Choosing the right venue is one the most important decisions you have to make, if you’re going to have a memorable and stunning wedding. In fact, surveys show that, of all the aspects of a wedding – the dress, the food, the music, the flowers – the venue is the aspect that guests remember most clearly.
So it makes sense to put this at the top of your list of ‘things to get right’ (with the possible exception of your partner). After all, there’s little point in getting all the details of the day right by spending the kind of sum that, on paper, looks like the GDP of a small country, only to find that, a couple of years later, all guests can remember of the occasion is that it was held at a big place, just off the A34, nice lawn.
Not that there’s anything particularly wrong with big places just off the A34. Especially if they have a nice lawn. It’s just that you have other, perhaps better, choices. After all, the world’s a big place. When it comes to tying the knot, there are lots and lots of wonderful venues – a vast selection of superb settings that can numb the mind just to contemplate them.
And that’s the point of this post – to help you narrow the choices. Basically, we recommend Italy. Why? Simple. Because, for a wedding, there’s surely nowhere more wonderful than Italy: a country which embodies – even defines – romance more than any other; the home of many of the world’s best-known icons of love, from Romeo and St. Valentine, to Sophia Loren and Rudolf Valentino. Crammed with beautiful old cities, pristine beaches, stunning lakes and charming villages, it’s little wonder that a growing list of celebrities have chosen the country to celebrate their nuptials, including George Clooney, Tom Cruise and Kim Kardashian.
Not that you necessarily need a Kardashian-sized bank account to get hitched in Italy. There are plenty of affordable, yet still glorious, places which are the ideal backdrop for the wedding of ordinary, but choosey, mortals like us. Here are a few of them.
1. The amazing Villa D’Este, a magical and opulent hotel overlooking the glorious Lake Como, surrounded by a 25-acre park. Built in 1568, it began life as a princely residence, and the luxury and magnificence of a bygone era has been maintained intact. They’ve simply added all the up-to-date amenities. It has an (outside) capacity of up to 250 people and up to 180 inside.
2. Staying in Villa del Balbianello, built in 1700, is rather like living a dream: a fairy story world, complete with sun-splashed lake, romantic forest, rustic church and picturesque scene in every direction. If you want a wedding with a touch of magic, this atmospheric blend of exclusiveness and cosines is ideal!
3. Movie buffs will probably recognise Villa Erba – the film Ocean’s Twelve was shot there, and it’s the been the venue of choice for many a celeb. And no wonder. Set at the very edge of lake Como, it’s surrounded by an extensive and beautiful park, and the building itself features stunning architecture and décor. Offering just about everything you could wish for, or even think of, it’s the perfect backdrop for a romantic luxury wedding.
4. When, at the beginning of the 19th century, Francesco Melzi d’Eril (the count of Lodi and Vice president of the First Italian Republic) decided he wanted a summer house in Bellagio, Villa Melzi d’Eril was the result. Inspired by Napoleonic France, its neo-classical style, coupled with its spectacular park scattered with Egyptian sculptures and Roman statues, gives it a definitively romantic atmosphere. You can’t fail to be fascinated by its Japanese pond, surrounded by Japanese maple and cedar trees, and, if you choose early Spring for your wedding, your event will have the added charm of hosts of azaleas and rhododendrons in full bloom.
5. A gorgeous 19th century villa, sitting by the lake and surrounded by traditional Italian gardens and vintage trees, the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni can’t fail to meet even the highest expectations. With everything from a hall for up to 240 guests, to a sophisticated gourmet cuisine from Chef Ettore Bocchia, it has to be ultimate dream-wedding venue!
These are just a few of the amazing residences on the shores of Lake Como which are ideal venues for a luxurious wedding. At any time from April through to early Autumn, they’re simply perfect for a fairytale wedding.