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Italian Wedding on a budget

Hi everyone. I am at the complete beginning of organising our wedding and would love some advice. We both love the idea of a wedding in Italy (particularly the Amalfi coast) but we have a really tight budget. I thought it would be cheaper than getting married at home as we would only have maximum 30 guests (6 of them children) including ourselves in Italy but it seems to be a lot more expensive than I imagined.

I would love some advice from anybody who has organised a wedding in Italy on a budget. My main concern is that our guests have fun on the day and that we get some amazing photographs.

Posts

  • Hi Emma,

    We are getting married in Italy too and trying to keep costs as low as possible - what is your budget if you don't mind me asking?  We have pretty much decided on a venue in Umbria.  I've found that overall it probably won't be any cheaper than if we get married in the UK but we will get a lot more for our money.  We will be renting a villa for a week which will cost about 5,000 euros and the food is 100 euros per head (the place we loved in the UK was a similar price but the venue was only for the day).  It sounds a lot but you get so much more included in that than you would in the UK.  

    Have you approached any wedding planners?  I think we will be using a wedding planner and I have been told that its the best thing to do especially with the paperwork.  I haven't really researched the Amalfi Coast much although the Sorrento Cloisters looks absolutely beautiful and I think I would definitely want to get married there if choosing that area of Italy.  I know my cousin got married there and did it all on a budget and the pictures were lovely.  A friend of a friend also got married in that area and used Exclusive Italy Weddings - I'm not sure how much they charge as they couldn't give me a quote as I'm planning for 2016 but the friend of a friend said they were amazing xxx  

  • Hello ! I am French but live in Milan (I got married with an Italianimage). My husband is from the Amalfi coast and I have noticed how expensive it can be to get married there. However, what cost more is the wedding planner. If you have 30 guests maybe you can organize yourself with accommodation and venue. Then it also depends in which period you are getting married. You can negotiate better price in the spring and fall than during the summer. 

    If you need advice I will be happy to help image

    Ps: for info my husband and I are fashion photographers. We have created few months ago www.talesofweddings.com to photograph weddings. If you have any questions even concerning other photographers that I like or know on the coast let me know image

     

     

  • thefuturemrsbee I'm a huge fan of the villa idea. I am doing this myself in September in Le Marche, just east of Umbria - for exactly the same reasons you mention... comparative places I was looking at in the UK for the same spend were only for one or two days compared with a week in Italy/france/etc.

    I did notice that the Amalfi Coast is a lot more expensive though.... for both locations and suppliers.

     

  • September is so soon Violet!  You must be so excited!!  Have you sorted everything out ie the dress and everything else?  Do you mind me asking how much you are paying for a florist?  I got one scary quote and haven't heard back from any of the other florists yet - the wedding planner gives about 500 euros as a guide.  Did you go through a wedding panner or do everything yourself?xxx 

  • thefuturemrsbee 

    I know, it's way too soon! I have sorted out the dress, but it hasn't arrived yet, it won't be here until mid-August. Just sorting out bridesmaids and the music this week.

    I don't mind talking about cost at all. I'm actually bringing in a stylist from the US who forrages for florals and branches and puts them together herself. I brought her onboard pretty early because her aesthetic is very relaxed and modern, it was nothing I could find in Europe (apart from Pearl and Godiva). 

    I've worked on so many bridal shoots and the general conversation is how nobody can justify the mark-up on dresses/flowers/etc as soon as you use the word "wedding". It's irrational, so I thought the best way to avoid this was to get a stylist. We are however getting quotes right now for some potential extra stems to be delivered to go with the local olive branches, so I can let you know image

    500 euro seems pretty reasonable to me - but it depends what you get for that!

    I initially used a bilingual local wedding planner who lives almost next door to the house but it fell through in the initial stages. She just had a set list of suppliers (friends and family) and does the same cookie-cutter events and was super inflexible on this. I later found out she takes a commission (and builds it into the cost without telling you) which does not sit right with me, so I had to let me go. Apparently planners taking a commission is not an uncommon thing in Italy, so something to watch out for.

    I'm now using an amazing planner who is based in London, she is friends with my stylist and just starting out her company. 

  • Hi Violet,

    What is your dress like??  Have you decided on a colour for the bridesmaids or are you going to have them mis-matched?  How are you going about sorting out the music too? (sorry for all of the questions!)  I have been looking into bands but haven't found anybody good as of yet - still lots of time and I haven't really looked properly just done a few google searches!

