I often think of my trip to Capri, Italy and find myself smiling about the wild adventure I had. It was back in 2007 when my boss at the time asked me to go to Italy and plan her wedding on the island of Capri. It would be my very first time in Italy! Back in the day – just the thought of traveling overseas seemed like a luxury.
During the early summer that year, my boss and I started planning out her big day. From the invites, gift bags, center pieces, travel itineraries, etc – we had a long list in front of us!
To top it off, the entire wedding would be filmed for a television special. I could not believe I was going to be on TV!
Giuliana picked out a Monique Lhuillier wedding dress, and BCBG lemon yellow bridesmaids dresses (they actually turned out super pretty!). The dresses were symbolic of the lemon trees that scattered the island.
I remember the anticipation and days leading up to my trip. I had coordinated for brands like Godiva, June Jacobs, Wrigley and many many more to donate products for the welcome gift bags. I was king of getting free stuff – it was unbelievable what went into these tote bags. Get this! – I even arranged for the groom’s favorite whiskey to be shipped over so that there would be a special toast for all the guys! Shipping all these products from Los Angeles to Capri was a huge (and expensive) challenge. We would say little prayers each time we sent a box just to make sure they arrived in one piece.
Off to Italy!
My first night in Naples was so special. I remember emailing my mother and letting her know how happy I was. The landscape was absolutely breathtaking and I was so grateful to be part of such a unique experience.
However, there was no time for sightseeing – I had a wedding to plan!
In order to get to Capri, you need to take a short (and scenic!!) ferry ride from Naples.
I stayed at the Hotel Weber Ambassador that overlooked the famous Faraglioni rocks. It was away from the main piazza area of town, but the surrounding nature made up for the distance. Waking up each morning and walking out on my balcony felt like heaven. I can still picture the stunning view.
Many of the guests arrived a few days prior to the wedding day. My first task was to stuff all the welcome bags with products I had shipped, deliver them to each of the hotels, and make sure everyone got to the island safely. I was a one man show and packed those tote bags for hours. I even found the cutest “Capri inspired” tissue paper from a local shop. Hey! It is the little touches that make the biggest difference.
My boss and her husband stayed at the Grand Hotel Quisisana (www.quisisana.com) which was also the location of their reception. The Quisisana has been a historic landmark on the island since 1845 and super popular with tourists. The rooms are nothing spectacular though. Nice views but not so extravagant rooms. If you have some extra cash, than I suggest you stay at Villa Marina Capri (www.villamarinacapri.com) or J.K. Place (www.jkcapri.com). J.K. is one of the only 5 star hotels on the island. So chic.
Days leading up to the wedding, I helped pick out the cake, the flowers, coordinated the bus transportation, and so on. My mind was on mental overload – a combination of “oh-my-God I’m in Italy” and “I have tons of shit left to do!” Not knowing the language was also pretty challenging.
Capri was a HUGE hit with all the guests.
The actual ceremony was at Santa Sofia Church in Anacapri which dates back to 1596!
It was a lovely ceremony and the church was packed with family and close friends. But, as soon as the vows wrapped up, I was off to coordinate the reception! The cocktail hour was outside by the pool and was filled with trays and trays of food. Afterwards, guests were guided into the main ballroom for fresh fish, pasta, dancing, and some unforgettable speeches.
It turned out to be a fabulous night – so worth it!
These memories got me thinking about all those brides-to-be out there!
You girls have a lot to think about if you want to have a destination wedding. Make sure you know what you are getting into before you sign off on a wedding away. It can obviously be done, but it is going to take some organization and patience.
Check out my tips below.
Destination Wedding Tips
1.) Pick a destination spot that actually means something to you.
Do you have a unique memory or special connection to where you want to get married? People are going to ask so you better have a good story behind it!
2.) Choose a location that is travel friendly.
Make sure that your location is accommodating for your guests. Double check that there is enough hotels in the area, a nearby airport, and easy transportation when guests arrive.
3.) Have a go to person on site.
Once you find a spot, make sure you create an open communication and friendly relationship who the person in charge of the ceremony and reception area.
4.) Create a website.
Purchase a fun domain name and set up a website that your guests can go to for updates and wedding information. This is the technology age so use it to our advantage.
5.) Timing is everything.
Locking down the perfect date is a big deal. You want to make sure it is around a time where your guests can take off of work. That is why Labor day, Memorial Day, and other bank holidays are popular for wedding weekends.
6.) Create a master list.
You will need a wedding folder. Hard copy paperwork for back up is important. This should include receipts, confirmations, itineraries, maps, mock ups, etc. It will only give you a better piece of mind.
7.) Team up with a travel agent.
If you work with a travel agent, they should be able to get better rates for all your guests. Do some research and find an agent you are comfortable with using and referring. Often times, guests can get lower rates if they buy in bundle.
8.) Embrace the local businesses.
Research all the local florists, bakeries, salons and food spots that you could use. Adding elements of the city’s culture will give you reception that extra charm.
9.) Don’t go overboard.
Keep a firm budget. You don’t want to go wedding broke. That is not the way to start off a marriage.
The Other Hubby