Destination Weddings/Chic Weddings

Glamorous & Romantic Lake Como Wedding

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Romantic, picturesque and magical… that’s how today’s bride and groom, Masha & Chris describe their day. And by the looks of their gorgeous photographs and spectacular setting, I’d say they’re right on the money.

After an intimate proposal on Lake Como, Chris & Masha knew they wanted to return to this special place for their wedding – bringing 72 of their friends and family along for the ride.

With a beautiful outdoor ceremony at Villa Cipressi, and an informal twilight feast at La Corte Del Lago, they let the backdrop do the talking, with simple table decor, beautiful blooms and a few pretty personal touches.

Dressed in glamorous attire befitting of their A-list setting, Masha was stunning in a strapless Inbal Dror gown, while Chris was dapper in a black tie tux.

With both film and photography by the marvellous Studio 1208 (check out the highlights film if you haven’t already) capturing the epic backdrop, the small details, and this cool couple and their guests, I think you’re going to be inspired by this very special destination wedding in Italy

Our Love Story

We think our paths may have crossed multiple times, perhaps the one year we attended the same college or a few blurry nights out with our mutual friends.

Timing wasn’t in our favor until my best friend mischievously planned a run-in while we were both celebrating our birthdays, which happened to be two days apart, during a February weekend in Philly.

The attraction and spark was immediate. We danced, exchanged witty banter, and laughed all night.

We flirted and chatted sporadically for next few months, but distance kept us apart. I was living in NYC and Chris was in Philly. That is, until we had a chance encounter during the official kick-off to summer at an infamous beach bar at the Jersey Shore.

It may have been the sweet Summer night, Chris’ blue deep v-neck or the flowing vodka ginger-ales, but I knew that night I would spend the rest of my life with him.

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Gorgeous Lake Como Wedding by Studio 1208 53
Gorgeous Lake Como Wedding by Studio 1208 54

Our Wedding

We spent an entire week in Lake Como after we got engaged and immediately had our hearts set on coming back to this beautiful place for our big day. We thought it would be an ambitious task to get our families on board, but they surprisingly loved the idea of a destination wedding in Italy.

We wanted to take the best of our previous experiences and recreate them for our family and friends. Much of the detail behind our wedding weekend, like the welcome party, rehearsal dinner, ceremony and reception venues incorporated our favorite sights, tastes and sounds of Bellagio and Varenna.

We wanted the experience to feel effortless but extremely special and thoughtful for our guests.

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Gorgeous Lake Como Wedding by Studio 1208 49

The Ceremony

Our ceremony venue, Villa Cipressi, is located in the sleepy town of Varenna and has the most breathtaking panoramic views atop the cliffs of the lake and is covered with gorgeous ivy and natural foliage.

We had a brief aperitif after the ceremony for our guests, allowing us to shoot photos. This gave them the opportunity to take advantage of the incredible backdrop for some memorable photos of their own.

Some of our favorite moments during the ceremony included a rendition of Ave Maria performed by Chris’ aunt who is a classically trained opera singer. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Another special moment included a group shot of the guests dropping rose petals over us, while we kissed, from an above balcony.

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The Photography & Videography

We met Studio 1208 while they were shooting our friend’s wedding in Miami, and it was love at first shot.

Chris and I had just gotten back from our engagement trip to Italy and the only thing we were sure of after meeting Nick and Maria, was that we wanted them to shoot our wedding. Our chemistry was natural and seeing them in action was epic.

Their style and personalities were classic yet cool, professional but fun and they captured the best of the moments without ever feeling intrusive.

They are masters at their craft and make the experience feel effortless, plus their work speaks for itself.

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Gorgeous Lake Como Wedding by Studio 1208 83

Our Favourite Details

Every venue and location we chose over the three-day weekend was carefully thought out. We had either dined or visited all the spots during our previous trip, handpicking our favorites with the intent to recreate the special experiences for our guests.

Our guests all stayed in the center of Bellagio. A small, quaint and picturesque town known as “The Jewel of Lake Como”.

We saw guests all over town, walking around and dining together. It felt like a big family vacation.

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Gorgeous Lake Como Wedding by Studio 1208 55

The Cocktail Hour

From the ceremony, we travelled to an authentic and traditional villa, Corte de Lago, via boat.

Our wedding planner and photogs ushered all the guests to a private ferry, giving Chris and I a chance to be alone on a vintage wooden boat as the sun set over the mountains.

Waving to our guests as we weaved in and out of the wake from the ferry was truly one of the most unforgettable, magical moments of our lives. We arrived at the villa before our guests giving us an opportunity to greet them as they arrived for a second aperitif.

Allowing guests to explore the grounds and mingle, while Chris and I shot pictures with our bridal party.

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The Reception

The reception dinner was located lakeside under a white tent with unobstructed views. We opted for a traditional family-style dinner, utilizing two long tables positioned side by side to seat our 72 guests.

We kept the décor simple. Cream lace runners, gold accented vases with lush greenery topped with cream and magenta roses, for a pop of color, and an abundance of candles. As the sun set, the lake lit up with sparkling lights which reflected off the water.

Drinks were flowing and dinner was one of the best we have ever had. Having the tables so close allowed for all guests to mingle and have intimate conversation, with a relaxed atmosphere.

After dinner, we took the party inside the great room of the villa where the DJ, one of our dear friends, played music into the early hours of the morning. We had two shuttles going back and forth from the villa to the center of the town allowing guests to leave as they desired yet ensuring their safe departure.

Favorite moments from the reception included the endless dancing. It was a dance party for the books. Notable mention goes to the heartwarming and truly poignant speeches made that night, we laughed and cried as one.

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Gorgeous Lake Como Wedding by Studio 1208 62
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Tips for Other Couples

Our advice for a destination wedding would be to work with a great planner and coordinator. We were incredibly lucky to work with Sally from the WeddingBox, a local English-speaking planner.

She and her team made planning a wedding a world away so easy and organized. Do your homework, research the area and read blog reviews for tips, advice and recommendations.

Staying organized is key! Since a majority of our guests were arriving from the States, Chris and I put together a personal website listing all the details about the destination.

Everything from travel tips, accommodations, wedding weekend itinerary, weather, to our favorite activities, restaurants and sightseeing spots. You would be surprised how many questions can be avoided when you have all the information in one place to direct guests to.

Also, try to provide group transportation or at the very least information of reliable transportation services to and from the local airport. We would also recommend working with a travel agent to help guests coordinate travel and accommodations. The last thing you need to worry about during your wedding weekend is flight and check-in issues.

Make sure all your guests have their passports and travel documents, in an unexpired state. Yes, this happened and don’t assume your guests should know better.  

Be kind, patient and grateful to your vendors. If small snags arise, we found that everyone worked to help so that Chris and I never even had a clue if something needed fixing. And after all, they are opening the doors of their home country for you.

Lastly, nothing will ever be perfect. Try to not let yourself get wrapped up in the details and enjoy the moment of being somewhere extraordinary with the ones you love.

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The Honeymoon

We took the day after our wedding to relax and shoot ‘day-after’ photos, ending our night with a last celebratory dinner with our friends.

The day-after shoot was Studio 1208’s idea, and a brilliant one since some of the pictures we got that day, are our absolute favorites.

We then headed back to Milan and from there took a quick flight to Naples, and ultimately ended up in Amalfi Coast and Positano for six magical days.

We then rented a car and drove through Sorrento and headed North to Tuscany, ending our trip exploring and falling in love with Florence. It was the best three weeks of our lives!

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Gorgeous Lake Como Wedding by Studio 1208 78
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