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Via Gaslago 32, 25050 Polpenazze del Garda (BS), Italy
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Category Archives: Senza categoria

When to book your Destination Wedding

Well the easy answer to that question is as soon as possible once you’ve decided that’s what you want to do for your wedding.

More specifically it’s good to remember that, just as is true for a wedding back home, the sooner you book the more choice you will have in terms of locations, dates and suppliers. Typically, my couples book at least 18 months ahead of time. This is to give themselves time to get organized but of course also their guests. That’s not to say that you have to, I have had couples book as little as 5 months before their wedding but needless to say the whole planning process becomes a bit more intense in those cases.

If you’ve not read my previous blog on How to Start Planning a Destination Wedding then please read it here. Todays blog is more about the order in which you need to book things up for the wedding and when. There are many elements that go into making up a wedding and it can be overwhelming to start with and perhaps you’re not sure where to start but basically it’s like building a lego tower:  we need the large, foundation elements first and then with those as a base we can build on them with the smaller details. This timeline is not a hard and fast rule and if you are able to and want to start sooner on certain aspects that’s no issue at all, I would however say that leaving them later might result in your first choice of suppliers not being available or things simply getting too frantic in the run up to your wedding. It might be useful to print this and cross things off as you action/discard them.

 

Timeline for making your wedding plans:

Starting point :

  • Venue, Guest list, budget and date
  • Save the date cards/web invites

Next Step : things to do as soon as you can based on when you actually book.

  • Book suppliers who book quickly ie. photographer /videographer and band and/or DJ.
  • Think about guest accommodation if this is something you intend to help your guests with. Ask me for info sheets if I’ve not already sent them to you.
  • Create a wedding website if you like the idea. Ask me for some content. It’s a useful tool but don’t spend too much time on it, the general feedback is that many guests don’t read it all and will still message you.
  • Do you want a professional master of ceremonies ? If not the role can be performed by me or one of your guests.
  • Confirm timings for the day.

9 months out

  • Think stationary. Invites and what you want to include if you are doing paper ones. If you are then you should also ask for a quote for the table plan, table names, menus and place settings if you want it all the same. If you are not doing paper invites consider that you are still going to need some form of table plan, table names and place settings and don’t leave it till the last minute.
  • Start wedding dress shopping – exciting !!!
  • Think about bridesmaids dresses and colour theme.

6 months out

  • This is super important if you are having a legal ceremony. Italy only recognizes certificates issues within the last 6 months so you cannot action it ahead of time. Here’s what to do
  • Celebrant for your wedding. If you are not having a legal ceremony who do you want to celebrate your ceremony and what ceremony text would you like ? I also offer this service, read my blog.
  • Is transport required for your guests ? Get quotes and confirm if required.
  • How is the bride getting to the ceremony?
  • Flowers, we can start with mood boards and some quotes. Be clear when you send images if you want it exactly like that or simply something in that style/colour. In my experience of recent years this is the hardest thing to tie down. Instagram and Pinterest give a lot of inspiration but also raise the bar as far as expectations go. Be prepared for them to cost more than you might think.
  • Confirm your travel dates with me and set a Welcome Meeting date and time. Remember if it’s a legal ceremony you must be in Italy at least 2 working days before the wedding.

4 months out

  • Confirm your menu and wine choices.
  • Childrens menu if required.
  • Decide on your wedding cake style and flavour
  • Confirm your flower choices
  • Confirm your ceremony music. If you are not sure what sort of musician you want tell me what sort of music you want and I’ll make suggestions.
  • Make sure is legal wedding paperwork is complete, or nearly there, to post to me.
  • Favours, if you’re going to do favours think about what you might like to gift. Limoncello, olive oil, scented candle with personalized lable, wooden place settings. Ask me for ideas & contacts.

3 months out

  • Are you having readings for your ceremony? Who will read them and what?
  • Think about a playlist for the evening. 1st dance is obviously important but also think about style of music, it does not need to be a track by track list but a simple likes and dislikes. If you want to list specific tracks there’s not need to provide more than 30 to give an idea of what you’re looking for.

2 months out

  • Confirm final numbers and budget
  • Start working on your table plan, this can take longer than you expect.
  • How many speeches are there going to be and when do you want to make them?
  • Look at what balances are due to be paid

1 month out

  • Go over the check list with me for details and budget.
  • Has anything that was sent by post to me arrived?
  • Pay location/catering balance
  • Send table plan and any special dietary requirements. Include ages of children and if highchairs are required.

