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Featured Planner: Cindy Salgado Wedding Design & Events

Photo courtesy Adrian Wood Photography

Aisle Planner Cindy Salgado is a destination wedding specialist in Tuscany, Italy. Originally from Mexico, she ended up in Italy after traveling to the country in college. Now she is one of the premier wedding specialists in the area and is hosting Italia Amore, an Italian luxury wedding convention, later this fall. We spoke with Cindy to talk about planning international destination weddings, collaboration, and hosting her first convention.


What was your path to becoming a wedding planner? How did you first become interested in the wedding industry?

I’ve been in love with weddings since I started working in them back in 2001 in Mexico. It all started when my sister got married and I helped her plan her wedding. We had such a great time organizing it, and after her wedding many friends asked us to give them a hand with theirs.

During that time I was also going to University. When I finished studying, I moved to Italy and quickly realized that I missed organizing weddings so much. I wanted to do it professionally and open my own business. I realized that it’s not an easy thing to do, so I started studying and attending courses like the ones offered by the ABC to become a wedding planner. There are many foreign couples coming to Italy to have destination weddings, so after a lot of effort and study I was able to position my business in Tuscany.

Photo courtesy Adrian Wood Photography

We heard your love story is straight out of a movie! Will you share it with us?

After finishing high school, I took a break of 8 months and moved to Italy to learn Italian. After one week, I met a cute Italian guy that stole my heart. We dated for the full 8 months until I had to return back to Mexico. At that time I was 19 years old.

After returning to Mexico, we kept in touch, but you know… distance is difficult and Mexico was not around the corner. So time passed and so did our love story. After 6 years, I received an email from Andrea (the boy in Italy) and we started chatting and having daily email communication. At some point, he asked me to return to Italy for a vacation… I did! He had planned a surprise trip to Greece. It was so romantic and perfect, but again; I had to return to Mexico. Two days before the vacation ended, he told me that I needed to make a decision; return to Mexico and it would be over, or move to Italy and stay with him. The answer was obvious and after 4 months I returned to Italy, with nothing but my luggage, and married the love of my life.

Photo courtesy Adrian Wood Photography

What a great love story! Planning a destination wedding can be a challenge, especially when you are planning Internationally. As an expert, what have you learned over the years?

There are many barriers and concerns. I had a destination wedding as well, so I understand how difficult it is to give your trust to others. You are investing a lot of money before having your wedding; so it can be very scary doing all this hard work in another country where you can’t just visit and meet the vendors. What’s even worse is that you may not speak the local language! Are the local vendors as good as they say they are? Are the venues as lovely as they appear online? It’s not like you could travel every week to your wedding destination to make sure everything is perfect, right?! Your guests will also be traveling a long distance to join you. The last thing you want is to have the ‘trip of horror’ where your guests complain and regret spending a lot of money to come to your wedding.

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of hiring a wedding planner, and I’m not telling this because this is what I do. Really, having someone local that can be the eyes, ears and voice of the couple, and most important, guide them is really priceless!

For example, in Italy there are many people who speak only Italian, and there is a lot of frustration when trying to communicate. Plus many couples tend to do their wedding as if they were in their own country and don’t realize it works very different in another country. There’s important paperwork to be completed that within another country simply does not exist, such as the SIAE, which is music permission that you have to get before your wedding, in order to play music. If you don’t have that permission and they come to enforce it, they can turn off the party and apply a fine.

“Really, having someone local that can be the eyes, ears and voice of the couple, and most important, guide them is really priceless!”

Having a point person such as yourself to share local knowledge is definitely key for any destination wedding. What is the most important thing for couples to consider when planning a destination wedding?

The most important thing to consider is knowing they are ready to have a destination wedding and knowing they are ready to trust an organizer.

You’ll get married hopefully just once in your life therefore the planning process is very important. If you enjoy it, you will have a wonderful time at your wedding. If you hate it, you will see everything black and you’ll be more stressed trying to control all the details at your wedding instead of having a great time and enjoying it with the love of your life!

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of hiring a wedding planner, and I’m not telling this because this is what I do. Really, having someone local that can be the eyes, ears and voice of the couple, and most important, guide them is really priceless!

Photo courtesy Adrian Wood Photography

How does Aisle Planner help you collaborate and communicate with clients that live internationally?

Uff!!! I can’t recommend Aisle Planner enough! It has changed my business in the most positive way. It’s an amazing tool and my clients love it.

