WhyWe Love Her: Madison is PERFECT for a modern day princess! She is another one of Kitty Chen’s masterpieces that no bride will want to miss out on! She consists of a flawless a-line shape that has a structured and tight fitting bodice that will make every bride look snatched! Her skirt will flawlessly flow and twirl in pictures AND on the dance floor!
On her bodice, she has a deep, plunging neckline, thin beaded spaghetti straps, and a gorgeous floral lace overlay. On top of the lace there are a mix of silver sequins and iridescent beads that ensure a glitzy glow from all angles! Along the neckline, there are delicate tips of leaves and flowers that ever-so-slightly peak over the edges for some added detail!
Moving into the back, the thin spaghetti straps perfectly flow into the open v-back look. The open back will let the bride show some skin without being too scandalous! On the sides of the bodice, there are mesh v-inserts that symmetrically match both the front and back of the bodice and prevent the beading from bothering the bride when she is moving around! Continuing down, Madison’s lace graciously cascades down to cover the entirety of the skirt and train!
Madison is available in a variety of different colors so it will match all skin tones, vibes, and venues! These colors include: ivory/champagne/toffee (shown in photos), ivory/toffee, all ivory, and all white. These options allow the bride to customize the color of the illusion meshing, underlayer lining, and lacing of this dress. The train can also be lengthened as a custom change!
She’s Great For: Madison is great for a summer or spring ballroom wedding! With her combination of lace and beading, she will shine in every setting! She has the WOW factor that would stand out even at the most elegant venues! The bride would be sure to make a grand entrance in this dress that will leave the guests speechless!
She will pair perfectly with a mix of different kinds of florals for the centerpieces and bouquets! And because of the multiple color options, Madison gives the bride flexibility to match all different color schemes: warm and cool tones!
What Makes Her Special: What makes Madison special other than her extraordinary detail is her additional touch of pockets! That’s right: within her beautiful skirt, she has pockets for the bride to keep her essentials on the big day!
On top of that, Madison is one of the unique dresses that has a matching cathedral veil! Her veil is covered with the exact same lace appliques and beadwork that makes up Madison! Kitty Chen did all the hard work for you when it comes to matching the unique details of this dress!
Why We Love Her: Elegance with stunning touches of modernity, Stella York 7457 has it all!
This pretty little sheath dress has the most exquisite matte satin fabric and boning in the bodice, making her flattering to all shapes and sizes. Her lace, illusion straps are delicate while providing the perfect amount of support for larger busts, and a subtle plunge adds a hint of sexiness. The semi-sheer bodice emphasizes the bold floral and leaf lace pattern adorning the bodice.
The back of this gown is equally as incredible as the front, featuring a low v-back and the illusion, lace straps that frame the back beautifully. Buttons trickle down the back to a spectacular and elaborate floral lace train that your photographer will LOVE.
Let’s not forget the shimmer – this dress will glisten in the sun from the subtle sequin detail in the bodice down to the glitter tulle in the train. There is a lot to love about this gown!
She’s Great For: brides with outdoor ceremonies or all-outdoor weddings! The lace on this beauty would make her the perfect fit for garden, beach, or vineyard ceremonies. The contrast of grass or sand underneath the sheer train makes the floral lace and sparkle pop, and draw all eyes to those stunning details on the back.
The bride will glow during golden hour as the light catches the sequins in the lace and the glitter tulle in the train. This dress is a great option for brides who are torn between styles! The elegance of the matte satin appeals to brides who love simple, timeless styles while the floral lace draws in elements of romance. Her versatility is
What Makes Her Special: Her matte satin fabric! Most styles similar to this gown are made of a stretch crepe that hugs the curves of the body. For brides who do not like fabrics that cling but want a cleaner look, the matte satin fabric on 7457 is the perfect option! It hugs the body without clinging and the structure in the fabric helps creates a more smooth look than crepe.
The feel of the satin is luxurious and lightweight, ensuring that the bride will not overheat on her big day.
The Stella York specialty is the incredible lace patterns they use to elevate their dresses. The floral train on the 7457 is one-of-a-kind and to DIE for! The scalloped shape gives the train some dimension as she glides down the aisle behind you. Gorgeous lotus and leaf motifs are strategically placed to emphasize the shape of the scallop while creating a dramatic, jaw dropping silhouette.
