We had a brilliant wedding outside of Florence (Italy),
Advantages: beautiful locations, guaranteed sunshine (if in the summer), the best food you will ever have at a wedding, excellent value for money, everyone was very professional and efficient.
Disadvantages (assuming you are planning it on your own without the help of a wedding planner): it helps if one of the couple can speak some italian. You need to budget at least 3/4 visits to the area during the planning process, don't be afraid to express exactly what you want, paperwork can be confusing. If possible avoid getting married in the centre of florence as Town hall is confusing, by marrying outside of town you then just deal with small,local town halls that are friendlier and less beaurocratic.
FINALLY: if you are using a wedding planner and they say you can't get married in a church, that is not true. However you have to make the effort to visit the churches in person as, although the priests can be fussy, they would rather see the couple then deal through a planner.
Daniele Del Colletto (the owner) is truly brilliant, as is all of his staff (particularly the chef): everyone was professional, helpful, friendly and the food is still a talking point! They did everything from drinks to traditional tuscan aperitifs, full sit down meal, the lovely cake AND coffee with hand-made chocolates, flambe' crepes and italian pastries....
Really friendly and accommodating - usual deal directly with wedding planners, but caters to all budgets. Had some fantastic ideas and adapted them to our budget.
Good: beautiful view over Florence, comes under juristiction of Fiesole and people in town hall are very helpful and friendly. Priest is distracted, but very helpful and friendly, lots of parking at the back.
Bad: if marrying on a week day you must ensure there will be no cars outside the church as it is used as a parking place by the University staff, set on a one way system.
finally, we had a brass quintet which was superb.
This is the most beutiful Villa in the hills behind Florence. It is incredibly good value and the setting is stunning - the gardens at the back are immaculate and we had 10 tables set up there overlooking the wonderful countryside view. The owner (Giorgio) is incredibly helpful and accomodating. NB: the Villa does not do catering.
Villa website: http://www.villadibivigliano.it/home%20italiana%20con%20frame.html - site currently only in italian, but if you e-mail Giorgio directly he can speak english.
For catering we used a firm called Del Colletto (website: http://www.delcolletto.it/new/index.html) who were brilliant: professional, helpful, friendly and the food is still a talking point. Florists were Tuscany Flowers (really lovely and a bit more expensive than normal), photographer was Edoardo Agresti - very good. Finally music was provided by a brilliant jazz trio and then a DJ
We chose this hotel because it was the closest to the venue - we negotiated a special price with manager (Luca Morini) and booked the whole place. guests then individually booked their rooms by e-mailing with a credit card number. Downside is that is does not have a pool and is a bit tired, but in a decaying grandeur way - it was clean, helpful and all the staff were friendly.
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