How to Plan a Wedding in Italy

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So you want to plan an Italian wedding? You’re not alone if the dream of a Tuscan villa or a coastal celebration in Positano is tempting you. The weather, cost, culture and landscapes of Italy are amazing and make the perfect backdrop for a wedding day, especially if you’re coming from a country like England, where venues and suppliers can be expensive and the weather might not be on your side. Although planning a wedding in Italy is straightforward once you know what to do, there are a lot of things to consider, With the added layer of travelling abroad in the mix, from language barriers to legal issues, to getting there and navigating local customs. Let’s dive into what you’ll need to plan to perfect wedding in Italy.

Planning A Wedding In Italy

Research and budget


Happy Stylish Smiling Couple Walking In Tuscany
Couple in Tuscany: for less stress, hire a wedding planner in Italy.

The picture you have in your head, perhaps of rolling vineyards, an Italian castle or beachside nuptials is within reach, but curb your dreams by setting out exactly what you’re hoping for from an Italian wedding.

Do you want a huge white wedding with all the frills or an intimate getaway with close friends and family?

Do you want a countryside villa where all your guests can stay and celebrate, a fancy hotel for a few days or a one-off venue to wow everyone?

Write down a list of things you’re non-negotiable on for your big day, taking practicalities into account such as the guest list.

Consider how many people you’ll have, where in Italy you’d like to go, how many days you plan to spend there and how big or small your celebrations will be.



Wedding In Florence, Italy
Florence has some of the best wedding venues in Italy.

Italy is arguably one of the most diverse countries in Europe.

Many couples choose the rolling hills of Tuscany for their wedding, which are scattered with villas, while others opt for the coast in areas like Sorrento, Positano or even Sicily.

Getting married somewhere in the countryside, but still close to a major city, is a great choice as you’ll be able to get there easily.

Another area to consider is Northern Italy, where the deep valleys and mountains are beautiful in the summer, or dusted with snow if you’re planning to get married in the off-season.

Guest List

A Bride In A Pink Dress With A Bouquet
The old city of Florence is one of the most popular places for a wedding venue in Italy.

Your guest list will be extremely useful in helping you decide on where in Italy to get married and the type of venue you’ll have.

Consider the numbers – smaller guest lists can opt for hotels and villas, while larger ones can look at booking out a huge venue.

Smaller guests lists will also have more options when it comes to villas and other local venues which include accommodation, as everyone can stay together, but if you have a hundred people or more, keep in mind you’ll want to be close to a town or city where guests can find hotels or Airbnbs to stay in.

Also think about who you’re inviting.

If there are a lot of elderly people, somewhere with straightforward transportation and accommodation options works well.

And when you’re putting your list together, don’t forget to count plus ones, keep a few places in reserve for anyone you’ve forgotten and remember that the guest list is like to reduce slightly rather than grow, as some peopie may drop out.


Nice Wedding Bouquet In Bride's Hand
Thinking about the cost of a wedding in Italy?

There’s no right or wrong season to get married in Italy, however as with most places, summer is prime wedding season.

Prices will go up for both venues and suppliers, and things will book up more quickly.

Winter can be beautiful in the north if you’re considering a snowy, winter-wonderland theme, with lots of chocolate box villages to choose from.

Luckily, Italy has pretty good weather for a lot of the year, so you don’t need to be confined to July and August.

May, June, September and October will have great weather, but may avoid higher prices both for venues and for flights, so guests can travel outside of school holidays.


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Having a budget is the most important thing you should do when planning a wedding in Italy, even though this will fluctuate significantly based on your choices.

It’s always best to over-budget, and in Italy, the sky is the limit with what you can have on your wedding day.

A good rule of thumb is to think about what you’d spend on your dream wedding in England or USA, because this will usually cover your Italian wedding, plus a little extra, as the country offers great value for money and budget stretches a lot further in Italy.

