Schedule Appointment Call or Text: 215-491-8500

Category Archives: Destination Wedding

6 Things To Know Before Your Trip To Italy

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.

Castel Del Piano, Tuscany
Castel Del Piano, Tuscany

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!

The Regions of Italy
The Regions of Italy

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

Dinner at Osteria degli Argini, our favorite hands-down in Parma
Dinner at Osteria degli Argini, our favorite hands-down near Parma!

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.

Tordelli bolognese in Lucca
Tordelli bolognese in Lucca

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.

3. Eating Times

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.

5. Beaches

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.

6. Attire

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!

Wedding Dress Wednesday: Alanna from Casablanca Bridal’s Beloved

Meet Alanna!

Designer: Beloved by Casablanca

Alanna From Beloved by Casablanca
Alanna From Beloved by Casablanca

Why We Love Her: Alanna is a dream dress for every bride! Her romantic sweetheart neckline is the perfect shape that will look flattering on any bride. It will show the ideal amount of skin without being too scandalous or uncomfortable. She has a beautiful natural a-line shape that will perfectly flow and move with the bride.

Alanna's sheer bodice with layers of lace and corset boning
Alanna’s sheer bodice with layers of lace and corset boning

Her bodice consists of strong corset boning that extends to a drop waist silhouette to ensure that it hits the perfect spot and compliments every bride that puts her on!

Alanna’s intricate detailing doesn’t stop with the shape; she has gorgeous floral and various natural viney lace detailing that is the central focal point and gradually cascades throughout the skirt! In between all the viney appliques, there are small delicate petals that add dimension and uniqueness!

Looking for sparkle? Alanna will not disappoint! On top of all the leafy appliques, she has iridescent sequins that will sparkle and shine. She even has a delicate layer of glitter tulle underneath the appliques that will glimmer in every lighting, both inside and outside, making her perfect for all weather!

Alanna's Leafy lace pattern is perfect for outdoor summer weddings
Leafy lace pattern is perfect for outdoor summer weddings

This beauty is available in six different colors, allowing the bride to have many different options to choose from! The colors are Ivory, White, Champagne/Nude, Champagne/Ivory, Ivory/Sorbet, and Ivory/Nude (shown in the photos). With all of these color options available, it will ensure that she will showcase all the detail and match all wedding vibes!

Alanna's Dramatic and beautiful details all around
Dramatic and beautiful details all around

She’s Great For: The bride that wants a traditional shape with a nontraditional feel! Her floral and leafy appliques will steal the spotlight any time of the year and at any type of venue. Some ideal venues for Alanna would be outside in a garden scene or in a rustic barn. She is even the perfect dress for destination weddings as well due to her lightweight and airy characteristics!

Alanna's Removable lace sleeve can be worn on or off the shoulder, or not at all
Removable lace sleeve

What Makes Her Special: What makes Alanna special is her unique detachable off the shoulder straps! When attached, they give the perfect romantic look with an extra touch of bohemian detail that every dress needs! And when the party starts and the dancing begins, they can pop right off! Beloved by Casablanca allows for custom changes as well to make a dress like this unique to you!

Have a dress from one of our designers that you would like featured? Let us know and we can tag you in a WDW Blog!

What To Know Before Planning a Walt Disney World Wedding

The Disney Chapel

After spending 10 months working for the mouse, I can easily say that I’ve seen some pretty cool wedding related things when it comes to Walt Disney World: wedding pictures on the steps in the Grand Floridian, couples celebrating their honeymoon with a few rides down Splash Mountain, and more engagements in front of the castle than I can count. We even had the opportunity to meet with one of the Wedding Consultants at Franck’s Bridal Studio and tour some of their on-site venues! Although I spent my time working there outside of the bridal world, I learned so much about the ins and outs of planning a Disney wedding. If you are newly engaged and considering tying the knot in Disney World, here are some important things to know!