Brides, trust us, you are going to want to add this one to your try on list!
Working as a bridal consultant part-time or full-time is a great experience! It truly is one of the best jobs a girl could ask for. What girl would not want to work in a store full of wedding dresses!?
While working in a bridal store has all its perks and positive qualities, there are also some difficult situations that a consultant is faced with. Similarly to working at any retail store, a bridal consultant faces many positive and negative situations throughout her working experience. Here are some prime examples:
High: It’s a fun job!
To start off, being a bridal consultant is one of the best jobs out there! To be able to try on wedding dresses whenever I want, be in a happy atmosphere filled with love and excitement, and completing projects all revolving around weddings is a dream come true! Seriously, who wouldn’t want to do that for a living!
From the moment I became a bridal consultant, I was filled with joy, but my expectations have been greatly surpassed as the years have passed. The Darianna team is the most close-knit and supportive working environment that someone could ask to be a part of! Everyone is always there for each other and welcoming with any questions or concerns that both coworkers and customers have. Low: Getting blamed for stuff that is not our fault
One of the not-so-fun parts of being a bridal consultant is getting blamed for things that are not our fault. For example, shipping dates and delays, not having every dress in every size and color, size changes, alteration mishaps, etc. Our store is big, but we do not have enough room to house every dress from every designer that we carry. Therefore, we have to place orders and rely on designer manufacturers to provide us with special order dresses. If they have factory and shipping delays, we have no way of fixing that. If the dress comes in and the bride has lost/gained weight, or if bride told the seamstress she was wearing flat shoes but then decided to wear 5″ heels instead and now the dress was hemmed too short, that wasn’t our decision.
As a bridal store, we do our best to order a variety of different sizes, colors, designers, and style dresses for our inventory. However, in some instances, when a bride comes in looking for a specific dress, we may not have all of the details aligning with her complexion and specific vision. We do try our best to accommodate brides by adding different color fabrics underneath dresses, and clipping dresses to fit, but some brides cannot visualize the full picture. High: Working with a joyful and supportive group
A supportive group is everything! Moms, bridesmaids, friends, other family members; it is crucial for everyone to be on the same page and have a positive attitude. When they are, the whole experience is magical for the bride! It will be filled with laughter, smiles, and maybe even some happy tears. This is a day that brides only anticipate happening once in their lives, so they will remember it forever, and if you are one of the lucky people that she chooses to accompany her on this day, then your opinion and attitude means everything to her!
And the fun does not have to stop after the appointment either! Most of our brides who bride groups with them follow up their appointment with a celebratory lunch/dinner and cocktails! Nothing like celebrating this very special moment with their closest friends/family and a glass of champagne! Low: When opinions sway the bride
On the contrary to having an amazing group, in some cases, a group (or even one person in the group) can ruin a whole experience for a bride. This normally occurs when the group is very opinionated and brutally judges every dress the bride puts on. This can then lead to the bride being scared to express what she truly likes and creates an overall negative vibe for the appointment.
Seeing this as a bridal consultant is very disappointing because what was supposed to be a happy and enjoyable experience turns into an awkward and sometimes hostile environment. We will watch the smile slowly get drained from a bride’s face when her family says that they do not like the dress that she loved in the dressing room. Like I said before, a bride brings people to get honest opinions; however, there is a difference between constructive criticism and being harsh. High: Knowing the impact that we play on a bride’s life
As I touched on this before, a definite plus to being a bridal consultant is knowing and seeing the impact that we play on a bride’s life! Shopping for wedding dresses is an experience that most brides will only do once in their lives. It is something that will be memorable not only during the wedding planning, but will last forever. Every bride remembers the day they said “yes to their dress,” and being a part of that day brings joy to a bridal consultant’s face!
At our store, we encounter the bride’s appreciation and excitement constantly! Whether it’s through emails, phone calls, reviews, and sometimes even thank you cards. Receiving those positive messages is what makes us love our job! Low: When circumstances prevent the bride from finding her dress
Every so often we have a rare situation when different circumstances prevent a bride from finding her perfect dress. These situations typically revolve around time restraints, dress availability, and budgets. When this happens, it can be heartbreaking for both the bride and consultant.
