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Its Friday Afternoon… put away the coffee and pop open the Prosecco! If you are slightly curious about the idea of getting married abroad; sit back and enjoy as we talk ‘destination weddings’; specifically Weddings in Italy, with our expert Wedding Planner Cheryl Pagano from Bella Sposa. Cheryl Pagano is originally from Scotland, but grew up in Coulby Newham and went to school in Stokesley. After meeting her husband during a summer season working as a holiday rep in Sorrento, she is now settled and has her own business organising weddings, honeymoons and romantic getaways’ in Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast.
How easy is it to get married in Sorrento?
It is incredibly easy to get married here in Sorrento and the choices of breath-taking settings are endless. Civil ceremonies can be arranged in the intimate and romantic 8th century monasteries of the Cloisters of San Francesco, a sea view neo-classic villa known as Villa Fondi or in the Correale di Terranova, where the museum has on display Roman and Medieval findings and art works created from the XVI to the XIX century. Church weddings can only take place in Positano and both the bride and groom must be Catholic. Symbolic ceremonies can be arranged in a range of private exclusive villas where wedding receptions can also be held. The paperwork can only be processed six month before (3 months before if Scottish) and I can assist my couples every step of the way with this process. Is a very easy process however, and can normally be completed within 6 weeks
What Reception Venues can you offer?
There are so many to choose from, and this can be the most difficult decision to make, from sea view terrace restaurants, boutique hotels to exclusive villas. I like to offer my couples an amazing selection, giving them lots of choices to choose from. No matter which venue they choose, the general reaction from their guests is “WOW!”.
Food, wine and hospitality is something that Italians have always been famous for, especially here in the south of Italy, so the menus that are offered are fantastic; from beautifully prepared canapés, homemade pasta, fresh fish and seafood to mouth-watering cakes, no one goes hungry at a wedding here in Sorrento. Most of the wedding menus will include a wedding cake which can be designed as the bride and groom wish, or as an alternative and to keep with tradition, a ‘lemon delizia’ (lemon profiteroles) tower can also be made. The famous liqueur here is Limoncello and is a must after every big meal as the Italians say it helps with digestion!
What is the actual ceremony like?
Live music is a must to create an atmosphere and the bride groom can choose between a guitar, mandolin, violin, harp or a mixture of all four. The music is played to welcome the guests to the ceremony and keeping with tradition, I always ask the musicians to play a mixture of famous Italian songs to get everyone in the mood. Upon the arrival of the bride, the guests take their seats and a very romantic ceremony takes place. An actual civil ceremony only takes about twenty minutes. By law it must be performed in Italian but it is translated in English so the bride and groom and their guests can understand exactly what is going on. I personally feel this makes the ceremony very romantic and authentic. It is tradition here in Italy after the wedding ceremony to throw sugared almonds over the bride and groom, and also to walk through the streets. We try to miss the sugared almonds but if the bride and groom are up for it then we will walk through the streets with the photographer and the live music playing and the locals applauding. This is such a special moment for everyone involved.
Accommodation – What are the options?
I am not only an experienced and bilingual wedding planner but I am also a professional travel consultant. I can offer a wide selection of accommodation from a simple B&B, to exclusive private villas and boutique hotels; we can offer accommodations that are best for you. I am able to provide you with local expert knowledge, sharing insider’s hints and tips to make your stay here in Italy a very memorable one.
I believe that it is not just your wedding day that has to be perfect, it must be your entire stay, from your arrival at the airport to your accommodation, recommended days out and to your departure.
What is there to do after the wedding?
Sorrento is a charming town, with quirky little back streets, two marina’s and a bustling piazza, you can be entertained just by sitting with a glass of prosecco or a nice cold peroni and watching the world go by. However, there is so much to discover with the surrounding area. The world famous historical site of Pompeii and Herculaneum, the only active volcano on mainland Europe: Mount Vesuvius, the playground for the billionaires: Capri and of course the dramatic but stunning Amalfi Coast. Whether it’s wine tasting in an exclusive vineyard, jumping off a boat in the crystal clear waters of Capri or exploring original plaster casts of the victims of Pompeii from over 2000 yrs ago, I can also arrange tailor made days out for you and your wedding guests.
Name five benefits of getting married in Sorrento
I could name a lot more but my top five would be:
- Stress Free – Sun, stunning views and delicious food and wine are the perfect combinations to instantly relax you and your guests. The small things that might seem like an issue in the UK seem so much more trivial in a climate like Italy. As your wedding planner I will make sure things run smoothly allowing you less to worry about so you can concentrate on relaxing and enjoying your special day.
- Less Expensive -Combining your wedding day with your honeymoon here in Sorrento can work out roughly a third of what it would cost you of just getting married in the UK. Equally if you feel obliged to invite friends of your family that you haven’t seen since you were six years old, getting married abroad can help reduce numbers. Less people means less cost for you on your big day and a more intimate and special day with only the people that you really care about around you
- Warmer Climate – Unlike the UK, you can almost guarantee that your wedding day will be sunny. What better way to sip your Prosecco than under clear blue skies in the warm Mediterranean sun?
- Spectacular Venues – Sorrento has an endless amount of stunning venues, from intimate luxurious villa’s to spectacular cliff top hotels and restaurants. There is something for every individual taste and budget. In the UK you normally have to pay a premium for a venue with fantastic views; breath taking views are all part and parcel of getting married here in Sorrento and the AmalfiCoast.
- That’s Amoré! Italy is one of the most romantic destinations in the world. From its stunning architecture to its breath taking scenery, it’s easy to fall in love here. Over and over again!
Thank you Cheryl, tell us how Bella Sposa started?
After several years working for some of the biggest tour operators and cruise ship companies in the world, I noticed that due to the demands of achieving targets, and being allowed to sell only specific products, customer service was being lost. In the current climate, weddings and holidays can be very expensive. So I decided to invest the passion and knowledge that I had gained over the years and invest it into my own business, offering beautiful weddings in stunning locations, but most importantly at affordable prices. I work hard to make sure that each couple has my undivided attention and time, allowing me to tailor my services to suit their individual needs, something that bigger companies cannot offer. Having married in Sorrento myself, I can certainly recommend having your wedding here. I know exactly what it takes to make sure things run smoothly. I know how important it is that everything is just perfect, not only for you and your partner but also for your guests that are travelling a long way to share your special day.
What is the process involved when you first receive an enquiry from a couple looking to get married abroad?
When a couple first contact me I normally ask them what type of wedding they would like. Is it a civil or religious ceremony they would like? How many guests are they expecting to have and what sort of venue they would like for their wedding reception? Generally couples will have a budget in mind to how much they would like to spend (excluding flights and accommodation) so it’s then up to me to show them what I can do with their budget. You get a lot more for your money here in Sorrento and if you compare with what I can offer to a wedding in the UK, couples are normally shocked with how much they can get for a third of what they would pay in the UK. A lot of things are included in the price of wedding receptions here, fresh flowers, table decorations and stationery and in some cases even the live music is thrown in at no extra cost! Over the years, I have built up fantastic relationships with my suppliers so can normally organise some surprises for my couples on their wedding day that they would never have thought about doing themselves.
Contact: Cheryl Pagano @ www.weddingplannersorrento.co.uk
Are you tempted? We would love to hear from couples who have married abroad and those thinking about it right now..