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How to Plan a Wedding in Italy? 10 Tips for Planning an Elopement

The level of excitement that comes with starting to plan a wedding in Italy or anywhere else is ridiculously awesome!  When Marta and I started talking to our last couple about their wedding, they came with a somewhat odd request.

They said that they were not going to have a ceremony and just needed reception coverage.  I asked the obvious question: why?  Their response was that they were going to have a destination elopement in Italy.

I started talking about our summer trips to Europe and our other destination wedding in Paris, France.  Initially, they wanted to have an elopement in the Carribean.  I talked to them about our destination wedding in Puerto Rico and their Day After Session in Old San Juan.

After a little bit of talking and a lot of planning, we eventually decided on Positano, Italy.  It was my first time there, but not our first destination wedding.  We already knew how to plan for a destination wedding.  Marta had been to Italy in the past, so she had a lot of insight to share with me on Italy and everything with the way of life there.  If you’re planning a wedding in Italy, then these wedding tips should help make the entire destination elopement process a lot smoother.

10 Tips for Planning a Wedding in Italy

1. Hire a Wedding Planner

When you start planning your wedding, it’s very easy to dismiss a professional planner.  Weddings in Orlando are already pretty crazy when it comes to planning them.  A destination wedding in a foreign country can be even more difficult and totally worth it.  There’s a lot of things that a planner alone can help with when it comes to planning a wedding in Italy.

You want to make sure that you have the most stress-free experience possible for your wedding.  They’ll be able to help you plan your entire wedding and have an awesome timeline to boot.

Legal Paperwork

Whenever there are weddings abroad, you have to take any and all legal paperwork seriously.  Keep that in mind when talking to your destination wedding planner.  They can help you get everything in order so you can have peace of mind.

Trustworthy Wedding Vendors

It’s difficult to plan a wedding in Italy when you’re in the US.  It’s even more difficult if you don’t have help.  Finding vendors that you can trust over there can make or break your destination wedding.  If you’re having a destination elopement, then it’s a little different since the sheer amount of wedding vendors needed is a lot less overall.  Still though, finding people you can trust is difficult and a wedding planner in Italy can help keep a clean vendors list.

wedding in italy

2. Make Photography a Priority

I’m a little biased when I say this, but photography is extremely important.  More so when you’re planning a wedding abroad.  You want to make sure that you’re able to have a good time, but you also want to make sure that everything is captured to look back on.  Whether you’re having a big wedding or an intimate destination elopement, make sure you take the best photographers for you.

Personalities Should Match

We’ve talked about how to choose a wedding photographer in the past.  Over everything else, I think personalities matching should be the best thing ever.  If your personalities don’t match, then taking wedding photographers in Orlando all the way to Europe would seriously be a drag.  You’re about to marry your best friend, so it’s important to make sure that you have the best experience possible.


Travelling can be difficult.  It’s even more difficult if you don’t know what you’re doing.  Marta, originally being from Europe, knows how to get around Europe.  Chances are if you’re thinking about having a wedding in a European country, then she’s been there before in the past.  We’ll know the best times to photograph you two.

Lighting is different when traveling abroad.  It was evident to us when I noticed the 9:45 PM sunset in Paris the first time I was there.  We’ll know the best time to have your wedding ceremony to get that epic light.  Working with wedding planners is one of our favorite things in the planning process.  The right destination wedding photographer can make or break your photography experience.


I think that this is a factor that’s pretty important.  You want to make sure that your wedding photographs are ones that you’ll look at for a lifetime over.  These are heirlooms that you can pass onto your grandkids and share stories of your adventures.

Marta and I have different styles.  I love to take large photographs of couples in landscapes.  Wide open epic shots are some of my favorites.  Marta loves details that help weave the story of your destination elopement together.  At the end of the day, we want you to have the best wedding portraits possible.

positano decor at hotel on amalfi coast during a destination elopement portrait session

3. Get a Wedding Website

The main point to having a wedding website is to make it easy to give information to the people that will be attending your wedding.  Most of the time these websites make it easy for people to RSVP.  If you’d like to set up wedding registries then this would be a great place to have links to them.

The Knot has a great website maker that’s a feature that’s easy to use.  It’s perfect for sharing the details of your destination wedding.

4. Plan Off Season for a Destination Elopement

Italy, in general, is ridiculously busy during the months of June, July, and August.  That being said, we would always recommend planning something Off Season.  You can negotiate better pricing on various things because of the time of year.

You can also avoid many people that go on vacation during the summer.  The last time that we went to Italy, the streets were packed.  It was July.  Needless to say, Positano was full of people from all over the world that was visiting and sightseeing.

If privacy and a good deal is what you’re after, then we recommend planning a destination elopement during the months of November, January, and February.  There will be fewer people traveling.  The air will be crisp and pleasant.  There might be some bad weather to look out for, but we’ve got your back if it rains.

amalfi coast

5. Visit for a Pre-Planning

It’s hard to plan something if you’re on the other side of the world.  When you decide to plan your wedding in Italy, things are a lot easier when you see them in person.  Once you have a wedding planner on board, make sure that they take you to a few locations while you’re there.