Although it may seem like in these tough situations we are the ones that are standing in the way of your dress, we truly DO want to be included in your wedding experience and help you find your perfect dress! Helping brides find their dresses is our job, and we want it to be a pleasant experience for everyone! High: The Moment!
THE MOMENT is what every bride looks forward to! It is when the anticipation rises, and all the attention is on the bride. The bride is all done up with veils, headpieces, belts, flower bouquets, and anything else that she can think of in order to make this moment special! Pictures will be taken, happy tears will be shed, and the bride will begin to nod that this is her dress. The instant this decision is made and the bride says “YES”, the entire mood will enlighten and a feeling of relief will flood the bride!
From a consultant’s point of view, this is super exciting! All of our hard work throughout the appointment built up to this moment. The bride found exactly what she was looking for, and all spirits are high! Our work is done! The bride is one step closer to her big day, and now we wait until the dress comes in and we get pictures from their wedding day!
As you can see, a bridal consultant is an AWESOME job to have! Even with all the ups and downs that we may face, I would not trade this job for anything. The Darianna Family is truly an amazing team to work for, and I am so happy that I was able to spend the last couple years working with them!
Tori Scavillo is a successful bridal consultant at Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo. Her dedication to her co-workers and her brides defies her young age. She connects with everyone – from junior bridesmaids to Fathers of the Bride and everyone in between – with kindness and compassion while truly wanting to help. Tori has many 5-star reviews citing her friendliness, knowledge of bridal gowns, and patience being most appreciated in such an emotional and exciting time. Super-smart, grounded, and real, Tori is a very important and much-loved part of our family!Over her career as a bridal consultant, she has helped hundreds of brides find their perfect wedding dress. Meet Tori in her short introductory video here.
Why we love her: There’s almost no words for this remarkable gown.
Dauphine by Morilee is nothing short of extraordinary. Regality meets modernity meets romance. Every inch of this gown is ornately decorated.
The effortless mermaid silhouette combined with sparkle tulle and lace appliques make Dauphine an easy choice for brides looking to go all-out with their gowns. Traditional lace appliques decorate the entire gown with organic vine and leaf patterns. The appliques cascade down the length of the gown, and their placement is artfully slimming. Clear sequins are stitched to the appliques to make them glisten as brides walk down the aisle. Shimmery glitter tulle lays beneath the appliques and adds a gentle sparkle. Dancing the night away, brides will catch the light and shine like the stars they are!
Dauphine’s bodice is heavily structured to support brides and help them feel secure all night long. Boning lines the bodice to keep everything pulled in! The bodice is unlined, so the boning is lightly visible underneath the applique. This corset-style look is a modern touch that a lot of brides are drawn to these days. Dauphine’s bodice is topped off with a signature sweetheart neckline– so romantic!
Dauphine’s neckline flows seamlessly into illusion long sleeves (they’re detachable!). Ornate lace appliques line the top of the sleeve and descend the length of it. These long sleeves are nude mesh, so the applique details on them appear to lay directly on skin. They are finished off with button closures on the end. Attaching the sleeves creates a dramatic squared shape for the back neckline. The sleeves take the dress from modern vibes to something much more regal. Because they’re detachable, brides can achieve two exceptional looks with one dress!
Buttons cover up the zipper closure on the back of Dauphine’s bodice. They continue down the bride’s backside and help make that booty pop. The buttons stop where the train starts to flare out. The train is cathedral length. The lining of the dress does not continue the length of the train, meaning the end of the train is a stunning sheer illusion. All of the mechanics required for bustling the train will blend right in with all of the appliques, so brides will be able to dance all night without worry! As the lace applique drips down the gown, it concludes with gorgeous scalloped hem lace. The hem lace encircles the entire bottom of the dress and follows the length of the train. This gives a finished look to the gown, making it completely stunning from top to bottom.
She’s great for: Dauphine is a unique dress, and she will look her best at unique venues! Castles on the Irish countryside, industrial-style lofts, and even luxurious, artsy hotels will make a great backdrop for her. Dauphine is also great for brides getting married during months with unpredictable weather and temperatures. With the detachable long sleeves, brides can transition from cooler weather to warmer weather with the same gown!
