I have put together a helpful list of the main elements that you will need to consider when budgeting and an estimation of the costs you could incur in for an Italian wedding. Enjoy!
Venue, external catering, food provided by the venue
For all weddings the highest costs are those of the venue and food/drink. In Italy, historically food is the most important part of any celebration and the good news is that you will get a lot of it! Costs for your menu vary but you can expect to pay between 60 and 150 euro per person. Both internal and external companies will charge roughly the same amount so you can budget based on these estimations even if your chosen venue does not have an on-site restaurant.
Some venues do not charge a venue hire fee (commonly if you are already paying for accommodation and menu price) however sometimes you can expect to pay a fee for exclusivity of the venue during your wedding day this figure will change depending on the the venue but a reasonable estimate would be 1000 euro for a whole day to have the entire property for your party. If you decide to hire a venue with no internal catering, staff or accommodation you will be paying a venue hire fee, which can hugely vary depending on the season, location, size etc.
Wedding cake: Depending on the size and style expect to pay between 7 and 10 euro per person. Many venues will have this included in their menu as a traditional (but still delicious) cake like a Millefoglie or a Fruit tart.
Open Bar: This really depends on our deal with the venue, but it can either be included in your menu price, or you can set a number of hours for the open bar after dinner for an agreed price (usually around 500 per hour).
Ceremony / Documents: If you decide to get legally married in Italy, aside from the cost of the ceremony (between 800 and 1500 euros depending on where you are getting married) you will also have to budget for the ‘Nulla osta’ which costs 50 euro, plus 15 euro for a legal stamp. You will also need a translator for the ceremony (good news: I can be your translator so one thing ticked off the list!). If you opt for the (much simpler) symbolic ceremony, then your only cost will be for the celebrant (between 500-800 euro).
Photographer: The best day of your life deserves a good photographer! Please, do not try to save your budget on this. Choose a photographer that matches your personalities! You can expect to pay between 700 and 5000 euro, but the average spend is usually around 2000 euro.
Flowers: Flowers in Italy are not cheap, this is because they are almost exclusively imported from countries such as Holland and Belgium (Italy does not farm flowers). Expect to pay a minimum of 700 euro for a ‘basic’ service (table centrepiece, bouquet, simple ceremony decorations).
Entertainment: When it comes to music, there are 3 key moments:
Your ceremony. Are you going to use real musicians or recorded music?
The reception: this is where most Italian couples decide to hire a band, to have as entertainment whilst people arrive at the venue and mingle with a glass of fizz and some antipasti.
After dinner. Here you have the choice of either continuing with the band, hire a D.J or (and this is where you can really save your money) use an ipod with all your favourite songs or a special playlist. Whatever your final choice will be you can estimate to spend between 1000 and 2000 euro for a 5-piece band and between 500 and 1000 euro for a D.J set.
Hair and Make-up: Depending on the type of hair, what you want done and the length of your hair you can expect to pay anything between 200 and 1000 euro. I always advise my brides to take a short trip to Italy before the wedding to have a hair and make-up trial if choosing an Italian stylist!
Travel: It is essential to budget travelling in when thinking about a destination wedding. Although flying to Italy shouldn’t be too expensive when purchasing tickets in advance. For example a flight from London Stansted with Ryan Air to Rome Ciampino can be as cheap as 30 euro, but expect to pay as much as 300 euro if bought at the last minute, or during specific times of the year (Christmas, Easter holidays etc).
Accommodation: Depending on the number of guests invited, and whether you decide to cover this expense for everyone or not, this cost can demand a big chunk of any budget. A lot of the venues I work with, like farms or agriturismi, will have a minimum night stay required (usually 2 or 3). In my experience, weddings couples usually want everyone to stay in the same place for the duration of the celebration, so these kinds of venues can work really well. Prices will obviously vary depending on the venue, but a realistic figure for a double room for one night would be between 50 and 200 euro.
Transportation: This refers to any kind of transportation used when you get to Italy from rental cars or coaches for guests, and even if the couple wishes to make a big entrance to the party in a vintage wedding car, you can expect to pay around 150-200 euro to hire a medium size car for a week. For classic wedding cars you can expect to pay between 500 and 1000 euro for the day.
Stationery: The average amount that UK couples set aside for wedding stationery is just below £300 however, this as everything else, very much depends on your personal budget and choice.