Juliet's Balcony, Verona, Italy

Romeo, Romeo, Where for art thou?

If you are following my blog, you know I haven’t posted regularly lately.  One reason was I took a well-deserved break to enjoy a trip with the Association of Bridal Consultants to Verona, Italy to learn more about weddings in Italy.  Granted, there are a few “quirks,” a little red tape,  and many answers to our questions to venue representatives and city officials were, “it depends…, ” meaning it’s very important to have a relationship with your vendors and that most things are negotiable.  We also learned that if you aren’t married in the church, you are required to be legally married in a city site, such as the town hall.  Fortunately, Verona’s town hall is beautiful, but the city also owns Juliet’s house, Juliet’s tomb, and another wedding venue in the city.  That means that most outdoor wedding ceremonies at castles and villas are essentially reenactments.  In Verona, they now have one privately owned venue that is rented to the City of Verona for ceremonies so that wedding ceremonies can be conducted in the villa.  I must tell you, the venues are beyond belief!  If you enjoy rich history and architecture, I can honestly say that I have never been so overwhelmed with beauty.  Top 5 questions/concerns about getting married in Italy:
1. I don’t speak Italian. 
A. Neither do I, and while you could get in a situation where no one spoke English, we found that most Italians and Europeans speak more English than we expected.  Most signs were in both languages or you could figure it out, like “toilette.”  Most of the venue websites can be translated to English with the click of the mouse.  Yes, you’ll have to have items like your birth certificate and divorce decree translated to Italian for the court, 2 of my ABC Italian colleagues are licensed to do that, so no worries there, either.  Dinner setup at Bevilacqua Castle
2. I’m not excited about “roughing it” without modern conveniences.  

A. Even the most historic venues have modern facilities – probably most were more modern than most American facilities.  Nearly every bathroom had limited and full flush options to save water – where do you see that here?  We had dinner at one castle that is still using the 16th century fireplaces to heat the rooms and we were comfortable, and another castle that could provide a fire breather (who was also a poet) for reception entertainment. We experienced the best wedding sites in Verona and the surrounding areas.  Most hotels are either ultra modern or tastefully renovated/restored. 
3. What about driving?
A. Once you get comfortable using trains and public transportation, you probably don’t need to drive. You might want a bicycle to get around if you don’t enjoy walking, but you really need to slow down or let someone else drive so you can enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells.  Yes, traffic is a little crazier in the big cities like Rome and Naples, but you can take Eurorail, local trains, and Metro and have only occasional need for a taxi. In Sorrento, we hired a private driver to take us through Positano and the Amalfi coast.  Spending the day with a local who spoke some English – and my daughter who spoke some English was the most enriching, wonderful experience.

Villa Della Torre

Now this is a fireplace!

4. Isn’t it expensive? 
A. Once you get comfortable with converting dollars to Euros – there’s an app for that, it’s really not bad.  Food is fresh and wine is plentiful – you’d spend as much at Disney World.  The major difference is you get lots of food for the price whereas in the U.S., we eat fast and don’t enjoy the dining experience. 
5. Are the people friendly?  Do they like/dislike Americans? 
A. Working with established ABC wedding professionals, the city of Verona rolled out the red carpet for us.  It’s all about establishing relationships – not unlike the U.S. We had classes on the requirements for weddings and met with all the city officials in Verona. We could not have been more welcome. I am totally comfortable working with my Italian colleagues to help U.S. brides get married in Italy, now not even just Verona, but almost anywhere in the country.
To summarize, there are more similarities than differences, and a professional consultant can help you work through those differences – allow plenty of time, and be flexible. That’s why we are being awarded the Association of Bridal Consultants first “Destination Wedding Specialist – Italy” designation.