What makes her special: the stunning, detachable sleeves! Brides can quickly and easily change the entire look of their gown by adding or removing these beautifully crafted sleeves. They attach so flawlessly that guests will never know that they come off until it happens. It’s as smooth as a transition as can be. The intricate and thoughtful details on the sleeves elevate the entire look, taking it from modern to fit for royalty And the exquisite craftsmanship by Morilee of the sleeves is maintained throughout the entire gown, making it an obvious choice for bold and regal brides!
Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo is pleased to offer these 7 simple ways to improve your tuxedo or suit rental or purchase experience!
What follows is a summary of what our bridal and tuxedo store is experiencing with weddings this year, and a few procedures you can follow to help grooms and groomsmen look their best for your wedding.
2022 Weddings Are on the Rise
According to The Wedding Report, the United States will see 25% more weddings this year. That’s more weddings we’ve seen since 1984! This is certainly going to affect your wedding vendors and how they serve you.
We are experiencing a noticeable increase in the number of weddings this year, much more than the predicted 25% increase. Whether it’s increased demand from delays from COVID or just overall demand from demographics, we are certainly seeing many more brides, bridesmaids, grooms and groomsmen coming through our store.
You want your wedding party to look their best. So do we! Those wedding photos will last forever and we want to help you manage this process to capture those moments that will be seen for years to come. While there is a lot more involved with renting a tuxedo or suit than the items that follow, these are the 7 simple ways to improve your rental experience:
Start Shopping Early
Given the higher demand for tuxedo and suit rentals and purchases, we suggest that you start shopping for your mens’ attire six months before your wedding. There are a lot of choices out there and it may take you some time to decide on how you want to dress your groom, groomsmen and fathers. As an example, we have over 70 different styles of suits and tuxedos for rent and about 35 available for purchase. In addition, there are many different styles and colors of vests, long ties, bow ties and pocket squares.
Sorting all of this out with the proper professional advice is not that complex, however, we advise starting the process early so that you can make your choices with the time you need to decide.
In addition, the sooner you choose your attire and place those orders, the less likely you will find yourself unable to acquire the choices you made. Remember, there are 25% more weddings in the United States this year and that is translating into more pressure on inventories of certain tuxedo and suit shops who are not prepared for the extra volume.
2021 proved to be a challenging year as well because of all of the weddings postponed in 2020 from COVID and the already planned weddings for 2021. We remember having a bride and groom come to us who said their original tuxedo supplier could not accommodate all of their requests: all of the tuxedos were not available because the company was out of the styles and they could only provide half of the vests requested! Fortunately, we were able to provide them all of their tuxedos for their wedding day without a problem, however this may be a recurring issue in 2022 due to the increase in the number of weddings so starting your shopping and ordering of tuxedo and suit rentals early, could alleviate this problem.
Have Your Guys Get Measured in a Timely Fashion
Getting your guys to get measured for their tuxedo or suit in a timely manner is one of the biggest challenges. At Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo, we suggest having everyone measured and initial payments made at least 3 to 4 weeks before the wedding. This will make sure the inventory can be reserved for you and your wedding party and we have enough time to start working on the orders.
Do we really need 3 – 4 weeks? No we do not. We can prepare a tuxedo or suit rental in less time, but this will ensure there is adequate time for any changes in sizes or choices and will reduce the probability of inventory not being available.
We understand everyone is busy, but this is an important day for your wedding and we try to explain that to the groomsmen. Our procedures provide for us to call or text the guys to remind them to come in and get measured. If they are out-of-town guests where we’ve arranged for them to get measured out-of-state, it is equally important for them to submit their measurements to us on our online portal in a timely manner.
* This is where the bride and groom can help: we call and text groomsmen many times to remind them to get measured. Sometimes, they are not very responsive to our communications. When that is the case, we will reach out to the bride and groom to nudge the guys to come and get measured. Oftentimes, the bride and groom will send out a group text message and euphemistically state: ‘any of you who haven’t been to Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo to get measured for your tuxedo, need to do so ASAP!’. Of course even those who have been measured are included in the text message so not to shame the ones who have not completed this task!
