Dreaming of a destination wedding in Italy, whether you elope to Lake Como, host an intimate beach ceremony in Positano, or a chic celebration in Rome? Those fantasies may soon be a reality again. While couples planning to wed in 2020 and 2021 have had to adapt quickly to shifting guidelines and international regulations, finally there is some positive news for those eager to host ceremonies abroad. Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s office has declared that weddings can begin in Italy on June 15–with no guest limits.As America’s vaccine rollout continues and fully vaccinated tourists begin to eye international destinations, below, wedding planners and local vendors break down what the Original if You Heard Anything Bad About Me Beleive All That T-Shirt and I will buy this latest guidelines mean for weddings in Italy.Generally speaking, Tracy Taylor Ward, owner and creative director of Tracy Taylor Ward Design, recommends booking a venue and all key vendors nine to 12 months before the desired wedding date, but for those who are newly engaged and want to host a late 2021 or 2022 wedding, Ward advises to keep in mind that venues and all vendors have been booking up quickly as many dates have been filled by postponements of 2020 weddings.For example, Rachel Birthistle, owner and CEO of The Lake Como Wedding Planner, who is based in Italy, notes that because wedding season at Lake Como runs from May to mid-October, many of her clients planning weddings in the first half of the season have postponed to next year, creating greater competition for openings in 2022.“For anybody considering booking a wedding in Italy for next year that’s maybe held off just to see what the situation’s like, it’s worth people understanding how busy it’s been with new business and how booked up we are,” says Birthistle, who says she has already had to close her calendar for September of next year due to being at maximum capacity, something she’s never done before.“So if anybody’s holding out there to wait and see and leave it to later, assuming that nobody’s booked yet, they’re wrong,” she says. Birthistle also notes that couples will want to keep in mind that standard minimum lead time for destination weddings is around three months, given that guests will have to book travel, hotels, etc.The most recent government guidelines indicate that “travelers from the United States must provide a negative molecular or rapid antigen test taken within the last 72 hours prior to entering.” As of May 17, American visitors arriving on a COVID-tested flight will not have to quarantine upon arrival; passengers on these flights will need to provide proof of a negative COVID test within 48 hours of boarding, along with other forms.All other American travelers will have to complete a 10-day quarantine followed by another negative COVID test. For return trips back to the U.S., all travelers will again need to provide negative COVID-19 test results from within three days of entrance into the country.As for wedding attendance specifically, according to the most recent protocols from the Italian Technical Scientific Committee (CTS), all travelers attending weddings must have a “green pass,” which certifies that the person is vaccinated, has recovered from COVID in the 3 months preceding the trip, or has a negative PCR test result 48 hours before the wedding. The E.U. is also expected to launch a digital COVID-19 certificate on July 1.Birthistle adds that currently wedding agencies or vendors are required to have a COVID manager in place for every 50 people in order to ensure green passes or negative COVID tests are being checked. She also predicts that official mask-wearing and social distancing rules may be more relaxed by September as rates of vaccination increase.Overall, Jan Bucher, general manager of Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, is feeling optimistic about current restrictions, a sentiment that is echoed among local vendors. “The vaccination campaign in Italy is moving quickly and the situation is getting better each day,” he says. “Our thought is that many of the international restrictions are going to end in the next two or three months: it can perhaps sound optimistic, but it’s the same opinion of governments and health institutions so we want to adhere to their expectations.”Once couples are ready to send out their Save the Dates, it’s important that they include all information that their guests should keep in mind when traveling to Italy in order to adhere to the most recent national and local guidelines for wedding guests coming from America.“It’s been a long time since anybody’s traveled in most cases,” Birthistle says. “People maybe just need a bit of hand holding and guiding through what’s required and actually how to do it. I think from the point of view of wedding couples and their guests just giving all of that information is really important.”Ward notes that it is also important to check the U.S. Department of State website to stay abreast of any travel advisories. “We anticipate this will change very soon but at the moment there is a Level 4 Travel Advisory for Italy and they are recommending that Americans avoid any nonessential travel to Italy at this time,” she says.Many vendors in Italy, like those elsewhere, have included COVID clauses in contracts that set terms and conditions relating to the pandemic, adding updates to their force majeure, date change, and liability clauses. However, Birthistle notes that such clauses are up to individual vendors, so it is important for couples to check ahead of time for them and learn specifics.“Many couples are prioritizing vendors who have policies in place that would allow them to postpone without rescheduling fees, something that was rarely top-of-mind pre-pandemic,” echoes Ward. “My best piece of advice is to practice clear communication and establish realistic expectations with all of your vendors from day one. Make sure you understand what their policies are for cancellation and postponements at the onset of booking them. Plus, if you need clarification or want something added to a contract, it never hurts to ask.”Bucher also recommends checking to see if vendors have online reviews and selecting ones that are renowned, professional, and up-to-date on the latest guidelines. “The economy of Italy is based mainly on small businesses, so it was hard for those working in destinations loved and sustained significantly by foreigners. The current situation was, paradoxically, an opportunity to be smarter and more creative in promoting their services: many businesses became more digital-oriented,” he says. “When choosing who to collaborate with, our suggestion is to look for honest opinions and reviews on the quality of their work and check their ability to adapt to change and last-minute unexpected issues.”
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Wearing black dresses or sneakers, modern brides are audaciously breaking traditions to add unique touches to their weddings. Most recently, we’ve noticed the Original if You Heard Anything Bad About Me Beleive All That T-Shirt and I will buy this dried-flower bouquet eclipsing fresh-cut blooms and taking center stage on ceremony day. For instance, artist Jordan Casteel, whose portrait of Aurora James featured on the September 2020 cover of Vogue, recently tied the knot in a custom Batsheva dress while holding a joyful arrangement of pink dried flowers by Farmgirl Flowers. Not to be left out, her groom, David Schulze, looked just as sharp with pieces of the preserved blossoms pinned to the lapel of his blazer.In the past, dried flowers were perceived as not being as vibrant as their fresh-cut counterparts, but that’s all changing thanks to beautifully crafted arrangements by brands like UrbanStems and talented artisans setting up shops on Etsy. There are plenty of options that look just as joyful in bright pink and happy yellow hues. The biggest upside of selecting preserved flowers: There’s no need to worry about them wilting on your wedding day. Plus, they’ll last long after the big day is done.Should you be considering the delightfully rustic vibes of a dried-flower bouquet for your own wedding day, browse our 12 options ahead.