Write down a rough budget for the biggest things, including the venue, catering, flowers, hair and makeup, music and photography, and add a buffer for flights, accommodation (if needed), cake and extras.

Restaurants, Hotels and Churches

Urban Scene Of A Wedding Couple
Malcesine on Lake Garda has some fantastic wedding venues in Italy.

If you’re planning a small wedding – and by small, we mean 20 people or less; you can think of your wedding like an intimate family holiday and celebration combined.

Book somewhere nice to stay, find a fantastic restaurant, church or small local spot that allows weddings and you’re away.

Villas And Agriturismos

Villa Cornaro, Zimella, Italy
There are lots of wedding destinations in Italy to choose from and plenty of venues, such as Villa Cornaro, Zimella.

An agriturismo is very similar to a villa, but is generally more like a farmhouse, often on a working farm.

Otherwise, they’re similar in that they can sleep anywhere from four to thirty people, sometimes more, and often have beautiful views, vineyards, pools, terraces and more.

In other words, perfect for a wedding.

These are mostly located in Tuscany and Umbria, although there are others around the country.

The benefit of a villa or agriturismo is that they usually double up as a venue and accommodation.

The price for them is also usually reasonable, but this depends on many factors.

Generally, the more grand and beautiful the villa, the more expensive.

Sometimes there will be a spectacular villa available for three days, for the same price you can get a slightly less incredible (but still beautiful) agriturismo for an entire week, so make sure to shop around.

Dedicated Venues

Wedding At An Old Winery Villa In Tuscany
You will find plenty of wedding venues in Tuscany Italy.

This is the option to choose if you’re happy to keep your destination wedding to one day, have a large guest list of want to go big with celebrations.

Venues specifically in Italy for weddings cover all of the above, but in this case, we mean palaces, luxury hotels, castle ruins and sprawling villas overlooking Lake Como, as just a few examples.

These are the places where, although you can find some value gems, budget isn’t a concern and neither is imagination, as they’ll be experts in hosting the biggest, most lavish weddings.

The cost of a wedding in Italy

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The cost of a wedding in Italy is a never-ending question that’s impossible to answer.

You could elope to a small villa, pay for the documentation and flights and it would cost less than $500.

You could go bigger, with 50 guests staying in a villa, with a full ceremony, reception and wedding dinner with all the decorations, costing anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 (or more).

You could even go bigger, renting out an entire palace, historic villa or hotel for hundreds of guests, host an outdoor wedding with an orchestra, thousands of flowers and the finest food, for which the budget is whatever you make it.

The average cost of a wedding in Italy is anywhere from $15,000 to $75,0000 but you’ll generally get more for your money than elsewhere, and if you find local suppliers you can get some great deals.

Finding vendors for your wedding

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Finding vendors for your wedding is going to be different depending on whether or not you speak Italian.

If you don’t speak Italian, like the majority of foreigners marrying in Italy, don’t worry.

The first option would be to hire a wedding planner – there are companies in the UK and elsewhere that deal in Italian weddings, or you could look for a local wedding planner.

If you’re keen to do things yourself, first do some research online.

There are sites where vendors list their services (you can use Google Translate to help).

Send them an email stating what you need and asking the price.

If you get a positive response, you’ll sometimes need to put down a deposit and/or sign a contract.

Finally, if you have the time and money, one of the best ways to find vendors (after settling on a location) is to visit the area for yourself, to stop by local florists, bakeries and restaurants to ask about their wedding services.

Everything you need for the perfect day


Spaghetti With Seafood In A Heart-Shaped Plate
Spaghetti with seafood is a traditional wedding dish in southern Italy.

Catering is one of the most important parts of any wedding, and luckily in Italy, you’ll have the most amazing choice of food.

Getting married abroad means you may or may not be able to organise a tasting, so ensure your caterer has positive reviews.

You’ll need various elements of catering: welcome drinks and aperitivos, the main dinner, the cake, and drinks or an open bar.