Our suggestion to you is to follow up with the guys via text message and ask them if they’ve been able to order their tuxedo. We find that they tend to be more responsive to the bride and groom.
Getting measured only takes about 10 minutes.
Make Your Tuxedo Payment on Time
Paying for your rental may sound like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many times we have to make multiple requests to groomsmen to either make their initial payment or pay for the entire rental if we are shipping it to them.
We have had to explain more than once that amazon.com will not process your order without payment… and neither can we. If you are picking up in our store, we require an initial payment at measuring and the balance of the rental fee can be paid on pick up. If we are shipping you the tuxedo, we do require full payment before the rental ships out.
Check with your tuxedo and suit retailer as to what their payment requirements are. Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo tries to make the payment process very simple. We accept all credit cards, offer ApplePay and GooglePay and even can send electronic invoices by text message or email. Not making a payment for your suit or tuxedo rental halts the processing of the order.
Respond to the Tuxedo Shops Questions
At Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo, we do a lot of quality control with our tuxedo and suit rental orders.
There are a lot of moving parts to renting a suit or tuxedo. There is the actual tuxedo style, color and designer, the type of shirt, color of vest, bow tie or long tie choices, cufflink and stud choices, shoe choice, and of course pocket square choice. Add on top of that, measurements and sizing for most of the items just mentioned. We review files every week for accuracy and completeness.
This year, we anticipate renting about 7,000 tuxedos and suits! That’s a lot of quality control and a lot of telephone calls and text messages to our customers. Our suggestion, no matter where you are renting or purchasing your suit or tuxedo, is to return the call or text message of the retailer in a timely manner so that you can answer their questions. This expedites the ordering of your attire and ensures everything is accurate. Given that we see 7,000 measurements a year, we often can spot inconsistencies and fix them with a quick phone call.
It’s always a good idea to ask your retailer about when the suit or tuxedo rental will be available for pick up. Every store has a different policy. Our policy is, in general, that the rental will be ready for pick up 4 to 10 days before your event. The good news is we do not charge extra by allowing you to pick up the tuxedo a week before the wedding. This allows you to try it on and make sure everything fits properly. We call every single renter to let him know his rental is ready for pick up. If you do not have voicemail, we are actually able to text you from our store’s telephone number.
Our suggestion is to pick up the suit or tuxedo rental as soon as you are notified or as soon as you can. You want to allow adequate time to make changes if necessary. As an example, we had a groomsman who was measured in March. When he came to pick up his tuxedo in August, he had lost 15 pounds because he is a landscaper, worked outside and lost weight due to the extreme heat. This was not a problem, because he came to pick up his tuxedo a week before the wedding. The next day, we had the correct size for him.
On another note, if you lost or gained weight, it’s a good idea to return to the store to get re-measured. Every tuxedo store has different procedures, but we put everyone in a pair of pants, a jacket, shirt, vest and shoes. The fitting items that you try on with us are true to size and are quite accurate, unless, of course, you lose 15 pounds!
If you were measured out-of-state and are having your tuxedo or suit rental shipped to you, we highly recommend trying it on immediately. Remember you were not measured by us and where you went to get measured may not have the same tried and true measuring procedures that we have. Inform your tuxedo retailer immediately if something does not fit properly. With adequate notification, you should be able to have that situation remedied quickly. The bride and groom will appreciate you for this!
6. Sizing and Tightness
We often hear from groomsmen that their suit or tuxedo ‘feels a little tight’. This doesn’t happen often but when it does, our experience is that many guys are not used to wearing suits or tuxedos. Let’s face it, most workplaces allow casual attire or people work from home. If a suit or tuxedo is perfectly comfortable (read: feels like you are wearing a sweatshirt and sweatpants), then we can guarantee it looks terrible!
Some guys put their arms out in front of them and say, “It’s so tight!” or “Look how short the arms are!” Are you going to walk around like a zombie at the wedding? No, because that is not a normal stance. When your arms are straight down at your side it should look and feel fitted.
A suit or tuxedo should be relatively fitted and look almost like it was made for you. It should not be baggy. If you are not used to wearing formal attire, after wearing it for 10-15 minutes, you will get used to the tighter feel. It is best to try your tuxedo on in the retailer’s location. This way a professional, who is used to seeing thousands of people in tuxedos, can help you determine if the fit is correct. If you had your tuxedo shipped to you, we’ve even done FaceTime or video calls with guys so we could see what it looks like on them! This helps us determine if anything needs to be changed.