Arriving in Italy

  • Welcome meeting with me. We will go to the town hall to sign a verbal declaration (legal weddings only) visit your ceremony & reception venue and run through the plan for the day so we need at least 2 hrs.
  • How many seats need to be reserved at the front of the ceremony
  • What’s your bridal procession
  • Confirm group photo list requirements
  • Re-confirm time for hair & make-up, delivery of flowers and transport.
  • Drop off any favours, table names, table plan, place settings, gifts.
  • Final speech order. Master of ceremonies ?
  • Confirm bar budget, tab or simply if guests are paying for their own.

And mostly DON’T PANIC. I’ll give you a big talking to about this at the Welcome Meeting but remember to enjoy the day. If you have a tendency to anxiety and you’ve not been sleeping get some rescue remedy drops or sweets, they are brilliant. This is your wedding and so much of the time is spent planning it, be sure to ENJOY IT.

 

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How to plan your Destination Wedding

Are you dreaming of a Destination Wedding but just don’t even know where to start? Where would we go, how would that work and of course what might that cost? I totally get it, you’ve probably never planned a Destination Wedding before so how could you know?  But don’t worry, I can help you.

 

Get clear on your numbers

Planning any wedding should start with the numbers and these numbers are:

  • how many people do you want to invite
  • what’s your budget?

These two factors are quite heavily entwined because generally the reception is the largest expense that you have and since that’s usually a price per person then how many guests you have directly affects the total of your budget. Some couples who have loved the location so much that their budget has dictated the number of guests they invite. Other couples come to me with a clear number of guests they expect to have and then we find a location that fits within their budget for that number of guests. A good tip is to split your guest numbers into lists of ‘essential guests’ and ‘would love it if they could come’ so that you’re really clear on where your limit on numbers is. Also, get really clear about what that budget should include so break the budget down into Destination costs which would be ceremony, reception, photographer, music, flowers etc as opposed to Local costs which would be your dress (exciting!!!), suit, rings, invites, website if you’re having one etc.

 

 

Location, location, location

Once you have a clear idea of your numbers then what you need to think about next is the wedding destination. For me you should be considering a destination that is either somewhere really close to your heart or somewhere that you know is going to deliver an amazing experience both for you and for your guests. If you can find a destination that is both then you’ve hit gold. It’s also wise to consider how everyone gets there, are their regular flights from a good choice of airports and is that location going to be somewhere that your guests are happy to have a short break or better still, stay for a holiday? Lake Garda for example has flights from lots of regional airports into Verona, Milan Bergamo and Malpensa. The flights from the UK are under 2hrs and transfer time to the lake is between an hour and 2 hours depending on which airport you fly into and which resort you’re staying in. And the journey to get there doesn’t include any crazy hairpin bends which is always a plus.

 

Find a Wedding Planner

Once have chosen your destination and have an idea of your numbers you can start looking for a planner to make all of this happen. There are those brave enough to tackle their own destination wedding at a distance and run the whole show themselves but from my own personal experience as a destination bride it was absolute bliss to simply turn up and be told what to do. There was no stress or worry because I had someone who had my back, appointments had been made, timings set and all we needed to do was turn up. You can’t get more relaxed than that in terms of the lead up to what is always going to be an emotional moment. Remember, no matter how laid back you think you might be, when it comes to the crunch, those emotions can totally surprise you and it’s much easier to deal with if you haven’t got to sweat the small stuff.

Wedding Venue

With your wedding planner chosen and once they are informed of your guest numbers and budget they can start making suggestions to you about where you can host your wedding and what that might look like. There are things that you need to consider like what sort of ceremony you want, church, civil or symbolic, which could affect the choice of ceremony venue. Next is style. Are you looking for Italian elegance, modern chic, rustic and relaxed or a garden party vibe. These factors along with what you can spend and how many of you there will be will be how you begin to make a short list and finally a decision on your wedding venue.

Date

Then you need a date. Now the date might already be one that you have in your head as an ideal date but until you’ve looked at the location you don’t know if it’s going to be available. The more flexible you can be with your date the easier it is to make it work. Your date should also take into consideration the month that it falls in, the busiest months here on Lake Garda are July & Aug which isn’t so much about availability because there are also plenty of hotels but you and your guests need to move quicker in order to have a choice. Then I always remind my couples of the fact that once their guests are away from their usual 9-5, somewhere warm, every day is like a weekend. So don’t fixate on a weekend, many of your guests might appreciate a Thursday wedding and the excuse then to make it a long weekend at the very least.

