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How To Plan A Summer Wedding in Italy

8 easy tips to help you plan the perfect summer wedding

If you are planning an outdoor summer wedding in Italy you must take the weather into consideration. Italian summer weddings are the best but Italian summer temperatures are an important factor when designing and planning how the day is going to unfold. Being a destination wedding planner, all my couples come from abroad and are often not used to the warm weather. I always try to guide them but sometimes my advice is met by a lot of resistance when it comes to adjusting the wedding programme to the weather. I spent many years spent battling with brides and grooms wanting to make the most of the day without taking into account the fierce Italian sun only to regret it on the day. So I can assure you that these 8 easy tips will help you plan the perfect summer wedding in Italy without a sweat!

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Photo by Marco Vegni

1. Always start a summer wedding ceremony late.

If you are getting married in the first half of June, you might be able to get away with a 5pm start. Anytime from end of June until the end of August you should not, under any circumstances, start before 6pm. The ceremony should start when the sun start setting and, if you are lucky, you will get a nice evening breeze. Over the years, I have witnessed my share of sunstrokes and even fainting brides at the altar. So if you are planning an outdoor summer wedding ceremony in Italy, this is the most valuable piece of advice any wedding planner will ever give you.

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Photo by Marco Vegni

2. Serve fresh water and lemonade before the ceremony.

It can be a simple tray service but I usually prefer to set up a nice welcome corner to greet guests upon arrival. Plenty of fresh pink and yellow lemonade in glass water jugs are the way to go. Set them on a rustic wooden table with a few scattered lemons, olive or rosemary branches and you will make a lovely drink station. This is a nice gesture will help keep everyone cool and hydrated before the ceremony. Remember, no alcohol until the cocktail reception!

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3. Opt for light summer wedding dishes.

At Italian weddings, there is always an abundance of food (and drinks!). The aperitivo (the Italian cocktail reception) is usually a triumph of delicious finger food and food corners. A temptation that is difficult to resist! By the time they sit down for dinner, most of your guests will already be stuffed. Such a culinary experience is of course amazing but, in warm weather, it is important to choose dishes that are fresh and easy to digest. Whatever your preferences or dietary requirements try to stay away from heavy dishes. Opt for fish rather than meat if you can and make sure to include fresh summer vegetables and fruit.

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Photo by Marco Vegni

4. Ensure there is plenty of shade.

This is usually easy to achieve during the reception by setting up lounge areas under trees and dotting the garden with big parasols. I tend to organize a venue recce closer to the date to understand where the sun will be at that particular time of the day and draft a set up plan accordingly. However, this is not always possible for an outdoor summer wedding ceremony. On the one hand because big garden parasols as part of the ceremony set up are quite a dreadful sight, trust me. On the other hand, because all your guests are most likely going to be seated. So it will be virtually impossible to design a ceremony set up that will provide natural shade for all of them.

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Photo by Camera Hannah

5. Have small parasols and fans ready for your guests.

Keeping cool during the ceremony is paramount as your guests are going to be sitting, fully clothed, in the sun for the entire duration. Unless your ceremony is going to take place in a shaded area, fans and small parasols are a nice touch that gets the job done. They can be easily outsourced online. And because they come in all different styles, colours and materials, you can coordinate your parasols and fans with your outdoor summer wedding theme. I like to make a feature of them by placing parasols, fans, orders of service, petal cones and all ceremony paraphernalia in baskets or crates at the ceremony entrance.

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Photo by Annalisa Bombarda & Marco Vegni

6. Keep the ceremony short.

This piece of advice is actually valid for any season, but it is fundamental for a summer wedding in Italy! Long wedding ceremonies are exhausting both for the bride & groom and for their guests. Long summer wedding ceremonies can be a circle of hell. They can become a health hazard as your guests will be sitting in the summer heat throughout the ceremony. Plan the ceremony with your celebrant to introduce the readings, vows and rites that truly matter to you. Your wedding planner will then time it and coordinate it with musicians and wedding party to ensure that it will run smoothly.

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Photo by Camera Hannah

7. Choose seasonal flowers and do not leave them in the sun for too long.

Generally speaking, flowers that are in season are also built to survive the summer heat and will wilt less easily. Try to use seasonal flowers as much as possible and instruct your florist not to set them up too far in advance. I usually time the set up for ceremony and reception with the florist. When possible, I also prepare a room at the venue where all flower arrangements will be kept cool until the last minute. Always remember to keep your bridal bouquet refrigerated or in a cool dry place.

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Photo by Marco Vegni

8. Dress accordingly and stay cool.

Even if you are the bride, you must take the weather into consideration. You do not want to be sweating at your own wedding. Choose a style and material that is you but that is also suitable for the summer season. Try to stay away from multiple heavy skirts (remember that you will have to carry them around all day!). Favour flowy lines and light fabrics. Before the ceremony try to rest and stay cool. I usually prepare a bridal room at the venue where the bride can wait and relax with her bridesmaids.

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Photo by Marco Vegni

And now enjoy your outdoor summer wedding in Italy. It’s going to be a huge success!

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