An exhibitor that will be new to the Tiny Weddings Fair is Jayne Seddon of Casa Collina. She is British, but based in Italy, travelling to and from the UK quite frequently. She is a wedding planner who specialises in weddings in Italy. Come along to chat to her about all the options she can help with in Italy at our fair on 10th March at the Birmingham Rep Theatre.
Please give a brief overview of your business and what you do.
I have been planning and co-ordinating weddings in Italy for over 15 years. My love of Italy took me there 25 years ago, working for a UK tour operator, and then to an agency where I began specialising in weddings and events. My first little request was to assist with documentation for a UK couple marrying in Venice, and then evolved into researching and planning in many areas of Italy, from ceremonies on a gondola, to locations such as Amalfi and Tuscany. My work for the tour operator gave me the opportunity to visit and learn about many beautiful locations – and I have always loved travel!
My company is UK based – the name Casa Collina literally means ‘house in the small hills’ and was chosen as my colleague purchased his dream home in a beautiful area of Italy. I am responsible for weddings in Italy, however I have the back up of a great team both in the UK and in many areas in Italy.
What do you love about small weddings and/or elopements?
I love getting to know the couple, really getting a feel for what is their dream wedding, understanding what’s important to them and giving them all the help I can to make it that extra special. I get a great deal of satisfaction when I find the venue they love, liaising with them throughout the planning stages, seeing them excited and happy and then of course on the day itself, seeing their dream come true.
How do you think the couples are different when working with a large wedding versus a tiny wedding?
Couples planning an elopement or small wedding are generally more concerned with their ceremony and what it means to them both, they look for ideas to make their day extra special and put a lot of thought into details. They usually want to make their destination wedding their honeymoon too, so they look for ideas and assistance planning their whole trip, including advice on travel arrangements and accommodation, pre-wedding activities, and of course advice on restaurants and food.
What are the main differences in the way you do business when dealing with a couple planning a smaller wedding?
A wedding is a very personal and special occasion, and an elopement is very meaningful. They may need more help with small things, if they have no guests, and I enjoy helping in every way possible – from helping the bride into her dress, to making sure the restaurant has paid extra special attention to their table. Many couples look for a villa or location for their small group of friends to be together for a week – the venue and location is super important.
Give an example of a tiny wedding you have worked on and what you did for the couple?
One of my favourite tiny weddings, was set in the Dolomites on a small breathtakingly beautiful lake, surrounded by snow-capped mountains. The wedding party consisted of two families, the groom was from Slovenia, the bride’s family from Australia. They chose this location being mid-way in Europe and something extra special for their families and friends. A total of 20 people. The wedding day was made up of two ceremonies, the civil one in the local town hall set in a beautiful mountainside village. I arranged their documentation and was interpreter during the ceremony, conducted by the major of the town. The sun shone and together with a great photographer, we moved to some pretty meadows filled with wild flowers to take amazing photos.
We then travelled back to the lake, where their symbolic ceremony took place on the romantic boat house overlooking the lake. I am also a celebrant, so conducted a very personalized ceremony for them. The couple and I had worked carefully together to include members of the family with beautiful readings. At this point it began to rain – we had organised, just in case, matching umbrellas for everyone and the ceremony went ahead, without a dry eye (tears of joy and rain drops). The couple were so, so happy, not even the rain bothered them as they had lived in Dubai for many years without seeing any rain.
I had organised the boat house to be decorated simply with rustic bouquets, and a lovely simple arch. Drinks and nibbles were provided by the nearby hotel, and then the sun came out so it was possible to take the beautiful wooden rowing boats out onto the lake. I have to say one of the most romantic weddings I have been privileged to be involved in.
For their evening reception, a table was set in the authentic mountainside hotel where they enjoyed delicious food. Table settings were simple and rustic, but with lots of personal details such as photos of the couple when they were young. The wedding party went onto enjoy several days of hiking and touring the local area.
If you could work on a tiny wedding anywhere in the world, any theme, any couple; where or what or whom would it be?
This is a very difficult question, as I love so many locations in Italy and particularly the mountains. I would definitely re-do the mountain lake wedding, perhaps a renewal of vows for a couple such as George Clooney and his wife! I also dream of doing a Hindi wedding, for the colours and creativeness and interesting rituals – I would love to work on a special three day event in a hidden location in Puglia, perhaps in the ‘trulli’- small traditional houses.
Do you feel there has been an increase in tiny weddings in the past few years or have you always worked with a lot of small wedding parties?
Average weddings in the past few years have probably been less than sixty people, and definitely there has been an increase in elopements, particularly for second time weddings where couples perhaps when they were younger had the full-blown wedding, and want to do something different for their second marriage. Mature couples tend to want to combine travel with their intimate ceremony, perhaps even organising private tours, or boat trips or activities to make their wedding unforgettable and special. They also tend to not want a lot of the so-called frills of a wedding, keeping things simpler but special at the same time.
What makes you unique in the service you can offer a couple planning a smaller wedding?
I am from the Midlands and have never lost my roots. The things I love about Italy I try to pass onto my couples – from advice on food and wine, to Italian culture and knowledge of the various regions.
One of my couples called me ‘Mary Poppins’ – and it’s probably true, I always have a big bag on the day to carry things that may be required, I am just missing literally the magic umbrella! I love working with people, I am hard-working and get things done. I am a born organiser, and enjoy challenges. Being fluent in Italian is also an advantage and understanding the mentality and ways the Italian people work. I believe in building good relationships both with couples, and with people I work with – its so important to have reliable colleagues.
Follow our Facebook page for helpful and inspiring articles and information, and Jayne’s Facebook page for examples of her stunning weddings and the locations she plans weddings in, and show your interest in our Facebook event to see updates. Event better, sign up to our mailing list to make sure that you get all our news. Follow the Tiny Weddings Fair on Instagram or Casa Collina on Instagram for lovely photos and inspiration of small weddings.
Jayne is looking forward to meeting lots of couples at our second Tiny Weddings Fair at the Birmingham REP Theatre on 10th March 2019. She has so much knowledge about Italy that she can’t wait to share. We highly recommend that you buy yourself a ticket in advance to get your free goody bag, to be in with a chance of winning a raffle prize, and to get privilege admission to workshops and talks.