Andy and I had been together for three and a half years when he proposed on my birthday, 19th June 2007. We always knew the traditional white wedding was not for us, so started looking at weddings abroad. We both loved Italy, so after lots of research and recommendations from family we decided on Malcesine, Lake Garda. We chose ‘Getting Married In Italy by Atlantis’ as our wedding coordinators and they were fantastic. It was great knowing someone else was in control; it certainly saved me a lot of stress!

My wedding dress was by Rosetta Nicolini, I fell in love with it in only the second shop! My Mum couldn’t believe it, I’m usually such an indecisive person but I just knew this was the one. Andy decided he’d like a bespoke suit made for the wedding; he wanted something classic that he could wear again, so went for a slim fitting three piece suit made by a Saville Row tailor.

Countdown

Saturday, 3rd May
We arrived at Verona Brescia Airport feeling excited as all our plans were now becoming reality.
In less than a week we would be husband and wife. We visited Malcesine for the first time in September 2007, and stayed at the Hotel Bellevue San Lorenzo. We loved it so much that we booked to stay again for our wedding and honeymoon. We decided to stay in the private cottage in the grounds of the hotel; it was beautiful and had the most amazing views of the lake.

Tuesday, 6th May
Our co-ordinator Beatrice met us at the hotel as it was time to sign the sworn declaration at the town hall. The three of us then took a stroll through the cobbled streets to the castle where the ceremony was to be held: it was just as special as we’d remembered. The weather was glorious; we just hoped it would hold out until Thursday!

Wednesday, 7th May
One day to go! By now all of our guests had arrived and we were so pleased that so many of our friends and family had taken the time and expense to be with us on our special day.
Everyone was so excited. I was feeling really calm, no one could believe how relaxed I was, even me. That evening I had dinner with friends, while Andy had a night on the town with the boys. Later that evening I bumped into my family and friends so we sat and relaxed with drinks by the lake. My Grandad had been chatting to Sergio, the owner of a local restaurant called ‘Le Pace’ and had arranged for my Dad and I to be chauffeur driven to the castle... in a tuk-tuk!
I had planned to get a taxi to the town centre and walk to the castle, but with high heels and cobbled streets I was slightly worried, so jumped at the chance of being driven door to door. Talk about last minute arrangements.

Thursday, 8th May
The Big Day had arrived! I pulled back the curtain and was greeted by the perfect morning, not a breath of wind and the sun already glistening on the lake. Andy left the hotel around 10am and after a short, sharp dip in the lake, he spent the morning with his Best Man, Ricky. My Maid of Honour, Sarah, arrived at the hotel and we began to get ready. The time just flew and before we knew it my bridesmaid, Jessica, arrived, followed by our photographer and videographer, we weren’t even dressed. After a mad five minutes I opened the door and the photos began. Mum and Dad arrived – no time for emotional moments, just a quick glass of water before we walked through the grounds of the hotel to where my carriage was waiting, it was fantastic. As the tuk-tuk drove us along the main road, locals were cheering and car horns beeped, we waved and my dad cheered back. Slowly we made our way through the narrow cobbled streets; we felt like celebrities, there were cameras, mobiles and camcorders everywhere.

I was still so relaxed; just really excited. As we arrived at the castle we were greeted with applause from groups of tourists. We made our way up the many steps to the castle terrace as the musicians began to play The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba. It was so beautiful; I had a lump in my throat. I composed myself, and with a huge grin on my face, I turned to see our guests. I could see the emotion on everyone’s faces, including Andy, who had tears in his eyes. The ceremony was wonderful, we exchanged rings and instead of ‘I do’, we replied ‘Si’. After many photos, we made our way down to the harbour where we boarded our private cruiser. We relaxed with our guests and enjoyed the welcome breeze whilst sipping Prosecco. Our evening reception was held at Ristorante Vecchia Malcesine, a Michelin recognised restaurant set in the hillside with stunning lake views. The food was amazing; we chose a six course meal which was out of this world. Our musicians played throughout the evening, they were fantastic.

Late into the evening our stunning Italian wedding cake arrived. A traditional cake made with layers of pastry, Chantilly cream and meringue, decorated with choux pastry swans, it was delicious. As the evening neared to an end, Stefano, our violinist, encouraged us to have our first dance. Suddenly the emotion of the day spilled over and tears of joy rolled down my face.

Our guests formed a circle around us as the evening came to an end.
Some of our guests said it was the best wedding they’d ever been to and to hear people say it was the most beautiful place they had ever seen meant so much.
We had the most amazing wedding day; Italy will always remain special to us.