Peruse the hashtag #lakecomowedding for even a minute and chances are any bride seeking her dream destination will be sold on the Italian lake easily accessible from Milan. The photos are seriously swoon-worthy. “The Milanese aristocracy and famous artists have always considered Lake Como as an ideal location to escape the city,” says Access Italy’s Simone Amorico. “The landscape, the tranquility and the natural elegance and top quality hotels, restaurants and all other services on the lake are a magnet for Hollywood celebrities who love to spend their days secluded in total comfort, escaping from their busy lifestyle.”
For those reasons and many more the glamorous world-famous destination is endlessly alluring to brides and grooms, too. Especially those who envision a total fairytale of a big day. Many of these occasions include glittering fireworks, too. Chrissy Teigen and John Legend were such a couple, and looked to Villa Pizzo, a legendary historic late 1500s villa venue with expansive views, for their own epic “I do.” There, wisteria wraps around the villa like a feather boa, and extensive gardens provide countless photo ops. Fun fact: Its terrace is where a scene from Legend’s music video for “All of Me” was filmed, and Stevie Wonder sang the tune live for their wedding. From May to October the estate sees a wedding every weekend—English, American, Russian and Indian among them—and commands a $11,000 to $15,000 day location fee. There’s even a discoteque inside, where after-parties can extend into the wee hours.
Along with Villa Pizzo, Amorico recommends Villa la Cassinella, Villa Erba, Villa Carlotta (seen in Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones), Villa Giuseppina and Castadiva, each of which has their own wedding team to handle the many events occurring during the sunny high season when the likes of George Clooney and Robert DeNiro arrive for their annual holidays. The former summer residence of the Serbelloni Dukes, the superluxe Villa Sola Cabiati is another picturesque option, says Scott Dunn’s John Spence. “Its opulent interiors and impeccable gardens will transport guests back in time to this golden era of Milanese aristocrats and Neoclassical architecture. The gardens are also expansive and beautiful, around the back of the villa, offering complete privacy from the road and lake.” There, the bride and groom can step off a period motor launch onto the mooring leading up to the Italian garden and frescoed rooms of the villa. There are halls for more intimate weddings, and a magnificent park for larger parties.
For anyone with a slightly smaller affair in mind, Villa Pliniana might be your perfect solution. (Or they could stay at Il Sereno Hotel, its sister property and the lake’s newest build, designed by the acclaimed Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola and featuring some of the most enticing amenities and design, plus a Michelin-starred restaurant and customized boats.) According to an Access Italy guide, it’s the most mysterious and legendary of the villas dotted around Como, since rumor has it Leonardo da Vinci once lived there, and Napoleon Bonaparte played snooker inside. The private palazzo on 18 acres boasts three natural waterfalls, 17 bedrooms, a spa, hiking trails, a ballroom, 24-hour security and concierge, self-driving custom-made Riva boats and an indoor pool, not to mention jaw-dropping architecture and interiors. More than 500 years old, it was renovated to the tune of 20 million Euros and brought totally up to date, with computer-controlled heating and lighting, plus rainfall showers. The rate is around $130,000 for seven days, but it sleeps some 34 people and there’s no additional fee for weddings. Views for days included.
Top iconic hotels, too, make incredible venues, and are, of course, also key for wedding guests. Grand Hotel Tremezzo manages Villa Sola Cabiati, and is the no-brainer option for accommodating the whole wedding crew. It’s high-level service and regal atmosphere are enough to make anyone feel like the most special guest. For a really memorable experience, they even have helicopter tours available.
Villa d’Este is perhaps the most famous on the lake. The grand estate built in 1568 and transformed into a luxury hotel in 1873 has served as temporary home to Orson Welles, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardener over the years, and today its grill restaurant is a favorite place of George and Amal Clooney for risotto, mozzarella and tomatoes, and Champagne. (You might also spy the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, DeNiro and Catherine Zeta-Jones.) Its 25 flawlessly manicured Italian Rensiassance–styled acres provide plenty of princess-worthy options for ceremonies and receptions. “All the rooms are individually designed with elegant antique furnishings, fine art adorns the walls, and outside grand statues [and mosaics] are situated around the gardens giving an air of grandeur,” says Spence, adding that there are two renovated 19th century villas on the property as well, sleeping parties of up to eight. And then there’s that pool, floating atop Lake Como.
Rest assured any Lake Como event will be immense fun for the guests well beyond the actual ceremony and reception. There are the small, charming towns of Cernobbio, Bellagio and Tremezzo to explore, A-list restaurants like Villa d’Este’s renowned al fresco Veranda, Il Gatto Nero (another Clooney favorite) and the Michelin-starred I Tigli to indulge in and, of course, boat rides to take. “We recommend touring the lake with a motor speed boat such as Cranchi Endurance 30, while the most popular model among the stars is definitely the Riva boat, which Access Italy is happy to arrange,” says Amorico. Because if “timeless” or “glamorous” are key words on your wedding vision board, there’s no better way to go.