When Becky and James got in touch with me to shoot their Italian destination wedding in Lake Orta (or Lago d’Orta if you’re feeling fancy), I was absolutely thrilled to get involved. I love to travel, and I especially love the Italian lakes; I even took myself there for my 30th, who doesn’t love prosecco on tap by the water? I hadn’t been to Lake Orta before but I’ll most definitely be going back – it’s absolutely stunning. Picture a quintessential Italian piazza and you’re probably picturing the beautiful Piazza Mario Motta, which overlooks the beautiful island in the centre of the lake. Lake Orta has been gathering plenty of press recently, having been called one of the continent’s best kept secrets by the Telegraph.
Becky and James chose to get married in the garden at the beautiful town hall, Villa Bossi. It’s not hard to see why they chose it – it’s got a pretty garden, it overlooks the lake, and you can arrive to the wedding by boat. I’m not going to lie, the boat ride was definitely one of my highlights! The rest of the day took place just a few steps away at Hotel San Rocco, a stunning lakeside hotel with breathtaking sunset views and a terrace right on the water.
The day was really relaxed and fun, as destination weddings should be! The couple had a great attitude, not once stressing about anything. In typical wedding fashion the odd thing here and there didn’t quite go according to plan (Becky even managed to forget to grab her bouquet as she left!) but neither of them were fazed at any point, which is my kind of couple. Everyone was there to enjoy the day, and the fact that most people had either just walked downstairs or taken a short walk through the town to attend the wedding definitely helped with a chilled out atmosphere. I hear there was also a swim in the lake and a BBQ the next day – another advantage to having a destination wedding!
A relaxed and sunny Italian wedding
The weather was kind to us, and we had glorious sunshine all day long. Becky and James were able to have the whole day outdoors as they wanted, including having their first dance and sparklers on the terrace next to the lake, and some golden hour portraits which I know was a huge priority if we got a nice sunset. Which we did! We were also able to take a stroll around Orta San Giulio, and capture some portraits in that wonderful Italian light. I swear I could spend days on end photographing there and never get bored.
The night ended with everyone in high spirits, having a dance into the wee small hours. I especially enjoyed James’ 90s dance moves! Scroll down for some of my favourite shots from this awesome wedding, and keep going for my top tips on planning a destination wedding of your own.
These lovely folks contributed to the day:
Hair and Makeup: Other Face
Flowers: La Piccola Selva
Entertainment: Ariel Jazz
Planner: Romeo and Juliet
My top tips for planning a destination wedding in Lake Orta
Going abroad to get married has so many amazing advantages – the weather is certainly more likely to be better for a start! The scenery is stunning, it can be a lot cheaper, and you and your guests have a holiday built right into it. If you’re thinking about having your own destination wedding, whether it’s in the Italian Lakes or anywhere else, here are my top tips for making it amazing.
1. Have a planner
One of the most difficult parts of planning a wedding from another country is actually getting everything done. Language barriers and cultural differences can turn a relaxed getaway into a stressful mission, so a planner is a great idea. In most countries, especially somewhere like Italy which has a pretty steady destination wedding trade, you’ll find great planners who will help you sort everything out. Becky and James used Romeo and Juliet Weddings, who were absolutely brilliant. Not only did they help to get everything ready before the couple’s arrival, but everything on the day ran extremely smoothly which allowed them to just enjoy it. Nothing was a stress, nothing was too much trouble.
2. Keep it simple
Whilst it can be tempting to try and incorporate loads of the usual wedding stuff into a destination wedding, it can actually be much better to strip things back and keep it simple. Let the location speak for itself and do the work for you! After all, what are people going to remember more? The favours and decorations you spent a fortune shipping over, or the amazing views and sunshine? I’m definitely not saying don’t do what you want (I am all about people doing what works for them), but I do think a less-is-more approach works brilliantly when you’re getting married abroad.
3. Have a mix of UK and local suppliers
When getting married abroad, it’s definitely a good idea to support local suppliers. After all, what’s the point in a destination wedding if you’re going to have everything the same as it would be at home? Becky and James made really great use of the local vendors – in particular their traditional Italian cake was absolutely epic. Not only is it probably the tallest wedding cake I’ve ever seen, it was also yummy. The Italians really do know how to do cake. They also had a wonderful band, a string duo, and a local hair and make-up team.
So how did I end up there? Well, I might be biased but your photographer is someone I’d always recommend taking with you if photos are important to you. It meant that we were able to have a pre wedding shoot here in the UK, I could speak to the guests easily, and Becky and James knew what to expect. You might be surprised at how different cultural approaches to wedding photography can be! If you opt to use a local photographer, try and arrange to speak to them and ensure you’re on the same page in terms of expectations. It’s always a case of prioritising which things are most important, and deciding on how to budget for them accordingly.
4. Don’t forget the essentials
Have you ever gone on holiday and realised you need something, but the shop is closed for a siesta? Or there just isn’t a shop selling what you need at all? Now imagine that happening at your wedding. Spend a few minutes making a list of things you might need, and ensure you’ve taken them with you. I actually had a bad back when we were in Orta San Giulio, and it was lucky I had my painkillers with me. I didn’t see a pharmacy until the final day, and then it was closed! I’d have been stuffed! If you’re drawing a blank on things you might need, my blog post on wedding day essentials could help you. Really it’s mostly common sense though – toiletries, medication, all-important sunscreen, basically if you’re likely to need it and might not be able to get it, take it with you.
5. Plan your transfers
This one catches people out all the time! Make sure you have planned how you’re getting from A to B. Not just from the airport, but to the wedding! Some countries are super expensive for taxis and so on, and a lot of the time it’s not as simple as it is at home to get something sorted quickly. Hiring a car is of course usually the easiest way to get around, but if you can’t or don’t want to do that then don’t forget to sort something in advance!
If you’re looking for a UK wedding photographer to take with you to your destination wedding, hit me up! I can give you a bespoke cost for travel and cover, and I’ll basically go anywhere! 🙂