Summer feels like such a long time ago now, but this glorious destination wedding by a lake in Italy has got me longing for the hot sun beating down on my shoulders again. It’s full of crystal blue skies and just radiates warmth.
Sarah-Jane Ethan has really encapsulated all the love and fun our gorgeous couple share with another and along with all the pretty blooms, fabulous fashion and picturesque setting has made for some very pleasant viewing indeed.
Make sure you check out all of the stunning outfit changes the ladies don throughout the day, including a lace cover up, a sequin jacket and not one but two fabulous gowns, each!
Vicky the Bride: I stumbled upon a tiny picture of a Heidi Elnora dress in one of the bridal magazines and instantly liked her dresses. After searching her website I found what she calls her build-a-bride line semi-custom couture – which are different style dresses that are customizable with different add ons to make them your own. So on our vacation to Florida last year in April I took my fiancé dress shopping (I know – not very traditional). All together I think I only tried on 5 dresses in 2 different stores and it came down to the dress and cover up I first fell in love with. So the Coco Marie (cute name, right?) was ordered. I took my mum to get alterations done at Nordstrom in Miami last November and then waited for my parents to transport the dress back home in April. I’m telling you I was sooooo happy to see it again and that it still fit. And the bonus point for me was being able to wear sandals without even having to hem it.
But although I absolutely loved my dress I wanted a simpler one without a train for dancing and came upon a lovely dress at BHLDN which I ordered through their online store. The sequin jacket I wore is from Blush Fashion – a nice little boutique specialized on wedding and bridesmaid dresses located in Tel Aviv – ordered through Etsy.
We found the dinner jacket and navy tuxedo (only the pants were worn, not the jacket) at Ralph Lauren. Andi didn’t want to wear the traditional wedding suit and I suggested trying on a dinner jacket, because it could look so cool and still elegant at our wedding. And what can I say: he saw the one at Ralph Lauren, we went to the store to try it on and bought it without hesitation. We actually hadn’t booked the venue until after buying our attire which is kind of unusual, but we knew what kind of venue we were looking for.
We wanted a destination wedding weekend. That was something we agreed upon very soon in the planning process. What we didn’t know was where…. And since my parents have a vacation home in Florida and Andi’s at Lake Garda we had to decide between the two (though I couldn’t get Andi to agree with my fantasy of marrying at DisneyWorld, so that was quickly out of the picture). And after looking at a few venues at either location we found Villa Cortine. When we first stepped into the beautiful gardens and looked down on the lake we were in love.
What I had in mind was a venue with what I like to call ‘Tower-of-Terror charm’ (from the ride at Disney World) and the Villa Cortine gave us the right feeling with it’s lush gardens and classical style. And it was just perfect for our black tie affair.
Extremly convenient for the destination wedding was having everything from the ceremony to the reception in one place. We were treated with such kindness and attentiveness it was beyond belief. We had absolutely nothing to want for. And if we could, we would do it all over and over again – it was just so beautiful. Also thanks to the commitment and great skills of Marco Coarezza (event manager of Villa Cortine) who coordinated everything so perfectly!
We decided on a navy, white and gold with apricot accents very classic colour scheme because of the timeless venue by the lake (and these are some of my favorite colours). We wanted everything to fit into our black tie affair. We used them in our invitations and tried to use them very subtly throughout the location (the frames, the ribbons etc.). And to my biggest suprise the dresses my bridesmaids brought fitted the theme just perfect (one in a blue and one in an apricot coloured dress).
Florist and Decoration
When we started thinking about our wedding decoration we already had kind of an idea what we were lokking for. Since the park is so beautiful on its own with all the flowers in bloom in June we just needed a few accents here and there. Our florist had some very good ideas how to provide the simple and elegant decoration we wanted. I got the inspiration for the bridal bouquet on Pintrest. The peonies were so beautiful! And the blue ribbons fit into the colour scheme very nicely.
We had ordered paper hand fans for our guest to beat the heat (they were greatly appreciated) and also had tissues put onto the ceremony chairs four our guests. I DIY’d the tissue holders from cardboard and personalized stickers from Wedding Paper Divas.
We had our after party location decorated with different coloured paper lanters which gave it a nice atmosphere. The decoration signs, the garlands and the frames were my little DIY projects.
The stationery was done by Wedding Paper Divas. I cannot tell you how great they are! First of all they have EVERYTHING. So many designs to choose from and every one of them is further customizable to fit your needs. Our guests said they were the most beautiful invitations they had ever seen.
Menu and Cake
We are both foodies. So having great food and wine was a very important part of our wedding. When we had our tasting we were thrilled! Not only was the experience extraordinary, but it was such an important part in the planning process. It was truly a little event by itself.
We chose to have a multi course menu followed by a dessert bar and spaghettata down by the lake.
For the cocktail hour we chose our personal favourite antipasti and the signature cocktail the lovely bartenders created especially for us.
Melon with parma prosciutto, Caprese and Fritto Misto
Rosemary French 75 as signature cocktail
Raw shrimp and Burrata Tower with sesame crackers
Risotto with crougette flowers and caviar
Pompelmo (Grapefruit) sorbet
Piemontese beef filet with amarone sauce, mushrooms and truffle
Wedding cake (chocolate – so moist)
Lugana Prestige Cà Maiol (white)
Bardolino Classico Tinazzi (red)
Everyone was so pleased with the high quality of the food and drink and they complimented every course. The service team was just excellent. The wedding cake was also done by the patissier of the Villa Cortine, and what can I say – we never wanted a chocolate cake but ended having the best one ever!
Many of our guests also joined us for brunch the next morning before either heading home or visiting the Isola del Garda with us that afternoon.
Our wedding favors were beach bags filled with a local map, a postcard, water and snacks. Oh, and of course sun screen. Just what you need for a weekend getaway.
For the ceremony we wanted a piano and cello combo. For my entrance, intermezzo and finale we chose songs that had a meaning to us. When we searched we came across the wonderful and extremely talented Piano Guys on YouTube. We talked to the Maestro and he did a wonderful job playing the pieces exactly like we wanted. We just loved exiting to an instrumental version of Viva La Vida.
For cocktail hour we had a jazz trio which really got everyone in the mood for the rest of the night. This fit very nicely into my so called Tower of Terror atmosphere.
Our DJ provided us with music during the dinner and then at the Beach Bar for dancing. We met once before and talked about what we wanted (Jazz, Blues) and also about what we didn’t (cheap party music). Beforehand he asked each of us to give him 10 must play songs which was a nice touch.
When we had the first email contact with Sarah-Jane we were instantly in love with her, she just sounded so nice and fun. And after looking at her beautiful other weddings we knew it would be a match made in heaven. Everyone laughed and felt so comfortable around SJ and Matt and we got the natural looking pictured we’d hoped for. They are both so fun and lovely to be around, it’s so easy to just relax and join in on the fun and laughter. The photos turned out so beautiful! All of our friends and family love the wedding pictures and they have said they could’ve come straight out of Vogue.
Photography by Sarah-Jane Ethan Photography
- Dress Designer Heidi Elnora
- Bridal Boutique Nordstorm
- Second Dress Jill Stuart from BHLDN
- Sequin Jacket Blush Fashion on Etsy
- Jewellery Ben Amun at BHLDN
- Wedding Rings Ehinger Schwarz
- Bridal Shoes Lilly Pulitzer
- Hair Samantha Pretto
- Grooms Suit Ralph Lauren
- Venue Villa Cortine Palace Hotel
- Florist Il Fiore all’ occhiello
- Stationery Wedding Paper Divas
- DJ Mike Lindström
- Music Davide Foroni