A detailed description of our recent wedding in Cinque Terre including how we planned it from abroad and how we found a venue.
If you follow us on social media, you’ll know that on August 3rd 2019 we got married in the stunning Cinque Terre, Italy. In the beachside town of Monterosso al Mare to be exact. If you’re not familiar with the region of Cinque Terre, it’s best described as five colorful seaside villages in the Northwest of Italy. The closest city is Pisa. The Cinque Terre is instagram-famous due to the drop dead gorgeous scenery everywhere you look.
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Anyways, now that you have a brief understanding of where Cinque Terre is located let’s get onto the topic why we decided to get married in such a unique destination.
Why did we choose the Cinque Terre for our wedding
The Cinque Terre (most specifically the town of Manarola) has been my desktop screensaver ever since I had my first PC. It continues to be my laptop screensaver to this day. Then, back in 2005 when me and Paul were planning a trip to Italy. He came across the Cinque Terre whilst doing his research. We decided then and there that we had to stop here for a few nights. When we visited, I remember saying to Paul “if I ever get married I want it to be here”. Obviously. Since 2015 the Cinque Terre has grown in popularity but despite the ‘madness’ we still love it just as much.
So, when Paul proposed in February 2018 I knew our wedding had to be in Cinque Terre.
Planning our wedding in Cinque Terre
It wasn’t a difficult decision for us choosing the Cinque Terre as our wedding destination, but, if you and your partner are struggling to agree on a venue I found the following checklist to be helpful –
- Create a Wedding Checklist – a list of 5 items that are a must-have for your wedding venue e.g by the ocean; close to an airport; inexpensive etc.
- Narrow it down to 3 destinations and contact wedding planners/ venues in all 3. Then, come up with a list of who is providing the best value for money and go from there
- Try to visit the venue before putting down a deposit
We wanted to share our love of travelling with our family and friends. What better way to do that than with a Wedding in one of our favorite places in the world.
The days leading up to the Wedding
As you may know, me and Paul are currently living in Queenstown, New Zealand. We left Queenstown in early July to get back in time for the remaining planning and to buy the last few bits for the big day. We then flew out to Pisa three days before the wedding day. Then, we got the train to Monterosso al Mare direct from Pisa Centrale Station.
Quite a few of our guests arrived a few days early like us. So, it was nice to spend some quality time with them before the big day. Especially considering we live so far away. We spent the nights in the lead up to the wedding having drinks in Monterosso’s piazza. It was also lovely for guests to meet each-other before the wedding day.
Our wedding day in Cinque Terre
Thankfully, the ceremony didn’t start until 5pm due to the hot weather in Italy in August. So, there was no early morning start for me for my hair and makeup. Instead, I had a leisurely breakfast with my family in the vineyard (the venue) and then walked the 5 minutes to the village to have my hair done in the local salon.
With my hair done, me and my bridesmaids then did our makeup in one of the vineyards villa. I was completely relaxed all day and in the lead up to the big day but 30 minutes before I was due to walk up the aisle the nerves really kicked in.
Our Cinque Terre Wedding Ceremony
The ceremony was probably my favourite part of the entire day. We held it at the very top of the town overlooking the sea. It was quite a steep walk up and some of our guests decided to get taxis to the top. The guests who walked mentioned it was very ‘Mamma Mia’.
The weather was just perfect. Our celebrant really made the ceremony what it was and really personalised his speech to include funny little details from our relationship. We had our band playing some songs at some key moments during the ceremony. They really added to the atmosphere and even learned Perfect Symphony by Ed Sheeran and Andrea Bocelli for my walk up the aisle. Which was a really lovely moment.
After the ceremony, we had Prosecco waiting for our guests to toast us after they had covered us in confetti.
The aperitivo and dinner
In Italy, it’s tradition to have an Aperitivo before the dinner at weddings. It was buffet style with land, sea and vegetarian options. This was held outdoors overlooking the vineyard and the dinner area. All of our guests commented how good the food was at the aperitivo. We had the band playing Italian songs during the aperitivo, again adding to the relaxed atmosphere.
After 8pm, we were called to the dinner area. We decided to have the dinner outdoors in the middle of the vineyard to make it more unique and to really take in the surroundings. We had two menu options for our guests meat or fish. Dessert was a massive buffet and after dinner we had an open bar – much to the delight of our guests. On the drinks menu was wine, beer, Mojito and Gin & Tonic. Our band played several more songs – mainly for the key moments like our first dance (which was to How long will I love you by Ellie Goulding) We then had a DJ until 2am who had the guests dancing until the early hours.
At the end of the night a few of us decided we’d go for a swim in the sea in the village. A great end to the best day.
Important information about our Cinque Terre wedding
- The venue: Buranco Vineyard
- Our wedding planner: Cinque Terre Wedding
- The photographer: Pure Wedding Photography
- Our band: James Band 003
I hope you enjoyed this information and if you have any questions about getting married in Italy then feel free to use the comment section below.