Frequently Asked Questions
Our Assistance and Planning for Your Event
What is a Wedding Consultant or a Wedding Planner?
In a nutshell, a wedding consultant or a wedding planner is a professional whose training, expertise, and contacts will help to make your wedding as close to perfect as it possibly can be, thus allowing you and your family to relax and enjoy your wedding.
What does the Wedding Planner do?
Your Wedding Planner will take you through every step of the wedding planning process.
Working closely with you, the Planner will be your contact for the wedding ceremony and reception.
Together you will determine what type of flowers, music, photographer, videographer and all other services you would like and need for your important day.
Your Planner will even make salon and spa appointments for you.
You can relax while your Planner handles all hiring, ordering and confirmations.
Do I really need The Italian Wedding Planner?
Well…. Yes! The Italian Wedding Event is actively involved in the Wedding industry and has been for many years.
We have access to all kinds of information that can be vital to the success of your destination wedding in Italy! We know both the good and the bad about local vendors, and we ensure that you will only receive the highest quality services, at reasonable rates.
In addition we are able to receive favourable rates on most services and can pass those savings on to you.
Finding a reliable Italian wedding consultant and somebody local to hold your hand and guide you in the process of planning your dream wedding in Italy is the best way to go.
Is it going to cost me more to use a wedding planner in Italy than if I planned my wedding on my own?
Actually, the bridal couple often save money and undoubtedly spend more wisely.
In addition to providing detail oriented and professional wedding planner services, we often receive great rates from the best vendors because of our working relationships with them, which we are then able to pass on to you.
Once you add in our coordination fee for planning your wedding, the cost of the event will be close to the same as what you would pay on your own. However, you get the added value of years of experience planning weddings, the best contacts and up to the minute knowledge on all aspects of your wedding in Italy.
What should I consider when hiring a wedding coordinator in Italy?
The most important thing is your comfort level with your Italian wedding coordinator.
Planning a destination wedding in Italy from thousands of miles away can be very challenging.
We will be working together with you and also acting as your advocate in Italy.
Will my Wedding Planner be there for the actual wedding in Italy?
We will be at the wedding location before you arrive and after you leave.
Does the coordinator make announcements on the day?
Your wedding coordinator is there to make sure the day runs smoothly, that everybody turns up on time, delivers the best service possible and also deal with any situations that may arise.
They can help move guests from one area to another, but it is a good idea to enlist a trusted friend or family member to act as the MC on the wedding day, a familiar person for the guests, that will be in contact with the coordinator on the day to let guests know (with a microphone if necessary) what is coming next, for example – to travel to different location for dinner, or gather together to watch the first dance.
Italian Wedding Ceremonies and what to expect
How long does a ceremony in Italy last?
This depends on the type of ceremony : civil weddings usually take 20/30 minutes instead catholic ceremonies are generally longer, normally up to 1 hour.
Can we write our own vows for our wedding in Italy?
Yes, of course.
All of our officiants will be happy to allow you time during the ceremony to express your personal feelings to each other.
Is my Italian marriage certificate legal other places besides Italy?
Yes. It is recognized internationally.
Can I get my marriage license at home before I go to Italy?
No, it must be issued in Italy in order to get a legal marriage certificate.
Unless you wish to have a symbolic ceremony, then in that case you will register your marriage in your home country and we will then create your perfect ceremony in Italy for you.
This is also possible for catholic blessings, but you must be married civilly before your blessing in an Italian church.
Can my pastor from home perform the ceremony in Italy?
Yes but you need a local officiant licensed in Italy for the legal documents.
Many couples have their pastor perform the ceremony and have a Italian licensed pastor for the paperwork.
Questions and queries on suppliers, vendors and Italian Taxes
VAT in Italy – how much is it?
Value added tax (VAT - IVA) is at a standard rate of 22%.
Reduced VAT rates will sometimes apply at 10% for certain services – often passenger transport, accommodation and restaurants for example.
Will I need to make a deposit everytime I book a supplier?
Often, upon booking a supplier you will need to pay a deposit to confirm their services for the day. This will vary, but consider that 30%-50% is normal.
As one of the few wedding planners who actually keep price charts on our clients behalf, paying everyone in a timely fashion and keeping what has been paid and what is left to pay in order, we will normally work with you on a few wedding aspects at a time, so that you are able to make a number of deposits to us together, we will take care of the rest and pay each vendor for you.
