Archive for March, 2011

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Marry Me in Tuscany’s – Top 10 tips for a Tuscan Wedding

So you’re decided to get married in Tuscany, as a wedding planner here are some useful tips for creating a stress free enjoyable wedding.

Top 10 tips for Tuscan Weddings

1. If you don’t speak Italian, don’t expect that all the suppliers will speak English and reply to you quickly in relaxed Italy “Domani” (tomorrow) is a well known delay tactic and you could also find that you’re paying over the odds for services. Find a good wedding planner, they are worth their weight in gold, not only will they do all the legwork for you, get you the best deals and save you money, you’ll be free to enjoy your day a whole lot more and spend time with your guests without worrying where suppliers are.

2.  Check what documents you need and when you need to get them by, a good wedding planner will advise you about this, if you don’t have the right documents then sadly you won’t be able to get married. if you don’t have a wedding planner who can collect documents for you, then be prepared to come out early to get them, you’re papers need to be in order for the Verbal Declaration which generally takes place at least 2 days before the actual wedding day.

3. Decide on your wedding date, generally in Italy civil marriages can not be booked for the following year until the end of the current year when the town hall opens it’s diary. for popular locations make sure that you have a 1st/2nd/3rd choice for times just in case your first choice has already been snapped up. If neither of you speaks Italian you’ll need an official interpreter for the wedding ceremony.

4. As soon as your wedding date has been confirmed, send out your “save the date cards” this will give your guests lots of time to save up and plan their trip.

5. Think about your location, if you haven’t been to Tuscany before then you need to think about what place best sums you both up, countryside, small hilltop town, coastal, famous city, castle, villa, farm holiday, wine resort or hotel. Big or small there is something for everyone, and booking early could save you money. If you’re unable to visit the area before your big day, and you don’t have a wedding planner check out Trip Advisor for previous guests comments on the venue that you have chosen.

6. Consider alternative accommodation suggestions for your guests if you have chosen an expensive venue, that way they will feel happier about making the journey to share your special day.

7. Consider setting up a website for your wedding including lots of helpful information about your destination wedding venue, flights, transfers, things to do to help your guests make the most of their time here. If you have a wedding planner they will help you with this information.

8. Do think about perhaps incorporating some of the local traditions into your wedding day, give your guests a “bombonieri” a small gift with sugared almonds, a bottle of wine or olive oil as a keepsake for your guests.

9. Although we do generally have lots of sunshine, do have a back up plan in case of rain a venue with an inside option is always a good idea as marquees are expensive. If you are thinking of getting married in July think about having a late wedding to avoid the scorching heat during the day.

10. Attention to detail, create mood boards for your wedding/wedding theme it will help you get your ideas together of how you see your day and as you want your wedding to stand out don’t scrimp on things like flowers, flowers put the finishing touches to the wedding and your guests will remember them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Marry Me in Tuscany loves Heirloom Bouquets

As a destination wedding planner based in Siena, Tuscany the internet is essential not only for clients to find me but also for me to find new ideas for my brides, I met Sarah through Twitter and I’m so glad that I did, not only is she a great gal she is the incredibly talented designer of these amazing heirloom bouquets which are a perfect alternative to fresh flowers, a great fashion accessory for any discerning bride and not only is each bouquet unique they will last forever so that every time you look at it you will remember your perfect wedding day in Tuscany. And I know that if you need someone to position your bouquet on the day, Sarah will be only too pleased to come over and help you!

Read on to discover what Sarah says about her wonderful Heirloom Bouquets.

When I started making Heirloom Bouquets I never expected they would be so popular and especially with brides choosing to get married abroad.

Wedding Ideas Magazine says: – We love these Heirloom Bouquets dreamed up by clever designer Sarah Marks at Tiny-Gems. Created from a mix of vintage jewellery, vintage style brooches and earrings and a way of ensuring your wedding bouquet can be treasured forever and passed down through the family.

The benefits of having an Heirloom Bouquet from tiny-gems for your wedding are several

  • You will get to choose exactly how you want your bouquet to look and therefore be able to tie it in exactly with your colour scheme from a lacy collar and ivory ribbon handle to scarlet and everything in between.
  • You will have a lasting treasure to keep forever of you wedding day and pass down to your children in years to come.
  • We can tie in matching jewellery and headbands not only for you but also for your whole wedding party.
  • By asking both sides of the wedding party for a couple of family pieces of jewellery (brooches, earrings etc) we can incorporate these into your bouquet and therefore make it a true family heirloom and talking point.
  • Consider having brooch buttonholes for the Mother of the Bride and Groom not only to wear on the day but as a gift to treasure.
  • There is no concern of your flowers not being exactly as you wanted them you have complete control from start to finish.
  • In 4-5 weeks you can have your completed bouquet.
  • You get to bring your Heirloom Bouquet home with you from your amazing wedding.

