For many, getting married before the incomparable backdrop of Lake Como is a dream come true. The Lake Como setting brings all the glamour of the 19th Century Grand Tour, the 1950s dolce vita days and the celebrity-studded present. Wedding photos with a backdrop of the vast expanse of the lake, a flower-filled garden and mountains rising in the distance will preserve these treasured memories in all their beauty. And couples who say their “I dos” on Lake Como will have the pleasure of returning to this special spot for years to come – on a babymoon, perhaps, or years later with the kids for a unique anniversary celebration.
At Palazzo del Vice Re, we have the pleasure of hosting many weddings and wedding parties. We get quite emotional about them, actually, and feel very blessed when families entrust us with their most important day. Weddings at the Palazzo come in all shapes and sizes – from lavish affairs to intimate gatherings – and we pride ourselves in making the bride and groom (as well as their parents and guests!) feel like part of the Palazzo family. The complex regulations in Italy don’t permit weddings with legal force to be performed at private venues, but we can host a ceremony to bless a previously celebrated civil marriage or to renew the vows taken elsewhere.
This week, we thought we would share with you three different wedding scenarios to give you a taste of what it might be like to celebrate your wedding at Palazzo del Vice Re. The Palazzo team and the travel experts at IC Bellagio have hundreds of contacts to draw upon for fresh flower arrangements, fine art photographers, chefs and caterers as well as musical groups from serious string quartets to rollicking party bands. With our loyal drivers, boat captains, caretakers and housekeeping teams busy behind the scenes, you can rest assured that everything runs smoothly. And throughout the festivities, you will be cocooned in our elegant accommodations and treated to our unparalleled views of lovely Lake Como.
Palazzo del Vice Re is the perfect venue for a wedding with just a small group of your closest family and friends – and a boho-chic event has the perfect elegant yet laid back vibe for a group of about 20.
The porticos in the courtyard are hung with ribbons and blooms, jars filled with candles and tied with raffia line the stone stairs and a couple of rows of burlap-covered chairs face the portico, where the officiant – family friend and Internet-ordained minister – stands on the stairs and faces the dearly beloved. The bride leaves L’Isola Comacina through the private entrance and enters the courtyard through our historic arch. She makes her way down the aisle in a crocheted gown and a wildflower bouquet that looks like it has just been picked in a meadow. A sweet little angel walks before her blowing bubbles and an acoustic guitar player strums “All you Need is Love” from the right-hand portico.
After the ceremony, the Prosecco bottles pop and the new Mr & Mrs take pictures in the courtyard while the guests sip their bubbly and snack on paper cones of gourmet popcorn. The million-dollar shot is the one where the couple raises their glasses from the step-out balcony of L’Isola Comacina and toast their guests in the courtyard below. The guitarist gets the whole crowd to join in a rousing rendition of Bruno Mars “Just The Way You Are” as they make their way hand-in-hand to the Sun Terrace. Wooden signs show the way, dripping with ribbons and painted by hand.
The terrace is decked out with fabric streamers and fairy lights; the catering staff is already grilling meat on the barbecue. A table is laden with different kinds of salads, individually portioned crudité and dip, and a cheese plate garnished with balsamic drizzled strawberries. The bar in one corner has a massive ice chest filled with craft beers, a fruit-filled white sangria (won’t stain the wedding dress!), still and sparkling water as well as soft drinks. The group dines and drinks as the sun goes down behind the mountains, filling the shore with their laughter and good spirits.
Our Palazzo team hands out tiki torches to one and all for the festive procession back to the Palazzo, where the wedding cake is waiting under the candlelit portico. The crowd gathers at the stairs to watch the happy couple cut a “semi-naked” two-tiered cake dripping with blackberries and sugared violets. Slices served a la mode with gelato – either fior di latte or cioccolato – and espresso make the rounds. The guitarist calls everyone to stand in a circle and gives his best Ed Sheeran for the first dance to “Thinking Out Loud”.
