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News, Tips & Bargains : Saying 'I Do, I Do' Italian-Style

January 23, 1994

Fancy tying the knot with an Italian twist?

Grand Luxe International Inc. specializes in custom weddings in Italy. Founder Lisa G. Habicht of Allendale, N.J. (who also owns Cuendet U.S.A., which offers rental property throughout Italy), says she can deliver on any dream, be it an intimate ceremony in a castle in Tuscany or an elaborate party in a grand hotel.

"The largest wedding we've done involved a bride and groom who lived in Washington, D.C., but had relatives all over the world," Habicht says. "The bride was from the Middle East and the groom from Denmark. So they decided to get married in the middle--in Tuscany."

Grand Luxe will make the usual wedding arrangements--reception, photographer and flowers--along with the unusual, including gondolas and 17th-Century costumes. That's the easy part.

More important--and far more complicated--is cutting through the Italian red tape. The Italian Government Tourist Board in Los Angeles will send Americans who are considering a wedding in Italy three pages of convoluted rules and regulations. Those who have done it themselves shudder at the memory.

It takes Habicht's staff of three in the United States and delegates in Italy to make arrangements. Fees range from $500 to $1,000, which cover faxes, telephone calls, documentation and leg work. She prefers to have at least six months, but "we've done it in four weeks."

To contact Grand Luxe, call (201) 327-2333.

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