Getting married abroad is a growing-trend among young couples internationally and Italy is, unsurprisingly, among the preferred destinations. Besides the beautiful scenery, the food and the wine, Italy also enjoys a reputation for being the most romantic Country in the world. Anna Marinello is a Milan-based wedding planner who, having been in the business of organising others’ perfect days for years, spotted a great opportunity in this niche and created I Do in Italy, a comprehensive wedding planning service for international couples who want to get married in the Bel Paese. We had a chat about Italy, about weddings and about running a successful business on a smart idea.
Tell us about the origins of your project. How did you start I do in Italy?
I do in Italy was born to meet the demands of an ever increasing number of international couples that elect to get married in our Country. The fact that several international actors, singers and celebrities got married in Italy in recent years might have something to do with it. What we have witnessed is a growing trend among international couples, that visit once and fall in love with our fair weather, delicious food and with the sheer beauty of the scenery. After working as a wedding planner in Italy – for Italian couples – for 15 years, I saw my knowledge of the industry and the territory as transferrable skills, that could be employed to promote Italy internationally as a wedding location.
What would you say are the greatest perks of hiring a wedding planner?
Being able to put your trust in someone’s professional experience is definitely beneficial for the wedding couple. It allows them to concentrate only on the more pleasant and emotional aspects of the wedding itself, valuing it as a human and romantic experience, in full knowledge that a crew of trained professional is taking care of the logistics, managing the technical and organisational side of things. Because it is true that a wedding is first and foremost about love, but it is equally true that the level of expectations put on the event itself is ridiculously high and it only takes a minor misunderstanding regarding timing or a less than flawless communication with the catering or decorating staff to spoil the day. A tiny detail can create so much embarrassment as to taint the memory of what is supposed to be the happiest day in a couple’s life. Planning a wedding is not a simple task, therefore it makes sense that it should be entrusted to someone who has done it many times, rather than thrust upon someone who is not familiar with it and must figure it out as they go along. The wedding couple should be the centre of attention, not stress and fight over a complex event organisation.
What aspect of your job do you enjoy the most and what would you gladly do without?
I enjoy the creative side of my job, particularly having to come up with new themes and ideas all the time. On our blog we often present the endless options that we come across when looking for themed-wedding ideas. There are seasonal weddings, that take advantage of the particular colours and atmospheres associated with different times of the year, and food&wine-themed weddings, that focus on the catering and the banquet to set the style and pace for every other aspect of the event. What I, like many fellow creative professionals, absolutely loath is having to rein in my creativity for budget reasons. I dream of working on a limitless-budget event, so that I can let my imagination run wild. How awesome and easy that would be!
What led you to set up an Italian project focusing exclusively on international customers?
I got the idea after my American friends asked me to plan their wedding. I could see that getting married in Italy was a unique experience and that it added value to the whole experience for someone who is not a local in our Country. Therefore I decided to concentrate my wedding-planning activity on this particular niche, tuning in to the specific needs of someone wishing to get married in Italy but not having a direct experience of the Country and the culture and an extensive knowledge of the territory.
How do the needs of Italian and international couples differ?
Italian couples are usually strongly focused on the catering, whose size and quality is a pivotal element of the whole event. Our whole concept of celebration revolves around food, it is our main social aggregator. The sharing of food is how we mark the relevance and uniqueness of an event and food itself is a strong part of our cultural identity. International couples tend to focus on other social aggregators, such as dancing or drinking. An open bar and a lively dance-floor are perceived as the socialising elements of a successful wedding party.
What makes Italy an ideal wedding destination?
Italy is the perfect wedding destination because it offers an incredibly varied landscape within a relatively small area. You only need to travel a few hours to go from the seashore to the mountains, from green hills to woodland. We enjoy a considerable geographical advantage, in that we have at our disposal a wide choice of scenery that would be simply inconceivable in most countries. The weather is also on our side: it is relatively mild, at least compared to most of Europe, and it makes travelling a viable option in every season. Another perk of getting married in Italy, of course, is the world-renowned culinary tradition, with quality ingredients and exquisite recipes that add to the overall experience of every event. Finally, of course, our history and reputation play a big part in this: Italy – and I am thinking of cities such as Venice and Rome – is still considered to be one of the most romantic Countries in the world.
What new trends will dominate the wedding industry in 2017?
New themes are invented every year and the choice is really vast, but the most popular options in 2017 will be seaside weddings and woodland weddings: these two sceneries are enjoying a rapidly increasing popularity at the moment. This is good news for us: we have thousands of miles of beautiful coastline, with impressive shores and the most beautiful beaches in the world, as well as lush and magnificent woods on the inland.
What was the most complex project you ever worked on?
For a wedding in Sardinia, we were required to physically create the areas for both the catering and the dance floor. Specifically, we had to build both structures over the swimming pools of two adjoining villas. It was a complex and very demanding project and totally worth it: the result awed and amazed everyone!Are you a creative or an entrepreneur with an interesting story to tell? We want to interview you! Contact us to share your story