 

The extra details

Once you have a guest list, location, wedding planner and date fixed then you can get into the extra details which is where you make the day truly yours. These include but are not limited to:

Photographer

Videographer

Band/musicians/DJ

Flowers

Confirm legal requirements/Paperwork

Your dress

Stationary

Extra decorations such as lighting or tablescapes

Extra entertainment like a childrens entertainer, micro magican, caricaturist

Investigate accommodation options for guests

Compile guest information, info pack, website, welcome letter, gift bag?

Plan wedding day itinerary

Transport on the day

Your wedding planner will already have a list of tried and trusted suppliers and know how they work and idea of costs so that you can quickly and easily work out what you want to add to your day.

 

If you think Lake Garda might be just the place for you and your wedding then please get in touch for a free consultation so that I can show you what your Lake Garda wedding might look like.

 

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On the Day Wedding Coordination

Wedding planning is so exciting and can be so much work!

There are so many decisions to make, and it seems like endless choices. I know this only too well because it is my 9-whatever hour all year round planning weddings on Lake Garda. Some couples however want to keep complete control of their day, they enjoy the challenge of sourcing a choice of venues and drilling down on the cost of each and what they offer to make that final decision. Scouring the internet for the suppliers that are just right for them. If you have the time (because you really do need a lot of time), a natural talent for organization and the patience to sift through all of the information to put all the details of your wedding together I applaud you. I have over a decade of experience doing all of that and so I know first-hand what is required to get all the jigsaw pieces of your day lined up so that everything runs smoothly. But however it looks, wherever it takes place, and whether your celebration involves just the two of you or all of your friends & family, on your special day your only “job” should be to enjoy being in love!

You see there is a difference between planning a wedding and the being the wedding coordinator on the day. You don’t want to be checking your watch and phoning your Aunt to make sure the car, coach or boat for your guests arrived. You don’t want to be double checking everyone got of board. Following the ceremony you don’t want to have to be the person directing everyone to the aperitif area or asking them to take their seats for dinner. You defiantly don’t want to be the one answering the questions of the staff about where Uncle Ned is sat so they can make sure he gets his gluten free meal. And at the end of the evening you don’t want to be the person turning off the music and herding everyone back to the coaches or taxis to take them home.

You see, on the day itself, there’s still a job to be done if you want everything to run seamlessly and however much you might have enjoyed the planning and the anticipation, on the day itself, the only thing you should be doing is enjoying the moment.

I am available, for a certain number of events each year, to be your wedding coordinator on Lake Garda. The person who, on the day, everyone uses as their go to, making sure that you are neither bothered with those small little details that come up or that your guests are left to deal with them on their own. A month before we can have a video call so that you can tell me the run down for the day, how, what, where, when. I’ll check your timetable and make suggestions should they be necessary. You can pass on all the supplier contacts so that I can double check that they all know what they need to do and when. 2 weeks before I will check the seating plan has been received along with any menu requirements and double checking any last minute details for numbers, transport and whatever else comes up. On the day itself I will of course be there, I can at some point at the start, introduce myself to your guests so that they know I am available for them so you are left undisturbed, without a single thought of the next stage of the wedding and what time that needs to happen. You can relax, knowing that I will do this for you.

So if you think that an on the day Wedding Coordinator for your Lake Garda wedding sounds like something that you need then please get in touch by e-mail [email protected]

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Social Media and your Wedding

I LOVE social media.

I love how it keeps me in touch with friends & family that in the time I’ve been living in Italy I might otherwise have lost touch with. I love how it can help me to get to know my couples a little before their wedding and I really love how it can help me to stay in touch with them in the years that follow. It’s also a wonderful way for me to share what I do and help new couples come into my ecosphere and then book their Destination Wedding with me so I’m a big fan.

But, we all know that social media can also be a hinderance sometimes and I would say the main one is that it’s distracting and can often take out attention off what’s really important – like your wedding day.

To be social on your wedding – or not ?

Over the years, and with the increase in social media, I’ve seen this done it different ways and, just like everything else regarding your wedding, there is no right or wrong way. It’s your day so you get to decide and that’s it in my book. It’s clearly important that you agree on it though so once you’ve read this article have a chat together about what you do, or maybe don’t, want.

Unplugged Wedding

Should you choose not to have social media as part of your wedding be sure to be clear about this with all of your guests and suppliers from as early as possible. Make it part of your invite, wedding website and possibly signage at the venue to remind guests. No one will do it out of spite but we are so used to taking our phones out to snap away at beautiful moments in our lives that it can be easy to forget if it’s not welcome. Have the groomsmen & bridesmaid (and wedding planner) help you with this by gently reminding guests.

