Planning a destination wedding? Q&A with a couple who've been there!
Updated: Jan 22
Back in May I had the absolute pleasure of photographing Laura and David's wedding in Malcesine, Lake Garda. I'd wondered about getting married abroad when we were planning our own wedding but I was worried it would be too complicated, costly, or that travelling would put people off. But.. after seeing how perfectly Laura & David's day went, how easily and cost effectively we travelled and how many guests came to celebrate we'd definitely love to look at renewing our views abroad! I asked if they'd be willing to share a little about their experiences and they were more than happy to...
Laura and David got married over the early May bank holiday weekend.. they held a pizza party for their guests the night before their wedding, their ceremony was on top of Malcesine Castle, followed by canapés and ice creams locally, an afternoon boat cruise on Lake Garda, dinner and celebrations at Hotel Castello.
What made you choose destination wedding over getting married at home?
We always wanted to get married abroad, for the ability to extend the celebrations into more of a mini break rather than everything crammed into one day and for the weather. For us Italy was the perfect balance between going abroad and ensuring our family and friends were able to be there. We also felt it was better value for money.
How did you decide on a location and venue?
We decided on Italy as it’s really beautiful with good weather but still affordable for people to travel. We also love Italian food and we got engaged in Venice so we felt a connection to the country. We took a trip to Lake Garda and Lake Como as our summer holiday and travelled around looking at different venues. We’d done some research online but we fell in love with Malcesine as soon as we got there. It’s a well trodden path for UK couples but doesn’t feel crowded by weddings and we didn’t see any other weddings on our day which made it special. The whole town gets involved as you are walking through and the atmosphere is amazing.
Did you use a wedding planner?
No, We got all of the contacts while we were there and planned it all via email and phone. We also knew someone who had got married in Malcesine so they had a few recommendations.
Did you use any UK suppliers?
Yes, our parents had decided to drive so we were able to sort some things in the UK which they took over for us. We got all of our artificial flowers (bouquets, button holes, table centres etc) from Inspirations Wholesale and our table centres and place card holders online. They also brought the dress, suit, table plan and gifts which was really helpful!
What were the hardest things to arrange or plan for?
We wanted to do a boat trip on the lake between the ceremony and the evening reception and the boat we chose had a maximum of 50 people which made it a challenge on who we could invite. Once we had decided on the guest list everything else was easy and relatively stress free, we found all of our venues were relaxed and flexible about our plans.
Did you find all of your guests were able to make it?
There were only a few guests who couldn’t attend for various reasons but we had planned a party a few months later so we still got to celebrate with everyone and invite those people who were unable to come to Italy.
Do you think you spent more or less on your wedding abroad than if you’d had it at home?
I think when we compare what we had during the day (ceremony in Malcesine Castle, boat trip and evening reception lakeside) it was definitely better value for money than it would've been at home. What we really appreciated was that there were no costs for the castle or reception venue, we just paid one standard fee for the ceremony and the food was priced per head. That was one clear difference in pricing from the UK.
How does the legal side of getting married abroad work?
We wanted to make sure our wedding certificate would be valid in the UK so we did our research on the legal aspect. Like everyone we had to go to our local town hall to give our notice, then we went to the apostille in Liverpool for a certificate of no impediment and bilingual declaration. We then sent all of that for translation and onto the town hall in Malcesine. It was really easy and cost us around £200 altogether. The information for most countries is on the gov.uk website.
You can see more of Laura & David's Malcesine Castle wedding here...