This allows you to just make one payment every so often, saving you money on bank transfers and also making the planning process as easy as possible for you.
What is the SIAE Music Tax that I am hearing of and who pays this?
The Società Italiana degli Autori ed Editori (SIAE) is an organisation which collects the revenues due for the use of works protected by copyright, and redistributes this to the rightful owners (autori) and their publishers (editori).
Anyone who uses copies of works protected by copyright in any form of entertainment must obtain prior authorisation from the holders of the rights (Act April 22, 1941, n. 633). This covers any instance where pre-recorded music is played or live music performed, and includes the use of copyright-protected music at weddings and corporate events.
Intellectual property is protected by law until 70 years after the death of the last author. For example, royalties are not required to perform a piece by Beethoven, but to perform Fly Me to the Moon rights will need to be paid to the heirs of the author (Bart Howard) until 2074.
The fees required for copyright may not be treated as tax or duty but as the remuneration for work done by the creators of intellectual works. The misuse of the works is considered a criminal offense under Italian law.
Who Pays the SIAE?
The SIAE charges event organisers. In the case of weddings, the spouses are considered the event "organisers", although the management of a venue may have some responsibility. However the wedding planners, musicians, catering company and others involved in the event are not responsible.
In the case of a corporate event, the "organiser" is the company that organises the entire event and the permit is paid for by the final customer. The permit must be paid in advance.
Some event venues have agreements with the SIAE, particularly for the pre-recorded music used; although this generally doesn't cover music played by DJs or musicians performing. In these cases the costs are already amortised in the price of the venue. The SIAE permit can be organised in the SIAE office nearest the wedding venue in advance – however we will take care of this for you as a part of our service.
The cost of a performance permit depends on three factors:
- Category of the location
- Number of guests
- Type of entertainment
Locations are mainly divided in two categories:
- standard locations
- luxury locations
Almost all locations that host weddings and corporate dinners are considered "luxury" locations.
To give an estimate, the permit normally comes to around 300-470 euro for the event.
The entertainment can be of two types: with, or without dancing. Performance permits are more expensive for events with dancing.
When making an application for a permit, the organiser is asked to declare these three parameters:
- location type
- number of guests
- whether there is to be dancing
The accuracy of their statement may be verified on the day of the event, at the venue, by an SIAE commissioner. If there is a discrepancy between what has been requested on the permit and what takes place on the day, the organiser may be severely penalised and the music may be discontinued.
Together with the SIAE permit, the organiser receives a form commonly called a borderò or bordereau (music programme) that must be completed by the performer with all the songs performed in totality or in part.
This form must be sent back to the SIAE office in the days following the event. We will take care of this for you as a part of our service.
Should I be tipping in Italy and if so, how much?
Unlike the US or even the UK, Italy is not a country where a tip is expected.
However, especially in more frequented areas by tourists, they are used to receiving tips if you have enjoyed the service.
So it will not be seen as offensive if you leave a tip, nor will it be unacceptable if you do not leave one.
How far in advance should I book a Wedding photographer?
Generally speaking, the sooner the better.
We recommend booking your photographer anywhere from 1 year to 6 months before the wedding day in order to secure the services of your professional wedding photographer before he or she is booked by someone else.
We will provide you with a guideline for the planning and guide you in the best way, to make sure everything is planned perfectly on time and in advance.
How many images will I receive from my Wedding Photographer?
An exact number cannot be calculated as weddings are uncontrolled events.
The Italian Wedding Event photographers goal is to capture as many important moments as possible.
On average, you can expect between 50 to 100 images per hour.
How should I choose my flowers?
When choosing flowers for the wedding, you should first consider your body type.
Are you tall, short, full-figured, or petite? A smaller bouquet is better for the petite bride, while the tall or full-figured bride should choose a larger bouquet.
You'll also need to consider the color and style of your dress. If your dress is ornate, perhaps with floral appliques, pearls, or sequins, you would not want to hide it with a big bouquet. A hand-tied or arm bouquet that can be held to the side works well. A round bouquet works with almost everything. Both styles are good for close-fitting or A-line dresses.
If you prefer a cascade, consider whether a loose or airy bouquet would be better. For a ballroom style dress one could get away with a fuller, larger bouquet.