Walt Disney’s Wedding Pavillion

You can get married virtually anywhere on property
If you have spent every summer vacationing at Disney World, you may have seen some of the unique (and gorgeous) spots where you can host your wedding on property. Whether you are having just a few close friends and relatives or a 200 person event, they have the perfect space for you to say “I do!”. 
Many resorts have multiple areas that transform into absolutely magical wedding venues including the Boardwalk Inn, Coronado Springs, the Polynesian, Yacht & Beach Club, the Contemporary, and Port Orleans! From my experience, the Grand Floridian was an incredibly popular spot for Disney weddings as it is close to the ever popular Wedding Pavilion – a gorgeous space with a view that overlooks Cinderella’s Castle! The ballrooms at the Grand Floridian also act as a neutral space that allows you to customize just how much Disney you would like to incorporate in your ceremony and reception. My pick, however, would be the beach at the Polynesian! From private patios to pavilions to ballrooms and more, there is a space at these resorts for every couple.
A lesser known option for your Disney wedding is to host in a restaurant in Disney Springs! This is typically a better option for more intimate weddings due to space constrictions and the fact that this is a free space that is open to the public. One of our brides tied the knot right at Paddlefish and took photos at Port Orleans resort. 
When most people think of a Disney wedding, their mind typically goes straight to weddings in the parks. There are a plethora of spaces in the parks that also double as ceremony and reception venues. In Animal Kingdom, you have the option to dance the night away on Harambe Street, experience the charm of the Tamu Tamu Courtyard, or say yes to forever in front of the Tree of Life. And I can’t think of a more perfect space to host a Halloween wedding than in the courtyard of the Tower of Terror in Hollywood Studios! 
Epcot is home to the most incredible venue spaces: the American Adventure Rotunda where you can dine with the presidents, the Living Seas Salon that allows you to party with the fish, and tucked away spots in all of the countries! Lastly, of course, are the straight-out-of-fairytale Magic Kingdom venues. If you know you are royalty and want your wedding to reflect it, you have the option of the East Plaza Garden, the Walt Disney World Railroad station, or directly on Main Street (all of which offer incredible up close and personal views of the castle). You really can’t go wrong with any of these amazing spots, but something to take into consideration is…
Most weddings in the park have to take place before or after park hours
If your dream venue is right in front of the castle on Main Street, you are going to have an extremely early morning or a very late night! Most, if not all, of the spaces in the parks require off-hour events as these are also highly trafficked areas during the day. You also don’t want to have wedding crashers at your big day! The benefit to having an early ceremony is that you and your guests have the rest of the day to spend at the parks, rest, or continue the festivities. Many newlyweds create an itinerary that they share with their guests to let them know what their plan is for the day if they would like to join them. If you have a night wedding, you have all day to prepare and can spend the morning hitting up restaurants and even the spa with your bridal party! Talk to your wedding planner and see how other couples have structured their big day around the timing.
You don’t have to break the bank to have a Disney wedding.
One of the biggest misconceptions about having a Disney wedding is that it is unrealistically expensive. Like any wedding, the more you add on to your day, the higher the cost will be. The Disney Fairytale Wedding packages start at $3,500 for a celebration with four guest while bigger celebrations start at $12,000. The price can start to add up when you choose special a la carte options like a ride in Cinderella’s carriage or having Minnie & Mickey show up to your reception, but they have some pretty awesome extras that you might find are totally worth splurging!

Sample Disney Flowers

Disney provides most of your vendors

When we spoke to the Wedding Consultant at Franck’s Bridal Studio, she told us that many couples choose to have a Disney wedding simply because of how easy it is to plan! The stress free experience is a highly desirable aspect for many couple, especially for the majority who are coming to Disney from other states or countries. This saves much of the hassle of having to coordinate vendors in the Orlando area when you are miles away! Disney weddings are basically full service providing services like catering, photography, videography, entertainment, floral, transportation, and more. Some services that they do not provide are officiants, hair and make up, invitations, and wedding attire (so make your appointment at Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo!).

Your wedding does not have to include any elements of Disney
It sounds weird to have a wedding at Disney that doesn’t have much of a tie in to Disney itself. As stated before, the ease in which couples can plan their wedding in a “one stop shop” type of environment is one of the perks of hosting your wedding there. The variety of venues also lend themselves to be flexible in the kind of theme that you are going for and what you would like to incorporate into it. If you want a formal wedding with no trace of mice or princesses, any of the ballrooms or even the countries at Epcot would be perfect for you! How much Disney you would like to include in your big day is completely left up to you. You can always chat with one of their Wedding Consultants to determine what your wedding day will look like!

Disney Wedding Cake

Whether you decide to go with a Disney wedding or not, we are confident that your big day is going to be perfect! Let us be a small part of your wedding memories and choose Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo for your bridal gown, tuxedos, and bridesmaid dresses. Call or text 215-491-8500 or click here to make an appointment

A Disney Fairy Tale Wedding

Your Happiest Day on Earth At the Happiest Place on Earth

Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings & Honeymoons

I cannot think of a better team to emulate than the Wedding Consultants at Walt Disney World.

“At Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings & Honeymoons we have couples who come to us from around the globe because they know that we are committed to delivering the wedding of their dreams.”

That statement made by the Disney Wedding Consultant we met with last week at Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings & Honeymoons in Lake Buena Vista, Florida really resonated with us because of how committed we are at Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo on delivering great service.

It was a real privilege to meet with one of their Wedding Consultants, part of a group that plans and manages over one thousand weddings every year.