For the main meal, consider that in Italy, meals generally consist of at least four courses including an appetiser, first course (usually pasta), second course (usually meat or fish) and dessert.

Good caterers will be able to present you with all the options you need, such as various delicious pasta and meat dishes, seasonal and local options, and of course, alternatives for any dietary requirements.

Other options include buffets, show kitchens, pizza stations, ice cream carts and more, although if you’re marrying in Italy, sticking with Italian food is all part of the attraction.


Drinks are a simple one, as you’ll usually just need a welcome drink, celebratory champagne and some wine for tables.

After dinner, consider whether you’ll supply drinks, have a paid bar or an open bar.

There are various vendors who’ll bring the bar to your venue with staff for mixing drinks and serving them too.

Hair and Makeup

Bride In A Dress With A Veil wedding villas in Italy.
You can make your dream of a fairytale wedding in Italy come true with just a little bit of planning.

Hair and makeup can be tricky, as it’s very important for brides and getting married abroad means doing a trial is tricky.

Look online at popular vendors and research local salons via Instagram and Google.

To avoid any calamities across the entire wedding, you’ll want to fly out a couple of days beforehand, so this can be a good opportunity to do a trial, but make sure you have a backup option in case you aren’t happy.

DJ and Music

There are so many options when it comes to music at your Italian wedding, that it can be hard to know where to begin.

Firstly, you’ll want walking down the aisle music, which can be provided through venue speakers or live musicians.

Drinks and mingling should also have a nice background sound, string quartets, harpists and pianists work well for this, or you could have a DJ playing quieter tunes.

After dinner, a DJ or live band is usually the best choice to get the dancefloor moving, but make sure anyone you hire has a good sound system and microphone capabilities for speeches.

To find them, talk to any vendors you’ve already secured, as they can often recommend people, look online at sites such as FixTheMusic, and speak to the person who runs your venue as they may have recommended suppliers.

On a legal note, the SIAE is a music tax compulsory across Italy.

It varies in price from around €200 to €500, depending on the size of your guest list, venue and music choice.

It’s a legal requirement for playing music at public celebrations, especially late into the night and you can be fined if you don’t pay it.

DJs and musicians should be able to help you submit the necessary information.


View Open Book With Album At Home
The biggest benefit of tying the knot in Italy is your wedding photo album will be amazing and you won’t have any trouble hiring a wedding photographer in Italy either.

Photos and videos last forever, so choose your wedding photographer carefully.

There are hundreds of wedding photographers across Italy, which you can find online simply by searching ‘wedding photographer Italy’ on Google.

Each has a different style, some offer just photography while others offer both photography and videography services.

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Normally, they’ll also have various packages, usually measured in hours, covering most or all of your wedding day.

They’ll be more than used to dealing with couples from abroad, so don’t worry about not speaking Italian and arrange a video call with them to see what you think.

If budget isn’t a concern, you can also book a photographer in your home country who does destination weddings, but the fee is normally much higher.


Pink Scooter In A Flower Garden With Tulips
When planning your wedding in Italy, make sure to leave plenty of time for your honeymoon.

You can go small or big with flowers in Italy.

Some people just opt for their own bouquets and buttonholes, and perhaps a table decoration, while others have thousands of flower displays in the church, tables, centrepieces and more.

Simple often works beautifully and flowers aren’t expensive.

Again, ask your venue for advice or contact a local florist to see what they can arrange.

Save some inspiration on Pinterest, so they have an idea of what you’re looking for and you can get past any language barrier.


Malcesine, Lake Garda, Italy
You’ll find lots of affordable wedding venues in Italy and flights are reasonable.

A lot falls under ‘transportation’ when you’re planning a wedding in Italy.

Firstly, consider how you’ll get there.

Luckily flights to Italy are pretty cheap from all over Europe, and Italy has many major cities with international airports.

Secondly, how are you and your guests getting from the airport to the venue?

Either arrange transfers, or make sur there are taxis and hire car options available.