You can contact us via http://www.tiny-gems.co.uk/contact_us.php to discuss your requirements and receive a quotation. For a one off payment of £10 we will create a mood board for you to allow you to visualize how your Heirloom Bouquet will look. This £10 will be deducted from the final price of your bouquet.

Please allow 4-5 weeks for your Heirloom Bouquet to be completed if you do require it sooner we will try our best to accommodate that for you.

And to whet your appetite here are some photos of her wonderful Heirloom Bouquets, I’m sure you’ll agree that they are spectacular and you can see why I love them!

Photo by Sarah Janes Photography

 

Gemma

Lucia

Penny

You can see more pictures and designs on Tiny Gems’ Facebook page and you can also follow Sarah on Twitter she will certainly make your day sparkle.

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How to chose a Tuscan wedding venue

As a destination wedding planner I get to see lots of wonderful (and not so wonderful) venues that Tuscany has to offer. If they make it on to the my hot list it’s because I would be happy to hold my wedding there and so feel confident in offering these venue as suggestions for couples that want to marry in Tuscany.

When considering a venue you should think about the following things:

  • Do they have rooms with a great view that are tastefully furnished?
  • Are the beds comfortable? If possible book a night at your Fav venue to see what it’s really like when you come for a visit.
  • Are there lots of areas that you could use for your wedding?
  • Does it have an inside/outside option? Although it’s generally sunny here it can rain even in summer and you need a cunning plan B just in case it does.
  • Will there be lots of great photo opportunities around the property or will you be stuck with the same backdrop for all the wedding photos?
  • And most importantly of all does it have the WOW! factor you were hoping for?
  • You should also consider the staff too, are they friendly would they go the extra mile for your special day or are you just a big or small group that is bringing in the Euros?
  • Or even worse do they want to tell you how your day will be?
  • Will your family and friends who you really want to share your special day with be willing to spend their hard earned money to stay there, if not then is there accommodation close by that fits all budgets, remember you’re asking your guests a lot to come to a destination wedding.

As you’ll know from my website I love to speak to clients about their hopes and dreams for their wedding, do you want a fairytale castle, a beautiful villa, country hotel or wine resort, or something more rustic and homely? Have you visited the area before and fallen in love with a certain place? Did your FH2B propose to you under the Tuscan sun? Or do you want a quite wedding with dinner in a restaurant after the wedding ceremony? Small & intimate or big and lively? I’m sure that if you’re planning your wedding in Tuscany you’ve already answered most of those!

By speaking to brides and grooms I can get a good idea of what they’re looking for and unlike a lot of wedding planners I’ll send them the websites so they can have a look and get a feel for the place. It also helps couples when narrowing down their list of must sees for when they come out for a visit, after all when you come for a weekend and want to maximize your time you don’t want to waste it seeing places that you only know as villa X and that you might have ruled out completely had you had the chance to see the real thing first.

I always associate choosing a venue to rather like buying a house, how many of you have been to view houses and as soon as the door is opened you want to run a hundred miles?? You just know when you’ve found that special place you feel comfortable, you can imagine yourselves and your friends and family hanging round the pool, drinking wine under the pergola, and you can envisage enjoying your wedding aperitivo in a certain place and the dinner in another, your imagination starts to run wild about how you can decorate it and make it your own.

But the proof of the pudding is in the eating and it’s surprising (or maybe not) that when couples come out to view venues how well I have interpreted their wishes and the difficult thing for them is making the final choice for their wedding.

Last week I spent a day and a half  with Jerry and Lucia showing them around venues and churches for their 2012 wedding, we bounced around the countryside looking at potential venues all very different and all equally lovely and great venues for weddings as we saw the second one I just knew that they had found their ideal venue but as is only fair they needed to look at them all and then sleep on it to make sure that they were 100% sure that that was the place for them, they liked them all but there was something special about the place that they chose which made it even more special than the others, and that’s what counts after all it’s the most important day of your lives so the venue should be right, you shouldn’t have any regrets about it.

Once the difficult choice has been made the rest as they say is easy and you can start thinking about colour schemes, flowers, cars, food and wine oh and don’t forget the dress!

