How could I miss a food blog post? By now you have probably gathered I am a massive foodie, and quite obsessed with quality, organic produce! I could talk for months about Italian food, and how much of it is still traditionally farmed and cooked inspite of the modern, commercial farming methods that have been adopted throughout much of Europe. Italy remains a country of agriculture, farmers, organic produce where recipes passed from generation to generation. Our food culture is our heritage to protect, and my mission is to share it with my lovely couples! So, here’s what to expect from your wedding breakfast:
The food experience for anyone who gets married in Italy begins the moment you arrive – if you and your wedding party are staying at the same venue the night before, then you can expect a rich welcome party: it might be a pool-side barbeque made of organic meats, cheeses and breads from the area, or a pizza/pasta party! Salivating yet?
On your wedding day the food marathon will start after your ceremony, typically with a standing ‘antipasti’ reception: this consists of a series of starter ‘stations’ scattered all over the place. You will find cold meats, bruschetta, fried vegetables, crostini, cheese, and much more!
Following the starter reception the guests will typically be invited to their tables, for their 2 or 3-course meal: usually one or two pasta dishes (these reflect the produce of the area, so for example if you are in Tuscany you may well have wild boar pappardelle, or if you are near Rome you can indulge in some bucatini all’Amatriciana!), and a ‘secondo piatto’ (second dish) consisting of meat or fish with vegetables (again this will change based on your location and your choices).
At this point you’d better have some space left for dessert because Italians like to splurge on an array of desserts, served as a buffet at the end of the dinner! Some examples of beautiful Italian desserts: Tiramisu’, Cassata Siciliana, Rum Baba’, Fruit tarts, Mimosa, Millefoglie, and many more!!
All this accompanied by the tastiest Proseccos and wines from the area.
I believe in following your instincts, including when choosing a wedding planner. They will have to match with your personalities, share your values, and believe in your vision! I will give you an example: if you are a couple who has a limited budget, maybe you don’t like traditional weddings, and you would like something a bit outside the box, maybe it isn’t the best idea to hire a luxury wedding planner!
Please remember YOU are the main characters in this story, and your planner is working for YOU! So find a planner who LISTENS to you, and who you CONNECT with!
I believe that you will know when you have found ‘the one’ (a bit like a wedding dress!). Having said that, it is essential that you go to a potential wedding planner interview prepared. I have listed a series of good questions you can ask a wedding planner during a first meeting/ interview:
Are you available on our chosen wedding date?
What type of weddings do you like to work on? (discover what type of planner they are; luxury, budget, alternative, boho, country etc. to make sure you share the same vision)
What services do you offer? ( the complete package, bespoke service, on-the-day coordination etc.)
What exactly is included in your wedding packages? (how many meetings, phone calls, etc. this is very important as your idea of ‘complete’ service can be very different from someone else’s!)
Do you only book your recommended vendors, or do we have the freedom to choose someone else if we like them?
How many weddings will you be working at the same time? (You don’t want to hire someone who has too much on their plate at the same time! A good wedding planner will make sure you feel completely secure and relaxed on your run-up-to and on your wedding day).
Do you provide wedding day coordination? If so, what does that include? (Sometimes all you need is a hand coordinating your big day: if so, make sure you understand what exactly they plan to do to make sure the most important day of your life goes smoothly! Will they provide you, guests and vendors with a timeline sheet to make sure everything runs on time? Will they take care of paying your vendors? Make sure you get into as much detail as you can think of!)
Will you provide us with a contract (the answer should be YES!)
Will you invoice us for everything, or do we pay vendors directly? (Usually, I advise my clients to pay vendors directly. This way it is easier to see where your budget is going)
Are you a wedding planner or a planner and designer as well? (is she/he going to take care of logistics only, or also help with the overall design and vision?)
How do you charge for your services? (percentage, hourly, or flat rate?)
Will there be additional expenses on top of your rate? (Find out if things like travel, accommodation and anything extra are included in their fee or not – and if not, are they going to be invoiced separately?)
Do you accept commissions from your vendors?
How much deposit is required, and when is the last payment due?
When it comes to getting married in Italy I find that there are definite trends in the industry and amongst couples regarding picking the right destination.
There is no doubt Italy is a country of many stunning regions and cities, and most of all, they are all so different and varied!
From sea, to mountains, to stunning lakes and countryside, it can be daunting to choose the right place where to say the most important ‘yes’ of your life, but I have selected a few popular destinations for you to understand which would be the perfect place for you and your partner. Enjoy!
Tuscany Tuscany is certainly at the top of most couples’ desires when it comes to picking an Italian wedding destination. With its rolling hills, vineyards and incredible produce, Tuscany will appeal mostly to couples who like to savour the simple pleasures in life, like great food and wine, nature, beautiful scenery and gorgeous historic towns.
From the ‘Maremma’, to the famous ‘Chiantishire’ and ‘Val D’Orcia’, couples will find infinite choices for a truly typical Tuscan wedding. Probably the most popular choice for a venue in Tuscany is in ‘Agriturismo’: these are working farms with accommodation and restaurants on-site.
These are very often family-run, they will not blow your budget, and most of all offer a real insight of country living in this region. Another popular choice is the Tuscan Villa: often more expensive than the Agriturismo, these are stunning old residences converted in Hotels or holiday rentals, where you can experience the luxury this region has to offer.
Amalfi Coast The stunning Amalfi Coast is a Unesco World Heritage Site, and definitely at the top of our list for Italian weddings. If the sea is what you are looking for, look no further!
