I do in Italy
Will be Wedding & Events explain why Italy could be your perfect destination wedding location
An azure sea laps at your bare toes. The gentle morning breeze carries with it the warmth of a Mediterranean sun, to kiss your bare shoulders and dance on the radiant white fabric of your dress - and the smile of your new husband. Welcome to Italy, home of the dream wedding.
Many couples choose Italy as a wedding destination - Rome is famously stunning, and Venice spectacular, but the ‘heel’ of Italy’s boot is an insider’s wonderful secret that holds countless little known gems. Best of all, they remain relatively unknown as ideal wedding locations, meaning that, for the happy couple, there is no risk of feeling like you’re on some kind of bridal conveyer belt. There’s no risk of bumping into another English wedding party (it certainly has been known in other, more popular locations).
Be adventurous, be unique; get wed in the heel of Italy’s boot. We’re here to give you our very best insider tips for how to do it….
Let us first explore Salento, Apulia - the very heel of the boot. The character of this coastal village is light and breezy, with a clear, bright sea to rival the Caribbean. It’s a fun place, laced with traditions and fizzing with adventure, making it perfect for a light-hearted and idyllic wedding experience. So what are our insider recommendations for this region?
1) Pushing the boat out…
Imagine your bare feet upon the sun-warmed deck of a beautiful antique boat, your dress flowing in the sea breeze as you say your vows in front of a small gathering of guests on board. As far as we’re aware, this hasn’t been seen by the friendly locals before, so you could enjoy the satisfaction of knowing you were first to hold your nuptuals on one of their boats. If, however, you’d always pictured your ceremony in a church, perhaps you might hold an unforgettable reception afterwards on a ‘barca magnagrecia’ - a large, luxurious yacht to charter the waters with views of Salento’s magnificent coast.
If you’re more of a ‘landlubber’, but still adore being near the sea, then a ceremony in the port of Tricase could be for you. Picture holding hands with your new husband and smiling for photos with the backdrop of a vivid pink sunset, while pastel-coloured fishing boats bob upon the gentle swell of the aquarmarine waters. Bliss.
2) The Florence of the south…
Florence is beloved worldwide for it’s splendid buildings and lavish cuisine. Lecce, commonly known as the ‘Florence of the South’, is every bit as stunning. Its baroque architecture, built in the dazzling local limestone, ensures a surprise around every street corner for you and your wedding party. Buildings drip with elaborate carvings and every turn you take will lead you to a gorgeous ‘piazza’, or square, replete with an ornate momument and, naturally, café serving delicious food and drinks.
3) Dance like no-one is watching…
One of the most wonderful things about Salento is its enormous array of festivals, held throughout the summer, giving you a taste of the local flavour and spirit of the region. Salento is famous for a particular dance, the pizzica. This passionate courtship dance sees the man attempting to hold the attention of the woman, getting close but never touching, who picks up her long skirts just high enough to show her ankles and how she hops from foot to foot. The lack of contact between dancers, swirling of skirts and fast-paced music means you can’t help but be swept up in the passion and emotion of the dance – maybe enough to have a go yourself…
4) Salento’s Maldives
Words cannot truly describe the beauty of Salento’s sea; pictures barely do it justice. The only option is to experience it for yourself – allow your body to be cradled by the silk of the bright blue, restorative warm waters. Imagine the bliss of recuperating from a decadent wedding ceremony here, watching the waves caress the soft white sand as you recline on a sunlounger. After a tiring day soaking up the rays of the Mediterrenan, enjoy feasting at night on fresh fish from the area, caught that day and grilled simpy with local olive oil.
5) A unique wedding venue…
In much the same way that England has suddenly sprung up with ‘converted barns’, Salento now houses an array of beautifully converted ‘Masserias’. Like just in the UK, these were once common farm houses, overlooked by Italians as basic and unappealing. The last decade has seen these buildings converted into luxurious guesthouses, some into more rustic B&Bs – either way providing an original wedding venue, surrounded by olive groves, orange trees and warm, clear air of the Italian hills.
Romagna lies further north to Salento, also on the coast. Where we described Salento as fizzing and light, picture this region as rich and luxuriant. There is a wealth of activity on offer, that will prove restorative for both your body and soul. Here are some of the hidden delights Romagna has to offer…
1) Queen for a day
The Medieval castles of Romagna mean that this dreams of a fairytale wedding can come true. There are many grand castles to choose from, but let’s look at Rocca di Imola. Its breathtaking, majesterial walls, turrets and coats of armour create a true, romantic vision – celebrating within these ancient walls would make any couple feel like a king and queen for the day.
2) The birthplace of Italian cuisine
That’s right – we have the ancestors of Romagna to thank for dishes beloved across the world – spaghetti bolognese, lasagne, tortellini…we could go on! It is unquestionable: if a region is feted by the Italians for its gastronomy, you can be guarunteed the finest food imaginable will grace your wedding feast. And while you enjoy the rest of your stay, sit and sip locally produced wine in one of the many family-run restaurants, savouring the aromas while chefs preparing culinary magic.
3) Saddle up…
Romagna is home to incredible, panoramic views, its verdant hills providing the perfect place to explore on two feet or, if you prefer, four hooves. Feel the freedom that being in the saddle can bring with your husband by your side, allowing you to soak up the invigorating energy this beautiful land emanates as the midday sun radiates onto the lush green meadows of Colline Imolesi. Some of you may be experienced riders, able to gallop off into an Italian sunset with your man by your side – but for those eager to try yet with a little less experience, there are friendly companies who will accompany you on a sedate trek and frequent stops allowing you to soak up the beauty of Romagna’s hills.
4) Painted city
Dozza is a city like no other. Every two years, they hold their ‘festival of the painted wall’, where artists from around the world paint upon the walls of the houses of the Italian commune. The result? Every street is an adventure; a new discovery waiting to be found. Subtle, moving pictures grace a house here, graphic, fun images in primary colours spring up next door. It’s akin to the thrill of unwrapping a new present at every turn, and a completely unique setting, perhaps, for your wedding photos. Just another example of the hidden treasures in Italy’s heel.
5) The formula for your perfect wedding…
Romagna is famous for its food, its scenery, and its stunning towns (I just wish we had time to talk about the exquisite Capital of Mosaic, Ravenna). But did you know that it also houses the emininent Formula 1 racetrack, Imola Circuito Enzo e Dino Ferrari? Enjoy the spectacle of Italy’s celebrities amassing to watch the world’s finest drivers compete on the famous racetrack, feeling the rush of adrenaline and fear as they compete at record speeds.
Salento and Romagna may differ in terms of scenery, cuisine and architecture, but both have all the ingredients required to create an utterly original, dream wedding. Take the famously phenomenal cuisine, made with fresh produce ripened in the clear, warm Italian air. Then add the people of these regions, who provide the magic - their ancient traditions weaving throughout the individual streets and architecture. The vastly varying scenery and gorgeous climate add the glamour needed to make this the ultimate wedding destination. When these all come together, they create what makes Italy singularly special - it’s very soul.
Will Be Wedding & Events, www.willbeweddingevents.com, firstname.lastname@example.org