So what is your dream venue? If you need some help making your Tuscan wedding become a sensational reality then please drop me a line.

 

 

 

 

 

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Legal requirements for civil weddings in Italy

Getting married in Italy can often be a bit daunting so what exactly do you need to do the deed?? As a wedding planner I have a wealth of experience in dealing with many British, Irish, American, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand couples and their countries rules and regulations for getting married in Italy and will help you through the minefield of bureaucracy so that the process won’t make you loose sleep or make you want to pull your hair out before the wedding!

Things that you really need to know.

Italy has a very strange law that states that women who are divorced or widowed cannot marry for 300 days which may seem a little strange but the reason apparently for this is to ensure that the woman isn’t pregnant with another man’s child which could result in a paternity suit although to be honest I’m still not quite sure how a dead man could make a claim to a child… so as long as you have been divorced or widowed for more than 300 days you’re good to go.

If you have been married before then you will have to present your previous marriage certificate(s) and Decree Absolute(s) depending on how many times you have been married before, Richard Burton & Liz Taylor would have needed a mountain of paperwork to get married here, and if you are a widow or widower then you will need to produce the death certificate and marriage certificate for your previous spouse.

Everyone getting married in Italy will need a Nulla Osta, this is a certificate of No Impediment which is issued by the Embassy  or Consulate of your country of origin here in Italy. They are only valid for 6 months but I’ll let you know when you need to start the paperwork as applying for them too early will mean that you’ll have to do the whole thing all over again. The Nulla Osta is issued in Italian and is possibly the most important document that you will need in order to get married here.

If you are under the age of 18 or 20 if you’re from New Zealand then you will need the written consent of your parent or guardian in order to get married so no eloping I’m afraid!

You will need two witnesses who must be 18 years of age or over.

The wedding ceremony is conducted in Italian so you will need an official interpreter for this, at least 2 days prior to the wedding there is Verbal Declaration at the town hall where you are going to get married, this is where your documents are checked and you confirm there are no impediments to the marriage according to the Italian Civil Code, the date of this will be confirmed on booking your wedding date and must be here in Italy for that.

Marry Me In Tuscany offers an Interpreter service, please ask for details.

So you’re getting married, you’ve booked the wedding – what do you need to do next?

In order to keep things nice and simple the following information is based on couples being the same nationality, if you come from different countries not a problem you each need to apply for your Nulla Osta from your country of origin and in some cases there are different forms for you to complete. Don’t be put off though I will confirm your individual requirements are so you can get married in Italy.

British couples

With effect from the 1st of March 2013 the requirements for British couples resident in the UK have changed, the old procedure will continue to run in parallel to the the new procedure but will be phased out by the 31st of August 2013, the British Consulate will still issue Nulla Ostas up to the 31st of May 2013.

You should start the process for your documents 6 months before your wedding date if you are resident in England, Northern Ireland and Wales and 3 months before if you are resident in Scotland.

Step 1:

You will both still need to give notice of your intent to marry at your local registry office in the UK, after 16-21 days assuming no one has objected to your marriage they will issue you both with a Certificate of No Impediment (CNI). It is important that your names on your CNIs are exactly the same as those on your passports.  These documents do not need to be translated into Italian.

Step 2:

While you are waiting for your Certificate of No Impediment you should make a statutory declaration before a solicitor or public notary in the UK. You can download the bi-lingual statutory declaration here .

The declaration is required by the Italian authorities and gives additional information that isn’t detailed on your Certificate of No Impediment. The solicitor or public notary will charge a fee for this service. Fees will vary so it might be worth shopping around.

Step 3:

Legalising your documents for the Italian Authorities – When you have your Certificate of No Impediment and you have made your Statutory Declaration, you need to send them both to the FCO Legalisation Office in Milton Keynes for each to be legalised with a Hague Apostille. The Legalisation Office will charge for this – please check the current charges and procedure on the Legalisation Office website.

Step 4:

Once both these documents have been legalised, you will then need to have the legalised Certificate of No Impediment translated. As it will become an Italian legal document it must be translated by a translator based in Italy and recognised by the Italian courts. Marry Me In Tuscany will offer this service to our clients. The Statutory Declaration does not need to be translated since it is already in both languages.

For more information about British couples getting married in Italy you can also consult the Foreign Offices page UK in Italy – page – MARRIAGE IN ITALY where you’ll also find the current fees for the Nulla Ostas.

