Guestrooms Bride and groom in Venice.
Ever since the media firestorm that surrounded the 2006 TomKat
wedding in a castle north of Rome, the trend of brides-to-be
clamoring to tie the knot in Italy has increased. The country
epitomizes romance and its choices of locations to satisfy
fairytale fantasies are many from castles, villas and vineyards, to
cliffs above the sea.
One of the major advantages of a wedding in Italy is that
typically the guest list is kept to a core group of close family
and friends who are thrilled to be in on the adventure and often
extend their stay beyond the marriage festivities, while the bridal
couple enjoys it as a perfect jumping-off point for a romantic
Clients should be encouraged to have a symbolic wedding ceremony
rather than a civil or religious one, as the paperwork involved
with the latter can be complex and time consuming. Even Tom and
Katie got legally married in Los Angeles before they headed off for
their extravaganza. Ideally, plans should begin a year in advance
and often prospective brides will opt for a pre-wedding trip to her
chosen location where she can meet the locals who will help make it
Many tour operators have added Italian weddings to their lists
of services. The companies listed below offer group and FIT
arrangements, villa rentals and excellent services for every aspect
of an Italian wedding ceremony and reception, as well as the
honeymoon, wedding week activities and travel for every guest.
“We have a high-touch, very personal working relationship with
clients,” said Doorways president Kit Burns, who founded the villa
rental company and arranges weddings in stellar properties up and
down the boot. “We know we are creating a legend for the bride and
her family for generations.”
One of Doorways’ top “I Do” spots is a 16th-century villa on the
outskirts of Lucca, which sits on 300 acres of vineyards, olive
groves and woodlands. A special perk here is a pre-wedding cocktail
party exclusively for the bridal couple and all the service people
involved in the festivities.
“It’s the Italian way.Everyone becomes a family and, most
importantly, once the bride has met these people all of her
pre-wedding anxiety vanishes,” said Burns.
Twenty to 60 guests can be accommodated at the villa and
properties nearby. It also features a fantastic frescoed bridal
suite, an arts-and-crafts workshop area ideal for younger guests,
and is perfectly located for day trips, which can range from a boat
ride to the Cinque Terre or tours of enchanting surrounding
Italy 4 Real
Bridal party with musicians at a Travel
International wedding in Positano.
“We are committed to clients fully experiencing the environment
they are in,” said Rem Malloy, who co-owns the company with his
They bring extensive on-the-ground knowledge and cultural
understanding to their wedding arrangements, with satellite offices
in Italy to offer local assistance.
Country weddings in Tuscan and Umbrian agriturismos, which
accommodate 20 to 30 guests, are Italy 4 Real’s specialty. Marriage
ceremonies feature stunning backdrops of vineyards and olive
groves, local musicians and traditional regional cuisine. Brides
and grooms are whisked off to nearby picturesque hill towns such as
San Gimignano or Assisi for exquisite photo shoots.
“In the cities, bridal parties are so often surrounded by
tourists, which is probably not the way a bride has envisioned her
family wedding,” said Malloy.
Italy 4 Real’s countryside weddings offer something more
intimate, where local planners and suppliers provide expertise and
bring to life the warm spirit of the region, giving guests an
authentic experience on the big day and throughout their stay in
Italy Specialists owner Sylvia Giardin, a native of the Veneto
region, brings 33 years of experience in the Italian travel
industry to her wedding planning.
“There is always a way of doing something. I have so many
contacts and always know somebody who knows somebody who can make
anything happen,” said Giardin.
Giardin, along with her American and Italian staff, arranges
celebrations that cater to a wide range of tastes all over Italy.
Past events have included a sunrise wedding on a Venetian dock
where the bridal couple wore pajamas and the party continued with a
palazzo brunch; an extravagant affair at the Lake Como estate now
owned by George Clooney; and a wedding in Taoromina where the
ceremony took place at the ruins of the Greek amphitheater and was
followed by a reception at The Grand Hotel Timeo.
Attention to every detail is a high priority for Italy
Specialists and the staff includes a newlywed who recently married
in Tuscany, offering brides-to-be a welcomed, empathetic hand
through the process.
Travel Plans International
The wedding division of Travel Plans International works in
partnership with Italy-based Punto di Fuga, a wedding-planning
company that has customized ceremonies and receptions throughout
Italy for 800 international clients since it was founded in
“The Amalfi Coast was our number-one region in 2007, with
Positano the most requested spot and Ravello coming in second,”
Lawrence said. The balcony of Positano’s city hall offers amazing
views for ceremonies which are typically followed with receptions
in one of the town’s top restaurants. Venice is also a popular spot
for TPI weddings, which feature bridal couples, musicians and their
guests in gondolas, a ride down the Grand Canal after the nuptials,
followed by celebrations in palazzos.
Though most of their ceremonies are symbolic, 30 percent are
civil or religious. They’ve also pulled off the amazing feat of
arranging a wedding of an American bride and Dutch groom in
Florence with only three weeks’ notice.
“It’s complicated, but our clients never know that,” said