If you’re reading this post, most probably you’re recently engaged, so congratulations! Let me start by telling you that the wedding planning process should be fun and not intimidating. I’m here to offer you some of my insights to better help you understand what should the first steps be. Let’s break it down more. There are quite a few vendors you need to collect to have your dream team. The venue, the photographer, the planner, the dress designer, the florist, the makeup artist (and hairstylist), the cake designer, the band, the caterer, the DJ and you still need to find time to make your guest list, find your bridal shoes, his tuxedo, check about flights and maybe also the honeymoon.
The date and tips on seasonality
To get things first, you will need to find a date and a place. If you are getting married in Italy, France, or the Greek islands, the best season to do so starts from May until early October.
May and October being the shoulder season, whereas June, July and September is high season. Specifically September is the month with the highest demand, as the temperature is better, the day is still long and chances of rain are slim. You should also know that certain dates of the season are more popular than others. Meaning that ideally, you should be flexible about your wedding date. If not, chances are that some of the key players, like your wedding venue, photographer or wedding planner might not be available on that date.
Tip: Have a tentative date in mind but don’t let that be your anchor. Having a great team of vendors to support you and provide you with a great experience and unforgettable result will be cherished forever.
Then you start searching for what the perfect place for your romantic wedding would be. Think of the places you’ve visited or the places you want to visit. Having a destination wedding means that you will get to spend more time at the place and country that you select. Or hop to a nice location nearby. Let me give you some ideas to be even more specific.
You can have an elegant wedding in Provence and then visit Santorini for your honeymoon. You can get married in a villa in Tuscany and then want to explore the Amalfi Coast. Or have your wedding in Greece and fly to Paris for your honeymoon. All the beautiful places in southern Europe are no more than a 3-hour flight away, the possibilities are limitless!
Time to search for a wedding planner
So, having a tentative date and a place it’s time to look for your wedding venue. Right? Wrong! There are just too many venues in each area and chances are that you will be overwhelmed by trying to find the proper one to accommodate your guest number, budget or other technicalities. My suggestion would be to start looking for a wedding planner.
So what exactly does a wedding planner, I hear you say. Actually, a lot. If I were you, I would start by finding a wedding planner that I love their aesthetics. How they style and decorate an event. After all, your wedding is a party and you want to treat your guests in the best way possible, right? After making a shortlist of wedding planners that you love their style, always have an interview! Spend time to meet the person behind the brand and make sure you like them. Not a huge checklist here, just a gut feeling, most of the times is all you need. Make sure they fully understand you and you have a good flow. I can’t stress that enough. It will mean a lot for you and for them. Please also keep in mind that a wedding planner is so much more than a stylist. So make sure you check their online reviews, their professionalism in which they replied to your first email and their publications.
Tip: Publications in wedding blogs and magazines is usually an intact way to see that the vendor you’re selecting has consistency at their work.
How much does a wedding planner cost, is your next question. Well, it depends. There is not a precise answer. I will tell you this though. It will save you tons of time. How much does your time cost? Having a wedding planner that you can actually trust and have built a strong connection is priceless! There have been so many occasions where there was no wedding planner present and all things went south. Think of your wedding planner as the project manager. The rest of the vendors know their job perfectly but someone needs to orchestrate them. Otherwise, they will bump into each other. A figure of speech. Though it would make a great image.
What does a wedding planner do, specifically?
They do two things that some might say are diametrically opposite. And this is how you know a wedding planner is worth their money. The first thing they will do is logistics. Lots of them. They will help you find your perfect venue. You see, here is where it comes in. Based on your guest count, budget, transport times, accommodation and many other factors, they will suggest you the best venues for your wedding. They will also help you find other professionals too. You are always welcome to do your own research but the main reason your wedding planner is suggesting you, other professionals, is that they want to build a strong team. A team that they know will provide you with a stellar result. They stick their necks out too, remember. You want a team that will be coordinated and work flawlessly on your special day. Trust me when I say that EVERY wedding is unique and we (the professionals) have only one chance to do it right. There is no turning back. There is no second take.
So, together with your wedding planner, you found your ideal venue, good to go! What’s next?
Tip: With a tentative date and a specific place in mind, find your key vendors for your dream wedding. These would be the venue, the photographer and the planner. These three can accommodate only one event on a specific date, whereas the florist and the caterer, for example, can do more than one.
Wedding Planners share their advice
Emma, from Emma Events, who specializes in weddings on the Amalfi Coast shares her thoughts
To plan a destination wedding represents the start of a new life together in the most adventurous and romantic way possible especially if you decide to get married on the Amalfi Coast.
Find the best wedding photographer
It’s time to find the best wedding photographer to capture your special moments in a timeless way. Timeless is the keyword here. Your wedding day is a great opportunity to have lots of pictures with your families and friends all dressed up and happy. Speaking from my own experience on the other side of the camera, I’ll tell you this. I’ve had some of my friends from university that we were really close, attend my wedding day though we now live in different cities. It was such a great opportunity to spend some quality time together and the pictures that I have with them from that day, are of high value.
What are the values you should be looking for your wedding photographer? There is a whole other blog post about that matter if you want to have a read at, here. To give you just the juice of it, your ideal photographer should be able to capture beautiful portraits. You can easily understand when someone is relaxed and poses effortlessly and when it looks to ‘posy’. A talented wedding photographer should also have a keen eye for beautiful detail shots, like your decoration, your dress, the flowers, your venue, everything that you have invested time and money on. Your wedding photographer will be someone who you will spend the whole day with so make sure you interview them, read their online reviews and again publications. For a wedding to be published in prestigious blogs and magazines like Martha Stewart, Style Me Pretty, Brides and so on, the photographer must provide a consistent look of the images from the whole day. Consistency is what you should look for on a photographer’s work.
Tip: Interview your photographer through a video call, make sure you have a good connection, check their online reviews and publications and ask for a full gallery to see how they capture the whole day. From beginning to end.
I’m honored to have worked with some of the best wedding planners in Italy, France and Greece. You can find a list of my recommended at the end of this post.
Now that you have found your key players, the wedding venue, the planner and the photographer, what’s next?
Colors & style of your wedding
It’s time to relax. Let your creative self have some fun. Together with your wedding planner, you will begin working on your wedding theme. The colors and the style. A word of notice. You’ve selected a wedding planner that you liked their aesthetics, right? You have to allow them creative freedom to prepare something for you that you will enjoy and also matches their style. Don’t push them off their comfort zone and limits. They need to make sure that what you and they envision can actually come to life on the day.
Tip: Make sure your wedding decorations match the style of your venue and the location. You want to have a cohesive look that emphasizes the beauty of the venue and the place, not competes with them.
It’s time to start preparing your wedding invitations and save the dates. Especially if you’re having a destination wedding, your guests will need to make the necessary arrangements for travel. Send them a save the date first and the invitation can follow. Just remember, the invitation suite is a harbinger of what will follow. So once you have defined your wedding’s moodboard with your planner, share it with your graphic designer. They will prepare something special for you to get your guests in the right state of mind and eager to see what you have prepared for them.
For more tips and insights please feel free to contact me.
Some of the best wedding planners in Italy, France & Greece,
in alphabetical order
|Exclusive Italy Weddings|
|Italian Weddings & Events|
|Lake Como Weddings|
|The Wedding Boutique|
|Weddings in Tuscany|
|Fete in France|
|Jennifer Fox Weddings|
|White Eden Weddings|
|Point of U|
|Stella & Moscha|
|The 12 Events|