Get ready to feel the heat on your cheeks and the wind in your hair at this fabulous Lake Como wedding in stunning Italy. The pictures by Barney Walters Photography and Second Shooter, The London Wedding Film Co. really make you feel like you are there living the moment along with our gorgeous bride & groom Karen & Joe, and lets face it we'd bloomin' well like to too. If you've seen the header image, I'm sure you'll agree with me, what a way to travel! The gorgeous blue skies, mixed with the coral, peach and gold colour scheme looks divine and compliments the Villa del Balbianello where the outdoor ceremony was held beautifully. Then there's the bridesmaids gorgeous peach twobirds gowns and Karen's absolutely breathtaking Tatyana Merenyuk gown, ruched, gathered and twisted in all the right place to make them look like absolute goddesses. Veronica and Rossana, from Italian Lakes Wedding have really excelled at pulling off the most elegant of celebrations.
The DressKaren the Bride: I fell in love with Sarah Seven gowns whilst looking on Pinterest, which led me to the FrouFrou Bridal shop, their only UK stockists. I ended up torn between a gold-sequinned Sarah Seven dress and a more traditional off-white Tatyana Merenyuk one. In the end, because they were both discounted samples, I decided to treat myself to both and factor in an outfit change! I had the white dress customised by adding the off-shoulder sleeves and front leg slit. I wore Jimmy Choo shoes, Kate Spade ‘tie the knot’ jewellery, and a Jenny Packham veil kindly given to me by one of my bridesmaids. Being a boho-wannabe, the accessory I was most excited about was the floral crown, which was created using peach carnations, coral roses, and hypericum berries.
The Groom’s FashionI wanted Joe to feel equally special in his wedding outfit, so for his 30th birthday I surprised him with an appointment at Thom Sweeney for a made-to-measure suit. Not only did he end up with a beautiful suit, but he also had a fantastic experience there; having whiskies with his groomsmen and feeling pampered. We chose an unconventional teal colour and Joe couldn't resist going for the full three-piece look despite the heat! He also wore a peach linen tie, Russell and Bromley shoes, and a pair of Persol sunglasses we found on a trip to Italy that suited the occasion perfectly.
The VenueOne of our first holidays together was a road trip from London to Italy, and ever since our visit the Italian lakes had always stuck in our minds as an ideal wedding destination. Our ceremony took place at Villa del Balbianello in Lake Como, which just blew us away with its stunning architecture, gardens, and location. The clincher was that the venue could only be reached by boat, which we thought would be a great treat for the guests. We were equally ecstatic to find the Lido Di Lenno for our reception with its unique beach area, marquee right by the water, and fantastic manager, Diego.
Décor/ThemeWe both love to travel and with a destination wedding we thought a travel theme would be fitting. We used boarding card-style invitations from Etsy, postcards of places we had visited as table names, and luggage tags as escort cards/favours. We are also very proud of all our DIY efforts, which included designing the stationery, and painstakingly handmaking the paper airplane placecards and wedding program fans. The colour palette was coral, peach, blush, and gold, which our florists displayed with a vibrant mix of David Austin roses, hydrangeas, chrysanthemums, dahlias, hypericum, and carnations. They also helped to create a romantic atmosphere at the reception with their elegant decorative pieces, candles,and lanterns.
The Wedding Party FashionThe bridesmaids wore peach dresses by TwoBirds which could be tied into a style of their choosing. The groomsmen wore suits from Next with ties that I had made using the same fabric from Joe's suit and personalised leather cufflinks we gave them as a thank you.
EventsAs our guests had to travel so far we decided to make it a three day extravaganza. We had a cocktail party the day before the wedding at Villa Leoni, where we were staying with the wedding party. We entertained with modernized Chinese traditions including humiliating “door games” for the groom and his groomsmen and a tea ceremony. After the wedding we hosted a beach party brunch back at the Lido di Lenno where people could nurse their hangovers with Aperol Spritzes. We are so grateful to our lovely planners, Veronica and Rossana, from Italian Lakes Wedding, who managed all the events impeccably and remained calm, organised, and enthusiastic throughout.
CeremonyThe weather was perfect on the day which made the boat ride to the ceremony spectacular. We had a wonderful string quartet that played Amie by Damien Rice while my father walked me down the aisle, Somewhere Over the Rainbow during the signing of the register, and the Star Wars theme as our exit music, which was a cheeky nod to the venue having been used in one of the films. Our readings included an excerpt from Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres and "He's not perfect" by Bob Marley. After the ceremony we soaked in the lake views whilst having canapes, prosecco, and gelato from our favourite local gelateria. The guests then boarded the boats to the reception venue while Joe and I followed on later in a speedboat.
ReceptionFor the reception we found a great cover band through our planners and had them perform on the beach so we could get everyone dancing barefoot in the sand. My favourite moment of the whole wedding was our first dance which took place under the stars, surrounded by our sparkler-wielding guests – it felt truly magical. The festivities continued with a fun photobooth and an unplanned DJ set after our Spotify playlist failed to work! We had popcorn, flip flops and pashminas to keep our guests going late into the night.
FoodHaving a wedding in Italy meant there were very high expectations for the food and Lido Di Lenno, who catered for all our events, did not disappoint! Our four-course dinner included burrata with culatello and carbonised bread, prawn and lime risotto, coffee-marinated suckling pork, and star anise crème brulee. The wedding cake was a chocolate and raspberry sachertorte. I also have a very generous uncle who gifted us some champagne and an impressive selection of whiskies to enjoy with everyone.
PhotographerWe first came across our photographer, Barney, at a friends' wedding where he immediately impressed us with his crowd management. Not only did we love his vibrant photographic style but he was very responsive and accommodating and genuinely seemed keen to enjoy the experience along with us. We were keen to have a second photographer so Barney enlisted his friend, Ben, who was an invaluable addition.
Second Shooter: Ben Foster | Dress Designer: Tatyana Mereny | Sarah Seven | Pre-Wedding Dress: Self Portrait Studio | Bridal Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Veil: Jenny Packham | Jewellery: Kate Spade | Grooms Suit: Thom Sweeney | Tie: OTAA | Grooms Shoes: Russell & Bromley | Bridesmaid Dresses: Twobirds | Groomsmen: Next | Pre Wedding Venue: Villa Leoni | Ceremony Venue: Villa del Balbianello | Reception/Catering: Lido Di Lenno | Wedding Planners: Italian Lakes Weddings | Invitations: LetterBoxInk on Etsy | Guest Accomodation: Albergo Lenno