Victoria Morris Director and Wedding Planner of Sophisticated Weddings talks to us about destination weddings in Sorrento and across the Amalfi Coast, Italy.
5 Star Weddings: Why Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast?
Victoria Morris: I first visited Sorrento when I was a child on a family holiday and it really stuck, not just for me but for my whole family! It was unlike any place I had visited before and I was determined from that point on that I wanted to learn Italian and forever return! If you have ever visited the Amalfi Coast you will understand how incredibly beautiful it really is.
Every twist and turn brings you to another incredible destination. Positano, Sorrento, Ravello and Amalfi are glamorous resorts settled amongst lemon trees and olive groves, all offering breathtaking scenery with cliffs that plunge straight into the sea. This stretch of coast is steeped in history having been inspiration for poets, painters and musicians alike. In my opinion few places in the world can surpass the Amalfi Coast’s spectacular allure and I certainly couldn’t think of a more stunning or romantic place to get married.
5 Star Wedding Directory: What services do you offer?
Victoria Morris: I work a little differently to some wedding planners as I like to offer a bespoke service enabling clients to plan and personalise every last detail of their wedding. Having experienced planning my own wedding in Sorrento I now recognise things that I would have done differently, as they say with age comes experience! My brides and grooms have choices, whereas I had limited choices! I have many contacts in all areas such as photography, hair and makeup, wedding cars so my clients are able to customise their wedding day to exactly what they want it to be!
Everyone is different! I take control of the whole process from the initial booking of the ceremony and reception venue right the way through coordinating the day itself! However if clients prefer to take more control themselves this is fine too! My role fits around my clients requirements!
5 Star Weddings: What do you most love about your job?
Victoria Morris: I love the excitement of setting the date and seeing the couple’s reaction as their dream starts to become a reality. I also love being able to show clients the incredible venues that I work with in person and watching their faces light up!
5 Star Weddings: What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Victoria Morris: The Italians are notoriously laid back and this can be challenging sometimes especially when you want an answer to a quick question and it takes them a few days to respond, but I’m pretty used to that now! They just have a more relaxed work ethic!
5 Star Weddings: Do you have any favourite venues?
Victoria Morris: Honestly speaking, all of the venues that I work with are incredible! It’s too hard to choose!
5 Star Weddings: What’s the best time of year to get married?
Victoria Morris: Summer is the wedding season in the south of Italy and the majority of weddings take place between the months of May to September. This is the perfect time of year to enjoy long sunny days and warm evenings and the towns are buzzing with activity and life. July and August are usually exceptionally warm (reaching into the 30s) so I always advise clients to bear in mind the comfort of your guests during this period.
5 Star Weddings: What sort of budget do you need for a destination wedding in Italy?
Victoria Morris: The million dollar question! Every wedding is individual and therefore so is the cost! Obviously the more guests the greater the budget required. Most reception venues work on a fixed per head menu cost. Other elements such as drinks packages, cars, flowers, transfers, exclusive hire fees (for certain venues) photography, videography need to be taken into consideration … the list can be long! Many aspects of the wedding can be customised to fit specific budgets and of course I have knowledge of the local areas, vendors and suppliers in order to make suitable recommendations.
Victoria Morris: How does the planning process work?
The hardest part of the planning process is the first stage which is where I coordinate the ceremony day/time availability with the chosen reception venue. I always recommend trying to book a year in advance to help make this part easier. Deposits are then transferred and the venue is secured. The second part of the planning process is once the date is booked and I then begin to discuss the finer details with the client: cars, photographers, make-up artists, hairdressers, flowers etc. This is always the fun part! As the year progresses the client is informed at each stage as to what documentation is required and by when so there’s no panic!
5 Star Weddings: Do you recommend paying suppliers directly?
Victoria Morris: Yes! It gives greater security when looking at various suppliers’ contracts and ensuring that the cost reflects the expected service levels!
5 Star Weddings: What advice would you give brides on choosing a destination wedding planner?
Victoria Morris: I’d definitely recommend that brides and grooms have an informal chat with their proposed wedding planner before making a final decision because it’s vital that there is a good client/planner relationship throughout the process and that the client truly believes they are the right person to help achieve the dream wedding day. Brides (in particular) want to find someone who is not only organised and professional, but also makes them feel at ease.
A good wedding planner will have plenty of questions for their clients too, to establish exactly what their vision is. Whomever you choose to go with, don’t hire someone who is not prompt at returning e-mails, is bossy, tries to convince you of what’s best for you and critiques your ideas. The planning process should be fun! I’d also recommend using a wedding planner who is a specialist in the chosen destination as this will ensure you really do have access to the best suppliers within that area.