So how much Does a destination wedding in Italy really cost? This is one of the most commonly asked questions that few couples are able to answer.
A destination wedding in Italy may initially seem like an extravagant affair. But it’s not always the case! It may turn out even cheaper than ones celebrated back home, simply because of their smaller size. There are many factors that can drive the price of your wedding up and down: number of guests, Italian region, and of course your choice of wedding venue!
In this article, we’re going to break down the average cost of a destination wedding in Italy. Our aim is to help you plan one of the most unique and memorable experiences you and your guests will have!
So, let’s begin by assuming an average wedding size of 100 guests and break down your wedding budget into the most important categories that will determine your total cost. On average, the total cost of a destination wedding in Italy for 100 guests can range from anywhere as low as 40,000 EUR to as high as 85,000 EUR, primarily depending on your choice of location, venue, and of course, your catering options. Remember, if your guest list goes down, some of your costs like catering and beverage service will naturally decrease. This will ultimately give you a more cost effective wedding budget.
The most important factor that will determine the cost of your destination wedding in Italy comes down to two things: your choice of wedding venue and the location or region you choose to marry in.
It should come as no surprise that some areas of Italy tend to be pricier than others. For example, a destination wedding on Lake Como, the Amalfi Coast, Rome, or Venice will often cost more than a wedding in Tuscany or Umbria. Of course, there will always be some exceptions to this rule depending on the wedding venue you choose, but generally speaking, the very famous and popular cities will typically cost more than others due to their high demand and limited availability.
The second aspect to consider is of course your choice of wedding venue. Italy has no shortage of exclusive and stunning venues to choose from. Your final choice will really come down to your personal style and what type of destination wedding you want to have! What’s important to recognize is that generally speaking, the cost of your wedding venue and reception typically amounts to 50-60% of your total budget.
When it comes to the wedding venue itself, several aspects will often determine the final price: venue rental fee, reception or catering cost (if included), and guest accommodation (if included).
Many venues, especially in the Tuscany, Umbria, or the Apulia countryside, will often require a full exclusive rent out of the venue and its guest rooms as part of the wedding package. Therefore, when reviewing the final price of a wedding venue, always remember to check whether guest accommodation has been included in the final price estimate as the total price of the venue may look much higher than expected since your guests will most likely be paying for their own accommodation.
The next factor to consider when reviewing the price of a wedding venue is the rental fee, which does not include the food and beverage cost. Many venues that require guest accommodation as part of the wedding package will tend to have lower rental fees or none at all! However, venues that do not include guest accommodation as part of the wedding package often have higher rental fees. That said, you should always expect that more exclusive venues such as Villas and Castles in places like Lake Como, Florence, or Rome tend to apply higher rental fees than smaller venues located in the countryside. On average, you can expect venue rental fees ranging from as low as 6,000 EUR (typically venues that don’t include guest accommodation) to as high as 25,000 EUR (in more exclusive locations or locations that include extended an extended stay for you and your wedding party).
The last but most important factor that will determine the price of your wedding venue is the reception or catering cost. Therefore, it’s always important to understand whether the venue’s quotation includes catering or not. And of course, the food’s cost will largely depend on the number of guests at your wedding.
On average, the catering cost/guest can range anywhere between 130 EUR – 200 EUR per guest and this will really depend on your choice of cocktail and a la carte menu. The more you personalize your catering menu, the higher the cost per guest. The same goes for the beverage side of things. On the one hand, you can opt for a basic beverage package that includes house wines and spirits or perhaps go for a more customized premium bar option. In either case, the budget range will typically fall anywhere between 30 EUR – 60 EUR per guest.
To help guide you further, we’ve provided you with a price estimate feature that will allow you to get an approximate budget and breakdown split for your dream wedding venue in Italy.
Your wedding planner is your fairy godmother that will be there to work her magic and get you ready for the big royal ball! Every planner is different, so it’s important you find the one that fits you perfectly like Cinderella’s glass shoe. Some wedding planners can provide you with simple coordination on the day of your wedding. While others will handle the whole experience from day 1. The latter entails the legal requirements and documentation needed, your guest travels, dealing with the suppliers, logistics, and decor. A local wedding planner’s fees range between 3,000 EUR and 6,000 EUR.
Flowers might be a close second to the biggest chunk of expenses in your destination wedding’s budget. Two options will arise:
- A minimal floral approach such as delicate centerpieces on the reception tables and lightly decorated chairs for the ceremony
- Or a full-on garden of Eden with original imported trees, lush table settings, and an altar out of a fairytale!
Some of the variables that will affect your pocket are the following:
- The types of flowers you want: are they roses and peonies, or wildflowers?