Before Aisle Planner I had lots of separate files.  Information here and there, tons of emails back and forward with my clients to make little changes. Now with Aisle Planner, I have everything in one place, my clients can make the changes they want, and know everything that’s going on with their wedding without sending me a million emails. I work only with foreign couples and the time difference can be challenging, but with Aisle Planner, they can check the progress of their wedding at anytime, anywhere.

Christina and her team did an amazing job and I’m so grateful for them making my life easier, plus they have the best customer service and they are super sweet and professional. They are always asking how they can improve their service and listen to us. I’m super happy.

Photo courtesy Adrian Wood Photography

We are so happy to hear that! What are your favorite design elements?

For sure anything that has to do with Italy. I love to add the Italian touch to any wedding and blend it with the couple’s nationality. I always ask the couple why they choose Italy as their destination wedding and ask what the things are they love about it. Once I have that information, I make sure to include it. People coming to Italy want to live the Italian culture, so for me it’s really important to make them feel that they are actually in Italy, rather than creating something that they can do in their own country so when you see the photos, you know they got married in Italy and not somewhere else. Wine, art, Mediterranean flowers and greenery, sayings in Italian always work.

What venue just makes you swoon?

This is a hard one. I’m so lucky to live in a spectacular country that the last thing missed are the breathtaking venues! You don’t have to invest a lot in decoration as mother nature has done all the hard work! I love the rolling hills and vineyards of Tuscany. As to mention some specific locations: I will say Castello di Vincigliata, Il Palagio (Sting’s property), the Four Seasons Firenze, and Il Borro from Salvatore Ferragamo are some of my favorites.

Other than the obvious Italian flare, what would you say is your signature?

I love that everything looks natural and not elaborated. 98% of the weddings that I produce are outdoors and I love to match the amazing backdrop with natural elements.

We were excited to hear that you are hosting Italia-Amore in October. What was it like to plan an international convention for wedding professionals?

Yes! I’m super excited to announce that registration for Italia-Amore “The Italian Luxury Wedding Convention for Professionals” is now open!

I’m happy to share with all the international planners who want to specialize in destination weddings in Italy my tricks, tips and all the information they need in order to design and create amazing weddings and events in gorgeous Italy. This is going to be an exciting event full of networking, learning, inspiration and lots of fun! Italia-Amore has been really fun planning and I can’t wait to see it come alive!

Any exciting details you can spill?

I’m thrilled to announce that Italia-Amore is going to take place from October 5th – 8th in the cradle of the Renaissance. Yes! I’m talking about Florence, the home of Leonardo, Michelangelo and Dante. We are hosting the event at the prestigious 5-star hotel Four Seasons Firenze.

I’m super happy to have as keynote speakers the amazing Lisa Vorce, Alan Berg, Adrian Wood, Jo Bertolino, Alessandra Rianudo, Dario Benvenuti and Viviana Mioranza. They will be sharing all their experience and will give us precious advice on hosting weddings in Italy.

Photo courtesy Adrian Wood Photography

What other fun things can conference attendees look forward to?

We are going to have a workshop with flower designers: Dario Benvenuti and Viviana Mioranza. The gala dinner will be held in one of the most beautiful castles in Italy, Castello di Vincigliata and for sure will wow all the attendees.

I bet all the attendees will fall in love with the romantic Italian atmosphere, the delicious food, prestigious wines and breath-taking venues and landscapes that only Italy can offer, so don’t forget to join us for this 3-day experience. Look forward to meeting with you in October!

You had us at Italy! What are your goals over the coming years?

Keep doing what I love, which is organizing weddings in Italy.  But also we are opening another office in Mexico which is called D’Eventi which is founded by Erika Salgado and Daniela Ortiz.

What about the future makes you most excited?

Keep learning and bring new ideas into the wedding market. We are continuously innovating and for sure will have some surprises in the near future.

Surprises?  We can’t wait to hear more! Thanks for the chat, Cindy!

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See more stunning weddings from Cindy at weddingplannersitaly.com

About the Author

Christina Farrow
Christina Farrow

As Aisle Planner’s President and Founder, Christina Farrow spends her days dreaming up ways to empower wedding planners to lead more balanced (and more organized) lives. She loves few things more than her toes in the sand, a glass of champagne and the promise of a great adventure with hubby, daughter and golden retriever by her side.

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