Have a couple of locations in mind when you get there as well.  Compare and contrast all of your decisions before finally committing.  If you’re interested in having a castle wedding, then go for it.

Take this opportunity to plan consultations with wedding vendors.  Make sure that you have a list of questions to ask each of the professional vendors.  Make most of the time that you have there to get things done.  Don’t forget to squeeze in a little time for yourselves as well.

destination wedding

6. Guest Accommodations

This one can be tricky.  With the rise of Bed and Breakfasts and Air BnB, it sometimes defeats the purpose of a hotel.  If you’re looking at having people stay in the same place as you, then maybe a hotel block would be great for you instead.

The only issue with Air BnB is finding places that are available when you’re planning your wedding in Italy.  In that sense, a hotel block would just make more sense.  It really depends on how big or how small you want your guest list.

7. Pick an Epic Wedding Venue

This goes without saying, but there are so many wedding venues all across Italy.  At one point, Italy was giving away 100 castles for free.  There was a catch, that it had to be used to bring tourism to those locations.  The application process is closed and the Ministry of Tourism is currently reviewing their applicants.  We can definitely bet money on some of those 100 castles becoming hotels or wedding venues.  The cool thing is that there are already a bunch of wedding venues in Italy that are already available.

The cool thing is that there are already a bunch of castles that are established wedding venues in Italy.  I’m sure that there are other options as well off the beaten path.  You could always get married at a vineyard or a brewery.  Get married overseeing the Hills of Tuscany or the Amalfi Coast.  The options are endless.

8. Break Tradition

I say this simply because you don’t need 10 bridesmaids to go with you to your wedding in Italy.  You only need two witnesses and you’ll be good to go.  Instead of having one big day with a wedding portrait session stuck in between, consider having a day after session.  We want to make sure that you have the best wedding photos possible from your destination elopement.  You are eloping after all.  Make it epic.

destination elopement

9. Avoid All Inclusive “Destination Wedding Packages”

This is a pitfall that can screw you over in the long run.  It’s very easy to pay a company “x” amount of money to have everything that’s listed in a package.  In order to save money in the long run, it’s usually better to get vendors individually and with a wedding planner by your side for guidance.

A sharp wedding planner can sometimes negotiate the pricing on packages with wedding vendors.  Event planners sometimes have access to exclusive pricing that is only offered because of the established relationship that they have with each other.  Make sure you go with a wedding planner and not a venue coordinator.

10. Plan Activities Afterwards

You are in Italy!  Why wouldn’t you want to go sightseeing afterward?  Go see Pompeii or the Colosseum.  Spend some time after the destination wedding seeing the country and all it has to offer.  Ravello is beautiful during any season and Pompeii is a ghost town if you go off season.  If Marta and I did it all over again, and we were in Italy, then we would totally plan a destination elopement.  We’d then spend the rest of our time there celebrating our honeymoon.

Bonus Tips

Spend time NOT Planning

This wedding tip can apply to traditional weddings, destination elopements, or destination weddings.  If you’re planning a wedding in Italy or anywhere else, you might feel a little stress when it comes to the planning process.  It’s easy to fall into the hustle and bustle of trying to plan all the time.  Make time for just the two of you.

couple on the amalfi coast in positano italy wedding photograph

Search for MUAs Early

In Positano, apparently, there are only three professional Wedding MakeUp Artists.  They are extremely busy and have very little time.  Every wedding market is different locally.  It might be different in Florence or Rome.  Regardless, you want to make sure that you book your MUA early on just in case.  They tend to get booked up fast.

Go Seasonal with Decor and Floral

This is more of a money saving technique as well as a local decor one.  Italy has a knack for really incorporating their local floral in their decor in their homes and outdoors.  You can save money while planning your wedding in Italy by simply going seasonal on the decor and floral.  It’ll help with making it feel more Italian overall whether it’s a destination elopement or destination wedding.

Small Roads

This has nothing to with the actual destination wedding planning process.  When Marta and I went to photograph a destination elopement in Italy, we had no idea that the roads were going to be that small.  I mean, people have told us that before in the past, but this was a whole different level from what we expected.

A lot of the roads were built on the sides of cliffs.  We recommend renting a Smart Car or a Mini Cooper if possible.  If you’re up for it, get a moped.  It’ll make the travel much easier, especially in heavily trafficked areas.

positano italy cliff-side


You can have an awesome wedding in Italy with the right planning and help.  It’s very easy to look and think that a destination wedding is out of your wedding budget.  With the right wedding planner and the right help, you can have an amazing destination elopement in Italy.  Choose your wedding date wisely.

Keep in mind the hotel or Air BnB’s that are available.  Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.  Your wedding should be something that should be remembered for as one of the best days of your lives.  It should be the beginning of your journey through life together.  Might as well start with a bang.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.  Your wedding should be something that should be remembered for as one of the best days of your lives.  It should be the beginning of your journey through life together.  Might as well start with a bang.

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