So the bottom line is if you are not used to wearing formal attire, then that slight tight feeling from the tuxedo or suit may still be the proper size for you. A formal wear professional will help you determine that and even allow you to try on the next size up to see how it looks and feels.
7. Return On Time!
This is a big one that can cause real problems. Because there is a strain on inventory, suit and tuxedo retailers are depending on returns to be prompt. If you do not return your tuxedo there of course or late fees associated, but you are also causing problems for someone else. Yours could be delayed because someone else didn’t return on time. Please return your tuxedo as per the terms of your retailer. You can read more about the importance of prompt returns here!
We Hope This Helps
Although not all wedding parties are experiencing all of these issues, we are finding that these are the 7 simple ways to improve the tuxedo and suit rental or purchase process! Simply being aware of these potential issues will help streamline dressing your wedding party.
Claire is one of Eddy K’s newest masterpieces! She is an exemplary blend of glitz and glam! How could a bride not fall in love?!? Her sweetheart bodice comes unlined to create dimension within the dress and show off the lacing. This will also show off the boning in the dress for the extra touch of detailing!
She has a magnificent mermaid shape that will flatter the curves of every bride that tries her on! The mix of floral lace, sequins, 3D lace, and beading covers the entirety of the bodice and hip of Claire, and then gradually extends into the voluminous tulle skirt.
Claire’s back is just as show stopping as her front! All details from the front wrap into the back for a gorgeous uniform look! And of course, as one expected, she has BUTTONS! Not only do they cover the zipper of the back, they continue all the way down the train which is just the cherry on top!
She is available in two color options: ivory/ivory/skin and ivory/champagne/blush/skin. Once the bride comes to the easy decision that Claire is her dress, she will have the tough decision on deciding on which color she wants! And because of the silver threading that is within the lace on her, choosing the all ivory version would not cause the lace detailing to get lost in photos!
She’s Great for:
Because of her 3D floral lace, this beautiful wedding dress is great for matching any spring or summer wedding and vibe! She will perfectly compliment all different types of greenery which will let the bride be able to get creative with bouquets! Her elegant fit and modern details will flawlessly match venues both inside AND outside. Barns, Ballrooms, Gardens; you name it, and she will be the perfect match!
What Makes Her Special:
What makes Claire special is her detachable sleeves and matching veil! Her detachable sleeves are ideal for a bride that wants the look of sleeves without the restriction that they give. A bride will easily be able to snap off the sleeves when the party starts! Claire is also one of the special dresses that Eddy K. offers a matching veil for which allows the bride to avoid the hassle of finding a veil. She is truly a spectacular dress!
I have just returned from my fourth trip to Italy and it sounds like many of our brides and grooms are planning trips to Italy for their honeymoon! It is incredibly exciting and I love talking about it and showing pictures.
In a previous blog I included photos of a family trip to Rome and Florence at Christmas time and made some of the best memories of my life. I will admit it is easier, I think, because my husband is fluent in Italian. Most everyone there knows English, however having him able to speak directly is clearly an advantage. He also lived there for several years and already knew the ins and outs of the culture.
Before I get into the six things that I feel are most important, I need to preface with this. There is definitely a sense of pride to be of Italian descent! However, because you are of Italian descent does not mean you are “Italian”. If you tell an actual Italian that you are Italian (in English no less), they will stare at you in disbelief. You are Italian-American. Even my husband who is fluent and lived there is not considered an Italian! You will realize this right away – as I did – and here are the six things that I think are most important to know to make your trip that much better!
I. Focus On One or Two Areas
I know this is very hard because it’s not as though you visit Italy every day and you want to see as much as possible. We are fortunate to have gone a number of times and still have trouble with this advice.
Italy is a large country with spectacular sites, cuisine, and qualities in every region. There are places everyone wants to see such as Venice, Milan, Rome, Florence, Amalfi Coast, Naples, Capri, Sicily, etc. The thing is, you probably don’t have three months off. Chances are you have 7-10 days, 14 if you’re lucky and at least 2 will be traveling there and back. Packing in every tourist spot you can is not good idea and you will spend too much time traveling and not enough time enjoying.
