‘A Week in the Life of…’ Country Weddings Italy – Day 1

So last week we were focusing on some gorgeous soaps with their ingredients sourced from Portugal and this week we are off to Italy!!  If you are thinking about getting married abroad then this could be just the place for you as this week we discover all about Wedding Planners ~ Country Weddings Italy…

Who are Country Weddings Italy?
Country Weddings Italy is a wedding coordination and design business for overseas couples, based in the countryside north of Rome. We are an Anglo-Italian team. I come from Lancashire, although I moved here 22 years ago, after university. Daniela is from Naples, the city that is the personification of true Italian lifestyle.  The idea for Country Weddings Italy came into our heads over a year ago, while enjoying a glass of wine in the garden in the early evening. After toying with it for a while, we set out to do the necessary market research and planning, which took a while. In the meantime I completed my Advanced Wedding Planner’s course (in a fabulous location, held in the castle where Tom Cruise got married!) and we spent many several months looking for and then meeting with prospective suppliers.
What services do you offer?
We aim to provide a bespoke wedding service for anyone who is looking for that individual, personalized attention and approach that they would get from a wedding planner at home. There are no set packages, no set styles, and what is more important, no limit to the amount of time spent on planning the whole event. We work with each couple to bring to life the wedding day that they have imagined and dreamed about. We can also provide our ideas and services for the entire trip to Italy, if the bridal party so wishes: accommodation searches and pre and post wedding celebrations and special activities to share with your family and friends. Cookery courses, barbecues, sightseeing tours, a day driving a Lamborghini or Ferrari round a racetrack or a relaxed post-wedding brunch are just a few of the ideas..
Who is a typical Country Weddings Italy client?
Ideally couples who would like to get married abroad, to avoid some of the stress and hassle that weddings at home can sometimes cause, without wanting to turn it into a completely sterile affair. We work with and for the client, making sure they have the finger on the button without all the time-consuming work of making sure everything is planned perfectly and running to schedule.
What does a day in the life of an overseas Wedding Planner consist of?
A typical day can involve several activities. It can be spent reviewing Italian and English wedding blogs for new ideas, contacting any prospective new suppliers that have come to our attention, visiting them and viewing or tasting their products (job perk!). We may also be answering enquiries, and matching expressed tastes and budgets to known or new suppliers. When there is a wedding, one of us is always on hand for helping out with any last minute hitches or enquiries. On the wedding day, I act as interpreter for the couple and we are present throughout the day, so the couple can relax and enjoy themselves.
What do you think the biggest differences are when planning a wedding abroad than here in the UK?
The most obvious thing that springs to mind is the fact that the couples cannot visit their chosen venue and suppliers (or they can, but at greater expense). That is why we want to emphasise our personal involvement. We want to be the eyes and ears of any couple coming to get married here. Numbers often change too. Instead of a large number of guests, weddings on average tend to be smaller. That is not always the case though, as I have seen photos of a wedding between 2 Russians held in this very area with 1500 guests!
How do you decide which suppliers to work with?
We ONLY work with suppliers that we have met and whom we have spent time with, visiting the venue, viewing their creations or tasting the food. We spend a great deal of time doing this, as we both agreed from the start that our business had to be about quality and trust. How can we recommend something to a couple when we haven’t seen it for ourselves? Unfortunately, we do hear stories about wedding planners doing everything by phone, which may save them time, but which provides no guarantees.
What is your favourite wedding style?
I think the name of the business says it all. We just love rustic chic! Shabby, vintage, a generally relaxed atmosphere in fantastic settings. There is no need for a strict set theme to your wedding, as the venues provide the atmosphere anyway here.
What do you think will be a big trend in 2012?
Weddings in Italy have tended to be very sleek, stylish affairs for years. Ultra-chic and even minimalist. There are signs of a return to all things genuine and traditional, a growing love of old values and styles. Lace is big in wedding dresses all of a sudden, and there are bigger skirts around. Couples are moving towards hiring private venues, country houses or town villas, for their wedding reception, and bringing in caterers, which in the past was more of an elitist choice. I also like the fact that Italians have discovered wedding planners, something which was virtually unheard of a few years ago.
Who inspires you?
I think I can safely say that  we are both inspired by our surroundings. We live in such a beautiful area it is hard not to draw inspiration from it for styling weddings. I have also had the fortune to meet some fantastic people working in this industry, both in Italy and in the UK, and I truly admire their commitment and energy.
If you could co-ordinate a wedding for anyone in the world who would it be and what type of day would they have?
It would be an honour and let’s be honest, an advantage, to coordinate a wedding for somebody famous. I would love to work with a bride who has a love of all things Italian but who needs help in organizing her wedding. I love Adele, her singing and her dress style, that 1950s glamour mixed with a lot of energy and sheer determination. And never mind what anyone says, a great figure!!! Do you think she might be interested…??
What is your greatest achievement?
I don’t really think of myself in terms of great achievements, but rather as being satisfied and happy. I’m a bit slow on heaping praise on myself, I find it hard. Corny though it may sound, I do know that I consider myself to be a very lucky person and that I really have it all: two fantastic children, a supportive partner, great friends and a super-interesting job that gives me a lot of satisfaction. I don’t think there is any more that you can ask for from life!
If you weren’t doing this job what do you think you would be doing?
I can’t speak for Daniela, although I know she is a great cook, super organizer-type in general and a huge animal lover. For myself, I would definitely be self-employed, as I have only managed to work for somebody else for a total of 2 years in my 22-year working history, and that was pushing it. I love my job as a translator, it sort of allows me to lose myself in researching so many interesting things. I also love my crafter-side too, which emerged at a fairly late age. However, what better than incorporating all these things into the new business, where I get to use my language  and creative skills together.
How do you spend your time when you are not working?
Not working? What does that mean?? Seriously, I spend time with my children, walking in the countryside, visiting friends and crafting, which often takes me back to work-related projects, so it’s all one big circle!
Do you have a current special offer for Ice the Cake readers?
Watch this space!
A Message from Nicola…
We have only been in wedding business for a short time but it is an amazing sector.  I’m also surprised at the friendly spirit that exists between suppliers, even ones who are theoretically in competition with each other. We have had a fantastic reaction to our plans and ideas, and hope that runs on into our relationship with our couples.
We’d love to hear from any Ice the Cake members who are thinking of getting married abroad. We can supply ideas and an estimate with no strings attached. 
Thank you Nicola for sharing a background on your fantastic business & look out for an incredible Competition that Country Weddings Italy will be launching with us on Friday!  If you can’t wait until then to contact Nicola please find her details below:

Location: Formello, Italy
Telephone: +3351573685
Email: info@countryweddingsitaly.com
Website: www.countryweddingsitaly.com
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