A Charming Lake Como Elopement at Villa Balbianello
So excited to blog about Stacey and Shane’s charming destination elopement in Lake Como. It is one of my favorite elopements. Their humor was priceless. They laughed and giggled all day long. Too cute.
Needless to say, I adore Lake Como and always super happy to return. And it is always a pleasure to work with Alessia, one of my favorite Italian wedding planners.
Their ceremony was held at the spectacular Villa Balbianello. Of course, we hung around for a few hours, and also had a toast with Prosecco and the best cake ever! After sunset we rented a taxi boat and went around the Lake for newly wed photographs at sunset stopping at various villages. Needless to say their elopement was magical!
Let’s hear about their elopement directly from the Bride, Stacey:
What inspired you to choose to do a destination wedding in Italy?
We knew we wanted to elope in Europe, but our options were overwhelming! Italy held the most gorgeous views and romance for our dream day. We decided to look for destination photographers first, then stumbled upon Rochelle Cheever. We immediately knew she was the one for us. Her lighting was impeccable and her ability to capture wide scenic views, while still making the couples the star focus sealed the deal! When we saw a photo set she did at Villa del Balbianello with Sing-pey and Michael, we fell in love and wanted to wed at the same place!
In what ways did you personalize your wedding day?
To personalize our day, we picked several small packable items that carried a lot of meaning. My grandmother Grace passed during my childhood, but the love and inspiration she gave me lives on. I wanted to bring her with me and represent her, so I wore her earrings and packed two of her old china plates to use for our wedding cake. I was also able to wear my Great Grandmother Jenny’s pearl ring that was passed down four generations. Shane’s personalization resonated much deeper meaning for his mother that passed away from breast cancer in 2008. He wore pins on his suit to represent his mom. The paper crane for those they crafted together and a Bruce Springsteen pin because they always listened to him together.
We also had a beautiful ring box made from a Snappy Gum Eucalyptus tree hand crafted from an Australian artist, Brandi on Etsy. https://www.etsy.com/shop/TommysHut We knew we could admire the box for years to come, reminding us of our special day.
Lastly, we wrote our own vows. Shane and I are quite quirky and part of our bond is based on our humor. There was no other way for us to marry, without doing so in our own words!
What were your favorite wedding day details?
How could it not be the stunning views from Balbianello? I had anticipated our wedding day for months, but it never felt real until we were actually there! The photos you see are stunning, but actually being there brings a magic you can’t describe. A detail, very dear to me happened in the very beginning! When we arrived, we were located at the dock at the bottom of the hill of Villa del Balbianello. There was a winding gravel pathway that traveled up and circled around the hill to the top terrace where we’d say our vows. There were some tourists on the grounds below and when they saw that I was in a wedding dress, they all stepped off of the pathway and allowed us to walk ahead, smiling and saying Congratulations. In that moment I felt so special, like Cinderella, or the bride I never envisioned myself to be.
What was your inspiration behind the day?
Our inspiration was just making the day feel genuine for us. We are a relaxed and goofy couple, so wanted to ensure we could laugh, sing and dance if we wanted to, which we did. We also wanted to allow the theme to be Lake Como, because that was our dream and all we needed for a back drop.
Tell us a little bit about how you chose your invitations, flowers, venue, and dress:
Villa del Balbianello is the dreamiest location. The views are incredible looking across Lake Como from the top. The grounds are lush, covered with spectacular landscaping. There’s gorgeous towering firs, enormous canopy trees, an abundance of flowers and extraordinary vines wrapping around the archways. Every small detail of the villas architecture holds timeless beauty. It’s a location that speaks for itself, without need for any decorations. That’s how we knew it was perfect for our elopement.
The dress was quite a quest! I left so many boutiques empty handed. I wanted a dress that felt timeless, but also had some non-traditional components. The only way to de-traditionalize a dress at the store was to order it in champagne or have it tea-length, which wasn’t the direction I wanted. I began hunting online, then found Cleo and Clementine. They use modern elements, like leather bodices and alternative colors. Then, they perfectly balance the designs with gorgeous delicate and billowy skirts. My gown had an ivory sweetheart leather bodice, which was excellent for support for a larger bust! The empire waistband was made of silk, and then the skirt was crafted of pink and champagne tulle. To add additional color, peeking through the sheer tulle was a pink ombre’ silk charmeuse layer.
The most beloved part of the dress was the lace applique overlay that my mother made for me. I wanted sleeves, but didn’t want a standard lace bolero. My mom wanted to create something special for me, so she made a sheer top that I was able to model as she placed each applique in the perfect place. She then hand sewed each individual piece on. It turned out beautiful! I’m so proud of her touch, it will always be the most precious piece I had with me on that day.
Overall, do you have any special advice you would like to share with other brides to help prepare them for their destination wedding?
If you hire an experienced wedding planner and wedding photographer, you can take comfort in their expertise. We never traveled out of the country and were intimidated to plan the day. I couldn’t imagine finding a florist, transportation, a bakery, hair stylist or even photo locations. I was able to voice my vision, but then didn’t have to worry about making it come to fruition. I truly felt like Rochelle and Alessia carried me through the day like family. It all went flawlessly. I even tripped once tearing part of my dress! It didn’t affect anything. So much stress of weddings involves all of the details and expectations, versus the true reason for the day, your fiancé. My advice for other brides is to remember, the day will be perfect no matter what happens, rain or shine because of whom you’re with.