What does it mean to be a Destination Wedding Celebrant – Interview with Gemma
I met Gemma Di Santolo (https://www.gemmablessings.com) while I was shooting a Destination Wedding in Cortona, Tuscany. She was the celebrant of the wedding and I really love to know more about her work, so I decided to have an interview with her.
Tell me a little about yourself: How did you become a wedding celebrant?
I’m Gemma, I was born in Rome but raised in Tuscany. As a child, I’ve always loved foreign languages. It was so fun for me to come up with new words! Soon I discovered English then, German and finally Spanish. I traveled a bit but Tuscany was home.
After a few years as wedding planner for destination weddings in Tuscany, I felt I wanted to do more! I discovered this new whole world made of love, surprise, emotion. And that’s when I became a celebrant for weddings in Italy!
I wanted to be part of each ceremony, make my brides and grooms laugh and cry (of joy of course!) and finally, make them feel memorable emotions. And I admit: I get emotional almost all the times.
What does it mean to be a wedding celebrant for a destination wedding in Italy?
Being a wedding celebrant is simply incredible. It brings you joy and emotions, and I am grateful to all my brides and grooms for the chance they give me.
It’s also really important to understand the great responsibility you have.
I decided to be a celebrant for destination weddings in Italy and I understand me and my couples share different points of view, traditions
That’s why I take great care when I create my texts and then, perform my ceremonies.
But deep down, we all share the same belief that connects us: the simplicity of the moment, the importance of love, of being loved, hugged and cared for.
Being a celebrant means to stay focused and respectful and as natural as possible!
“It doesn’t matter where we’ve come from, what we believe, we all recognize love when we see it”.
What is the best thing about your job?
This is the easiest answer! After months of waiting for the big day to come, the best thing is of course the wedding day itself.. and in particular seeing an impatient, nervous and moved groom waiting at the altar for his bride to come.
What is the ritual that couples appreciate the most?
There are many rituals that can be performed during a ceremony. Some have a solid tradition: the unity candle is catholic, the hand fasting is celtic. I suggest instead the sand mixing for weddings at the seaside while the ring warming for intimate weddings. Said that, the choice of the ritual depends on the importance the couple finds in its gestures (I find the rose ceremony sooo romantic!).
However, I can definitely say the wine box ritual is certainly the winner! I invite bride and groom to write a secret letter to each other. Then, during the ceremony, we’ll close these letters inside the box with a bottle of wine. They’ll be able to unlock the box during their first wedding anniversary or before if they have problems in their relationship. Well…what other ritual could be so spot-on…especially when you choose a Tuscan winery as wedding venue?
You are based in Tuscany so I suppose that you celebrate a lot of weddings there… are there any specific areas that you suggest?
I love Tuscany in all its parts! I frequently travel and see new corners myself. Well..wherever I go, I always find friendly people, tasty food, enchanting wine and lots of tradition around. Hence, I invite all couples that wants to get married in Tuscany to come here and see in person which corner, winery, villa, terrace is the perfect place for their Tuscan wedding. *To brides and grooms reading now “When you’ll be here, in Tuscany, or Umbria (enchanting land!), you’ll soon realize which place makes your heart beat. That’s the one”.
Why couples choose you for their wedding in Italy?
I think you should ask them 🙂 However, as they say, they appreciate my spontaneity and my heart-felt ceremonies. I also think that they appreciate my Italian way of speaking, my enthusiasm, my accents, even my errors when I speak English, German or Spanish…because in the end, they understand I do it with the heart and flaws take second place. And we always laugh a lot together!
Which advice would you give to a couple who choose to get married in Italy?
As a wedding celebrant in Italy, I can only say to choose the place that remains in your heart when you see it (especially if you can’t get it out of your mind for days and days). As a former wedding planner, I invite you, brides and grooms, to put together all yours needs first. Write them on a paper and establish your priorities before taking any action to book a Tuscan venue for a wedding. All are beautiful but not all of them suit your priorities. That’s why it’s important to have a professional help from a Tuscan wedding planner who has experience with numerous weddings and can give you precious suggestions to plan a wedding in Italy in the less stressful way.
And he/she can introduce you the right reliable vendors that will make your wedding a dream. But don’t be scared. First thing to do.. come here, drive with no destination and just stop when your heart tells you.
“Choose the place that remains in your heart when you see it”Gemma
Is it possible to have a “personalised” ceremony? Are there any “special request” that couples ask you? or maybe in the past you have had some request really “unique” or weird that you want to share with us…
For sure I want every ceremony to be different, created based on the stories of my brides and grooms. And if not too crazy 🙂 I’m always happy to meet their demands. Once, bride and groom decided to close inside the wine box (read above to discover about it) envelopes from guests. However, with 80 guests, most of them including small gifts, we struggled to close the box. It was not weird but fun to see me with all my weight on the box trying to close it. 🙂 Also some couples choose to plant an olive tree as symbolic ritual. So in the coming years, they can come back and find their little plant now a tree. It’s a way to say: a part of us is here now. We engage ourselves to make our love grow exactly as our Tuscan olive tree.
What makes a wedding “special“?
I’m really keen on answering this question! It may seem silly to somebody but it’s not, at all. Planning a wedding in Tuscany or in any place in the world means for sure selecting the right vendors for the best food, the best flowers, the best atmosphere or the best music. This is just the result.
What is REALLY important, is the presence of those we love the most. It doesn’t matter if you plan an elopement in Tuscany (so with just the two of you). What matters is to have somebody to share these moments with. So it may be just your better-half or 200 guests. He’s there for you, she’s there for you, they’re there for you. So no matter the size of your wedding, think about all those who traveled the world to celebrate with you, they deserve all your love and attention. THEY will make your wedding special!
Then, of course, keep memories alive with the right photographer… Gabriele knows perfectly how to help! 🙂