My Wedding in Italy; Say “I Do” with an Italian Flair

The proposal. I will never forget that night on a beach in Italy, sitting on the sand, cool to the touch as the sun had set hours ago. The waves crashed lightly while excited chatter was all around us as people were anticipating the first boom of the midnight fireworks. My now husband turned to me seconds before the first firework lit the sky in colorful hues and whispered in Italian “Mi vuoi sposare?” Will you marry me? Read this if you are contemplating a wedding in Italy!

Reasons to get married in Italy

Fast forward a year later we were back in the states. Having attended one too many weddings in Italy, (I’m Italian and we have A LOT of cousins), I knew I wanted to get married in Italy.

The natural landscape of mountains and oceans already providing the perfect backdrop to any photos. The venues that served once as princess’s summer castle overlooking vineyards of scrumptious grapes sweetly ripening for wine. The floral arrangements made with flowers that grow wild alongside the coastal slopes. The attendants dressed in suits and trained to make sure that every detail is perfected for that momentous day. And don’t even get me started on the 7 course meal that arrived AFTER the abundance in appetizers! All whilst listening to the delicate music from a local band playing, eyes closed, in the midst of a mid-summer breeze.

Considering a wedding in Italy? Here’s why we say YES!

Villa Caristo, our reception venue

The Backdrop

The landscape in Italy is one of the most picturesque and romantic backdrops.

Whether you choose to wed close to an ocean, in the mountains, in a vineyard or in an old church perched above a mountain top, there is no denying the majesty of taking in your surroundings with Italy’s rustic architecture elegance. It’s what dreams are made of.

Driving through town in style

The Food

Think of the last time you visited an Italian family and or friend. Now think of what a spread they typically put out. Can you even imagine the magnitude of an antipasto cocktail hour at an Italian wedding?

First the soft prosciutto rolling off the carver in delicate slices. Then the homemade mini ricottas, to the seafood that was caught only hours ago. The chef making homemade pasta right in front of you. It would be hard pressed to not excite any and all food enthusiasts with the cuisine at an Italian wedding.

Parties & Free Entertainment

The scenery change that is possible by getting married in Italy is close to none. At our wedding we had a guide take us and our out-of-town guests through the streets of an ancient town. Listening to the guide’s tales of history, local wine in hand, the guests were mesmerized as they visited churches, ruins and castles.

Afterwards, my husband and I paid a fee to have an entire gelateria for us and our guests. We reprieved from the heat with a gelato and continued on to a rehearsal dinner. The restaurant was tucked into a corner of the old town of Caulonia Superiore. We were served some of the best cooked calamari, tender and lightly breaded, you could almost cut through with your fork). After the dinner our plans were “done” however we are in Italy and Italy always has SOMETHING to celebrate.

Gelato & Granita from the bar in the mountains

Within minutes we found ourselves in the midst of a Tarantella Festival. The Tarantella is a folklore custom dance, to see some of the dancing click here).

There we were, 50 Americans, in the middle of hundreds, maybe thousands of Italians. We all were invited to dance on a stage that had been built in the middle of a piazza. The zest for life and festivities was so palpable that night that even the shyest of uncles were on stage by the end of the evening! When I say night, I mean 3am! So just like that, something unplanned, became a memory that even now,10 years later, no one can stop talking about. Best part? It was free!

The Wedding

The next day the wedding took us on top of a mountain top to our church. From the outside it was nothing “special” but inside was straight out of a movie! Cathedral ceilings, gold trimmings and depicted ceilings with art that was of another lifetime. The doors to the church were thick and heavy and once opened allowed the view of an eternity of mountains that then touched the sea.

The mass was quite long and we were READY for the reception after almost three hours! The vows were exchanged in English but the rest of the mass was in Italian. We got married August 31st and even though it was an evening wedding it was still very hot. We made sure to have a lot of drink stations and fans for the guests.

The reception changed our senses again bringing us in a princess’s castle in the middle of a vineyard called Villa Caristo. While walking through the baroque gardens and weaving in and out of original statues you can’t help but feel like royalty. A magestic view, the fountain with floating candles, the floral arrangements set in every corner, it was romance at its finest. Fun fact; Villa Caristo was on the Italian postage stamps in 1984!

Just when you thought the wedding was over, the next morning we had brunch on the beach! We really wanted to take our guests through all the characteristics that Calabria especially had to offer. We started in the mountaintops, partied in a villa in the midst of a vineyard and ended it all on a beach.

Every wedding takes planning, but a wedding in Italy is flawless in providing plenty to stimulate each and every sense for all guests no matter what they like!

The Traditions

Another fun reason to celebrate your wedding in Italy are the traditions.

On top of our wedding traditions we look forward to in our U.S. weddings, it is also fun to surprise the guests with some Italian wedding traditions to add yet another layer of “wow”!

Got to ride through town on a quad!

We had a mix of Italian and American guests and it was also a military wedding. We did ALL the traditions, keeping everyone on their toes the entire night. Some had never seen a bouquet toss or folklore dancers teaching them the tarantella. Some had never thrown rice on the bride and groom or heard a canon ball shoot out confetti. There was even a saber arch to walk under after the wedding ceremony. This last part was a surprise to me!

Read more on the saber arch tradition here. Lets just say I was shocked to have a member of our wedding party swap me with a sword on my bum! To learn more about Italian wedding traditions hop on over to this article to learn about 14 Italian wedding traditions.

The Cost

Our wedding wasn’t inexpensive by any means, however had we tried to plan the wedding here I would guess the costs would be anywhere between double or even triple what we paid.

Funny story. My husband and I were at the reception watching 45 minutes of fireworks we had coordinated with the wedding planner. We started to question whether or not we had read the price tag correctly on the itemized receipt that said 2k. In fact, 20 minutes in, I looked at him and said hmmm maybe they missed a 0? But no, for 2k we got 45 minutes of SPECTACULAR and mesmerizingly delightful fireworks!

Now this WAS 10 years ago and it WAS in the south of Italy. As we move closer to Amalfi Coast and northern Italy we do find the prices start to increase. But I have to admit, with its romantic backdrop and unforgettable details, a wedding in Italy is … priceless.

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