For British couples living in Australia or other commonwealth countries please see this link for helpful information on the process for the documentation required to marry in Italy.

American Couples

Things start to get a little bit more complicated for American citizens but a faint heart and lots of patience will win your maiden.

Before leaving the US you will have to go to your local Italian Consulate to get an “Atto Nottorio” this is an oath which is sworn in front of two witnesses and notarized by the Italian Consular stating that there are no legal impediments to the marriage according to the laws to which the person concerned is subject to in the United States.

The “Atto Nottorio” also states that there are no impediments for the person requesting to marry in Italy according to Article 116 comma 2 (art. 85, 86, 87 number 1, 2 & 4) of the Italian Civil Code. Basically these refer to you not being mentally insane, not related in any way and my personal favourite that you haven’t tried or been convicted for killing a partner or another person. Although it is advisable to get this in the US it can be obtained in the lower courts in the region where you are getting married but you will have to arrive earlier in order to do this.

You will need to get your documents Birth Certificates, previous Marriage Certificates and Decree Absolute, Death Certificates of a previous spouse translated and authenticated, the Italian Consular will give you the name of a registered translator for this service.

On arrival in Italy and depending on the Town Hall where you are getting married, you may be asked to prove your entry into Italy  so it is important that you get your passport stamped at the border and also confirmation that you have been registered with the police for your stay in Italy by your hotel/villa. I know which Town Halls ask for this information so will let you know if you need to insist on getting your passport stamped on arrival.

About a month before coming to Italy you should also book an appointmentat the American Consulate for Tuscan weddings this is in Florence. It’s VERY important that you both book an appointment. Appointments tend to be on a Tuesday & Thursday so it’s important that you arrive in Italy early enough to get these before the wedding. You should also download the Nulla Osta Form fill it in but don’t sign it. The fee for the Nulla Osta can be paid in US$ in cash or by credit card.

Security is very tight at the Consulate so you will only be admitted if you have an appointment. Once you have your prized Nulla Osta they should be legalized by the Prefettura of the district where you are getting married, (you will need two Marca da Bollo (administration stamp) to the value of €14.62).

If you are using a wedding planner then they should do this for you, Marry Me In Tuscany does!

So now you’re good to go to the Verbal Declaration.

After the wedding it’s important that your wedding certificate is taken back to the Prefettura to request the placement of an “Apostille” on the certificate so that your marriage is legal in the US, again Marry Me In Tuscany will do this for you and post your marriage certificates on to you at home.

Irish Couples

We’re going to assume for this that you both live in Ireland or England, if you don’t then please ask for details of where you should apply for your Nulla Osta. In Ireland these are dealt with by the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin and the Irish Embassy in London and they will send the documents to the Irish Embassy in Rome who will then post the Nulla Osta to the person organizing your wedding in Italy one month before the wedding. The processing of the documents takes around 4 months so it’s important that you submit your application in time but please note that the the application forms for the Nulla Osta cannot be completed earlier than six months before the date of your intended marriage. That is, the date of the Statutory Declaration which is completed in the presence of the Commissioner for Oaths, Public Notary or Solicitor, cannot be earlier than six months before the date of your intended marriage.

Documents you will need:

• Original Long form of civil birth certificate
• Court Order if you are under 18 years
• Death Certificate of previous spouse if widowed
• Petition and Final decree of divorce: if divorced
• Copy of Passport
• Fee – the current fee is €20

Each person applying for a Nulla Osta will need to complete these forms MP1, MP2  if you are single form MP2A, forms relating to divorcees can also be found and downloaded from  this link.

Australian Couples

To get married in Italy you will need an “Atto Nottorio” this is an oath which is sworn in front of two witnesses and notarized by the Italian Consular stating that there are no legal impediments to the marriage according to the laws to which the person concerned is subject to in Australia.

The “Atto Nottorio” also states that there are no impediments for the person requesting to marry in Italy according to Article 116 comma 2 (art. 85, 86, 87 number 1, 2 & 4) of the Italian Civil Code. Basically these refer to you not being mentally insane, not related in any way and my personal favourite that you haven’t tried or been convicted for killing a partner or another person.

Although it is advisable to get this in Australia, it can be obtained in the lower courts in the region where you are getting married but you will need to be here early in order to do this as they are done by appointment only.

You may have to have your documents translated but the Italian Consulate will give you a list of translators who are qualified to do this. You should contact the Italian Consulate in the State where you live for an appointment.

