Wise Words

A Loving Affair on Lake Como


September 16, 2016
Words by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of K Hulett Photography

Patrick and Suzy are a travel-loving, Australian couple who had their hearts set on an cozy destination wedding. Put quite simply, “We wanted it to be an intimate affair in a spectacular destination,” explains Suzy. The couple knew just the place and ultimately exchanged vows on Lake Como, Italy. Not only did the destination meet their spectacular, romantic requirements, but there was an added bonus for the groom’s family. “It was also nice that Patrick’s family was in nearby Switzerland, so we could visit them before we departed for our wedding.”

Hosting such a small wedding (just the couple’s siblings) did ruffle a few feathers. “While friends and family were a little disappointed, they were all very understanding and respectful of our decision,” says the bride. To get the best of both worlds, Patrick and Suzy hosted a small party after returning from Italy. “We had a little celebration in our hometown straight after our legal ceremony where friends and family could see our photos and enjoy cake and Champagne.”

Beyond the convenience of Patrick’s family living nearby, Lake Como had other benefits. “I absolutely love mountain and lake landscapes – we don’t have much of that in Western Australia, so that’s why we chose this beautiful spot,” explains the bride. In our opinion, Suzy’s logic is sound. If you’re going to travel a great distance for your nuptials, why not host your wedding amongst scenery dramatically different from what you’re used to?

The couple hosted both their ceremony and reception at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo. Thankfully, their chosen venue helped ease the stress of planning a wedding away without a wedding planner. “Grand Hotel Tremezzo was fantastic in assisting us with all the details of our day, so it was a smooth journey,” says Suzy. “The only difficulty was attempting to describe how I wanted details to look over email and through a language barrier!” To help ease the act of explaining her W-Day vision, Suzy turned to a common planning tool – Pinterest. Their event coordinator at the hotel also connected the couple with local vendors. 

Being so far away from the venue forced the couple to take a hands-off approach and to put a lot of trust in their event coordinator. “[We coordinated via] lots of emails and sending lots of pictures,” explains Suzy. “I’m fairly laidback and was willing to put my trust in Grand Hotel Tremezzo that they would ensure it looked beautiful – they also liaised with most of the vendors on our behalf.” For perhaps their most important vendor, Patrick and Suzy went with a personal recommendation. “My sister had used our photographers (based in America) before, so apart from a few emails outlining details, I knew they were professionals and would do a beautiful job for us,” recalls the bride. 

When it came to the travel logistics, the couple took a roundabout, but practical tactic. “We had siblings coming from three different locations,” says Suzy. “My older sister traveled with us from Perth, Australia, we met and traveled with Patrick’s sister from Basel and my younger sister met us in Milan from her current residence in Dubai. Milan was our meeting point and we all (with our photographers) traveled to Lake Como. It all ran smoothly!” 

We asked the couple how hosting a hometown wedding would have effected both their budget and the overall feel of their event. “The exchange rate between Australia and the rest of the world didn’t move favorably for us. However, we still think we spent less than if we had decided to plan a wedding in our hometown. [Also,] it would have been less intimate, meant more guests and would have been more costly for us if we had decided to have a celebration at home.”

While the exchange rate might not have been in the couple’s favor, their stress level certainly benefitted from a destination wedding in Italy. “After talking to my married friends, I actually think [planning a destination wedding] was an easier experience than they had with a local wedding,” says the bride. “In the end, I wouldn’t have had my wedding any other way – an overseas wedding is very romantic and you are so much more relaxed when on holiday!”

We asked the bride if she had any additional helpful advice for other couples currently planning a wedding away and these are a few of the points she shared. “Combine a pre-wedding photography session with your hair and makeup trial. [Also,] use Pinterest to create a visual representation of your wedding day – this will help planners and venues understand what you are after.”

Vendors: Photographer: K Hulett Photography, Florist, Cake and Ceremony/Reception Site: Grand Hotel Tremezzo, Hair & Makeup: Fabienne Rea Hair and Makeup, Gown Designer: Loui Col Designs, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Politix, Bridesmaids’ Clothing Designer: White Runway, Rings: Solid Gold in Perth, Australia

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