We were given two hours of time answering questions, touring the incredibly beautiful Wedding Pavilion.  We learned how having your wedding with them is not only a great choice, but easy to plan. Like everything else in Disney, it is all about the guest experience and no details are left to chance.

Upon entering “Franck’s Bridal Studio” next to Disney’s Wedding Pavilion, that Disney enchanting feeling was everywhere with bright sunlight shining through beautiful stained glass windows, towering cakes with sparkling toppers, bright and elaborate flower arrangements, gorgeous photo albums, and smiling faces.

It is here that guests come to do a face-to-face planning session and although we weren’t there to plan a wedding, already they exceeded expectations I didn’t even realize I had.  I can only imagine how a bride feels walking in those doors.  Princess-like comes to mind…

We were delighted by the friendliness and excitement of the consultants, and amazed at Disney’s Wedding Pavilion itself.  It offers a lovely bridal suite and separate comfortable groomsmen room, perfect for spending a few minutes calming those bridal nerves, but when those doors opened – just WOW.

It was referred to as the “crown jewel” and it surely was.  A long and mesmerizing aisle leads to a wall of windows overlooking the lake to a direct view of Cinderella’s Castle. It truly was the stuff of little girls’ dreams come true with a happily ever after.

It was suggested to begin your planning on their website.  It allows for basic planning on the numerous options they have, from simple vow renewals to full-on galas.

For example, plan an intimate ceremony for two guests, or invite 200 to the Contemporary Ballroom, or gather 1,000 of your family and closest friends at Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resort.  Theme parks are available as well for an even more personalized and memorable day.

Once you have an idea of particulars, you will be contacted to dig into the planning and that’s where these professionals jump right into action, helping you put together your perfectly magical wedding!

Want to get married on the deep blue sea? They have a group who will help you plan your event on the Disney Cruise Line!  California dreaming? They will take care of arranging the details at the Disneyland Resort in California. It’s Disney. It’s what they do.

It is suggested to begin your planning approximately 16 months prior to your preferred wedding date with a selection of your top three times and locations.  Remember, they do over a thousand weddings every year… booking early is definitely recommended to get your top choice.

Our couple, Vicki and Steve, are planning their April wedding through Disney Fairy Tale Weddings & Honeymoons.  We asked for their experience so far and in Vicki’s own words:

“Certain details of our wedding were absolutely a no-brainer, such as Disney’s Wedding Pavilion and Cinderella’s Carriage, and we ultimately chose the Grand Floridian Ballroom for our reception for roughly 75 guests. We visited Franck’s Bridal Studio for our tasting. This was so much fun and our planner made sure everything was perfect. If we could make this decision again, we would have decided on a Disney Wedding much quicker instead of spending hours touring local venues. I can honestly say that a Disney Wedding is 100% easy to plan because the Wedding Consultants take care of everything imaginable.  I have yet to stress about any aspect of our wedding!”  Here are Vicki and Steve in front of Franck’s Bridal Studio in December, 2016 for their tasting!

Also, our own beautiful and super-fun bride Amanda Rainear and her handsome groom Jamie were just married at Walt Disney World on December 2nd.  About her wedding in Disney, Amanda said:

“There is no wedding venue anywhere in the world that compares to Walt Disney World.  Honestly, there isn’t even a comparison to make. Disney World really is the most magical place on earth.  They have blended their guest-focused culture with the hyper-emotional nature of weddings and the experience is second to none. On my wedding day, I truly felt like a princess in my dress from Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo and I even had a few children ask if I was a Disney character!  As a lifelong Disney fan, there is nothing that will ever top that.”

With so many perfect places for photos, one of their favorites was Disney’s Boardwalk.

We wish to thank the professionals from Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings & Honeymoons for their time and hospitality. We will always remember our visit, along with being “committed to the wedding of your dreams.”  When you go, you will feel the magic!

When you come to Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo, you will feel our magic, too!

Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo is an award-winning bridal and tuxedo store in Warrington, PA, catering to brides and grooms in Bucks County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia.  www.DariannaBridal.com

 

Destination Wedding – Jackson Hole, WY

destination weddingDo you dream of having your wedding in a gorgeous outdoor setting?  We found one of the most perfect places yet:  The Tetons in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

In mid-September we headed out there for a quick getaway.  We love to travel, and having never been to Wyoming it was truly an experience in everything from scenery (breathtaking!) to food (elk nachos!) to altitude (10,450’!).  It was pure beauty.  The temperatures were in the 70s, the majestic Aspens were full golden yellow, and there were acres and acres of unspoiled nature.

Continue reading "Destination Wedding – Jackson Hole, WY"