I’d give just about anything to abandon this brutal winter and whisk away to the shores of Lake Como, but this gallery from Marcus Bell of Studio Impressions Photography is probably the next best thing. He beautifully told the story of this destination “I do,” and if this image doesn’t instantly give you the Italian travel bug, I don’t know what will.
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From The Bride… We met as starry-eyed finance graduates in our first “real job”. It didn’t take long before we were spending every spare moment as friends, and then evolved to something more. When we’re together, we’re always laughing with (and at) each other. We’re each other’s rock and partners in crime in every sense and we back each other up. We’ve changed a lot since when we first met, and whilst some changes were hard, we feel stronger for having evolved together and supporting each other through it.
When Jehan and I got engaged, we wanted a venue that had dramatic views, nature, water and somewhere our well-traveled friends and family had not been before. Jehan suggested Lake Como as he knew it’d been a dream of mine to go, and when we saw the first Google image of Villa Balbianello our jaws literally dropped and we knew we had found our place! With a destination wedding in mind, we had our hearts set on planning a week long amazing vacation with all of our nearest and dearest.
Living in New York and being away from our friends and family in Sydney, we were determined to maximize our time with our guests and make sure everyone felt spoilt!
Waiting for our guests in their rooms were handmade welcome bags with a personalized welcome note, local goodies and an events list detailing the fun to come for the week – Welcome Drinks at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo’s glam lakeside pool bar, separate on-the-lake bucks and hens, rehearsal dinner at a restaurant nestled high up on the hills complete with panoramic views, and a day-after pool party pizza brunch to aid in recovery. We also slipped in a custom designed map of Lake Como, a cheat sheet of must visit restaurants and activities, as well as a directory so guests could easily connect with one another.
Following the outdoor ceremony under the vine covered loggia, an acoustic guitar duo serenaded the guests as they enjoyed a selection of cocktails accompanied by Italian and modern canapés.
The overall aesthetic of our wedding day was modern chic with pops of glam. Lush Italian branches and small pared back arrangements of white flowers and candles gave the reception dinner an intimate feel and a luxurious touch without taking away from the already beautiful venue and surrounding landscape. We DYIed the save the dates, wedding invitations, the menus/ ceremony coasters, guest book forms, escort cards, after party lights, L&J marquee lights, buon appetito greenery letters and the welcome bags.
Guests were ready to party as they got off the boat at Grand Hotel Tremezzo where we had transformed a cave wine bar into our secret speakeasy-themed after-party. Rachel and the team from the Lake Como Wedding Planner did a great job in transforming the space with all the lighting elements we had DIYed and brought with us, including the L & J marquee letters we’d made to set the scene. The party ready guests, amazing cocktails and DJ did the rest!
Our favourite moments from the week would have to be the personalised vows we read to each other at the ceremony, the photo shoot on a Lucia boat (an ingenious idea by Marcus, our photographer!!), and our first dance, which we had secretly choreographed and practiced for weeks and never thought we could pull off!! But surprisingly, like so many other parts of the week, surrounded by our nearest and dearest, it felt natural and completely fun!
We are real DIYers at heart and our wedding was a true labour of love. We had the best time scheming on how to execute a particularly tricky idea or when beavering away together on our projects. We still feel giddy and extremely lucky to have executed our wedding in such spectacular fashion. From the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank our beloved family and friends who created the unique energy of the week, and our amazing vendors who made it all possible. In particular, the ladies at the Lake Como Wedding Planner and Marcus Bell our photographer who helped create and document our adventure with his breathtaking images to remind ourselves every day that it wasn’t all a dream!
We can clearly see all the depth and emotions captured from the day and we felt like it accurately captured who we are as a couple by the unique and innovative talents of Marcus Bell – the Lucia boat photos are inspired, and we feel so incredibly blessed with all the timeless mementos we now have of the wedding week, including the incredible day after photos!
A few words of advice: embrace the planning, and try to have fun with it! If you approach it as a chore, chances are it will feel like a chore and where’s the joy in that? Try to add your own twist to things, even with some DIY projects and personal touches to reflect both your styles. Remember what the day is meant to be about! The union of the two individuals as a couple. When making decisions during planning, whilst other opinions can be sought and taken into account, respect each other’s desires above all.
Photography: Marcus Bell | Wedding Planner: Rachel Birthistle | Wedding Dress: Vera Wang | Ceremony Venue: Villa Balbianello | Reception Venue: Villa Balbianello | Shoes: Chanel | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Woo For BHLDN | Hair: Carolyn O'Neill | Groom's Attire: Tom Ford | Jewelery: Chanel