoors so you are counting on the weather, which I was a little worried about. The forecast the week before we got married was a little rainy. Luckily the whole time we were there it was around 29 degrees, full sun every day, to the point you kind of didn’t expect anything else in the end! But I had thought ahead and brought out two clear umbrellas just in case it decided to soak us whilst doing the vows. There is the option of having the ceremony in the town hall too, as you can imagine, not quite so picturesque. I was planning on having it outside, wet or not!
Types of wedding Ceremony in Italy:
This is a ceremony that is recognised throughout the world and will often take place in a Town hall in Italy or the garden of the town hall. It is a legal marriage and there is paperwork that has to be submitted before hand (normally by a wedding planner as it has to be translated), I will talk through statutory declarations and CNI in a later blog post.
There is also a declaration that has to be made prior to the wedding, where the couple will meet the Registrar and the declaration is translated by the wedding planner and then signed by the couple, which definitely makes it all feel rather real, that the wedding is getting closer.
You will need two witnesses for this over the age of 18, however you just need to send a photocopy of their passports with your other legal documents, they do not have to attend the declaration prior to the wedding, they just need to be there on the day and be in earshot of the bride, groom and registrar.
You can also add your own vows and readings which is what we did. It made it really personal and rather emotional too! Both myself and James wrote our own vows and his sister did a reading.
The ceremony itself is not that long, around 20 minutes so if you would like it a little longer a reading, poem or similar will help with this.
Our ceremony consisted of the Registrar greeting everyone, the Italian civil code as well as the art of marriage was read by our translator. They will ask if you take *name of husband* and vice versa and you say ‘I do’. There is no saying each others names like in the UK. I have included this as I didn’t know this until just before we got married.
A symbolic ceremony is not a legal ceremony and I believe a lot of the people in the UK will legally get married prior to their wedding celebration in Italy, which means less paperwork to complete. There are many venues that hold symbolic ceremonies, so an advantage is more choice of venues, the disadvantage being it isn’t legal. There is a lot more information out there on this, as I did not have this type of ceremony, this is just a brief overview of the types available.
A Catholic wedding ceremony can be performed in the beautiful Catholic churches in Italy. I know the one in Ravello is stunning! There is documentation to complete prior to the wedding for this, more so than for a civil ceremony I believe and it will be legally binding. Again this is just a brief overview of the types of ceremony there are, I am definitely no expert on this.
I hope you found this useful if you are just getting started or thinking about your Italian wedding.