Well known as a popular destination wedding setting, Italy’s Amalfi Coast, Tuscany, and Portofino (to name a few) can be cost-prohibitive. But marrying stateside doesn’t mean you can’t take a few cues from one of Italy’s most stunning regions. From olive oil and citrus to old-world elements, there are so many things that evoke visions of Italy. And if you’re hoping to host an Italian-style wedding that will make you and your guests feel like you’ve been whisked away to another locale, there are plenty of great ways to incorporate traditional details.
Read on for 20 ideas to help with planning your Italian-style wedding.
Give the Invitation Suite an Italian Theme
Convey your Italian theme through all aspects of your wedding (and every celebration prior) by integrating details in your invitations. Kerri-Lynn Mulhearn, owner of Stella Day Events, recalls a couple who incorporated greenery, florals, and lemons into their stationery to foreshadow an Italian-inspired wedding.
Embrace Old-World Details
Italy is full of old-world detail, and Diana Venditto, owner and creative director of Eventi Floral & Events, recommends incorporating that feeling with every element. Luxe gold can be incorporated throughout in details, such as your cake stand, server, and flatware, to help create the feel of old-world Italy.
Celebrate by the Sea
Of course, the Amalfi Coast is known for its exquisite seaside views. Lining the Tyrrhenian Sea, the area is nothing short of picturesque with views of turquoise-hued water as far as the eye can see. And although you may not be able to make it to the coast itself, pulling inspiration from the sea is a beautiful idea. Find a venue option with ocean views to set the scene.
Use Landscaping to Your Advantage
Utilize existing landscaping at your venue to make your reception feel like you're in an intimate Italian setting, or bring in items to make it so. Christina Baxter of Christina Baxter Weddings says she transformed a Southern garden into the Italian Riviera by bringing in landscaping, including dozens of mature cypress trees, boxwoods in urns, and lemon topiaries. Drawing inspiration from Italy’s rich countryside can make all the difference in embellishing a lively outdoor affair.
Add Vines and Greenery
Consider opting out of a traditional table runner. Adorn a wooden table with vines, grape leaves, or a garland of lush greenery. Plenty of foliage, along with candles and gold flatware, can make for a beautiful complement to an Italian-inspired display.
Play Up Traditional Food
Why not take authentic Italian cuisine and put it at the forefront of your menu? Italy is known for incredible cheeses and cured meats, and there are so many ways to incorporate that into your menu. We love the idea of setting up a station for guests to build their own Italy-inspired charcuterie board.
Celebrate Citrus and Herbs
The region of Capri is well-known for its fresh citrus. And lemons are certainly at the top of that list. Capri is also a fruitful location for growing herbs, such as thyme. Why not incorporate natural elements into your decor that will evoke the feeling of the region?
Incorporate Grapes Into Your Tablescape
When it comes to Italy, it's hard not to think of wine. After all, it is one of the world's biggest producing regions, and there are definitely wineries turning grapes into wine on the Amalfi Coast. It's easy to go overboard with this element of decor, but adding just a touch of fresh grapes alongside greenery can make your table feel all the more inspired.
Bring everyone together just like they're a big family. Utilizing one long reception table is a great way to make everyone feel included and to facilitate conversation. If you opt for this setup, just be sure your centerpieces aren't too tall.
Toast With Prosecco
If you can't get to Italy, bring Italy to you! Just as a bottle of Champagne must come from France's Champagne region to be considered real, prosecco must be produced in the Veneto region of Italy, north of the Amalfi Coast. Raise a toast to the inspiration behind your wedding's theme by popping the top off a bottle of prosecco and sipping it with your guests.
Embrace a Traditional Dessert
Of course, celebrating with a cake decked out in citrus would be a beautiful choice. But, if you want to incorporate a more traditional dessert, consider the layered mille-feuille, traditionally prepped with Chantilly cream and plenty of berries.
Set the Tone With String Lights
Dining alfresco is a great way to make your reception feel like it's set in the Italian countryside, but adding in dainty string lights will take it to another level. Whisk your guests away to a beautiful garden or a setting reminiscent of a small Italian café.
Theme Your Favors
Why not gift your guests with something that will make them feel like they're jetting off to Italy? “Set the table with a favor fit for the Italian Riviera,” suggests Callista Osborn, owner of Callista & Company. “An individual bottle of olive oil with custom tags is the perfect touch for guests to remember the wedding by."
Get Playful With Pizza
It goes without saying that pizza is an Italian tradition, and it just might be the most delicious way to bring a taste of Italy to your wedding. Work with your caterer to choose classic options, such as a margherita or Neapolitan, for a playful and fun menu addition.
Beautifully patterned tiles featuring yellow and blue hues certainly evoke images of the Amalfi Coast. And while you may not want to go too bold with a pattern, there are great ways to add just a hint to your decor. Ask your baker to incorporate an Italian-inspired design you love on your cake, or incorporate a stunning pattern into your tablescape.
Bougainvillea thrives on the Amalfi Coast, which is why this bright, fuchsia-hued plant is spotted blooming all throughout the area. Lining walkways and crawling up buildings, bougainvillea adds a vibrance to this popular Italian destination, and you can bring that beauty to your own celebration. Work with your florist to create an arch made with bougainvillea or add it to your bouquet or centerpieces.
Serve Cannoli for Dessert
While not specific to the Amalfi Coast, the cannoli is certainly an Italian favorite. Pair your cake with this traditional treat, or opt to feature it as a unique cake alternative. These tube-shaped Italian pastries, filled with sweet cream, are sure to be a hit.
Opt for Eco-Friendly Confetti
If you're going to have your guests throw confetti as the perfect big-day exit, make it an eco-friendly choice. Sage and thyme are easy to grow on the Amalfi Coast because they love to soak up sunshine. Prepare baskets of herbs to use as a natural confetti option to incorporate another taste of the Amalfi Coast at the end of your celebration.
Include Stone Details
Consider adding in stone elements, giving off an old-world feel. “When large arrangements are placed in stone urns, they are reminiscent of the Italian Riviera,” says Andrea Eppolito, owner of Andrea Eppolito Events, who advises a color palette of white and gold to complement a tablescape with stone features.
While limoncello is popular all over Italy, much of this liqueur is produced throughout the Amalfi Coast region. The lemons in this area are unique in the way they hang on the tree longer, ultimately producing fruit double in size. Embrace the tradition of turning lemons into limoncello and offer mini bottles to your guests in a welcome bag or as a unique escort card so they can give it a try.
If you're planning to incorporate Italian-inspired ideas into your stateside wedding, why not continue the celebration with your honeymoon? Find the perfect spot on the Italian coast to celebrate officially becoming a married duo.