Today we are diving into how to plan a wedding overseas! This is a first hand story as myself and my husband decided to have a destination wedding in Tivoli, Italy in 2019. Lots of planning, organization and education! It was such a fun experience and totally worth it!
When we first started out in our wedding journey we knew it would cost. But we honestly did not realize how much it was going to be state side. We went to one venue and they wanted $5,000 for 4 hours in addition to spending min of $2,500 for food.
We both love traveling, we wanted to create an experience that ourselves and our guests have never had. So why not spend our money on an experience and add a wedding on top of it! We selected Italy because it was our next place to go to on our travel list. When we first researched where in Italy we wanted to get married in, we noticed the popular places required a ‘foreigner’ fee to get married there. For example, Rome you have to pay $$$$ to get married there if you are not native of Italy. We found a wonderful location outside of Rome that charged a much smaller fee to get married no matter if you are from Italy or not.
Not going to lie it was a lot! We started planning with our wedding planner a year in advance. We decided to go with a planner who lived in Italy, spoke English and Italian and was familiar with the area. I…I mean we…decided that we NOT only wanted to go to Italy, we actually wanted to get married there.
What does that mean? When couples decide to have a destination wedding, most of the time, they are already married before the wedding. They get married at the courthouse and have the marriage license already signed and ready to go. This is due to the fact some locations have the couple go through a lot of steps to actually get married in the destination.
But I…I mean we, did not want to get married in the States first. We actually wanted to get married in Italy.
I think all together I have about 200 emails back and forth with our wedding planner. Deciding on the menu for the day, the florals, the travel accommodations from hotel to venue, setting up appointments state side and in Italy. Making sure documents were notarized within a certain time period, making sure all family members had their passports, this was the first time our children were going overseas. Paying all the fees…CONVERTING the fees to Euros etc.
All and all It was totally worth it though!
So for the purpose of this blog, I am going to give a bulleted list. We recommend you do your own research with your planner so you will not miss a document, appointment etc so your wedding day will run as smooth as possible. This list is specifically to get married there, this list will not include hiring your other vendors
There is probably a lot more we had to do but these were the big things that stressed me out
We used a mix of vendors, state side and in Italy. Our state side vendors included my dress, our invitation suite and our photographer. Our Italian vendors included our planner, florist, reception venue and portrait venue. My dress was designed and created by Travian Vann, our invitation suite was designed by Fingers in Ink and our Photographer was Jack Manning III. Our amazing planner was Simonetta who also was our tour guide for 2 of the days we were there. I knew I wanted to have a photographer that I trusted and had worked with in the past. It was reassuring to have a photographer there that I was comfortable with. I knew I wanted to have a one of a kind wedding dress too! As a little girl I always dreamed of having a customized wedding gown.
We were there for a week. A week because we had to be there days in advance to go to the American Embassy to wrap up our paperwork and also meet with our planner in real life, providing all the documentation she needed for the Embassy appointment and this was the first time we were all there!
We got married on Friday October 11th. On the day, our family and our guests all got ready at the hotel. My husband and I decided to have a first look because well, we had to travel to our wedding ceremony and reception so he would have seen me anyway! lol
We boarded our shuttle and headed to Tivoli Italy. Once we arrived, we walked through the town to get to their city hall. As we and our guests traveled through the town in full wedding attire, the locals were shouting ‘Auguri’ I low key felt like a celebrity! We arrived at the courthouse which was dripping it Italian history and artwork. I think it was an absolute creatives dream!
Our ceremony was in Italian (haha) our wedding planner was also our translator for the ceremony. After the ceremony, our guests showered us with rice before heading to our reception. Our reception was actually during the lunch hour, and yes this was before we went to the garden for portraits. So white dress on high alert!! Luckily our menu did not include any red sauces. The lunch did include lots of champagne though! After lunch, we headed to Villa d’Este for our portraits. The garden was breathtaking and totally worth the cost. It cost us $500 in order to have our wedding portraits in the garden.
Great question! Before giving the price tag I want to emphasize that part of our cost was paying for 6 flights (myself, my husband, our three children and the photographer), hotel accomodations for 6 people (same mentioned above) as well as activities, food, trinkets, souvenirs etc. Including all of that we spent approximately $28,000. Yup that was it! See why we wanted to go overseas?! As mentioned above, we were there for a week and traveled through Rome, Tivoli, Frascati, Pompeii, Vatican City, and Naples. We ate amazing food, drank lots of wine and champagne and after all that we still fit in our wedding attire!
So I hope all this helps. Bottom line….do what you want! This day is about you and your love! Do what makes you happy!
IMAGES BY TORI DEL PHOTOGRAPHY
© TORI DEL PHOTOGRAPHY 2021