If instead you’re embracing social media do it with intention.

Hashtag. Find a hashtag that may not be completely unique but isn’t widely used then, you and your guests can use that every time that you post and you will be able to follow the hashtag and see new posts as they go up. The best way to check your hashtag is to simply type it in as a hashtag on IG, as you do that it will show you how many posts, more or less, have used it. Remember hashtags can only contain letters, numbers and underscores. If you’ve thought far enough ahead you can include your hashtags in your invites or on your website. If you are having menus & name settings printed then think about including it on there as it could well be that sat at the table might be when guests find those 5 minutes to post and they have the hashtag easily to hand.

Countdown

Use social media and your hashtag to count down the days so that everyone coming on your Destination Wedding gets caught up in the excitement too.

Suppliers

Make sure all of your suppliers have a list of all the other suppliers accounts and your own accounts and hashtag so any post that they make they can tag everyone involved to make sure you don’t miss any of those.

Ceremony

Of all the parts of the day this is perhaps the one when, even if you’re embracing social media, you don’t really want your guests snapping away. If they are they aren’t really watching or listening in the same way. And there’s also the risk of a phone being held up getting right in the middle of the photographers shot. It’s perfectly acceptable to ask your guests not to take photos during the ceremony and you can get your celebrant to state this just before it starts to remind everyone. I always tell the guests that as tempting as it might be they are actually only going to get a shot of the back of your heads and if you promise them a shot of the two of you just before you walk out at the end of the ceremony then everyone is happy.

Guest photos

Think about when you want the photos to be published. I’ve has some couples ask everyone to wait till the following day so that they themselves are the first once to post photos of their wedding day, at least for the photos of the happy couple themselves. Other couples welcome all of their guests posting and tagging them so they don’t have to think about it and when they wake up the next day it can be one of the first things they look at to re-live some of those wonderful memories.

Like I said at the start, there is no right or wrong, it’s simply about what you would like.

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How to choose your Destination Wedding Planner

You’ve decided to get married in Italy – now what ?

There are some brave couples who decide that they do not need a wedding planner even if they are planning to tie the knot abroad, in a country they don’t live in and where they potentially don’t speak the language. For those of you who would like a little more security and a lot less stress you’ll be looking for a wedding planner. As one of my couples who started on their own said ‘We were looking at the macro Ginny but the minute we looked at the micro we were lost!’.

So if you are looking for a wedding planner how do you go about finding the right one for you? Here are some steps I’d suggest.

Search on line

You can use google, Facebook and Instagram even Pinterest to find some names for potential wedding planners. There are going to be a lot so take some time and don’t stop at the first page. A quick look here will give you an idea of the kind of weddings they plan but also read the text, that will give you an idea of what it would be like to talk to this person. Make a short list.

Look at work experience and, hugely importantly for a Destination Wedding, local knowledge.

There are a lot of wedding planners about and it might be tempting to think that since the job is the same just get a quote for the one that fits your budget.

But what you need to know, at the end of the day, is that you are going to get value for what you pay. Does this person really know the area you want to get married in? How many weddings have they planned there? Have they worked in that location before ? Are they going to know the answers to the questions that you don’t even know you have yet ?

Check the reviews

This is going to be the best way to understand if other couples have found they got value for the investment they made in this wedding planner. First hand experience is the best way for us to trust that something is really as good as you hope so read the reviews of those who have had that experience.If you’re not quite sure, ask if you could have the contact details for 1 or 2 of the previous couples to speak to them directly, ask the questions you might be too shy to ask the planner herself.

Have a one to one chat

I know that your planner is probably in Italy and you are probably not, hence your search, but if we’ve learnt anything since 2020 we do now all know how to ‘meet’ on line. And it’s important, you know how sometimes you can strike up a relationship over e-mails with someone, maybe even the phone and then when you meet them they don’t quite feel like the same person, it’s discombobulating (I’ve been waiting for ages to find a context to drop that into! Finally found it). So have a video call and get a ‘feel’ for the person. By the time you say ‘I do’ this person is going to feel like part of your family, make sure the fit is going to be a good one so you can approach your wedding day with joy and excitement.

