As soon as Shane proposed in the beautiful Cinque Terre, we knew we were going to have a destination wedding as travel has been such an important part of our lives for a long time now. After many hours of research, we decided to return to Italy and have our destination wedding in Tuscany. It was so much more incredible than I could have imagined and I’ve gotten a lot of questions about planning and preparing for a destination wedding, so I hope this post will help answer some of them.
1. The Venue
We chose to have our wedding at Villa Cini in the Bucine province in Tuscany which, being the millennials we are, we found on Airbnb. The owner has 2 villas on the same property and a third walking distance from the venue, so we booked them all and had our 55 guests stay there and share five days under the Tuscan sun with us. Villa Cini dates back to the 16th century and made for a very historic and romantic venue for our wedding in Tuscany, located in the countryside and surrounded by picturesque vineyards and olive groves.
Our Airbnb host, Claudia doubled as a wedding planner and connected us with local photographers, caterers, musicians and florists in Tuscany who we could connect with to find the right fit for our style and budget. We ended up planning everything via email and sharing Pinterest images with our vendors as guiding inspiration. It worked out beautifully, although I am not one to be extremely picky down to tiniest details of details, I wouldn’t recommend planning a destination wedding internationally for someone who isn’t flexible to some extent or has an exact image in their mind of what they want everything to look like down to table settings etc. I actually really enjoyed the element of surprise in seeing everything come together in such a gorgeous way having sent off a few inspiration pictures in the months before. I was constantly in awe and sooooo happy the entire time.
Having our destination wedding in Tuscany was actually very cost effective. You normally wouldn’t think of a destination wedding being budget-friendly but ours was. We found all the vendors, the food, and the venue to be significantly more affordable than in the United States. We were able to have what would have been a $50+k wedding on a 20% of the price. Plus, I bought my dress online from an amazing tailor in China which significantly cut down on the costs as well. To keep our bridesmaids’ and groomsmen’s costs down we chose dresses from Lulu’s.com and the groomsmen’s outfits were from Express.com. We were able to have the budget-friendly wedding of our dreams in Tuscany without sacrificing any of the details that made it so magical.
It took a lot of work and so many emails, but our destination wedding in Tuscany couldn’t have been more magical. I’d absolutely recommend the experience to any pair of adventurous souls looking to live their fairy tale for a day.