- The time of year of your wedding: will you use seasonal flowers or imported ones?
- The spots that need decorating: will you only transform your altar and reception area or you have other corners you’d like to dress up?
- The number of guests: is it an intimate wedding of 20 people or an extravagant big wedding with 200 invitees?
In all these cases, it’s crucial to coordinate with a local florist in Italy that will be familiar with the market prices, the seasonal flowers that are grown at the time of your wedding, and the event space(s) that needs to be decorated. Going for “in season” flowers will really help with your budget while adding an authentic touch to the general look & feel of your big day.
On average, couples spend between 3,000 to 6,000 EUR on their floral budgets for their destination wedding, which includes the bridal bouquet, the newlyweds’ car, the ceremony area, the reception area, and the halls around it.
In Jules Bowers’ insightful article “How much does an Italian wedding photographer cost?”, he breaks down the smallest detail of the expenses to take into consideration when hiring a photographer for your destination wedding. We’re mentioning this blog post as an introduction to why hiring a professional photographer in Italy is so important.
There are several factors that can change your photography budget:
- Is your photographer a professional/popular or a new graduate from art school?
- Does your photographer have assistants? And if so, how many?
- Is your photographer locally-based or driving/flying from abroad?
- Would you like a documentary-style album or a staged photo shoot with props? Or both?
- Does the team include a videographer?
- How many hours of work will the photographer have?
Usually, the budget for a destination wedding photographer varies between 3,000 EUR to 5,000 EUR (not typically including a videographer). However, there can be exceptions to this. For example, some of the more renowned or published destination wedding photographers could be in a higher range. You may think that going for a cheap photographer is going to be a lifesaver. How hard can it be to have beautiful images in a stunning Italian setting? It is harder than you think! Especially if the photographer is inexperienced and unfamiliar with the usual stages of a destination wedding day.
We know that destination weddings can cost an arm and a leg if you don’t stay within the allocated budget. It’s tempting to be flexible and stretch out your pockets for your big day! But we highly recommend you to match the services to your finances and not the other way around.
There are two aspects of musical entertainment at a destination wedding. First of all, there’s the background music playing while your guests wait for you to make an entrance. And secondly, you have the wedding reception, aka the dinner followed by a wild night of dancing and partying.
The budget range for music fluctuates between approximately 2,000 EUR to 4,000 EUR, depending on whether you are only hiring a DJ (which will put you at the lower end of the budget range) or if you are opting for a combination of music professionals, including an elegant string quartet or a 4-piece cool band that sings covers of all the songs you love and request.
You can also check FixTheMusic which has created a list of the best Italian bands that were booked for destination weddings in 2020.
Unless you know exactly what kind of music you want, ask your wedding planner for options. They can suggest different styles, band sizes, and of course availability. Quick reminder: popular music bands get booked 6 months to a year ahead of time.
Hair & Makeup
So now you have most of your suppliers covered. You even have that jazz band you’ve been dreaming about! After you’ve found your photographer, you remember that you actually need to look stunning for the pictures! Enter the hair and makeup artist.
For a destination wedding in Italy, the bridal hair & makeup budget amounts to around 500 EUR. As you know, the more treatments you ask for, the higher those numbers will go. For example, a bridal glow treatment can easily double the budget you had in mind.
This ride is one of the most important ones of your life! It will take you from your singlehood (point A) to your married life (point B). Depending on where you’ll be saying your “I do”s, transportation can be a part of the general mood.
As a start, car rentals cost between 500 EUR and 1,500 EUR, depending on the car brand of course. It can be a red hot Ferrari or a cute little Fiat 500, all roads lead to Rome! If you’re getting married in the Lakes region, rent a water taxi for your guests or a beautiful mahogany-floor boat for you! One last detail, keep in mind transportation for your guests from their accommodations to your wedding venue. Imagine a fun bus ride that you can personalize with flowers of your choice!
Additional Costs to Consider
There are costs that we did not tackle in-depth in this article. Don’t forget about lighting, your wedding cake, personalized banqueting elements (including chairs and tableware), wedding favors, and decor. The more tailor-made the wedding is, the more expenses you will get. It’s entirely up to you to decide which details reflect who you are as a couple. These additional costs can amount to a number between approximately 7,000 EUR to 8,000 EUR.
To conclude, having the right guidance while planning your destination wedding will turn this challenging task into a walk in the park! Getting married in Italy is one of the most beautiful experiences in life. You’ll be legally joined with your better half in one of the most breathtaking settings in the world.
Are you ready to plan your destination wedding in Italy? We’re here to help connect you with all the wedding venues, vendors, and wedding planners you need to get started!