Pricing

Hiring a wedding planner is an investment. It’s like hiring a surveyor before you buy a house. And like everything there are going to be a range of prices out there. It’s important that you are sure you’re going to be getting value for the money that you spend, you worked hard for it. But at the same time don’t begrudge the cost, remember that you are paying for peace of mind that someone with more experience than you is going to guide you around the pit falls and we all know that experience costs money. That said a wedding planner can also save you money. A good planner can anticipate what you’re going to need and help you to understand what you can actually afford and also make sure there are no uncomfortable and unexpected last minute costs.

In the end…..

Choose someone that you trust. Someone that speaks your language and I don’t actually mean literally (although it often helps) but someone who speaks in a way that you know they ‘get’ you. You must be able to trust your wedding planner so you can enjoy the process of planning the wedding and on the day itself cherish every moment of this very special day.

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Wedding websites

Wedding websites : Free vs. Lane Created Weddings

 

Wedding websites. What are they and why do I need one? There are a lot of things to consider when deciding whether a wedding website is best for you and what type to get. We’re going to try and make it simple for you!

 

What are they?

 

Wedding websites are an online space that can assist both you and your guests with anything from planning to organising and sharing to streaming. Traditionally wedding invitations were used to communicate to the guests all the useful information that they might need but more and more couples are using websites for this. Why? Well one of the reasons is that you can provide you guests with even more information, links to take them to exactly the right website page or map etc but also because they can be updated as the planning moves along and this is particularly useful for a Destination Wedding when planning for the couples but also for the guests generally starts earlier.  However not all wedding websites provide the same level of functionality but they all have the same aim in mind – to make your big day even more special.

Wedding website example

What does your wedding website need to do ?

 

A wedding website doesn’t need to replace your wedding invitations, but if you want it can. It should be the one place that your guests can go to in order to find out all of the information they might want. The obvious is the date, location and time of the wedding but you can go so much further. For a Destination Wedding there’s a lot of information you can add. For example your guests will appreciate suggestions of how to travel there, which airports are closest, which resorts to consider staying in, recommended hotels, airport transfers, what to do for the rest of their stay when they are not involved in wedding activities. If you are going to provide all of this what you need to be looking for is something that is easy to navigate – because if it’s not easy your guests will call you instead of using the website. It’s great if the website has an online RSVP so guests can choose to reply directly on line. If there’s a guest list manager this will assist you greatly in managing your actual numbers and later the seating plan and other logistics that might be involved like transport to and from the venue. And the website can help you even after the wedding day if there’s a gallery where you can load your favourite photos from the day to share them with everyone who was there in a quality high enough for them to be able to download them for themselves.

Wedding website example

Free vs. Paid

Free 

There are many types of free wedding websites available that can be found simply by googling free wedding websites. Many simply offer the functionality to build your website and show guests some basic information about your big day, others may include RSVP’s and galleries often at an extra charge.

Benefits 

  • Free!
  • Can be easy to set up

Drawbacks

  • Lower functionality
  • Requires time to set-up
  • May not suit your vision of your wedding website
  • Often extras come at a charge

Lane Created Weddings 

Lane Created Wedding’s websites on the surface may look similar to their free counterparts, however they can do much more.

The main benefit being, friends and family can stay close through a number of features such as Update Feeds. This brilliant feature enables you to share memories, pictures and like and comment on everyone’s posts. Another feature that will bring your guests closer together is Live Streams for those family members that can’t make it due to distance, health or other circumstances.

Additionally to these Lane Created Weddings offers the same basic functions as the free ones. Including but not limited to; galleries, RSVPs, gift registries and information about your big day.

A full set of the available add-ons, prices and information can be found on the website.

www.lanecreatedweddings.com

Benefits 

  • Higher level of functionality and customisation
  • Ease both with time and effort
  • Visually stunning websites
  • Custom domain (e.g. www.yournames.co.uk)

Drawbacks

  • Costs more than the free alternative

At the end of the day when choosing a wedding website provider it really does depend on a number of factors, what your budget is, what you need it to do and how comfortable you are setting it up for yourself. It is important to make these decisions prior to purchase but also go and ask the providers if they can make your perfect wedding website come to life, they might be able to give you a clear idea of the best route for you.

Wedding website example
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Eloping to Italy

As things ease up in the UK in terms of getting out and about and the possibility of jumping on a plane to somewhere warm gets closer there may be some of you out there who are thinking ‘we want to elope to Italy’. If that’s you please read on.

As a fellow eloper myself I understand the desire to just make it about the two of you, no fuss, just something beautiful and intimate between the two of you that you can share the photos of with everyone when you have a party on your return home if that’s what you want to do.

So the first question that you should be asking yourself is it even possible ?

