A quaint catholic church, winding cobble stone streets, fishing boats bobbing in the bay and local passersby chattering...these are all things that come into mind when I think destination wedding on an Italian island, bellissimo!
So how does one go about arranging a destination wedding?
Well, I live on the island so technically the part where the bride has to deal with the extra stress of organising from the other side of the world is off my shoulders, however, on behalf of my guests, this is still technically a destination wedding for them.
Legalities and paperwork:
There are two ways to do this: Firstly, you could go to your local city hall, do your "I Do's", sign the papers and get it all out of the way before the wedding. As unromantic as this may sound so bluntly put, it saves alot of hassle and stress in the long run. The alternate is to do the whole shabang here in Ischia which involves alot more paperwork and preparation but at the end of the day, Ischia will always remain a part of your marriage and your memories. One thing you learn quickly in Italy is, with the right contacts...anything is possible.
Italy is well known for their exsquisite wedding gowns by designers such as Sottero, and my ultimate favourite, Alberta Ferretti! My dream was to walk down the aisle in one of Ferretti's spring 2013 bridal collection dresses, however, destination weddings do come with their sacrifices. I opted to having mine done in South Africa as it was something special I could share with my mom. We were lucky enough to have found Gerrit Pienaar, who was able to transform a picture of a classic into a beautiful dress.
The guest list:
Family and close friends is definately the way to go. My mom always said, if you haven't seen or heard from them for over a year, then you already know. However, its never an easy task! In the same token, if the list is never ending, its a small price to pay for being fortunate enough to have so many wonderful friends (but in this instance neither the budget nor my folks were in agreement). We both have big families, unfortunately, with the exchange of the Rand to the Euro, many of my loved ones will not be able to make the trip. This is something one will have to consider before making the decision to have a destination wedding as it is often not possible to have all your friends and family present for the special occasion.
Ideally, you should try to locate accommodation that is nearby the reception to save the extra hassles of transportation after the festivities. Some might not worry about it, but personally, if my guests have made the effort to be there I'd want to ensure that they are organised. Fortunately, my fiance has hotel accommodation on the restaurant property so many of the guests have opted to stay here and at the apartments down the road. We were thinking of hiring a bus to transport the guests to the church ceremony and then back to the restaurant for the reception?
The reception: Venue, Flowers, Music
Go for a venue where the setting adds to 80% of the charm as it will save you on extra costs for decor. In Ischia, many hotels and restaurants provide wedding venues. Some places offer wedding packages which saves you from trying to coordinate all the different services providers. Look at the websites and ask the following questions:
- Do they offer all inclusive wedding packages?
- What is the best time of the year: for weather, peak & low seasons
- What choices do they offer for table sizes and shapes and linen colours
- Chairs - colour, style
- Venue capacity
- Whether there its indoor, outdoor or both
- Bar arrangements
- Menu options
- Serving style options (i.e. plated or buffet)
- Can they quote for a cake
- What flowers are in season and can they quote for flowers
- Can they arrange the music of your choice or recommend someone to you
Depending on your religion you may choose to marry in a Catholic church or receive a blessing performed by a follower of your religion. There are some of the most beautiful churches in Ischia, all shapes and sizes, some on the sea, others up the mountain. If the church is not for you, another option is to be married on a sail boat with Ischia Castle as your backdrop... not bad huh!
The right time:
All places have their peak and off seasons which you can play around with if you're still juggling the budget. For instance, Ischia's low season is April - May and September - November, in which you could grab some great specials. In April and November, one is still chancing a wet and raining time which could put a damper on things, however I've been to a wedding in April and it was a lovely, sunny day. From June - August the weather is amazing: long, hot, sunny days however the prices do start to go up from June onward. August is the peak of the season which makes it very busy and very hot. The choice is all yours.