FINDING THE RIGHT WEDDING VENUE
Updated: Jan 18
So the budget is set and you are ready to go. Now the fun commences. Finding the right wedding venue. Italy provides you with a lot of choice, I would even dare to say, endless choice. With all good things, there are certain considerations which you really need to think about as they will have an impact on your choice of venue. So here is some advice.
The first thing you need to do is to think about the type of ceremony you are after. Is it a civil ceremony, a religious one, symbolic perhaps. Would you like to get married on the premises so there is not so much moving around or do you prefer a town hall wedding which is often less expensive than getting married at the venue. Would you like to have the ceremony in a church or synagogue perhaps.
What location are you thinking of. Do you have a place in mind. Sicily perhaps. Liguria, Tuscany. If you do not have any ideas, speak to your wedding planner and discuss your your options, and they will then be able to match you up with the perfect venue.
Are you more into the countryside. Prefer a rural set up or wish to go rustic. Is a coastal set up more your style. What about a city wedding. The latter helps guests get to your wedding far easier and also allows them a few opportunities for sightseeing. Make sure that your ideas are straight regarding what these words all mean. What is your interpretation of rustic or luxurious or formal. Make sure that you are clear about your requirements and are able to talk to your wedding planner regarding what you are really after.
Think theme and time of year. In spring and summer you may want a venue with outside space. In autumn and winter perhaps a more cosy and warm possibility. Imagine fireplaces, roaring fires. Each venue will be able to provide the style you are after, from the formal to the laid back, just remember though that some places are better than others so for example if you are getting married in a Florentine palace with baroque oozing everywhere, having a table floral display with rosemary and sage does not really work, so if "rosemary and sage" is more your thing, you really need to look at an agriturismo, country house perhaps or a farmhouse.
How many people are you inviting to your wedding. Think minimum and think maximum. This is important as you need to consider the venue's limits and also maximum numbers as you could have more people wanting to come to the wedding. The thing is to look at your invitation list, the Definates and the Perhaps, and get everything costed for both, so that if less guests decide to come, you have further resources to perhaps splash out on music or decor. Also when thinking of numbers, consider accommodation. Perhaps you would like all your guests to stay with you. There are lots of venues which can accommodate guests so here again, the number of guests is very important. Consider bad weather as it does rain in Italy. Is there enough space inside if required.
When you find the venue you are happy with, book it. Do not waste time thinking about it. If it feels right, then just book it. They are not free forever and some of the venues get booked up years in advance, so if there is availability, how lucky are you! On occasions you may even be able to get a favourable rate, so for example, if your wedding is in 2022 but you book it in 2020, as long as you pay the deposit, prices become very negotiable.
Think about your guests and how easy it will be for them to access the event. Are there hotels in the vicinity. B&Bs as some of your guests may not have the budget to stay in a 5 star. How close to the wedding venue are they. They may have hired a car but it is not a good idea to get them to drive back, especially in the dark having drunk all night. You may need to consider transfers for them or a shuttle service. With some venues it is possible to stay in the centre of a city. All you then need to do is to arrange minibuses or a coach and set up 2 or 3 meeting places which your guests need to head to. Your guests will be picked up and brought to the venue and then at the end of the evening everyon goes back and they are dropped off at the same meeting points. You may want to pick a venue where guests can walk back to where they are staying, or easily get a taxi back. Definately do not rely on public transport. If you have to, make sure you are getting married in the city as you have "frequent" buses.
If you are having ceremony, reception and party all in the same place, then that is fine. If you have chosen a town hall or a church, make sure that the proximity of the reception location is reasonable. You do not really want your guests to be stuck in a coach for 2 hours or more. Also you do not want to scare guests. Some of your guests may be scared of heights and being on a coach heading up to Ravello for example on the Amalfi Coast, can be quite scarey. Trust me I know as I had to get off the bus just going from Amalfi to Praiano!
If you do decide to have the ceremony in one place and the reception somewhere else, make sure that you book them together. Do not book the church first and then try to book the venue and it is no longer available. Also when booking a catholic wedding service remember that priests do not like change as they have more than enough to do. They also have baptisms, communions, confirmations, weddings, funerals etc. When booking a religious wedding, there is no such thing as checking the availability. Provide your wedding planner with a min of 3 dates, and contact will be made with the priest which will give him the opportunity to be flexible, but once booked that is it. Forget changing as you then affect the relationship that your planner has with the priest. The other thing to bear in mind is getting in touch with the priest. This can sometimes take some time as not all of them have a personal secretary. Remember that getting married in a church is not a business, it is about your religious commitments. The priest does not care if your flowers are roses, he only cares about the sacrament of matrimony and the promise you make to each other and to God.
If you are doing everything in the same place, then consider the following: a) Where will you be holding the ceremony. Is it in the garden. The courtyard perhaps. What about the sit down reception. Is it the same location or can we head elsewhere. If it is all in the same place how will it work logistically. While you are having canapes after the ceremony, will they be setting up tables. What happens if it rains. Where can we have the ceremony. Where can we have the reception. Where will we be able to dance and where will this take place.
These are the main considerations when choosing a venue so try not to be taken in by the fairylights, the sweeping views, the frescoed ceilings, think about what we have said here.