The answer, happily is yes. Italy is among the countries that have an agreement with the UK & Ireland to recognize a marriage that takes place in Italy as legal in the UK & Ireland. Once you are married and have your certificate there is actually no need to take further action but if you want to it’s possible to register it once you return home. Before your wedding can take place however there are documents that need to be completed and these take some time. At first glance it might seem like quite a lot but taken in baby steps it’s just a series of checks to go through and it’s not difficult. This does however as I’ve said take time and that was my impulse in writing this blog today because if you want to do this you need to move now. I have had a couple make that last minute decision and get their paperwork done within 2 months start to finish, but it was quite a rush.

Therefore my advice would be first to call your local registry office and explain that you’d like a Destination Wedding in Italy and ask them how quickly you could get an appointment. This is always going to be the first step because this is the office that can issue you with your Certificate of No Impediment (CNI) and from appointment to issue of the certificate there’s usually a 3 week period. Once your certificates have been collected you‘ll need to send them and your Statuary Declarations (which you can get done while you’re waiting for your CNI) to be legalized in Milton Keynes. This is a legal confirmation that the signatures on the documents are legal and recognized. Only then does the paperwork come to me here in Italy so that I can translate the CNI and get that translation legalized before leaving it all with the town hall. You see, I said it would sound like a lot. But I promise you that broken down into baby steps, which I’ll do for you by e-mail, it isn’t rocket science. But it does take time and you can understand from the above that the minimum lead time that you would need would be 2 months and then it would be very touch and go. I know from couples who are already booked for this year that some registry offices are working as normal but others have a back log and could not immediately give you that first appointment.

It’s because of this that I say, if you’re thinking of eloping overseas this summer the first thing you do, right now, before you even make a definite decision, is to call your registry office and see what sort of timeline they can give you. Then sit back and consider whether that can work for you and the time you’re going to need to take off (remember you need to be here in Italy at least 2 working days before your wedding), let the reality of the fact that this might actually be possible sink in and then start to get excited about the idea. How fun would that be ???? It’s at that point that you e-mail, DM or call me and say ‘Ginny, we want to elope to Italy’ and then I will get you moving right away, making that little bit of magic happen somewhere in Lake Garda.

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Wedding Traditions

Wedding Traditions

As far as a single event goes a wedding is possibly one of those which has the most traditions connected to it and I personally had never questioned them until fairly recently and I certainly never asked myself ‘Why’ ? Or for the matter where did that come from? And honestly it’s really only as I wrote this blog I’m asking myself why that is? I am no rebel by anyone’s standards but I will question something if I don’t see the sense in it or just don’t really want to do whatever it is. But I had never done that for weddings. I imagine I’m not alone in this and I’m guessing it’s simply that the traditions around weddings are so deeply seated that they have become almost more than a tradition, more of an unwritten law, not far from being set in stone.

 

As a Destination Wedding Planner now I give my couples permission to have the wedding that they want and if that means doing away with any traditions that don’t serve them then out they go. I’m not saying don’t have them at all but I do think that it’s OK to decide not to do something if it doesn’t feel right for you. At least for your Wedding Day you shouldn’t have to be constrained or feel obliged to do something that you don’t want to. For us it’s quite easy to do because the moment you take your wedding overseas your guests are not quite sure how the day will be and consequently the preconceptions disappear because no one is certain any longer what to expect. Will it be the same as a ‘home’ wedding? The guests simply don’t know what’s ‘normal’ where you are in the world and if you are going to ‘go local’ or stay more traditional. Let me give you an example, here in Italy they don’t have speeches so if you don’t enjoy public speaking and the idea of your wedding speech filles you with dreed, don’t do it. You simply say ‘they don’t do them in Italy’ and you’ve taken the pressure off. That said there are many traditions that no one wants to do without and others, whether you decide to have them or not, that are simply fascinating in their history.

 

A White Wedding dress is a classic example of a tradition that nearly everyone sticks to but where did it come from? Many, many moons ago there wasn’t money for a different dress for your wedding, you simply wore the best dress you had. Or if you did buy a new dress the idea was that it would be used again although it was possibly a more elegant version of the clothes that you already had. Its general accepted that it was Queen Victorias marriage to her beloved Prince Albert that started the western culture of a White Wedding dress that lives on today. It quickly became a status symbol to be able to afford to buy but then more importantly launder a white dress given that a white dress simply wasn’t practical to actually keep white and therefore only for the better off.

