The luxury elopement experience by Rochelle Cheever is a boutique design and photography studio based in San Diego, California and Rome, Italy.

Lake Como Elopement Il Seneno Villa Balbianello


What inspired you to choose to have a destination Lake Como Elopement?

Honestly, I think we were meant to do have a Lake Como Elopement all along. We both love to travel, met while we were expats in Europe years ago and ultimately knew we wanted it to take place there. We landed on Italy- beautiful country, all the pasta and wine! I lived in Milan for a few years and had spent many a summer weekend in Como. Bryan had never been until our engagement on Como- when that happened there- we knew we needed to come back to exchange vows! We both come from rather large families that span the US and have a larger close friend group. A 250+ guest list for a European destination wedding within 6-8 months of engagement just didn’t seem feasible. During the lead up and the actual day of, we missed many but to be honest they were there in many forms and spirit. Some of my very close girlfriends sent a congrats video early the morning of that started the tears for the day, close friends of ours sent us a toast to the room, our parents and siblings celebrated with us earlier in the month and sent us off with some special mementos for the day- we definitely felt the love from afar!

In what ways did you personalize your Lake Como Elopement?

Since it was just the two of us and rather far from home, personal touches were very important to us. We used the same jewelry designer, Kate Kane that had worked with Bryan on my engagement ring for our wedding bands. She has an amazing collection that allows you to engrave in your handwriting- we were able to add ‘Como’ and the date on the inside of his band. We also chose a list of songs for the ceremony that all meant something to us- out first date was a Ray Lamontagne concert, so naturally ‘Let it be Me’ made the list. It was a dreamy moment being in the beautiful grounds of Villa Balbianello having a guitarist play some of our favorite tunes. We also each chose a reading that meant something to us and wrote our own vows.

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What were your favorite  Lake Como Elopement details?

So many things were perfect about the day. I am a bit of a pessimist when it comes to lets just say everything- Bryan airs on the side of glass half full. We spent a few days prior to the wedding day in Switzerland and Como- the weather was miserable. Clouds, darkness, rain and cold- not a brides dream weather. Bryan kept saying it would get better. And he was right, the sun came out and the day was beautiful. My looming stress about this also came from the fact that the center of our day was a boat ride on the Lake. We had planned to take the boat to the ceremony and stop at a few places for photos. Riva boats are the classic mode of transportation on Como. Bryan grew up boating and it was a must to rent a Riva. It was a perfect addition to our Lake Como Elopement.

Tell us a little bit about how you chose your invitations, flowers, venue, and dress:

We knew we couldn’t keep our elopement a secret until post wedding, so we decided to forgo tradition and send out elopement announcements prior. If you try to search any sort of etiquette about elopement, it tells you to stray very far from sending something prior. But we stuck with our plan. We wanted to formally announce it and acknowledge that we would miss our family and friends. I had stumbled across Swell Press on Instagram before we got engaged and immediately loved their work. Once we had the plan set in motion, I reached out to them. They were fantastic and I would highly recommend. The swell girls were lovely to work with, listened to our vision of what we wanted and brought it to life. Lake Como is all sorts of green in May and I knew that was where I wanted to start. The final product was amazing and we topped it off with vintage postage from Little Postage House.

Overall, do you have any special advice you would like to share with other brides to help prepare them for their destination elopement?

Just go for what you want and don’t look back! Everyone will have an opinion, and some may not support yours. It obviously hard, the saying “it takes a village” is true. You have so many people in your lives that cared for you, helped you and matter- and you want them to be included in your day. But that can pull you away from all the things that matter the most to you as a couple. Just do what feels right, communicate when and to who you want when the time is right and be present in the moment, it all goes way too fast! We went to bed way too late cause we just didn’t want the day to end.

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