Today, I am lucky enough to have Stephanie from lealou  sharing a guest post about her fantastic destination wedding in Italy (seriously, how cool is that?!). Keep reading for Stephanie’s wedding day tips (and some fun pictures from her big day!). Thanks Stephanie for sharing your wisdom on the blog today.

Hi there! I’m Stephanie from lealou and I’m so excited to be hanging out with Tracey today to talk about weddings!

My husband and I celebrated our fifth anniversary last May and let me tell you – time flies. I know, I know it’s cliché, but add two little munchkins into the mix and it’ll be 15 years before we know it! Yikes!

When we were planning for the big day, we decided to take our nuptials over seas for something different. We had been to nine weddings the year before we got married and we were a bit burnt out. So instead of having our wedding in one of our home towns, we decided to take it to my husband’s father’s home country: Italy!

Now obviously there is some planning that goes into having a wedding like this, but I’m going to share some of our secrets that helped make this wedding trip a blast. Here it goes:

Hire a wedding planner

My husband and I can be pretty organized, but we didn’t want any details to slip through the cracks. When getting married in Italy in a civil service (versus Catholic), there are specific legal requirements you must have in order to seal the deal and it helps to have someone who knows what their doing, to handle this for you.

Also it was nice to have someone on the other side to plan and finalize the details for the day of the wedding. The last thing you need is extra stress when you’re trying to plan a trip! We had an idea of what we wanted and sent our planners ideas, photos and links to websites for inspiration. Although we were nervous at times about sending large amounts of cash for down payments etc. (make sure you get lots of references before you sign the contract!), it was amazing to see what the final result was and how close it was to our inspiration.

Keep the wedding list short

There are many pros and cons to getting married over seas and your wedding list is going to fall under both columns. The pros are that you’re going to have a small group of people to be with for a week; spending valuable time with them for a longer time than if you had to cram it all into one afternoon and night. The downside of course is that you just can’t invite everyone, and not everyone will want to come or will be able to afford to come.

This hit us pretty hard: my best friend had just had her first baby and didn’t feel comfortable travelling, while my husband’s best friend couldn’t come for various reasons. We missed them dearly, but it’s something we had to accept and it’s important not to harbour any ill will or bad feelings as a result. My best friend sent over a DVD of her speech and it was like she was there in the room with us. I was a mess of tears!

Plan extra outings for your guests

The wedding wasn’t the only thing we did with our guests. In fact, the extra outings were some of the best parts of our wedding week. Well first off, we all stayed in a Tuscan villa that had a pool so we could all hang out there, but we also planned a day of visiting three wineries, which was spectacular. We had a delicious lunch at the first winery where we all sat at a super long table eating a variety of amazing foods, while the others offered perfect wine and cheese pairings along with some local history lessons.

For our rehearsal dinner, we planned a pizza night at the villa, which had outdoor pizza ovens. My mouth is watering just thinking about it again! Everyone got to choose their toppings and the wedding planners hired local people to cook them for us.

Go on a honeymoon after the wedding week

If you can afford to do it, take an extra week or two to head out on a proper honeymoon with just the two of you. After a week spending so much time with your close friends and family, it’s nice to relax and be with your new husband or wife! My husband and I took an extra two weeks and drove down the east coast of Italy visiting little towns along the way, ending up in Sicily where his Dad was born. It’s really important to take that extra bit of time for yourselves if you can do it.

I’ll end it there! My point for this post is not to get you thinking about food or even Italy (although it sure got me yearning to go back!); my point is to think outside the box when planning your destination wedding. Don’t be afraid to bring up a new idea to your wedding planner. Ours had never done the wine tour before and thought it was a great idea. It will help make your wedding a memory your guests will talk about for years to come.

Thanks so much to Tracey for having me here to talk about our wedding. Best wishes Tracey on your big day!


Find more Stephanie here: Blog // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram
All photographs by: Jennifer Kirk Photography

Written by Tracey