Bride and groom sharing a kiss in front of Isola del Garda

Wedding rings are another much loved and hard to part from tradition. The use of a wedding rings can be traced back to the Greeks & Romans where the ring, made of precious metal, was part of the dowry but they later became of symbol of the promise of fidelity. Originally a ring was only given to the Brides and in fact that was the case for my parents but modern couples generally both choose to wear a ring as symbol both of the commitment on both sides but also in a wider sense they are showing the growing equality between genders.

Exchange of wedding rings

Something old, something new, something blue – what ? The idea behind these is that the brides wears something old to connect her with her previous single life, something new to represent the future ahead of the couple and the blue is to represent fidelity and love. It’s actually a lovely nod to the transition taking place between the couple because, as is often the case, even for couples who have lived together for years and who perhaps don’t expect ‘being married’ to change anything much, there is actually a subtle shift in the relationship. I personally found that I felt the commitment more keenly and I remember being surprised by the simple pleasure I took in being able to call Lorenzo ‘my husband’.

The Best Man, well that’s an eye opening I can tell you. General folk law has it that local lads looked for a wife amongst local girls in their village however if there were no young lasses that took their fancy they might look further afield to neighboring villages. This attention wasn’t always welcomed, in fact far from it apparently. There are tales of grooms kidnapping their soon to be wives and this is where the Best Man comes in because, let’s face it, if you’re off kidnapping a feisty young lass, hoping to steal her away from her family and possibly other suitors then it’s a 2 man job. Hence the Best Man! Who then stood by on the day, possibly armed, to make sure that everything went ahead as planned. So while we may have kept the tradition I’m really rather glad that we’ve not kept the original reason.

Best man delivery the rings

Bridesmaids instead were there to confuse evil spirits who might have wanted to curse the marriage, the more young women who were all dressed in a similar fashion the more likely the evil spirit was to choose the wrong one or just give up! These days of course brides rely on their best girls to help them stay calm, get ready and to do up all those little buttons down the back of the wedding dress – professional tip : a fork is really handy for this!

Bride and her bridesmaids at the port on Isola del Garda

The throwing of the brides bouquet, which seems a little odd given the time and consideration gone into choosing it, has actually replaced an earlier tradition which I have to say I’m very glad we’ve done away with. In days gone by the wedding guests use to try and touch the bride as she was so ‘lucky ‘. Even better was to tear a piece of the brides dress off as a keepsake that was considered to be good luck. This eventually led to the wily brides tossing the bouquet at her guests and scarpering before they could attack her dress! If you don’t want to throw your bouquet or what to keep something to remind you of your bouquet you can have a silk replica made that will stay forever beautiful.

Bride throwing her bouquet

Confetti is a good one, in Italy the word confetti actually refers to sugared coated almonds and it seems these might actually be the reason confetti is called confetti. In the middle ages it was not uncommon to throw the sugared almonds or other sweetened nuts or seeds over the happy couples heads as a symbol of fertility. This in itself probably stemmed from the ancient Roman tradition of breaking wheat cakes over the brides head. The Italians actually still use sugared almonds as confetti but luckily they are no longer thrown over the bride & groom. Instead they are given, usually beautifully presented, as part of the wedding gift that they give to their guests, what we call favours. Italians moved on from expensive confetti to throw over the couple to cheaper and easier to source rice and this is still used today (often by the kilo !) whereas the UK offers many variations of confetti, coloured paper, bio degradable options and of course the ever romantic petals either fresh or dried.

 

Are there any traditions that you simply can’t consider not having at your wedding or any you really want to ignore ??

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Virtual Site Visit to Lake Garda

Virtual Site Visits to Lake Garda

 

In this crazy world we still live in travel is an issue which makes planning ahead for a Destination Wedding tricky. I am going through the initial stages with a few couples right now who are looking to book for 2022 but they’ve not seen the venues and we don’t yet know when they will be able to see them in person. So, I’ve come up with a work around, in life I have discovered that I am quite good at work arounds and I’m rather pleased with this one.

 

My couples may not be able to travel here to Italy but I am lucky enough to already be here as I live on Lake Garda and so I have been travelling to the venues and, once I’m at the venue, I video call the couple and I can move around the spaces and point out where each part of the day can happen, explain how the guests will move between ceremony, aperitif and dinner. In this way I walk them through the spaces and answer any questions that come up for them much as if they were here in person.

Last week I went to one of my very popular venues. Effectively this location is a beautiful curated garden that is literally at the waters edge and looks out across the lake and to the Isola del Garda. Here it’s possible to have both your wedding ceremony (civil ceremonies are recognized here as are of course symbolic) and the follow seamlessly on to the aperitif and wedding breakfast.

