The famous Verona, made ever so popular by Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers is proving to be just as crazy gorgeous in real life. And these lovers? They have a much happier ending, I promise. Layers of scrumptious paper-goods, a joyful traipse through town followed by many a happy vino toast all captured by Susan Dean Photography. It’s la bella vita and it’s all right here.

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From the Bride… I loved our wedding and will treasure the memory of that day forever. 80 of our closest friends and family traveled to the beautiful Lake Garda to share with us the best day of our lives. We are quite an international couple: I am half American/half Italian, my husband is Belgian, and we live in Germany. We knew that organizing our wedding in Italy (my home country) would mean a lot of effort and travel costs for most of our guests. That is why the most important thing for me was ensuring that we could offer our guests an amazing, unforgettable experience. We wanted our wedding to be a promise of love between two people, as well as an opportunity for all our guests to experience the best that Italy has to offer: beautiful scenery, picturesque villages, lakeside Riviera, gourmet food, rich wine and Italian pasticceria. The Ristorante ai Beati, our reception location, was perfect: a renovated mill from the 14th century, it overlooked the lake from the top of the hills.

For the décor, invitations and reception items, we loosely took inspiration from the Jules Verne “Extraordinary Voyages” collection, as it incorporates vintage travel elements with a geeky technology spin that we can identify with. It was also the inspiration for some of the carnival-esque elements. We were quite happy to see how our ideas came together in such an elegant but fun way! Using images and design elements found online, my husband and I created our own wedding website, the invitations and other reception elements. We were quite lucky to find Rob Sandall from Bullfrog Graphics who created beautiful wooden elements we used throughout the wedding (labels for the invitations, table names and stamp favors, personalized with the addresses of our guests).

During the reception we asked some groups of friends to prepare and present to everyone some local wedding traditions from their home country. We ended up having a German tradition, an Italian tradition and a Belgian tradition. They were all wonderful and so much fun! After dessert, once the band started playing, we all started dancing and laughing together on the dance floor. It was magical. But I think the best decision we made for our wedding was to only work with vendors whom we liked personally and whose work we deeply admired. Susan, our photographer, is so talented and such a beautiful person. We are so lucky we found her and are so grateful that she came all the way to Italy from Charleston! Each one of her pictures is a piece of art. Laura, our coordinator, went above and beyond to ensure that our wedding day ran smoothly and helped give life to all our ideas and plans. And our cinematographers Stefania and Gianpiero simply surpassed all expectations. We were on the fence about cinematography but are now so happy we decided to go for it — I’ve seen our video so many times and still am not tired of it! So many more people and vendors helped shape our wedding to the perfect day it was. Not only for us, also our families had the opportunity to get to know each other better and connect together. My grandfather thanked me with tears in his eyes for the wonderful day I had given him the opportunity to experience. To all brides wondering if all the effort and planning is worth it, I want to say that it is!

Wedding Photography: Susan Dean Photography / Ceremony: Chiesa di San Giovanni in Torri del Benaco (VR) Italy / Refreshments: Hotel Gardesana in Torri del Benaco (VR) Italy / Reception: Ristorante ai Beati, Garda (VR) Italy / Event Coordination: Laura Bravi of Trendinozze / Floral Design: Il Fiore all’Occhiello / Cinematography: Origami Videography / Wedding Invitations + Menus: Design by Bride & Groom, Consulting by Kelly Gold + Printing by Card und Label / Save-the-Dates: Hello! Lucky / Stamp Favors, Wooden Laser-Cut Invitation Labels + Table Names: Rob Sandall of Bullfrog Graphics / Music: Monica’s Quartet + Ranieri via Sposi e Musica / Accommodations: Hotel La Vittoria in Garda (VR) Italy / Custom Wedding Dress: Daniela Miska of Milla Miska / Bride’s Shoes: Miss Albrights via Anthropologie / Hair: Parrucchiera Stile Ste, Volargne (VR) Italy / Groom’s Suit: Cafe Costume / Groom’s Shoes: Cole Haan