My advice is to pick your must-see city first. You will want to spend several days there to really experience it and visit the sites that drew you to it. Once you choose and know what you want to see, then perhaps you can add another depending on the distance and how much time you have. Can you get there by train or will you have to fly? Will you have a car and are you comfortable driving unfamiliar roads with signs in Italian? All of this adds not only to the cost but takes a lot of time. You can put another region or two on your bucket list for your next trip!
Which leads me to #2 which will help you choose your location!
2. Italy Is Not Spaghetti and Meatballs
Before I went to Italy, I thought all Italians ate spaghetti and meatballs. You know why? Because I am American. It is so laughable now that I cringe when I think about it.
I don’t think I saw the words ‘spaghetti’ or ‘meatballs’ on any menu I’ve ever read.
We went to a town called Bolzano so far north on the Austrian border that they spoke both Italian and German and have traveled throughout all the way down to Sicily. Nowhere was I offered a plate of spaghetti and meatballs. Cuisine is regional and they all have their specialties.
This is very important because if you have preferences, dietary restrictions, allergies, etc., you will want to factor that in to your visit. For example, Sicily is an island and fish is served on the menu more than a city like Parma which specializes in stuffed pastas (my personal favorite!), Florence and their infamous Bistecca steaks and wild boar, or Milan with their incredibly delicious risottos and polenta. And while you can get delicious pizza anywhere in Italy, it originated in Naples so guess who has the best pizza?!
If you have an allergy to seafood or you are a vegetarian, this may affect where you visit. Although each city will have an offering of everything (pastas, meats, fish), research the specialties in each area.
I’m sure you can find spaghetti and meatballs somewhere, but really, just get a local pasta with a bolognese sauce. **Special note: Do Not use or ask for a spoon to twirl pasta. They do not do this and neither should you.
Eating is completely different there on several levels. They do not eat a ‘breakfast’ like you are used to. Some of the hotels will offer something close, but it is not a bagels, eggs, and pancakes kind of thing.
In the morning before 10 AM, you would enjoy a cappuccino and a brioche or pastry. You never ask for a cappuccino after 10 AM – there are a number of other coffees available so do not ask for cappuccino. (Speaking of coffee, espresso does not get filled to the top of demitasse cup, only about halfway.)
Lunch is served typically between 12-2 PM. Most restaurants close at 3 PM and if you missed it, you missed it. You may be able to find a McDonald’s in a touristy area, but you will not get into any decent restaurant after that time.
And if you do miss it, dinner will be at 7 PM or later. It also lasts a long time. When you reserve a table, it is yours for the night and you may be there for several hours. Some will make dinner reservations as late as 9 PM and there is nothing abnormal about that to them.
The food, as you would imagine and as everyone will attest to, is out of this world and not nearly as expensive as here.
4. Time change
A trip to Italy will usually take 7 to 8 hours from Philadelphia or New York to Milan or Rome. And once you land, it will be six hours ahead of Eastern standard time. You will be exhausted from the trip and want to immediately go to sleep. Unless it is actually in the evening when you arrive (which it probably will not be) do not go to sleep.
If you wind up sleeping during the day you arrive, you will never get used to the time change and it will definitely affect the quality of your trip.
Italy has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. They are not what you are used to. You don’t just show up to the beach with your chairs and blanket!
These beaches have chairs and umbrellas, some have lounges as well, that you rent. You can look up the local beach(es) and find the website or phone number to rent your space. Most have their own restaurant and bathroom facilities as well.
There is so much to see in Italy and you will most likely walk more than you ever have. No matter what part you visit, you will definitely walk. Most tourists are fine wearing shorts and sneakers, but if you are going to tour churches check the rules – some require your shoulders and/or knees are covered. When you are heading out to a restaurant, dress nicely. Even when we toured the amazing city of Lucca and during the afternoon most of the women had sundresses, hats, and sandals on. They do not wear sweatpants, leggings, or sloppy-looking outfits.
I hope you found this information helpful! If you have questions or need advice, we would love to help you. We have been all over and know many amazing restaurants and sites to see. Reach out to us anytime!