The picturesque backdrops are world-famous, with blue seas, enchanting whitewashed towns and the sweet smell of lemon blossom. The food on the Amalfi Coast is what you would expect from the south of Italy: delicious fresh produce, seafood, and vegetables that will leave you wanting more. The favourite destinations are seaside villas or hotels, built high on the side of a hill or a mountain, with views you will never forget.
The Lakes in the North of Italy Very popular with Brits are the lakes in the North of Italy: the most popular being Lake Maggiore, Como and Garda.
This is certainly one of the most romantic options for a wedding in Italy: with lush gardens and stunning villas there is nothing better if you are planning a luxury wedding, this is a place that will make you feel like you are a celebrity on a film set!
The Lakes have an array of the finest villas and hotels in Italy, most of them dating back 16th century. After your ceremony, you could hop on a speedboat for a trip around the lake, then arrive in style for your drink reception on a historic terrace with blue water and greenery as your only view. Salute!
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Laura Miranda, a UK based singer with bags and bags of wedding and event experience (she is OF COURSE a phenomenal singer!!).
Laura is a founding member of LDN Entertainment, a boutique company made of over 50 of London’s top session musicians. She gave me an insight into what it’s like working as a wedding and event singer, and most importantly she answered some of the burning questions newly engaged couples are faced with when having to choose music for their wedding day!
What advice would you give couples who are choosing a wedding band? What are the most important questions they can ask, and how do they make sure they are booking someone trustworthy?
Before choosing your band, it’s really important to set aside a realistic budget for all of your entertainment. In the UK £500 will not get you a high-end pro band, it might get you a mid-range DJ, so be really honest with yourself and decide what style of Band you want, as that’s when you will need to think about budget and expectations.
What are the most popular choices and trends for a ceremony set at the moment?
Ceremonies are what we are all there for ultimately, so making it as magical and special is always key. We have seen a bigger trend for string sections playing brides down the aisle, and mini Gospel style choirs for songs within the ceremonies and on the final walk out.
I was asked last year if I would sing in a couple’s ceremony where the bride had no idea, nor the guests. The groom arranged it in secret, it was a really amazing moment. He chose a song that was special to just them.
To be fair even I had a hard time holding back tears when I saw her reaction! Love those special wedding moments.
When you are booked for a wedding, do you usually provide all the electrical equipment and sound system, or is that something the couple will need to outsource?
90% of the time this is all part of booking the band. LDN Entertainment has a professional sound crew that’s all part of your overall fee. They not only make everything sound great, they are trained and on hand to deal with any technical issues that can arise in venues. So the band can get on with their job of giving you and your guests an amazing party!
Are you happy to work with the couple on your repertoire, and would you be willing to learn new songs if needed?
One of the things LDN Entertainment pride ourselves on is having that one on one time with couples, to go over the style of music they would like and making any adjustments or requests they have on song choice. We often will play the 1st dance for couples, it’s a special moment and we like to get it right. Some of my favourite 1st dances are the ones where couples have a budget for a string section! its adds this almost Hollywood romance touch and always adds a few tears!
What information do you need from the couple before the wedding day in order to be completely prepared for the event?
It is mainly the things we have spoken about in the contracts, so: – Timings for the day and set times – Venue location and information – Parking and accessibility – Special requests – A point of contact: this is normally a best man or someone that is easily contactable in case of emergency or issues.
Million-dollar question: full band, DJ (or both?) for the evening reception?
I would say if your budget allows go for both. To be honest, an iPod playlist in the band break normally clears your dance floor, you want to keep the party vibe going. So, having a DJ is a great way to keep the energy up. LDN entertainment have an option for a ‘in house’ DJ who will arrive with the band so it’s all taken care of. But honestly, it’s all about what you can afford.
What is usually included in your fee?
The basic inclusion in our fee, is whatever size band you have booked, 6 piece up to the full show band of horn section, 4 singers, string section… the skies are the limit. Each fee is tailored to you and your budget.
Do you travel abroad?
Yes, LDN Entertainment travel worldwide, we have had fun playing for weddings and corporate events all over Europe, from Spain to Germany and in between as far as Doha in the Middle East. LDN loves a good abroad gig…who doesn’t..lol…
How has Covid-19 impacted your work?
It’s been really tough not going to lie. It has impacted everyone in the Arts and Entertainment sector, our main role is to bring people together to have fun and create memories. But in a world of being told to stay apart, it has been impossible.
We’ve had to work with many couples who have had their special days taken from them, and done everything we can as a company to help with accommodating new plans and helping them reschedule events for 2021 and beyond.
What is the best piece of advice for a newly engaged couple having to choose the music for their wedding day?
We all have ideas of how we want things to go when we organise anything from a simple dinner party, family BBQ, or to the all-important big day. Choosing music is really important for any event.
Looking through what any band offers as setlist options is the perfect place to start. If you want to add anything extra on top of the pre-selected band playlists just ask.
But I will always say listen to the advice you get from the band or manager, we do weddings full time, we have years of experience knowing what works and what doesn’t.
Like most people we are considered part of a certain era when it comes to growing up, so as the generations move on so does the music choice, it’s less Motown and more Garage, Club, and 90s/2000s classics.
We still make sure 70’s and 80’s are covered for the parents and older members of the family and for those brilliant sing-along moments!
Just don’t make your music choice too personal to your own taste: you want everyone on the dance floor and finishing the night with a ‘Wow that was one of the best weddings I have been to!’