    Is it working out really expensive to bring the stylist in?  It sounds amazing - I've actually seen a US stylist who has done some amazing Italian weddings but didn't even consider it as assumed it would be out of my price range.  She does a similar thing too with olive branches - which is kind of the thing that I want.  Are you getting a florist to do your bouquet?  I did consider just kind of doing it myself (with the help of my mum) - my mum is quite handy with flowers and did all of the flowers for my sisters wedding and they turned out great.  I also don't know if I'm brave enough!

    I would prefer to not use a planner as I'm worried about the same thing re commissions and I really don't want a cookie-cutter wedding.  I want the freedom to be able to do things exactly how we want.  Our food also seems expensive - we get loads for it but its more than I wanted to pay!  Its going to be 100 euros a head + VAT - are you paying similar?  What made you decide on Le Marche for your venue?  Is it cheaper than Umbria and Tuscany or is it just that you like the area?

    Thanks for all of the information so far image         

  • Love LiveLove Live Posts: 9

    Hi emma,

    I married in Sorrento a few years ago and i still visit the town a lot because i love it and it’s really worth it!

    My experience is that wedding planners can overcharge you but they are neccesary for the paperworks and organisation because to organise it all yourself it a diffucult task in Italy......

    I also found out that the language can be a barrier hihiiii their english can be different then ours image  . I know that Thomson organises weddings over there and i heard that Sorrento fairytale weddings are also quite good.  Good luck and go for it!

  • I decided on the area because the location was right for us - I didn't mind where our wedding was in europe - the brief was just to find the sort of holiday home we would build for ourselves. The house is a minimalist renovation of an old farmhouse on top of a hill. It's quite a beautiful blend of the old and new.

    I knew nothing about the area when I booked it (beyond light research). We felt strongly that we did not want the usual destination wedding aesthetic by the sea or lake as it wasn't something we connected with. So it just felt right for us.

    I have decided on the dress! it's a sheer floor length slip with lots of subtle off-white flowers hand stitched all over it - it kind of looks just like part of the fabric. It's quite edgy and 90s.

    Bridesmaids will be wearing matching tulle skirts – I really hope they are happy with them.... paired with some cute heels (sales are on now!) and mismatched same colour tops. I got the skirts from here. I have a bridesman too, he is just wearing a deconstructed linen suit jacket from J-Crew. Very Italian.

    I'm not really doing a bouquet, maybe holding just a few stems - you can absolutely make it yourself! Before I recently found my favourite florist (who needs no direction) I used to get in the back of the florist and show them exactly how I wanted the arrangement to be! It's not hard. You can get beautiful ribbon from here for your bouquet.

    I'm making the veil myself. Ha. I'll let you know how that one goes.....

    My food is the same price but I'm having the chef come to the house and cook as though it was a dinner party - rather than a wedding. This price does not include wine though.....

    You'll never know if the stylist is out of your budget without asking! You do have to pay for their transport and accommodation...... Have you picked a location yet?!

  • Your wedding sounds like its going to be incredible and really individual!  I love those skirts as well - they're so pretty!  I had also been looking at that ribbon already - its so beautiful and I'm definitely going to order it if I am brave enough to do my own bouquet.  More than anything I just think I would like the opportunity to be creative rather than just paying somebody to do everything - saving money would be a huge bonus too though!

    We had picked a venue in Umbria but the venue have now told us they want 40 people maximum (before they sounded a bit more flexible on it as said they had a wedding for 60 this summer) and it looks like our guest list is going to be about 55, we know not everyone may be able to come but if they can then we're in trouble and we definitely don't want to not invite people as the list we have is purely close friends and close family members as it is.  So I think its back to the start to look for somewhere new!  Its a bit disappointing as we were both in love with the venue we had picked xxx       

  • Oh, that's such a shame about the venue...... you should look into renting houses too. A friend of mine sent this through when I was looking for places in Italy. It's in Umbria too! You should check it out http://www.moravola.com/the-retreat_weddings.html

    Thanks for your kind words. I'm really looking forward to the day!

  • Thanks - I've seen Moravola before so think I'll send them an email for their prices.  Just really disappointed as we had our hearts set on the first one!  I have been looking at a few house/villa rentals too so am going to keep looking.  I think we're going to have to make a short list and visit a few!  How many people are you having to your wedding?  Are they all staying in the one place? xxx  

  • That's ok. Such a shame about the first one falling through! I know what it's like when you have your heart set on a particular place.

    I think we will have between 25 - 35 people. I did look at options where everyone could stay at the location but that usually meant it was castle sized - or a hotel and I didn't want either of these.... I chose the house because of it's intimacy and I decided to host the event as though I would if it's my own property. I'm having some family and the bridal party stay at the house. I set up a website where I optioned local B&B's for guests to stay, along with general information on the area and details for the wedding day. I will be providing a driver on the day so guests can come and go as they please and have a few drinks.xx

  • We have kind of decided we are just going to book the place we originally loved and shorten our guest list.  We are the same as you and would prefer a villa rather than a hotel as want a really intimate atmosphere.  Did you find that a percentage of the people you invited couldn't come due to it being a destination wedding or did you invite a smaller number you knew would definitely come to begin with?

