Today we’re giving MAJOR props to this darling duo. For not only did they elope in THE most beautiful part of the world, but they also managed to plan the entire celebration via e-mail. I mean, that right there is proof that they had the utmost trust their vendors, and the payoff? AH-MAZING. It’s the perfect intimate ceremony complete with endless love and thanks to the ever-so-talented Jasmine Star we’ve got it all waiting in The Vault!
From the Bride… The most difficult part about planning an elopement in another county would be the communication, specifically the language barrier. Several of the important details from my perspective (hair, makeup, flowers, ceremony plans, etc.) were all discussed, negotiated, and confirmed/secured via email. That can of course be a little nerve-racking, especially when contracts and an exchange of monetary value is involved. However, as we’ve socially evolved as a culture over the past decade there are so many secure sites that make doing business internationally much more accommodating! Oh, and the time difference. Carl and I found ourselves up at 4am here in Florida calling the event coordinator at La Foce or our priest to discuss details, details, details.
The advice I would give to other brides wanting to plan an elopement internationally would be to start “planning” or at least securing your “must have” vendors (photographer, ceremony site, etc.) at least a year in advance. Engage with your “core vendors” for recommendations on other “must haves”. For example, when scouting a designer for a unique veil ask ask your photographer, “What’s the most beautiful veil you’ve ever photographed..and who designed it?”
Lean on your inner-circle of friends, colleagues, co-workers, family, etc. as a resource for different aspects of the inital planning. This could be as simple as posting on social media a question about “Anyone been to Italy? What was your favorite region? Any breathtaking venues I MUST know about when planning a special getaway?”
Build relationships with everyone you communicate (especially those who are located at your chosen destination). Yes, build relationships with folks you initially email simply inquiring about a venue, pricing on something, etc. How do you do this? Be diligent with your email follow through. Google their name and establishment to find something unique about them and mention it in your correspondence. Read reviews online and highlight something special someone said about their experience with said person and/or venue. If the person is extra helpful, write them a hand-written card thanking them. This “relationship building” in turns helps you find your “local liaison”…which brings be to my next point….
Find a local “liaison” of sorts to help you navigate the (even small) barriers of planning (language, time difference, etc.) This person isn’t necessary your “coordinator” (for instance Carl and I didn’t have a local coordinator/planner), but instead someone who you’ve emailed and/or spoken with on the phone enough times that you can perhaps Cc them in an email with someone they have referred you to to help explain something when you’re having difficultly understanding or “connecting a dot”. For instance, this person for us was the rental manager at the estate we stayed at and had our wedding ceremony. She was so helpful when we initially reached out to inquire about the property that I felt comfortable Ccing and including her on the email exchanges we had with our priest about ceremony details when we were each having a hard time articulating certain things. She was happy to chime in and help both ends fill in the blanks. We kept the theme of “relationship building” going with her by bringing her and her assistant a gift from Paris upon our arrival.
The real unexpected perk was getting to experience the special Sposi Novelli treatment at the Papal Audience where Pope Franicis welcomed people from all over the world to celebrate the anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and did a special blessing for those approved to sit up front (newlyweds!!!!). Newly married couples traveled from all over the world to experience this so for us having already scheduled a wedding and honeymoon in Italy and THEN finding out about this opportunity was definitely an UNEXPECTED perk. Needless to say we revolved our honeymoon schedule around getting a special blessing from The Pope. Apparently the tradition of “blessing newlyweds” has evolved over history (depending on who is Pope).