A Tuscan treat is in order for the lucky guests attending our beautiful bride-to-be Lara Battigelli and her handsome Fiancé’s wedding. Here at Love Ellie Bridal we have been following Lara’s Instagram page (@laras.bites) long before their engagement, her content on mouth-watering food and exotic travels is amazing!
Lara said “Yes to the dress” with us in February and she looked incredible! We cannot wait for you to see her!!! But for now, we found out a little more about how Lara and her fiancé went about planning their dream wedding abroad. Enjoy the read x
What's the best part of planning a destination wedding?
I love that we have made loads of nice memories going around and scouting venues and then re-visiting for site visit & menu tasting once we secured a venue. We got to explore Italy and really find a place that felt like us. It really made the trips special and memorable. I also love that every one of our friends & family are viewing our wedding as a holiday and a time to just let their hair down. People seem to be making the wedding a holiday for themselves, which is great. All we want for our wedding weekend is our guests to feel like they are on a holiday.
Did you always plan to get married abroad?
Yes! My dad is Italian and I have lots of family still in Italy. He comes from a large family so I saw it as a good opportunity to bring a party to them, rather than have them all travelling to us in Ireland. My parents also got married in Italy so I wanted to carry over that tradition. I also love Summer and good weather, so it was a no-brainer for us. I love Irish weddings and venues but an abroad wedding was just always something I wanted to do.
How many venues did you visit before choosing the one?
We didn't view too many. We picked a planner first who asked us if we had a general guest number and that instantly ruled out a lot of venues. Italy has AMAZING venues for smaller weddings but it's a little harder to find ones that cater to over 100 people. He sent us a document with about 30 venues that fit our criteria and we narrowed it down to 5-6 and viewed those in the Tuscany region & Rome area. We said we would go back and view another region if we didn't find a venue on that first trip, but we did so we didn't need to go back.
Can you tell us a little about your venue?
Our venue is on a UNESCO heritage site so the villa itself is very old worldy and has it's own winery on site. Weather permitting we plan to get married outdoors overlooking the vineyards and then move the party inside to the villa after the meal. The village is tiny and very rural so we are basically taking over the whole village for our wedding. There is a nice hotel onsite though, so we have that booked out for 2 days so we are able to host a welcome pizza party the night before and then our plan is to head into Florence city centre for our day 2.
Is the legal part straightforward?
Not really, being honest!!! If you want a church wedding in Italy you need to fill out a lot of paperwork and get released from your parish in Ireland etc. Since neither of us are religious we likely will just have a simple civil ceremony at home in Ireland either a few weeks before or after the wedding. Our friend is actually our celebrant on the day, but we aren't doing any 'legal' stuff on the day. It will be a symbolic ceremony.
How have you found planning from home?
Initially I found it stressful. I'm a super organised person and a total planner and I found it hard to trust the process. Our planner is super chilled and relaxed and while I wanted to book & pay deposits straight away he kept saying that we were too early for things like flowers, lighting etc (I think I was traumatised from how quickly things book up in Ireland!!!). I found it hard to source vendors. I was going off my planners recommendations, which were great but when you don't have any friends or family who can vouch for your suppliers, I found that difficult. Weddings are expensive so you want to make sure you pick the right vendors! But once I just leaned into the fact that things are done differently abroad I found myself less stressed.
Would you recommend sending out save the dates?
We sent out save the dates pretty much straight after we secured our venue (nearly 2 years out, which may have been overkill LOL). We really wanted our good friends and families there so we wanted to give people enough notice to plan it into their year. I know personally we had 10 weddings this year and have 9 next year, so we appreciate how hard it is for people to coordinate. We sent out our official invites once flights were available to book (a year in advance) so people could book flights and accommodation together. I think giving enough notice to people is key for an abroad wedding as they don't just have a short drive & a hotel to book. They may need to preorder taxis, flights, etc. too.
What are you looking forward to the most on your big day?
I’m really looking forward to just having all of our favourite people together for a whole weekend. I’m really looking forward to post-ceremony & photos when we can just relax and soak in the day and have a good time. I don’t really enjoy being centre of attention so once the spotlight is off after the ceremony, I feel like I’ll be able to really relax.
Is there any other advice you would give to future brides on planning a destination wedding?
I highly recommend getting a planner. We wouldn't have been able to do it without him, especially regarding picking vendors. I think we could have picked a lovely venue on our own but having someone with local knowledge and fluency in the language really takes a lot of stress out of the planning process. Some venues come with in-house coordinators so that's a great route to go down also, but I would 100% pay for a wedding planner again.
Also, if you are planning to have more than 100 guests, scout venues early (like at least 18 months) as the venues that cater to larger numbers are few and far between and book up well in advance!
Wedding venue: Tenuta di Artimino in Tuscany Italy