Lake Como Is The Wedding Destination Of The Moment—And We Know The Reasons Why
When Cristalle Belo descended the grand staircase of the 19th century Italian estate called Villa Erba in Cernobbio to wed Australian beau Justin Pitt in 2016, she may have, unwittingly, set a new standard for destination weddings among many well-heeled Filipinos. Everything on that day, from the veil to the villa, was fairy tale-perfect—as documented by the bride’s friends and select journalists. Her all-lace Inbal Dror gown, the décor, the guest list, and the food were all part of the mix that made it so. But nothing quite set the tone best than the wedding address: Lake Como. More brides-to-be seem to be warming up to the idea of holding their weddings at this exclusive address in northern Italy where venues are usually booked a year in advance. We overheard Vania Romoff, in one of last December’s many Christmas dinners, say she had ten brides last year all getting married at Lake Como.
It is one of the best lakes in the world
?Fodor’s Travel Guide named Lake Como as one of the 20 best lakes in the world, adding that it “is the kind of place that leaves you searching for fancy words to capture its exquisiteness.” Picture a classic Italian countryside with stately 18th century villas that showcase quiet, manicured gardens. And then you have the majestic Swiss Alps just watching over the different communities that trace the Y-shape of the lake. All these make the experience a dream. A cruise on its waters after the ‘I do’s, just the way Cristalle and her new husband had it, is also not a bad way to seal your forever.
Its towns are teeming with history
The communities through which Lake Como runs is a conversation piece at every turn. You can admire the piazzas of Como, the villages of Varenna in Lecco and the villas of Bellagio that all contribute to its rustic beauty. Winston Churchill sought refuge here, painting almost everyday after losing the1945 elections. Interestingly, he brought the entire gang with him which, apart from his wife and daughter, included his physician, valet, secretary, and—intriguingly--a detective. Benito Mussolini too passed this way in an attempt to escape to Switzerland after his defeat in World War 2 but wasn’t so lucky as he was eventually imprisoned and inevitably shot in Mezzegra. Leonardo Da Vinci painted two versions of “Virgin of the Rocks”, and Verdi composed “La Triviata” in Lake Como. These stories may not exactly be captured in an IG moment, but they are what make any trip here rich, romantic, and worth bringing up every chance you get.
It is steeped in art
If you Google “museums in Lake Como,” you will find a long list to last you until your third honeymoon. In the 17th century Villa Carlota in Como alone, you can admire sculptor Antonio Canova’s masterpiece “Palamides” and the “Muse Terpsichore”; Adamo Tadolini’s “Eros and Psyche” in marble; and Francesco Hayez’s oil on canvas titled “The Last Adieu of Romeo and Juliet”. Go out of town and explore Lombardy and you will be a drive away from the famous Duomo, the church of Santa Maria Delle Grazie which houses Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper,” and the Pinacoteca Di Brera which showcases important paintings from all over the world including Hayez’s “The Kiss”.
The charm of exclusivity
You thought we’d never mention George Clooney but that is highly unlikely since this Hollywood A-lister is almost synonymous with Lake Como. As a July 2015 Vanity Fair article puts it, “George Clooney is Lake Como. Lake Como is George Clooney.” The actor singlehandedly raised the value of properties in the area after buying one himself in 2002. Villa Oleandra, as his 18th century summer home is called, was bought for $10M back then and its value today is rumored to be 10 times that. Wedding venue rentals overlooking the lake can fetch 5,000 Euros up per day according to www.leoventi.com but we’re not sure if this too can be attributed to the Clooney phenomenon. Since Clooney, more celebrities have been spotted in this northern gem from Madonna to Tom Cruise. Some celebs have gone public, declaring their love for the place such as couple John Legend and Chrissy Teigen who were married here and have since called it “their home away from home since 2007” as posted in Legend’s IG.
Each wedding becomes cinematic
Ocean’s Twelve was shot in Villa Erba in 2004 and so was Gwen Stefani’s video for her single “Cool” in 2005. The 1995 Vanessa Redgrave starrer, A Month by the Lake, was shot at the famous Villa Balbianelo and, of course, Lake Como, so were the films Casino Royale and Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones (the George Lucas production shot in three locations for the movie: Villa del Balbianello, the picnic meadow and the Tremezzo public garden, although Tremezzo was not included in the completed film). Teigen and Legend shot the timeless “All of Me” video in a house in Lake Como and got married days later in Villa Pizzo. What we are trying to say here is that whether you choose to be married indoors or outdoors, there are no bad picture angles or film moments in Lake Como. Everywhere you turn is luxury and taste at its finest and that’s exactly what any couple wish their ‘forevers’ would be made of.