Tuscany has become one of the most sought-after wedding destinations in the world. This region of Italy is known for its stunning landscapes, beautiful vineyards, historic architecture and rich cultural heritage; making it the perfect location for couples looking to tie the knot in style. However, before planning your dream destination wedding in Tuscany, it is important to familiarize yourself with the local customs and etiquettes so as to ensure a seamless and successful wedding. Here are some essential tips for a destination wedding in Tuscany that will ensure everything is perfect.
Hire a Knowledgeable Planner
Having a destination wedding abroad can be a daunting task, but with the right planner, everything will fall in to place perfectly. Having someone knowledgeable on the customs and traditions of Italian weddings is extremely important as it ensures that no detail, no matter how small, is overlooked.
Italian weddings demand dressing elegantly. Avoid wearing anything too short or revealing, as it could be poorly received. While black was once considered taboo at weddings, nowadays, it is perfectly acceptable to wear black clothing to a wedding in Italy. However, as has always been the case, make sure to avoid wearing white (or cream or ivory) since it’s reserved for the bride.
Nowadays, couples take their guest list very seriously. If you receive a wedding invitation for a destination wedding in Tuscany, it is customary (and appreciated) to your RSVP as soon as possible. While everyone is cognizant of needing time to check their schedules, coordinating work and/ child care and to make travel plans, the couple needs to know the exact number of guests attending in advance in order to make arrangements for catering and seating arrangements among other things.
Gifts are not mandatory for destination weddings but if you choose to bring one, it should be a personal and thoughtful gesture. Bygone are the days of gifting a toaster or other household item, as many couples are waiting longer to get married and generally have already accumulated a houseful of items. Plus, the couple is likely traveling, so packing that new espresso machine is not really practical for them. Cash gifts are also appreciated, especially since the cost of a destination wedding and/ or honeymoon can be a pricey affairs.
Ceremony in the Church
Tuscany has a rich Catholic heritage and as such require strict adherence to traditions and etiquette. It is important to remember that dresses should not be too revealing and shoulders should not be exposed in church, hence, it is advisable to wear a cover-up over sleeveless gowns or dresses.
Setting the Stage for the Ceremony
However, many couple s are opting to say their “I do’s” outside in the splendor of the Tuscan countryside and opting to have a professional or family friend act as the celebrant. This option affords the couple the opportunity to let their personalities shine through. From funny and/or touching stories to streamers, confetti or bubble guns, there are no shortage of ways to personalize your ceremony so that it is a perfect reflection of you two.
The reception is on of the most important parts of the wedding celebrations. In Tuscany, the reception is characterized by a multi course meal of great food, accompanied by exceptional wine produced locally. It is customary for guests to have aperitifs while waiting for the newlyweds to arrive. The aperitifs are often served with small snacks. It goes without saying to be mindful if you imbibe alcohol, as no one wants to spend the evening or the next day miserable with a headache.
During the meal, it is customary to toast the newlyweds with a glass of wine. Generally, the couple has already planned out who will speak and in what order, usually between the courses. It is important to remember that the bridal couple is celebrating the most special day of their relationship and their lives, with their closest friends and family. This is not a time for “locker room” jokes or embarrassing stories from either person’s past. It is a day to celebrate the new couple on their road together, not to cause a row.
Seating arrangements for weddings are often done with a tremendous amount of forethought and planning. In general, the closest family members of the bride and groom are seated at the head table, including the bride and grooms’ parents, siblings and all or part f the bridal party. While you may wish you were closer to a particular person, it is never acceptable to rearrange the seating to suit your own preferences. .
In Tuscany, weddings start late in the afternoon or early evening. Guests are expected to arrive approximately 30 minutes before the start of the ceremony. However, if the couple is offering a welcome drink or cocktail, then an hour is usually considered sufficient. It is important to arrive on time since the ceremony will begin promptly and the entire timing of the day has been planned months in advance. No need to have the couple waiting for your arrival or sore because you missed the ceremony.
In conclusion, the wedding etiquette for a destination wedding in Tuscany is not much different than a wedding “at home”. What is important is that you are there to celebrate and support their couple as they embark on their new life together. It is not a time for guests to step up and into the spotlight, as it is neither the time nor the place. You have been invited because you mean something very important to the collective lives the couple and they want you there to help them celebrate. It is a time to bond with friends and family and to eat, drink, dance and be merry! Know that they have spent months if not years planning every aspect of this day and want it to be perfect, for them no for you.