The applause after the first dance finally dies down, but the party isn’t over yet – the group makes their way downstairs where a DJ and an open bar await them in the stone-clad cantina. The next day, no one can quite remember the exact moment that the bride and groom secretly sidled out – and that’s exactly how they wanted it. The Palazzo staff put a lot of effort into prepping the La Vista Junior Suite with candles, a bottle of bubbly and rose petals to welcome the new Mr & Mrs to the first night of the rest of their lives…
Spumante brut Franciacorta
Grigliata Mista di Carne
Grigliata di Verdure
Cheese plate with balsamic-glazed strawberries
Wedding Cake with forest fruit
Vanilla and chocolate ice cream
Alto Adige Muller Thurgau doc 12,5 ° – Cantina Valle Isarco
Alto Adige Schiava doc 13° – Cantina Valle Isarco
Nebbiolo – Az. Agr. Pescaja
Arneis – Az. Agr. Pescaja
San Pelligrino Aranciata, LImonata and Pompelmo
Star-studded destination weddings in Italy have set a high bar for elegance – Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel in Puglia, George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin in Venice and Chrissy Teigen and John Legend on Lake Como. Couples looking to plan an event with a seated dinner, a large orchestra and a guest list of 100 or more will need a larger Lake Como venue than the Palazzo – and they’re in luck! Our stellar team and the travel experts at IC Bellagio have contacts across the lake who know what it takes to book perennial favorites like Villa del Balbianello, but also hidden gems you may never have heard of. And even though the ceremony and reception won’t be held at the Palazzo, we can provide an ideal home base for the bride and her entourage as well as an elegant venue for pre and post-wedding events.
On the evening before the wedding, we can serve a seated dinner for up to 40 guests in the courtyard that will put everyone in the right mood to enjoy the weekend festivities. Here is a sample menu we recently put together that tastes as good as it looks!
We will have an audio system set up for speeches, a screen for a slide show of the happy couple’s love story and a special selection of food and activity for the littlest guests. Our local florists can transform the courtyard into a candlelit Shangri-La with delicate flower arrangements on the tables and colored glass hurricane lamps scattered along the stairway and under the arches. Background music is available in various forms – a string quartet, a jazz combo or a classical guitarist.
Then, on the wedding day, the Palazzo will transform into a stylish studio for the bride and her bridal party to prepare for the big day. Our L’Isola Comacina apartment with its vast living room and covered terrace is the perfect place for our hair and make-up artists to work their magic. And the La Vista Junior Suite is ideal for every photographer’s favorite shot of the dress hanging in the soft light of the blue-framed windows… The Palazzo team will be busy in the background making sure everyone fuels up for the festivities – egg-white omelets and overnight oats for breakfast, a small buffet of fruit and pastries served with coffee and tea on the covered terrace – and they’ll pop the cork on a fruity Franciacorta right before the bride boards the boat for her ceremony – just the thing you need for great bridesmaids’ photos (and to calm those jagged nerves!).
Few wedding photos are as charming as those of a bride making her way through our stone arch, down the cobbled steps and across to the landing stage, where boats are waiting to whisk the bride, her family and the bridesmaids to your elegant lakeside wedding venue: a sleek vintage Riva for the bride and a spacious 20-seater for the rest of the guests. Families can count on our loyal boat captains to bring guests to and from the wedding venue as safely and as stylishly as possible.
On the day after the wedding, the Palazzo welcomes all of the wedding guests to a casual come-and-go brunch that will last most of the day. As guests make their way to various airports or other vacation destinations, they can stop by and dish with other guests about the events of the previous evening. We will have stations set up in Sala Giunone and on the Sun Terrace with mimosas, fresh fruit, quiche and a delicious spread of breads, cured meats and cheeses to make the farewell as festive as possible. And for those who are still there when the new Mr & Mrs head off for the honeymoon, we’ll have small bags of birdseed to toss as they cross one last time through the stone arch on the way to their future together…
Shrimp, potato and fennel salad
Home-made bresaola with tomato and arugula
Cheese plate with honey and jam
Shellfish crêpe with creamy tomato soup
Rice timbale with rosemary, lime and artichoke
Shellfish crêpe with creamy tomato soup
Rice timbale with rosemary, lime and artichoke
Slow-cooked veal with rhubarb sauce
Radicchio, pear and walnut salad
Crème brûlèe with pistachios
Bardolino doc 12,5° *- Zenato Azienda Vitivinicola
Chianti classico docg 12,5 ° – Casa Vinicola Carpineto
Greco di Tufo – Az. Agr. Mastroberardino
Falanghina doc Taburno 13° – Fattoria La Rivolta
Marriage Italian Style
It’s no secret that themed weddings – your Mad Mens, your Great Gatsbys – can be a bit over the top. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t be done, and done with style, elegance and, ahem, moderation. One reason people choose to have a destination wedding in Italy is certainly their love for everything Italian, so what better theme for a Lake Como wedding than “Marriage Italian Style” (of course, not the 1964 classic film of the same name, precious little to copy in that!).