You will also need a Nulla Osta which is issued by the Australian Embassy in Rome, no appointment is necessary. In order to obtain the Nulla Osta you must go in person and present the following documents:

  • Full Birth Cerficates (showing your parents details)
  • Evidence of any previous marriages (marriage certificates and divorce certificates)
  • Your Australian passport
  • Fee in cash currently 50 AUS$ The Embassy does not accept credit cards.

Once you have your prized Nulla Osta they should be legalized by the Prefettura of the district where you are getting married, (you will need to get two Marca da Bollo (administration stamp) to the value of €14.62) if you are using a wedding planner then they should do this for you, Marry Me In Tuscany does!

After the wedding it’s important that your wedding certificate is taken back to the Prefettura to request the placement of an “Apostille” on the certificate so that your marriage is legal in the Australia, again Marry Me In Tuscany will do this for you and post your marriage certificates on to you at home.

Canadian Couples

For Canadians wishing to marry in Italy, you will need a Nulla Osta, the Canadian Government doesn’t issue these but don’t loose heart they do issue a declaration containing the relevant information which is accepted by the Italian authorities. Requests for the declaration can be made by appointment at the Canadian Embassy in Rome or by mail. Their delivery service standard is 3 business days from the time they receive a complete request so quite a quick turnaround.

You must first complete and swear an affidavit to the effect that there is no impediment to the proposed marriage. You may swear the affidavit in Canada, or you go go in person to the Canadian Embassy in Rome you will need to book an appointment and you can contact them by e-mail or fax to request one.

If going to the Canadian Embassy in Rome you will need to take with you the following documents.

  • Unsigned affidavit form  (you can download it from here).
  • Valid Canadian passport;
  • Proof of Canadian citizenship (Canadian birth certificate or Certificate of Canadian Citizenship). (If you were born in Québec: Only birth certificates issued on or after January 1, 1994, by “Le Directeur de l’état civil” in the province of Québec are accepted);
  • Complete details of the future spouse (full name, date and place of birth, residence, father’s name and mother’s full maiden name);
  • Final divorce decree or death certificate of previous spouse (if divorced or widowed);
  • Parents’ consent (if the person is under marriageable age).
  • Appropriate fees. (see here for how to pay and current fees payable)

If you are going to swear your Affidavit in Canada then you can do this with a Public Notary, the original Affidavit and certified copies of the above documents should then be sent to the Canadian Embassy in Rome, payment of the fee can be paid on line or by bank transfer see the link above for details of how to do this.

The Canadian Embassy will then send your Nulla Ostas to your wedding planner, who will get them legalized at the local Prefettura before you arrive the cost for the Marca da Bollo (Administration stamp) is €14.62 per Nulla Osta.

After the wedding it’s important that your wedding certificate is taken back to the Prefettura to request the placement of an “Apostille” on the certificate so that your marriage is legal in the Canada, again Marry Me In Tuscany will do this for you and post your marriage certificates on to you at home.

New Zealand Couples

New Zealanders wishing to get married in Italy will need to get a Nulla Osta which is issued by the New Zealand Embassy in Rome. Applications for the Nulla Osta  together with the documents listed below can either be sent by Courier, post or delivered in person).

  • An original Certificate of No Impediment issued by Births, Deaths & Marriages from Department of Internal Affairs in New Zealand.
  • Certified copies of the biodata pages of your passports
  • A completed and signed form “Particulars for inclusion in a Nulla Osta” (you can find this by clicking on the link above for the Embassy)
  • The fee for processing the Nulla Osta is €40; payable to ‘New Zealand Embassy’ by bank draft (assegno circolare). If you want to have your documents returned by courier there is an additional fee of €30. A single bank draft of €70 is acceptable. If you go to the Embassy in person then you can pay in cash.
  • The original copy of the decree nisi or order of dissolution of previous marriage if either the bride or the groom is divorced.
  • A covering letter with your contact details, your wedding planners contact details, the date and place of our wedding, and any other information which may be useful to your application.

Once they have all the necessary documents and the fees have been paid, it usually takes about a week for the Embassy to prepare the Nulla Ostas. The documents can then either be collected in person or couriered to you or your wedding planner.

I hope that having read this and all the requirements you’ll need to fulfill that you don’t feel overwhelmed by it all, I know that it can be daunting, but I will guide you through each and every step to make sure that when you arrive in Italy all your documents are in order so that all you have to do is turn up and enjoy your day, if you have any questions please do ask, I’m here to help.