Lake Garda Wedding! How We Organised Our Perfect Day.

Lake Garda Wedding - Photo of us from above the Lake in Gardone

From getting engaged in Canada back in 2017 we always had a dream of having a wedding on Lake Garda as that area of Italy has been special for us, both together and as individuals. It also seemed like the perfect destination for a wedding, not just because of the lake but Italy as a country; the amazing food and drink, passionate vibrant people, stunning views and architecture we knew that all of this was a recipe and perfect setting for what we had pictured for our special day.

We had 46 family and friends fly from mostly the UK and around the world to join us for our wedding day and few days around it. With ourselves travelling across from France a few weeks before in our motorhome to finalise the last parts to wedding we honestly couldn’t have asked for a better day or setting. We chose to have our Lake Garda Wedding on the Southwest of the lake in the combined locations of Salò, Gardone Riviera and Portese for the ceremony, reception and accommodation. Here is how we organised our perfect Italian destination wedding!

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Planning A Wedding On Lake Garda

Salò Wedding Venue

As Lake Garda is such a big place with many towns and villages encompassing the lake there are so many places and possibilities for wedding venues or receptions. As Kelly had previously worked on Lake Garda years ago we had both decided that for us Salò and the Town Hall(Comune) was the perfect place for us to tie the knot. Located in the center of Salò right beside the water, the Town Hall offers a few different stunning room options which can all be viewed on the Citti di Salò website. The Booking request form and price list for the rooms are also available for download from the website.

We opted for the beautiful Consiglio room at a cost of €350 with an extra €150 charge for a Saturday afternoon booking. The total cost of the room which included chairs and space for 50-60 people and a registrar was €500 (£452).

Portese Wedding Reception

There are so many good places to eat around Lake Garda, we were definitely spoilt for choice. We opted for our favorite restaurant Gran Fausto in Portese, a short 10 min boat ride across the lake or 15 min car journey around from Salò. This was the perfect destination as after the ceremony in Salò town hall as we planned for everyone to head for Gelati at the local family-run ice cream parlour La Casa del Dolce then a couple of drinks on the lakefront before jumping on the boat to our reception in Portese a short journey away.

We would highly recommend the family run restaurant at Gran Fausto which was the perfect wedding reception venue for us on Lake Garda. With great service, beautiful food, and great for all weather occasions. The family were just brilliant at helping us sort everything including picking our menu and letting us do our thing on the day.

There are a few options for a boat across Lake Garda, we opted for the ferry as to accommodate our party size and also the regular crossings from Salò across to Portese was perfect for us to get everyone to the reception with ease and no strict timeframe. Tickets from Salò to Portese or to the rest of the lake can be purchased form the ferry ticket outlet located by the waterfront on the ground floor of the town hall (Comune) building if you are walking away from ferry port.

There are also options for private boats to transport people across the lake but they are limited to a party size of maybe 5-6 to each boat so many companies will have to do a few trips to accommodate larger parties. Another option is Lake Garda Bee Boat Service they have one boat which can take a party up to 18-20 people max.

Lake Garda Wedding Photographer

A very good wedding photographer was high on our list as it was very important for us to have the day captured perfectly! From a previous visit to Lake Garda we were introduced to a very talented lady and exceptional photographer Sara Lancini. After checking out Sara’s Instagram and speaking to her personally we had no doubt that Sara would capture our wedding day perfectly.

Available for weddings in and around Lake Garda as well as further afield we would highly recommend Sara if you are thinking of looking for a wedding photographer on Lake Garda. All photos in this post are credited to Sara Lancini.

You can check out Sara’s Wedding And Lifestyle Photography Website here.

Translators For The Wedding

As we are both from the UK to make the ceremony legally binding in Italy and to be recognised by both countries as a binding legal marriage we needed two different translators for our documents and then ceremony itself.

The Documents

We started the process through gov.uk which outlines each step needed to take in order to get the documents needed to have a legally binding wedding in Italy.

Step 1- CNI- Make an appointment at your local registry office to attain a CNI (certificate of no impediment) where the registry office will post your marriage up for 30 days confirm there is no objections.

Note – If you both reside or are registered in different counties in the UK you will need to get permission from both offices to complete the registration and posting up your marriage. You will also need to take these documents with you to the registry office.

An appointment and will cost you £35 at the registry office once you have completed the CNI registration.