Our vision for this wedding for about 40 guests is not so much a particular sartorial style – although we’d welcome anyone who wants to dress like the dolce vita days of 1950s Italy! – but rather an event that embraces the Italian traditions and aligns with our motto “Live as a Local in Luxury”. We can work together with the bride to make gift bags for all of the guests staying at the Palazzo, filled with local delicacies and artisanal wares, a personalized guide on the must-see sights and our Lake Passports for the kids.
When the guests arrive at the Palazzo for the ceremony, handwritten signs guide them down to the landing stage to welcome the bride who arrives in a traditional Lucia boat decorated with ribbons and tulle. The vintage tea-length dress is ideal for disembarking and navigating the cobbled walkway; the Grace Kelly-style veil is trimmed in the finest Italian lace. The groom watches from the Palazzo courtyard while the father of the bride takes her by the arm and walks her up the stairs, through the arch and down the aisle to a syncopated version of Mendelssohn’s Wedding March by the jazz quartet. The crowd looks on as they say their “I dos” before an arch decorated with olive branches, white freesia and lavender sprigs and can’t help but get lost in the view across the harbor to the lake.
After the ceremony, the bride and groom stay behind for photos while the guests make their way to the Sun Terrace. Tulle swags decorate the glass railing, topiary olive trees are wrapped with white satin ribbon and a typical Italian aperitivo is served: cured meats and chunks of parmesan cheese drizzled with aged balsamic, Aperol Spritz cocktails and craft beer from Lombardy’s own Birrificio Italiano. When the happy couple arrive, the Palazzo team join the crowd in the traditional call of “Evviva gli Sposi!” as they make rounds with the guests. As the sun starts to set, the bride and groom lead the way back to the Palazzo for dinner and dancing.
Even before they pass through our ancient stone arch, the guests can already hear the familiar lines of Paolo Conte’s Via Con Me from the band – “It’s wonderful, it’s wonderful” – and smell the tantalizing aroma from the kitchen. We have a buffet set up in Sala Giunone with the best in Italian cuisine: pasta, risotto, lasagna and some salad and grilled vegetables for good measure. Our resident wine expert has 5 whites and 5 reds along with a great knack for figuring out everyone’s favorite, and he’s happy to expound on the specificities of the various regions, terroirs and vintages. Back outside, high tables are scattered around the edge of the courtyard for plates and glasses along with our wrought iron chairs and tables under the portico for people who prefer to sit.
After the first dance – Mina’s Nessuno, naturally, because “nobody, not even destiny, can ever separate us” – the crowd joins the new Mr & Mrs on the dancefloor shaking a leg to Italian favorites from Volare to Mambo Italiano and Più Bella Cosa to C’è La Luna Mezzo Mare. At some point, the groom takes off his tie and cuts it into pieces, which the groomsmen sell to guests in an old Italian tradition. When it is time to cut the cake, we’re hoping the bride and groom have a steady hand. Cutting Millafoglia, the traditional Italian wedding cake with layers of puff pastry, Chantilly cream and berries, is an art not a science. There are also individual dishes of tiramisù and tall apothecary jars filled with sweets for the little ones and tiny ribboned boxes of candy-coated almonds – the traditional “Bomboniere” or favor that Italian couples give all their guests. As is tradition, each box is filled with an uneven number of almonds for good luck.
The next morning it’s coffee and pastries for all the guests in the courtyard as they gather to bid farewell to the happy couple. When it’s time, everyone lines up on the stairs outside the Palazzo arch and along our landing stage with little mesh bags of lavender flowers and seeds. The bride and groom make their way down to the traditional Lucia boat under a “rain” of lavender and cruise away on the first leg of their lifelong journey together…
Hand-sliced Prosciutto di Parma
Salami di Felino
Bresaola della Valtellina
Pecorino con Mostarda jam
Grissini, Ciabatta, Pistachios
Aperol Spritz, Birrificio Italiano beers
Risotto con Filetto di Pesce Persico
Lasagna alla Bolognese
Lasagna alle Verdure
Millefoglie Wedding Cake
10 red and white wines by the glass
Water, soft drinks