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Lemons and Lake Garda: An Italy Real Wedding Story


June 23, 2023
Words by Jessie Allen
Photos courtesy of Dragonfly Photography

When it comes to wedding planning, couples often search for ways to make their special day truly unforgettable. For Corey and Paige, the answer was clear: a destination wedding in the picturesque country of Italy. We had the pleasure of interviewing the newlyweds to discuss their enchanting Lake Garda ceremony and the reasons behind their decision to tie the knot abroad.

“We chose a destination wedding because we both have very demanding, high-stress jobs,” Corey explained. “We wanted to make sure we could fully disconnect for our wedding and soak in the whole experience. Leaving the country and having limited access to email seemed like the easiest way to do that. Plus, we realized an intimate wedding with our closest friends and family in a beautiful foreign country wasn’t cost-prohibitive compared to the large wedding we would’ve had where we live.”

The couple’s choice of location was inspired by one of Paige’s bridesmaids, who had previously visited Lake Garda in Italy. As soon as the possibility of a destination wedding arose, the bridesmaid spoke highly of the stunning beauty of Lake Garda. Intrigued, Corey and Paige immediately fell in love with the destination upon their first online search.

“The goal was always an outdoor wedding, so the landscape was crucial,” Paige noted. “We loved the pairing of water and mountains in the area and knew it was our perfect scenery.” However, the couple did encounter some challenges specific to the destination. Europe was experiencing a major heatwave at the time, and air conditioning was not commonly found in the region. As a result, some guests realized upon arrival that their accommodations lacked AC. To ensure their guests’ comfort, Corey and Paige invited them over to their villa during the day, providing a respite from the heat with the villa’s excellent cooling system.

Another issue they faced was getting guests acquainted with public transportation. Their villa was situated approximately 2.5 miles outside the closest town, and not all guests had rental cars. To resolve this, Paige’s bridesmaid, who had previous experience in Lake Garda, created detailed guides on public transit options, including buses, trains, ferries, and taxis. These guides were designed using Canva and made readily available on guests’ phones for easy reference.

Finding the perfect venue for their dream wedding was a critical part of Corey and Paige’s planning process. Through extensive Google searches, they discovered Home in Italy, a travel company offering beautiful villas in various locations and sizes. Villa Carrati, the venue they ultimately chose, stood out from the rest with its classic Italian villa look and breathtaking lakefront view.

“We wanted to make sure that if we were traveling to Italy for our wedding, the venue epitomized that classic Italian villa look,” Corey emphasized. “Villa Carrati was at the top of our list as soon as we saw it. The scenery was the most important wedding decoration to us.”

Villa Carrati not only captured their hearts with its aesthetic appeal but also met their practical needs. The villa boasted modern luxuries, ample space for the ceremony and reception, and functional areas for each party to get ready separately. It was a perfect blend of elegance and functionality, setting the stage for an unforgettable celebration.

As for the decor and extras, Corey and Paige embraced a classic Italian aesthetic. Corey’s mother, a successful interior designer, took charge of table and floral designs throughout the villa, ensuring a cohesive and visually stunning ambiance. The centerpieces featured classic blue and white porcelain vases overflowing with flowers, mirroring the rich blue color incorporated into various details, such as Paige’s wedding shoes.

Paige’s mother played a significant role in the wedding favors, designing personalized boxes with a matching blue and white pattern. These favors also included bottles of olive oil and limoncello, prepared by Le Gemme di Artemisia, complete with custom labels. Each guest’s name was meticulously hand-drawn on a lemon by Paige’s maid-of-honor, adding a personal touch and serving as unique place cards.

When it came to the ceremony, Corey and Paige aimed to infuse it with their own style and personality. Their friend, Nathan Rees, acted as the officiant and worked closely with the couple to plan the ceremony’s details. The processional songs were carefully selected to evoke emotion and sentiment, with family members and Corey walking in to “Amazing Eyes” by Good Old War, the wedding party entering to “I’m with You” by Vance Joy, and Paige and her father walking down the aisle to “Simply the Best” by Noah Reid.

The couple exchanged personalized vows, a mix of love and humor reflecting their relationship’s foundation of laughter and joy. After the vows, Nathan read a poem from Tyler Knott Gregson’s “Chasers of the Light: Poems from the Typewriter Series.” To conclude the ceremony, another poem from the same series was read, followed by the recessional song “Crush” by Dave Matthews Band. This choice held special significance for Corey and Paige, as one of their first dates was a Dave Matthews Band concert.

Planning an Italy destination wedding from afar certainly presented its unique challenges. However, Corey and Paige found valuable assistance in their trusted vendors and the support of local experts. Lara Perotti, from Le Gemme di Artemisia, played a vital role in the wedding’s planning process. Despite not being able to visit the location in person due to travel restrictions, Lara’s expertise and frequent Facetime sessions ensured that every detail was meticulously handled.

Dragonfly Photography and Makeup by Merideth, both experienced in destination weddings, traveled from Cleveland to capture the magical moments of Corey and Paige’s big day. Their knowledge and understanding of destination weddings were invaluable in creating a smooth and unforgettable experience.

Reflecting on their journey, Corey and Paige expressed their gratitude for the destination wedding experience. “Our wedding honestly would have been more stressful and expensive if we had held it closer to home,” Corey explained. “Planning a destination wedding seems like it would be more work, but in reality, it just shifts the time frames of when things are stressful. It allowed us to be more present in the moment.”

With approximately 40 guests in attendance, Corey and Paige were able to spend quality time with each of them, creating lasting memories. From a day trip to Venice to a relaxing pool day at the villa, the couple ensured their guests had a memorable experience beyond the wedding day itself.

As for advice to future couples planning a destination wedding, Corey and Paige emphasized the importance of starting early and focusing on quality vendors. They found that establishing clear communication and deciding on priorities early in the planning process helped alleviate stress. Detailed timelines and ample information provided to guests allowed for a seamless experience and ensured everyone was well-prepared for the wedding activities.

“Remember that a destination wedding doesn’t mean you’ve signed up for planning a full vacation for each guest,” Paige advised. “Plan the days you expect them to be part of, but let them know when they have free time to manage without you.”

Corey and Paige’s Italy wedding was a testament to the beauty and magic that can be found in a destination wedding. From the breathtaking backdrop of Lake Garda to the personal touches infused into every aspect, their celebration was a reflection of their love and commitment. It serves as an inspiration to couples embarking on their own journey to create a wedding that truly captures their unique story.

Vendors: Photographer: Dragonfly Photography; Venue: Villa Caratti; Florist: Le Gemme di Artemisia; Stationery: Paper Culture; Hair & Makeup: Makeup by Merideth; Gown Designer: Hayley Paige; Groom’s Clothing Designer: Self-Made Couture; Wedding Party Attire: Azazie; Private Chef: Andrea Messini of Le Gemme di Artemisia; Silk Ribbon: Silk & Willow; Flatlay Styling Accessories: Champagne & Grit; Car Rental: Aston Martin; Rentals: King Rent; Villa Concierge Service: Home in Italy; Veil: EnVogue Bridal Accessories

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