Mention the word “Wedding Planner” to any Italian and you will hear the name Enzo Miccio. Neapolitan by birth, Enzo Miccio is Italy’s most famous wedding planner and TV fashion & style guru.
He began his career in fashion after he graduated at the European Institute of Design in Milan, organizing fashion shows, special events and photo shoots for fashion houses and specialised magazines.
In 2001, he created his company, Garini Della Sforzesca, specialising in events planning and introducing the figure of “the events and weddings designer” to the Italian market.
In 2005, he became famous all over Italy with a television series entitled “Wedding Planners”. In each episode Enzo helps a couple organising their dream wedding in amazing locations around the country. More series followed the first one and now Enzo is also famous for another TV show, “Ma come ti vesti?”, the Italian version of “What not to Wear”.
A lover of opera, he is famous for adding a theatrical touch to his events and for taking care of every detail to make sure everything is perfect.
We met to talk about his career and what makes weddings in Italy so special.
When and how did your passion for fashion and design begin?
Very early, when I was a child I remember being captured by the glittering fashion world. Then I chose to study at the European Institute of Design in Milan to follow my dream. Once I graduated, I started working mostly as a stylist, I organised fashion shows, special events and photo shoots for famous fashion magazines.
When did you realise that your creative talent and professional experience could be offered to couples who wanted to organise the wedding of their dreams?
It all happened by chance. In 1999, a friend of mine asked me to help her organising her wedding. I loved it and the ceremony was a success. Later a lady who had to organise a wedding in Italy for her daughter who lived abroad asked for my help again, and then I understood this was something I would like to pursue as a career.
Were there other examples of successful wedding planners in Italy at the time?
Well, even in a big city like Milan in the year 2000 you had to explain what a wedding planner was. Most people had no idea! In 2005, with the TV show Wedding Planners (broadcast by the TV channel Real Time), more and more people started to understand what we do and what it means to hire a wedding planner.
Is there a difference between the work of wedding planners in Italy and abroad?
Well, we are catching up, but for example in America there is a difference between wedding planners and wedding designers. A wedding planner is in charge of the organisation and management of the event and works with a wedding designer who takes care of the style and creative part of a wedding. In Italy this distinction does not exist yet, so the same person works as wedding planner and as wedding designer.
What are the main characteristics of a good wedding planner?
You need to be curious, talented, creative and, above all, professional. You have to know about food, wine, fashion, music, even things like paper and fabric. We need to be sensitive and understand immediately the dream wedding the bride and groom have in their minds. It is not simple, the expectations are always high.
You now run an academy to train wedding planners, what is the first thing you say to your students?
I tell them that it is not easy. That what they see on TV, for example in my show, is just a very short summary of a long period of time, at times even more than a year, spent planning the event with the bride and the groom.
Is your academy open even to foreign students?
Yes, of course. But we have also started a new project to establish formal agreements with Wedding Planning schools abroad, so that their students can come to train in Italy and learn how to add a little Italian touch to their events, and our students can learn how things are done in other countries.
What distinguishes an Italian wedding from weddings abroad?
In a word I would say our “Made-in-Italy”, choosing Italian top quality products from “confetti” (sugar coated almonds) to our wedding dresses....and the bomboniere, our tradition of giving a present to your guests, the attention to the banquet, especially to the menu. But today we are also open to change, many couples are choosing to have bridesmaids instead of the Italian tradition of “pagetti” (children bringing the wedding rings).
In Italy, weddings have always been a big “family business”. How do you manage mothers, aunts, grandmothers, ....?
Things have changed quite a bit, in any case you just need to be very confident and professional. You need a “pugno di ferro e guanto di velluto” (an iron fist in a velvet glove)!
Which are the best Italian locations for a wedding party?
There are no best locations, Italy is so beautiful from North to South and it offers so many different wonderful options. Since I started working in this field, more private villas, cascine (farmhouses), borghi (villages) and many other locations have opened their doors to couples looking for original locations.
Are there any differences between what Italian couples and foreign couples want?
Well, they are all interested in finding the perfect location, but while Italian couples are more particular about the actual ceremony and the banquet, foreign couples are more focused on the choice of the right music and their guests, they want their friends to have fun.
Is an Italian wedding all about the bride? What about the groom?
Of course, the bride is the queen of the day. But while some years ago, the groom was invisible until the wedding day, today even Italian men are getting more and more involved with the organisation of the event. They have a say on the location, they make sure their bride gets what she wants, then they usually take care of the music and the wine. And, of course, they are more specific about their look and what they want to wear.
Is it possible to organise a beautiful wedding in Italy on a budget?
It is not a matter of budget but a matter of taste. You can organise something classy and special regardless of your budget.
Tomorrow is Saint Valentine's day, what would you suggest to a couple who want0 to celebrate in Italy?
I always tell the couples I work with to surprise each other and enjoy a romantic evening together. This is essential, because once they are married and have kids, their love will still be there but their daily priorities will change. They will have less time to dedicate exclusively to each other. They will have to put children first and manage their “family project”, so it is important to fully enjoy their time as a couple now. What kind of surprise? Well, that is up to them! Italy offers so many options! We have the perfect country when it comes to romance.