What is there to be said about Italian food that you don’t already know. It’s delicious, so full of flavour and a crowd pleaser as well which does make it easier when you are having to choose a meal that will fit well with all of your guests preferences. In fact I would say the only difficulty is deciding on which of the dishes to have and if you really can’t decide then the Italians are happy to serve you both. That could in fact be the only issue with Italian food, there’s too much of it but it’s too delicious you don’t want to not eat it. But I think there are worse problems to have.

Aperitif time

And just as night should follow day a brilliant party should follow any good wedding breakfast and this location is perfectly set up for it with an outdoor dance floor and some impressive speakers. The bar can open and the stories that will be relived again and again can unfurl through the evening. It’s difficult on Lake Garda to find locations where the party can go past midnight but this venue has that possibility. Tues – Thursday it can remain your private party, for a supplement, and you can party on till 3am, long past my bedtime ! At the weekend the venue is a club and you have a number of choices. There is a separate seating area kept for those of your party with the will to boogie some more and here you can provide drinks for your guests who can simply join in with the other fun seekers or there is the 1st floor wine bar which can be hired for the remainder of your party. There are always options, it depends what you are looking for.

Party time

If all of this sounds like the prefect venue for you and the photos have you wishing you were there right now then drop me a line and I can tell you more about it. And just to make sure that no one misses out after I did the virtual visit with my couple I also did an IGTV and Facebook live so you can check either of those locations to ‘walk’ through the venue yourselves.

 

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Fun little touches for your wedding

Fun little touches for your wedding

After you have done the obvious task of choosing your date, location, ceremony and the larger planning tasks you will have some time to turn your attention to the smaller details and this is where your guests might get the first sneak peak into how you plan to style your wedding.

Every couple wants their wedding to be unique, special for them and a reflection of who they are as a couple and rightly so. Following your choice of wedding venue there are further elements for your wedding where this is obvious and easy to do, your wedding dress of course would be a major one. Personalizing your vows for the ceremony, your choice of music both for the ceremony and later reception, your flowers and colour scheme are definitely going to be high on your to do list. Once decided you can give space for creativity in other details for those extra little touches which can make the day totally yours and unique. Here are just a few to consider :

 

Your wedding invitation for example. In these more conscious times you might want to save paper and go digital as many couple have or you might think to send something that could be repurposed, like an invitation tea towel so your guests can be reminded of your wedding both before and after the wedding while pottering around their kitchen. I still have a tea towel invite sent to me by one of my couples and I love the reminder of their day that last for years afterwards.

 

If you are expecting your day to be sunny and warm (and if you choosing Lake Garda then I’m guessing it will be) then a fan for each guest or at least the ladies can be placed on the chairs for the ceremony. These can also be personalized with your names and the date of your special day and there are many companies offering this service and it’s also a great ‘take home’ that can be used again and again. I also had a couple who simply made their order or service into a fan by printing on card and sticking it onto a wooden handle. Simple but very effective.

 

Another lovely idea is to use small photo frames with either each guests photo in or their name as a place setting. Again they can either keep it as it is or repurpose the frame with a photo of the day. Another lovely idea is your guests name carved in wood which again serves as both a place setting and decoration, there are a number of companies who will produce these for a very reasonable price. In both of these cases the place setting then also serves as a wedding favour.

 

Alternatively for your wedding favours why not make it something you know they can all use on the night, like a miniature bottle of Limoncello which is very popular here. There are even a few companies now who will, for a very reasonable fee, personalize your label for you. I’ve also had a very creative bride who painted her own shot glasses for the guests which again was useful on the night but a lovely reminder to be able to take home after the event.

 

Guest books are lovely and of course you want to remember everyone who came and shared your special day with you but there are different format that’s you can consider rather than a paper book. For instance your guest book could instead be a print of yourselves that everyone signs. Other couples have had a print/painting that everyone can leave their thumb print on instead. These kinds of things are then easy to display somewhere in your home rather than a closed book on a bookcase which I suspect doesn’t get opened so often.

 

But at the end of the day the important thing to remember is that your guests are coming for you. They want to share this very special day with you and so, if there is something that comes easily to mind (or a google search) that really reflects who you are and what you want to share with your guests then great, but it should not be a stress. Not one of your guests want you to not enjoy the run up to your wedding in a state of panic over the place settings. Remember this at every moment of your planning so that on the day you are able to simply enjoy the moment.

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