Tying the knot on the incredible Amalfi Coast in Italy proved the ultimate escape for Rosie and Tony.

destination wedding Italy

Why a destination wedding?

After throwing a huge engagement party - which was a tonne of fun but somewhat overwhelming - Rosie and Tony decided that for their big day they'd prefer a more intimate celebration.

Having previously holidayed on the Amalfi Coast, and loved it, the pair decided that by exchanging vows in a far flung location they could easily cut down their guest list, as well as combining their ceremony with a European honeymoon which was already high on their wishlist.

Perfect planning

To ensure they'd be exchanging wedding vows in a location they'd love, Rosie and Tony booked their venue almost a year ahead, slowly locking in individual vendors one by one so that by six months out the entire plan was in place.

The venue

destination wedding Italy

The couple exchanged vows on the balcony of the Palazzo Avino Hotel, before strolling through the winding streets of Ravello to the rustic reception venue, Villa Eva.

destination wedding Italy Ravello

Villa Eva was managed by Mario Capuano - an enigmatic Italian who took on the roles of wedding planner and impromptu entertainer when he also acted as the couple's local unofficial celebrant.

Amazingly, they hadn't seen the venue in person beforehand, but went with their instincts (and plenty of photos) and chose the venue which best fit with their budget and which offered more flexibility - including letting the reception run late into the night.

Palazzo Avino Hotel Italy wedding

The pre-wedding dinner

The location for the couple's laidback pre-wedding dinner was a quaint family-run property, Agriturismo Villa Maria in Minori, and guests enjoyed food sourced on the property, together with lively discussion and a lemon grove tour with the owner, contributing to a night the newlyweds will always remember.

Agriturismo Villa Maria destination weddings

The wedding dress

After visiting a host of designer bridal boutiques and failing to find anything resembling her dream dress - at least, not in her price range - Rosie stumbled upon Norma and Lili Bridal Couture via Instagram.

destination wedding Italy

After a comprehensive consultation, allowing Rosie to communicate her desire for a figure-hugging, sexy gown rather than a ‘princess' style, Rosie's ideal dress was brought to life (and carefully transported across the ocean by Emirates!)

the wedding dress trainThe wedding shoes

She particularly loved the dramatic train and veil - those one-off wedding-specific details - which you never usually have an opportunity to wear.

The veil

The suit

Inspired by the one and only James Bond, Tony's navy tuxedo with black lapels was actually the first one he tried on (and came back to) from MJ Bale - and we can sure see why.

The grooms suit

The bridal party - or lack thereof

The couple chose to eschew the traditional bridal party, with Rosie noting that with such an intimate affair ‘everyone who was there was very special to us'.

They did, however, have a few close people make speeches.

The wedding speeches

The vendors

Since Rosie had a clear vision for the Italian affair, but a relatively tight budget, she spent plenty of time both sourcing alternatives and seeking her own local vendors in order to keep the entire event on budget...but without compromising on style.

destination weddings Italy

Rosie suggests being as specific as possible in your dealings with overseas vendors online, such as providing florists with exact photos of the arrangements you're after, rather than just specifying a flower type.

The paperwork

In light of the legal hoops they'd need to jump through to legally tie the knot in Italy - letters from Catholic priests in Australia or seeking permission for a civil ceremony via the embassy in Rome - Rosie decided to make their Italian wedding ‘symbolic' rather than legally binding.

the wedding ceremony italy

The couple then chose to legally marry in an intimate ceremony in Australia, attended by family and friends who were unable to make the journey to Europe.

destination wedding Italy

The décor

When it came to decor, the couple chose to keep things super simple and let the divine location be the focus.

The venue italyPalazzo Avino Hoteldestination wedding Italy

Opting for classic white table cloths, olive branches and white flowers they achieved the
ideal blend of elegant and rustic Italian style.

The cuisine

The couple's guests enjoyed a sumptuous six-course Italian feast featuring favourites such as risotto, pasta, meat and seafood dishes.

the wedding cakeThe wedding cake

In lieu of a traditional elaborate Italian wedding cake, Rosie chose a simple white lemon cake and had her florist create a delicate arrangement to go on top.

Bye Bye bomboniere

Not fans of bomboniere, Tony and Rosie instead added a personalised envelope to every place setting containing a handwritten letter, thanking each guest for sharing their special day, and making such an effort to be there.

The wedding place settings

The music

The couple's fabulous first dance was to Al Green's ‘Let's Stay Together', played by Rosie's talented Dad, brother and brother-in-law - a highlight of the night. 

wedding music

An acoustic band played a mix of old faves and current tunes throughout the reception, while a DJ friend put together a playlist to turn up the heat on the dance floor later on.

The upside

While the couple found that the per head catering costs in Italy were on par with those in Australia, they spent significantly less having a destination wedding than they would have in Australia purely because of the vastly reduced guest list - with around 40 people attending the nuptials rather than the 120-odd they would have been expecting for a ceremony on home soil.

There were a couple of other savings though, with the couple's wedding cake included in the venue's cost, the wedding venue coordinator performing a symbolic ceremony free of charge (saving on celebrant costs), and the photographer charging around $500 less than a comparable service back home.

stunning white bridal bouquet

Rather than hiring a dedicated videographer - at significant cost - Rosie's brother-in-law filmed the entire event on his own camera, ensuring the couple has a romantic record of every moment to treasure in years to come (although they admit they haven't yet had time to watch it!)

The downside

Funnily enough, one of the benefits of a destination wedding - being able to celebrate with your nearest and dearest rather than a huge group - was also one of the negatives of the experience, said the couple.

The wedding guests

Obviously by tying the knot somewhere so far from home, there will always be close family or friends you would love to share the day with who won't be able to make it due to factors such as finances, taking time off work, having small children and so on, and in Rosie and Tony's case, a number of close family members were unable to make it to their Italian do.

Another potential issue is organising vendors and other details online rather than being able to visit shopfronts and see things in person, as you would with a local wedding.

bridal bouquet for an Italian weddingThe flowers

From what we can see from the photos; the florist, ceremony and reception venue, musicians and photographer this wasn't a problem!

Any advice?

Honeymoon at Palazzo Avino Hotel

The couple suggests giving your guest list as much notice as possible - 16 months in their case - to help boost the chance of people being able to attend.

It's also important to be sensitive to your invites' personal circumstances, letting them know that much as you'd love for them to be able to come, you understand if it's just not possible.

Final piece of advice is to ALWAYS pack a pair of nice pair of slides with grip to get you through the stunning cobbled streets to all the fabulous photo locations!

real wedding ideas italy

The honeymoon

Once you've locked in a destination wedding, if you're honeymooning in the same location, you should be prepared to share your honeymoon with your guests.

No, not every minute, but in Tony and Rosie's case, their five-week- long honeymoon through Italy, France and Greece was peppered with rendezvous with family and friends.

The highlights

Besides the wedding day itself, Rosie chose the couple's pre-wedding dinner as a major highlight.

The location Agriturismo Villa Maria in Minoriwas the perfect place to get over the jet-lag and get into the Italian way of life.

Real wedding ideasReal wedding ideasdestination wedding Italy

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