    I am going to research the local accommodation prices this weekend to make sure there is somewhere affordable for people to stay - I looked at the time and remember places looked reasonable but can't remember exactly how much.  We were thinking of setting up a website as well.  You must be so excited with your wedding only being months away - I'm already really excited and ours is 2 years away! xx

  • Congrats! I'm so happy that you are going with your favourite place. 

    FH's sister had a 300+ wedding in Sydney. I REALLY didn't want that so I thought having an O.S. wedding would be a legit excuse not to invite so many people. 

    I started with a small number (just under 50) plus I'd very much locked down who would and wouldn't come - before we booked the place I called my friends and family, FH called his just to say "we are thinking of having the wedding in Italy in September of this year, since we are living in London" and "please let us know if it is achievable for you and yours". So we knew it would be 25/30 people plus 10 maybes. 

    A lot of FH's childhood friends from the western suburbs (who didn't go to private school) had quite an average to bad reaction to an O.S. wedding (which I found/still find annoying) but his inner city Sydney university friends are totally into it - and a lot of them live O.S. or in London too - so it's less of a big deal. This might seem like a bit of a mean spirited generalisation, but it's absolutely accurate in every instance!! Did you find this about bad reactions to destination wedding?

    I found squarespace (for the website) to be unreal because I was really picky about aesthetics. Highly recommend.

    I'm not sure if I'm excited...... I've spent so much time talking to my stylist about the brief and ticking off elements - it just feels so similar to what I do for work (photographer). It's not very real yet - a bit like a nice job in italy!

    I don't have my dress yet, either. So I guess when that finally arrives it will be fun. Have you looked into dresses?

  • We have both been dodging the guest list a bit up until now.  I have a huge family so have always known I can't invite them all and my fiance has a huge group of school friends he is still in contact with and doesn't like the idea of not inviting them all (although most won't come).  We also haven't even told everyone that we are 100% doing it in Italy other than really close friends and family members - I've told most of my friends but I'm pretty sure he hasn't even told his best man.  I think were going to just have to tell everyone though and ask for yes, nos and maybes.  

    We have generally had a good response but this could just be because we've only told the people we know would come regardless and haven't told the full guest list.  I can also tell though that a few people aren't overly excited by it.  The bad reactions would really annoy me though!  Especially as I would fly anywhere for a friends wedding (provided I had the funds) and would just be excited that they are getting married!

    When should your dress be arriving?  I haven't tried any on yet (I live in Darwin and there are no dress shops here that appeal to me) but there are a few designers that keep cropping up.  I love Jenny Packham - especially Aspen but feel slightly put off that sooo many brides wear her dresses and don't know if I'd prefer something a little different.  There is a designer in Australia too, Jennifer Gifford designs that I would like to get an appointment with as she makes one off dresses and some of the dresses she has done are beautiful xxx       

  • I totally agree. I would fly anywhere for a friends wedding too! I have such a hard time relating to the ones who can't prioritise it (when it's not a financial thing). It speaks volumes for me.

    Overall we are pretty satisfied with the turnout - it's only immediate family for the two of us (no cousins) and a few friends with partners. Pretty ideal actually! FH's best man pulled out (I think) because he is totally dysfunctional. Gave us a 100% yes last year and is now complaining about money for some reason. But just bought a $100k car and owns home and recently sold another property. All of these details are totally personal and I respect their decision either way, the frustrating part is that if they didn't want to spend the money on said trip, why say 100% yes and agree to be best man a year ago? Just politely decline and be done with it! He continues to drag it out with a whole host of implausible complications. Very strange. I feel sorry for FH.  

    Darwin. My mother lived there for a short while - she said the food markets are pretty fabulous - surprising Asian influence. The public transport is terrifying. Have you seen the Long Grass-ies?

    I was in the very early stages of research when I was in Sydney - so I did the usual rounds, David Jones + Vera Wang (learnt what I didn't want. OMG it was not good). TBB in Sydney looks great if you are after something different. The Bridal Atelier in Melbourne. I found White Magazine and Hello May to be awesome Australian bridal mags with a DIY slant.

    I know what you mean not wanting a dress that was everywhere - I was always going to get a high fashion dress from the RTW collections for this exact reason. But then I came across a brand that was edgy, unknown and new - then I think it got named best in NYC bridal show by a huge mag and it's now even stocked in Australia. So I'm really bummed out.