Similarly, guests may need to get from your venue or their accommodation into town, if it’s in the countryside, and will need to get home after the party if they’re not staying at the venue.

Having a shuttle and keeping taxi numbers to hand is essential, as people won’t be able to drive after drinking at the reception.

And what about you, the couple?

Do you want a driver to take you to your ceremony?

Want to hire a classic car or a Fiat 500 for that authentic Italian look?

Make sure to book anything well in advance, as those are particularly popular options.

Laws and paperwork

Italy Wedding In Venice
What to wear to a wedding in Italy?

Getting married in Italy can be complicated from a bureaucratic point of view, which is why hiring a planner can be invaluable.

The easiest way to navigate around this is to have your legal ceremony in a registry office in your home country, and keep Italy as your symbolic ceremony and celebration.

If your heart is set on making things legal in Italy, then keep some things in mind.

Generally, you’ll need a Certificate of No Impediment, available from your local registry office, which simply checks that the two of you are authentic and not related to each other, and you’ll also need a marriage declaration which will be submitted to the local registry office in Italy.

Either or both of these may need to be notarised (signed by a solicitor), apostilled (stamped by the government for use abroad) and more.

To get hold of these, you’ll need original birth certificates from both of you, dated within six months of the wedding.

Most importantly, to legally marry in Italy, you’ll often need to ‘reside’ there for 2-3 days before the wedding.

Full details of what is needed for all countries can be found online.

It doesn’t cost much, but it can be confusing and having someone to guide you is helpful, especially with a language barrier.

On the same note, there are various types of ceremony you can have in Italy.

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As mentioned, you can have a symbolic ceremony, which doesn’t hold any legal weight, if you’ve already signed the paperwork in your home country.

You can also have a civil ceremony, which is performed by the mayor or mayoral assistant, which normally takes place in a town hall or venue and needs an interpreter.

Finally, you can have a religious ceremony which takes place in a church, which is the most traditional option but not as common for foreigners.


Bride And Groom In A Classic Wooden Gondola
A wedding in Venice is a romantic option.

There are a couple of traditions in Italy which you should consider – you don’t have to follow them, but it can add a nice local touch.

For example, Italians often don’t throw confetti or petals, they throw rice, and wedding favours are often a small box of sweet almonds.

Dinner is also different, as mentioned, since it includes four or five courses, although you can tailor this to exactly what you want.

Traditionally, many Italian weddings don’t have things like a first dance or parent-child dance, so if this is important to you, make sure to let your musicians and caterer know.

Useful tips

The Bride And Groom Walk Along A Wooden Boat Dock
Lago di Braies is another breathtaking spot for a wedding in Italy.

Have a buffer budget – like any wedding, there will be unexpected expenses.

Whether you spot some fancy stationery, book a villa for the week and need to feed people or decide to secure a particularly pricey photographer.

It’s better to over-budget, so if you’re under, you’ll feel like you managed to save some cash.

Make it yours – whatever happens, it’s your wedding, so don’t compromise and choose suppliers wisely.

Make your dream wedding a reality and above all, book everything as far in advance as possible!

Visit your venue – This isn’t possible for everyone, but if you can go out and visit your venue, or venue choices beforehand, do it.

Sometimes seeing a place in real life blows you away, more than just seeing it on a screen.

Don’t forget insurance – Wedding insurance, travel insurance, even marquee insurance! Protect yourselves and your dream wedding from any unexpected accidents.

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India-Jayne Trainor
India-Jayne Trainor is a British/Australian freelance writer, photographer and contributor to various online blogs and travel websites. She has travelled to almost 30 countries, most recently Cuba and Sri Lanka. Her work focuses on solo female travel, having spent two months backpacking alone through South East Asia as well as living in Germany for a year. Her favourite country to date has been Hong Kong, but she is happy in any country by the ocean. Her next destinations are Uzbekistan and a road trip through the American Mid-West. India is currently based in London, UK, and planned her own wedding in Italy in 2024.