Step 2 – Bilingual Statutory Declaration – As well as the CNI you need to have a bilingual statutory declaration signed by a solicitor or public notary in the UK for each of you. This is done by downloading the form on gov.uk after following the steps from this link. We made an appointment with a solicitor in the UK to take our filled out statutory declarations for them to sign to confirm our identities.

Our 2 statutory declaration forms cost us £14 in total signed by the solicitor.

Step 3 – Getting the document legalised – Once having completed your statutory declarations that are signed by a solicitor and having received your CNI through the post (after 30 days). The documents need to be certified as legal in the UK. This is done by sending them off to the legalisation office where the details will be checked and verified as genuine by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Then they can be sent onto Italy to be translated there.

Note – See next step before sending the documents off to be legalised.

The fee for legalising all the documents needed was £134.50. (This also included the courier fee to Italy once the documents were legalised).

Step 4 – Getting the documents translated in Italy – As you need to have an approved translator for the documents in Italy it is advisable to contact one before sending your documents to be legalised as the the legalisation office will pass your completed legalised documents on via courier to Italy and onto your chosen Italian translator. Which saves you having to send everything on again. You can find the list of approved Italian translators here.

We used a lovely lady called Francesca at Efffetti. Who we sent our documents onto to translate into Italian and to be sworn in front of an Italian court.

The cost of the documents being translated in Italy was €145 / £131 -which included Francesca sending the documents onto Salò town hall for us once they had been translated.

Their website and details can be found here who are an approved translator in Italy and offer other wedding services in the Lake Garda area and in Tuscany.

The Ceremony

If your native languge is anything other than Italian a translator is required for any Lake Garda wedding or wedding in Italy. For the ceremony at Salò town hall, there is also a pre-wedding appointment (10 days before the wedding to complete the legalities of the marriage). For both, we used a local translator called Sophia Stroer who was absolutely brilliant both on and around the wedding answering any questions we had via phone and email and leading up to our big day. She also made everything clear, easy to understand and helped with everything during the wedding ceremony for it to run smoothly. We would certainly recommend Sophia if you are looking for a translator in Lake Garda or further afield in Italy. She is also fluent in English, German and Italian.

Sophia’s website and contact details can be found here.

After the ceremony you will receive your legally binding documents from the registrar for you to keep.

Flowers

Upon a recommendation from a friend in the area, we used a local florist located in San Felice del Benaco. Simone has a shop right in the center of town and knew exactly what we needed and put all the bridesmaids and bride bouquets together as well as flowers for our reception and for the groomsmen. Her flower bouquets were beautiful and were all delivered by her on the day to the different locations around the lake.

Where We Stayed For Our Wedding On Lake Garda

In and around our wedding we stayed in The Gardone Rivieria a 15 min drive from Salò and at one of the favorite places we have ever stayed at. Dimora Bolsone is a 15th Century Farmhouse with spectacular grounds and an unbelievable chilled relaxed vibe. With only 6 rooms available including breakfast, an option for dinner and a jacuzzi on the spectacular terrace this is the perfect place to stay for a wedding on Lake Garda or even a relaxed chilled getaway in Italy.

Night Before The wedding – Airbnb in Salò

The night before the wedding we booked an Airbnb for Kelly, mother of the bride and for the bridesmaids on the following day to get ready. The artist studio apartment in the center of Salò was the perfect location to walk to the town hall and for the bridal party to get ready for the big day. It is a tradition in some parts of Italy for the bride to walk to your wedding through the town especially if it is your home town where you grew up.

There are so many great places to stay in Salò on booking.com and Airbnb for your pre-wedding party. We would also recommend Salò for a place to stay if you are visiting the lake as its bustling streets hold a great place to relax in the sun with a drink or two on the waterfront, shop for some fine Italian styled clothing, take in the beautiful streets and stop for some great Italian food.

Our Dream Italian Wedding – To Sum It Up

We had an unbelievable wedding day on Lake Garda and couldn’t have asked for anything more. The setting, weather, food, ice cream, all people involved and being on the Lake itself was just magical. We would recommend anyone who is thinking of getting married on Lake Garda to go for it! As for us, it was a day we will never forget in the perfect location, with the people we love most in the world and just how we had dreamt it would be.

We hope you have found the information on this post useful and don’t hesitate to ask any more questions about having a wedding on Lake Garda! We would love to help if we can!

Adam & Kelly x

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