    My dress is ready. They emailed last week and it's being sent to my stylist right now. I'm really nervous about getting it because when they measured me I was bigger than I'd ever been in my entire life (chronic chest infection for the first 4 months of moving to London - staying on the couch eating junk/comfort food).

    I'm usually sample size and when I was in the studio in NYC I told them this and it was funny because they were all like...

    "Uh-huh, you're sample size. We're just going to make it to the size you are now and you can have it adjusted"

    Thinking I was some crazy, crash-dieter/liar. So now, I'm going to have huge dress, at least two sizes too big. Ha! At least it's an A line slip! 

    Best of luck with the shopping!

    xo

  • That's awful re the best man!  Your poor fiance.  I would be so upset.  I totally agree, where money is a genuine excuse that is fine but if he's just bought a 100k car too!  For me going to my best friend's wedding would be a massive priority over a fancy new car!

    Haha, Darwin is a very strange place!  We love how close we are to Asia and the laid back lifestyle but I'm getting a bit over it now.  We don't really even get to enjoy Asia that much as most of our leave is spent going back and forth to the UK - do you find that living overseas you have to travel home a lot?  We do want to as its always for significant events but I think the both of us are looking forward to having a real holiday.  

    I contacted TBB a few weeks back about an appointment - they look so good.  I am leaning more and more towards getting a dress made but because I have no experience of doing anything like that I'm a bit worried I will go OTT.  I'm guessing the dress maker will know what will or won't work though and will talk me out of certain ideas if I'm going too OTT?  

    Aaw the UK can definitely do that to you - especially due to the awful weather it doesn't exactly make you want to exercise and I constantly have flu/colds when I'm there.  I'm kind of at the opposite end of the spectrum here - the weather is so humid it makes me tired and I don't want to exercise.  Good luck with getting the dress, I hope it doesn't need altering too drastically!! xxx 

  • Alex-Alex- Posts: 39

    Hi Emma, 

    This wedding does sound absolutely fantastic! I am a kent based wedding photographer that is looking to expand out into destination weddings so something like this would be the perfect avenue! Italy, is my dream!!!!!

    I have a huge portfolio to show for myself, shooting huge amounts of unique weddings and i pride myself on creating something different and creative for my couples. 

    I see you are on a budget and I would love to help you out as best I can, if you pop an email over to me at [email protected]. We can then bounce some prices around and it will give you a chance to see my work for yourself image

    I really look forward to hearing from you! 

    Thanks 

    Alex

  • I know you posted quite some time ago, but it's well worth looking at Hitched in Italy.  Our wedding was on a tight budget too and it really didn't feel like it on the day.  

    Send her an email, give her your budget and see what she comes up with.

    There were 35 for our wedding and it was well within budget.

  • Hello! my name is Rosy and I am an Italian wedding planner based in London. i am specialized in Tuscany weddings and I do not sell packages but create every wedding from scratch according the style and the budget of the couples. I do jot take commisions from the vendors but I translate them in discounts from my clients. you don't need to spend a fortune to have a fabulous wedding in Tuscany! Please have a look to my work at www.weddinginwonderland.co.uk and feel free to contact at any time. I offer a first consultation for free!

     

    Best

     

    Rosy Strati

    WeddingInWonderland

  • Hello! my name is Rosy and I am an Italian wedding planner based in London. i am specialized in Tuscany weddings and I do not sell packages but create every wedding from scratch according the style and the budget of the couples. I do jot take commisions from the vendors but I translate them in discounts from my clients. you don't need to spend a fortune to have a fabulous wedding in Tuscany! Please have a look to my work at www.weddinginwonderland.co.uk and feel free to contact at any time. I offer a first consultation for free!

     

    Best

     

    Rosy Strati

    WeddingInWonderland

  • ashton2ashton2 Posts: 6

    I have just finalized all my wedding plans for sorrento in 2016! I contacted a few wedding planners but felt left abit disappointed, it was all packages and I it didnt really feel tailored to me. Until I found victoria from sophisticated weddings - she is amazing!!!! she is newly established so she was doing preferential rates. I felt like she really got to know me and what we wanted. I would definitely recommend her! [email protected]

  • Hi! 

    I'm an italian wedding photographer; I'm trying to improve my business so I'm offering great deals for wedding packages -tailored for you-! I always work with Valerio Elia, an exceptional photographer (who speaks fluently Italian, Chinese, English and French, so communicate to each other isn't a problem for us!). If you want you can give a look to our website here's the link:

    www.ludovicavaleriofoto.com

    Here's our e-mail: [email protected]

    Feel free to ask everything you want!

    Congrats for your wedding, best wishes,

    Ludovica Lanzafami

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