wedding on lake como

Bailie & Javen

Romancing the lakes

Ceremony at Villa Balbianello

Fine Dining in Bellagio

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Romancing a Wedding on Lake Como on a blustery day in May may be intimidating, but the rain held back for Bailie and Javen’s wedding ceremony in the antique frame of Loggia Durini at a breathtaking Villa Balbianello.  They brought their guests across the lake on a boat to attend the wedding ceremony and then back to Bellagio for a gourmet reception dinner at the Belvedere Hotel.

Bailie had set her goals and priorities for her wedding on Lake Como.  Read about how it all comes together and what compromises she made to fit everything into her budget.


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My dream wedding in Italy

Bailie was referred to Efffetti Wedding Planners by a good friend and she knew exactly what she wanted when she wrote to inquire about planning services:

‘I was searching locations and have already completely fallen in love with Villa Balbianello – we understand that it is only closed to public on Mondays and Wednesdays but we are open to having it done even when it is open to public as long as tourists aren’t walking through our ceremony haha

Villa Balbianello

There is no other location on Lake Como quite like Villa Balbianello.  Most remembered as Naboo – Anakin and Padme’s wedding backdrop in Star Wars Episode 2, Attack of the Clones, Villa Balbianello boasts appearances in 007’s Casino Royale, too.  A Hollywood resumè that survived time thanks to American businessman and politician, Butler Ames who had seen the villa during a time of splendor then again after WWI, heartbreakingly abandoned.  It took him 7 years to track down the owners and convince them to sell it to him and he loved the villa so much that he forbade his children from selling it for 20 years after his death.  Eventually, they sold it to another big fan, Italian explorer Guido Monzino who filled the villa with artefacts and relics he collected on expeditions around the globe.  Monzino was without heirs so he willed the villa to the Italian Environmental Foundation (FAI) who raise money for maintenance of this location and many others by renting some of the spaces for weddings and events.

Wedding Budget and Priorities

Rental fees for their dream location were at the top of the budget priority list for Bailie and Javen and they are hefty, starting at €2,500 for a two-hour slot in Loggia Durini which offers stunning views of Lake Como and it is covered in an evergreen creeping fig that winds itself up the columns and archways.

The second priority for their wedding on lake Como was transportation for their guests to and from Bellagio for the ceremony, plus a private speed boat for an intimate newlywed toast.  Private boats on Lake Como are not cheap, so this item cut into the third one on the budget, ceremony and reception music.  They opted for a classic string duo to play during the ceremony, violin and cello played their favorite pieces:

Meditation From Thais – J. Massenet
Ave Maria – C. Gounod
Largo Dall’inverno – A. Vivaldi
Intermezzo – P. Mascagni

– Jesus of Man’s Desiring – J.S Bach

Bride’s Entrance:
– Canon In D – J. Pachelbel

Before Vows:
– Andante Cantabile – J. Haydn

Certificate signing:
– Meditation From Thais – J. Massenet

Bride and Groom Exit:
Hornpipe In D – G.F. Handel

Dream come true

Bailie and Javen decided to forfeit music during dinner, but the food and incredible ambiance in Hotel Belvedere’s dining room definitely made up for it!  The gourmet restaurant La Terrazza  is one of the best in Bellagio and the dining room is one of the brightest, with an entire wall of full length windows looking out on the town. Fine Italian Dining was next on the priority list for these Canadians and The Terrace restaurant did not disappoint.

What about flowers?  The beauty of Villa Balbianello and the elegance of The Terrace restaurant helped Bailie decide on limiting her flowers to her own bouquet of elegant white calla lilies.

All in all, by prioritizing and budgeting, Bailie and Javen had the greatest Wedding on Lake Como ever … and their dream come true!

N.B.  Bailie wanted to ship her wedding gown home while their adventure honeymoon in Italy continued south.  Unfortunately, shipping personal belongings to Canada is not allowed, but luckily they live in Chicago so the gown was safely sent to their home in the US.

If you are thinking of shipping anything home after your wedding in Italy, have your planner double check to make sure 1. personal belongings can be shipped to your homeland and 2. how much it will cost you.  Sometimes asking a guest to take on an extra suitcase and pay the baggage charge is cheaper than mailing.



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