Weddings by Mary- Destination Wedding planning

Destination Wedding Traditions to Keep at Your Overseas Wedding – Part 1

Couples considering a destination wedding usually like to do things the contemporary way. Avoiding tradition for tradition’s sake in favour of personality packed celebrations.

The word ‘tradition’ when used at certain sentimental times of year, such as Christmas though, does feel charming and familiar. But when it comes to weddings it’s taken on some rather stuffy, old fashioned connotation, don’t you think?

You want your wedding to feel modern and different, probably quite unlike the wedding your parents might have had!  When it comes to destination weddings though, embracing your chosen country’s unique customs can be a way of bringing a fresh flavour to the proceedings.

Take a look at these destination wedding traditions from France & Italy which you might wish to include to help you connect with your chosen location…

Destination Wedding Traditions: France

France carries an associated air of timeless sophistication. And its wedding customs and traditions are no different. The ideas I’ve included here are all about effortless style, indulgent partying, and understated excess. And they all sound pretty good to me!

The Wedding Ceremony

Many French wedding traditions centre around extending, expanding and excelling, and they love to have a little something extra. It is commonplace in France to have two ceremonies.  One civil – that’s the legal part- and one symbolic; the latter tends to be the one that takes place in front of friends and family on the ‘wedding day’. It’s not uncommon for couples to do this anyway when having a destination wedding, usually with the legal civil ceremony happening in their home country. Either before or sometimes even after the overseas celebrations, but it’s also oh so French to do it this way!

Weddings by Mary- London wedding planner
Weddings by Mary- London wedding planner

Speaking of extending, in France the cocktail hour at a wedding is significantly longer than we’re used to in the UK. It can last 2-3 hours and serves as a chance for guests to enjoy great food, wine and champagne – a very important feature of French weddings!

It’s typical for the bride and groom to make a grand entrance at the end of the cocktail hour(s), signifying the beginning of the feasting and partying (which, by the way, can go on all night).

Lots of sumptuous French food, a croquembouche and a champagne fountain often feature too, continuing the theme of elegant decadence.

One area the French don’t add extra je ne sais quoi to, however, is bridal fashion. It is typically pared back, chic and simple – fashionable without being flashy. It is also uncommon for there to be bridesmaids or groomsmen at French weddings, which might be just the reason you’re looking for to reduce your bridal party!

Destination Wedding Traditions: Italy

Italy has always been a country that does things its own way, and weddings are no exception. Not unlike the customs of many European countries, food and fun feature heavily. If that sounds like a good time to you, here are a few traditions you might like to include in your Italian destination wedding.

Food for the Masses

If you’ve ever been to Italy you’ll know that food is a serious subject.

In the small towns (and even the big cities outside of the tourist season) a universal lunch break is taken without fail. A classic Italian meal features several courses, and a beverage is almost never served without a snack. Personally, I love it!

When it comes to weddings, it’s time to feast.

Traditionally the wedding dinner is made up of multiple courses; starters, fish courses, pasta courses, meat courses, dessert.

And the wedding cake is often a millefoglie made of tantalising layers of pastry, cream, fruit and sugar. Incorporating this very Italian way of eating into your destination wedding has to be one of the highlights of getting married in Italy – it’s a food lovers’ paradise!

Dance the night away

There is also the fun tradition of la tarantella which originated in the south of Italy, a pacey dance in which the beat gets faster and faster as time goes on. Trying to master, or simply get involved with, this dance with your friends and family can be an absolute riot and is sure to end in laughter and even more unforgettable memories.

Finally, if you’re the superstitious type, remember to remove any items of gold jewellery before walking down the aisle; it’s considered bad luck in Italy! (Though your shinny new gold wedding band isn’t)

Weddings by Mary- London wedding planner- The Langham

These destination wedding traditions are all potential fun additions to your wedding celebrations abroad, and when you work with me on your Multi Day Wedding Planning, I’ll craft it exactly to the experience you envisage.

Whether you choose to really embrace the customs of your chosen wedding destination. Or just add a subtle nod here and there, I’ll practically and precisely pull it all together.

Your guests will feel like they’re at a wedding that is so very you while also being very definitely in Europe, and that is the perfect blend don’t you think?

Get in touch to chat about planning your destination wedding whether in France, Italy, Spain or Portugal. Or if you have a bright idea about somewhere else to explore I’m ready to plan when you are.

Let’s fly!

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I’ve spent most of my life in the wedding & events industry. Helping couples in love to celebrate in style is something I adore and am hugely proud of being able to do.

At the very heart of my job is a love of people. A chance to connect with couples is one of my favourite parts. Being a wedding planner means being able to balance the detail-focused organisation and expert problem solving with the chance to have a good chat and a laugh with couples over a cuppa or a glass of fizz.

Mary x