Friday, 14 September 2012

A day in the life of a destination-wedding planner in Italy!

 Recently I saw this image on face book, that shows a pie chart of how a wedding photographer splits his or her time. It highlighted that only a very small % of the time is actually spent taking photos of the wedding. Whilst I often laugh with my wonderful photographers, as they sign off after the first dance or the cutting of the cake, that they are part timers, I think people forget all the work that goes in to their photographs. It made me wonder what the pie chart would look like for a wedding planner...

For a wedding planner in Italy, every wedding is different. Different nationalities require different paperwork and even when you think something is going to be straight forward you sometimes get sent a curve ball and then the time you put in to that wedding becomes a whole new ball game! 

Last month we had a beautiful wedding in Umbria, the bride and groom are British and the paperwork could not be more simple, only they live in the UAE! On their return they discovered that they would need to get an apostle on their wedding certificate. This apostle has to be issued in the capital city of the province in which they were married. Off I went, 5 hours drive south and handed in the international wedding certificate. I was told come back the next day to collect it.

I had a lovely relaxing afternoon, a walk around Perugia and my hotel was lovely. The next morning after breakfasting on home made bread and jams I calmly made my way to collect the documents.

When I arrived I met with the director of the office who informed me that he cannot legalise the international wedding certificate, as it is already legal! I would need to go back to the town hall and ask for the wedding certificate in Italian and I will need to do this and get it back to him before they close at 12 noon. It was 1045 am.

I phoned the town hall where the wedding took place, 70 km away and asked them to prepare the document, drove like a banshee and made it to the town hall and back to Perugia, parked the car and ran through the streets in 38oc heat to find the doors of the legalisation office closed. Thankfully after knocking on the door they let me in and took pity on me.
Town hall of Montone

Inspecting the documents they then had to find the legal signature on the marriage certificate in their files to confirm it is in fact legal. Only they could not find it, after many fruity words from the director he suddenly realised he was looking in the wrong file and found the signature. I suddenly released the breath I had not realised I was holding and thought that was it…

That’s when they told me this now needed to go to Rome as he had legalised the signature of the mayor of the town, the UAE consulate now needs to legalise his signature before the document could leave the country!

Ah it gets better! On top of that the couple require the Italian marriage certificate translated in to English.  This in itself is not difficult, but this translation also needs to be legalised and then the person who legalises it also needs his signature legalised!
Which brings me to today.

Today is my second day at the courthouse in Treviso, trying to get the translation of the marriage certificate legalised. Yesterday I came here to be told by the officer of the court, that he only works on a Friday and to come back the following day.  I was tempted to go to Rome and try and do this in the court house in Rome and hope that I would still make it in time before the consulate closes at 11am, but if they only work on a Friday here, they might only work on a Tuesday in Rome! To be sure I decided to stick with Treviso and in the end that was the best decision I could have made.

I returned here this morning at 0800, I waited in line or as we are in Italy the huddle by the office door. Finally it was my turn and the officer of the courts face lit up when he saw me and remembered me from the day before. He informed me I needed to go to the tobacconist and buy some ‘stamps’, obviously he could not have told me this the day before… Off I went to the tobacconist to wait in the line and buy the stamps. Then on my return 30 mins later he told me I needed to fill out a form, which I did. Only then did he tell me that I also required proof of residency! Which I did not have with me as I though my Irish passport was sufficient! Proof of residency was at home 20 km away!
Marca da bollo 'stamps'

I phoned lots of friends willing one to pick up and finally the wonderful Fabio answered and came to my rescue, not sure I should dwell too long on why he asked me what I had done when I told him I was in the court house and needed help…

Anyway, bless him, he dashed out of his office with his id card and came to the courthouse of Treviso where he found me happily sitting on the sofa in the office of the officer of the court, laughing and joking with my new friend! He quickly swore that the translation was correct and less than 2 minuets later the officer of the court stamped the documents and we went to the bar for a coffee to celebrate!

Now nearly 4 hours after I walked through the door I have the legalised translation and I am now waiting in the office of the republic to have the signature of the gentleman on the forth floor, legalised!

I am number 73 and the ticket counter has just shouted out 53. We are nearly there!  The time is now 1147 am and this counter will close at 12noon….
 I am making plans in my head  to go to Rome on Sunday evening to be there in time to get the signatures of the legalisation officer in Perugia and the officer here in Treviso legalised. Only then can I send the documents to the bride and groom!

Finally it is my turn! I walked up to the window and was met with ‘come back on Friday next week and collect the document!’ WHAT!! After much begging they have agreed to legalise it by Tuesday next week at the earliest. Then I will have to dash to Rome that night, hope the UAE consulate can see me on the Wednesday, get everything done on the day and then dash back to Treviso in time to have a meeting in Asolo regarding another wedding next year on Thursday. Quickly pack for a weekend in Puglia where I will meet a couple and show them venues for their wedding next year.

So just like the photographers, the actual day of the wedding is a tiny fraction of the job of a destination-wedding planner in Italy! 

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