After spending a total of 3 months in beautiful Italy in the past 3 years, I have met the most incredible wedding planners in Naples, Italy. Gisena Morra Wedding & Events. No, really. They are the most prominent planners here and are busy around the clock. They allowed Mia and myself to stay with them while we were playing locals for the past several weeks and I have been soaking up lots of knowledge on how to plan a successful wedding in this gorgeous city…or Italy, overall. Let me tell you my secret. Don’t hire a planner from the states, go to the source, my friends. This is very difficult to say, because I can plan a wedding in the middle of Antarctica with my mittens tied behind my back. And because I want any excuse to come back to this amazing country. But my job is to ensure you have the best wedding planning experience, and Italians just do things different. It is not like getting married in the Caribbean or Mexico where tourists take over and it is completely Americanized. They are old-world and old-school. Our wedding rules are very different, and I have seen first hand that these planners are working around the clock to keep up with their vendors high demands. Here are a few tips I can share if you are looking to have an international wedding in Italy.
1. Do not fall in a tourist trap:
If you flaunt that you are an American getting married in Italy, they will take full advantage. The best thing to do is have your Italian wedding planner make the calls so they can negotiate in their own way and actually give your budget a fighting chance. They can also do it in person, and not be bullied over the phone.
2. Don’t expect them to do things like we do in the states:
Americans eat dinner between 5 and 7 pm. Italians eat dinner between 9 and 11pm. Enough said…
3. Find someone who is well linked
Unlike the states, there is a big difference between a planner from the city “Naples,” and one from a smaller area, like the Almafi coast. Planners from the city know vendors from all around the country, because they have had to work with them. Planners that are strategic to just one area, only know vendors in that one small space and are known to only have a relationship with a few in each category. So price and overall concept will come down to the few people they trust.
4. Hire a local planner. And make sure they speak english!
When I first came to Naples, Italy 3 years ago, I sent an email out to 5 different planners in the area. Only one responded. Gisena. I figured out why when we sat down for coffee. No one else spoke english!!
5. Give your guests a fighting chance
There are so many things that can occur when your guests travel to a foreign country to celebrate your love. One thing you don’t want to happen is a miscommunication that can end with hurt feelings or Italian jail time (I just watched Locked up abroad and it freaked me out!). Your local planners will not only suggest and reserve restaurants for their stay, but ensure that your guests have an agenda of activities and contact with a local in the event something happens or questions arise. Unless you have been to the area and have seen all there is to do, your suggestions and connections will be sorely limited.