As for which flowers to use with which style of bouquet, certain flowers lend themselves to the design. For example, calla lilies are ideal for a hand-tied bouquet and open roses are perfect for a round nosegay. We can look at samples and books together to help determine which flowers to use.
Another very important consideration is what your favorite flowers are, so we can incorporate those into the bouquets. Colors depend on what the attendants are wearing. You can include the bridesmaids color in the bride's bouquet or make hers different to set her apart.
From pastels to darks keep in mind a way to match, but also have a contrast so that the flowers will be seen against the dress.
You may also consider using silk flowers. The advantage of using silk flowers is that they can be dyed any color. Choose silk flowers that have similar colors to their fresh counterparts to maintain a realistic look. The main objective is to achieve a coordinated look that puts it all together.
It's a good idea for you to look at magazines, the internet, and other sources, to get a feel of what you like before the consultation, because there are so many choices it can be overwhelming.
We can work with you to meld your tastes and preferences, along with our knowledge and experience, to make the decision of which flowers to use an easy one.
I fell in love with a bouquet/cake/hairstyle that I saw in a magazine. What can I do about that?
Just send or email an image. Our wedding hair and makeup vendors are committed to pleasing you and will recreate whatever you want.
General FAQ for Destination Weddings in Italy
When should I send my invitations?
Invitations need to be sent out four to six months prior to your wedding date.
For a destination wedding, we recommend 5-9 months prior, with your RSVPs to be received 2 months prior to the date.
What is the most proper way to have my invitations done?
The two most proper and formal kinds of invitations are hand-written or engraved invitations, done on paper that is either plain or has a simple panel.
However, the vast majority of people refer to stationers that use digital printing, so you need not feel that you are doing something horribly improper if you make some other choice.
Timing of weddings In Italy – what’s normal?
Weddings will take place normally before a meal time – these being either a lunch or a dinner.
The vast majority opt for a dinner in order to party until late afterwards. Italy is a warm country and the most lunch receptions will take place indoors due to the heat.
As Italy has so many beautiful outdoor spaces to dine in and also due to the fact that Italians tend to eat later into the evening, a normal time for a dinner is from around 7,30pm until 8,30pm as a starting time.
Due to this, ceremonies for an afternoon ceremony will begin no earlier than 4pm, in order to have the optimum temperature and respect opening and operating hours of locations.
Consider that lunch time receptions will run from after a morning or midday ceremony until around 6pm and an evening reception from 4pm until midnight (many locations will allow for even later!)
What can I expect for food & beverage?
There is a misconception that all Italians have buffet style weddings – this is not true!
Italians are formal by nature and to celebrate an important occasion, a seated dinner is the norm. These can range from 3 or more courses, normally including 2 pasta/risotto dishes followed by a main entree.
This is not to say that before the seated dinner there is not a very generous aperitif buffet, serving finger food and appetisers. This is normally a very generous selection, served for around an hour prior to the dinner and after the ceremony. Light and refreshing beverages such as prosecco, light cocktails and fruit juices are normally served here, whereas during the seated dinner, the locations that include wine within their menu will normally allow for around 1 bottle of wine per every 2 people.
The Italian wedding cake is often a very large, one layer cake made with fresh cream – either with flaky pastry or a sponge cake – adorned with fresh fruit or chocolate. An american style tiered wedding cake can of course always be arranged if this is your preference.
After dinner an open bar will be arranged – usually more cocktail based – and will be served for the duration of your party. The cost will always depend on the number of people and the length of the service requested.
Can I bring my own wine to a wedding In Italy?
In Italy, a corkage fee (a supplement paid to the location to be able to bring your own wine to a wedding) is not normal, 99% of locations will not allow this.
Certain locations can be more flexible if they are used to almost exclusively working with an international clientele, however the fee can often be quite expensive and in turn is not as convenient.
Luckily in Italy, even the house wines are great and most wines served with wedding menus have been selected by a dedicated sommelier.
Do we need a wedding website?
Wedding websites are great for getting all the information about your wedding out and available to your guests.
You can include dates, times, and locations, hotel information, and information about local attractions.
You can also have guests let browse a photo gallery.
Many of our clients tell us that the biggest benefit of their wedding website was that they didn't have to spend time answering questions about who, what, where, when, and why. All that information was available at the wedding website, so guests could get their answers there.
We will be happy to give you recommendations on how to go about building yours.