The Ultimate Italian Wedding
Set your imagination free and stage a truly out-of-this-world wedding at Belmond hotels in Southern Europe. Article | 14 February 2018
Picture this: a newlywed couple, in full wedding attire, dance the tango on a secluded Sicilian beach. After their final dramatic step they run laughing, fully clothed, into the waves. Their guests burst into rapturous applause; some even follow them into the water.
Or this. An infinity pool overlooking the Amalfi Coast, a magical setting where the sea meets the sky. On a platform, suspended over the serene water, a musician plays an electronic violin before fireworks light up the night.
The unparalleled settings of our hotels mean even the simplest of celebrations is breathtaking. But add some show-stopping touches and you’ll guarantee this is the greatest day of your life.
In Venice, city of ornate palaces and misty canals, nothing short of spectacular will do—as was illustrated to dazzling effect at the Engage! wedding summit at Belmond Hotel Cipriani. The event brought together the biggest names in wedding planning, there to witness stunning cuisine, cakes, costumes and arresting theatrical displays. Acrobats leapt out of grand pianos, podium-perched violinists played as their organza gowns trailed along the marble floor. Venetian-masked courtiers swung from trapezes in the magnificent Granaries of the Republic. Flowers, feathers, palm fronds and burnished leaves combined in jaw-dropping displays, stunningly offset against the hotel’s Murano chandeliers and Venetian artworks.
The design masterminds behind the showcase were Vincenzo Dascanio, one of the most highly rated floral and event designers in Europe, and Gabriele Rizzi of NuArt Events, an entertainment company that tailors cabaret, dance and circus performances to your wishes (see box story). These experts, along with destination management company Venice First, will collaborate with you to design an unforgettable wedding or special occasion.
NO PLACE LIKE IT
For a more intimate affair, Belmond Hotel Splendido offers a ravishing venue. “We’re all about elegance, intimacy, and that view!” says Food & Beverage Manager, Luca Chisesi. “There’s no place like it. When you see the moon reflecting on the Portofino Gulf, as candles flicker round the pool, it’s simple, stunning and beautifully romantic.
“We often stage entertainment round the pool. We’ve had synchronised swimmers and acrobats performing in glass balls. We’ve had tenor waiters, soprano waitresses and choreography involving giant balloons.
“We’ve noticed a change in floral tastes,” he continues. “Couples are requesting lush greenery rather than flowers. And there’s a new desire to have finishing touches put in place in front of the guests. For example, our pastry chef will come in and pipe the last layer of cream on the cake before an audience. It adds a touch of theatre.”
For an even closer waterside setting, Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea is right on Sicily’s stunning Bay of Mazzarò. To create a stunning impact, you can have hundreds of lanterns floated on the water. “Sometimes couples like to get involved and place the lights on the water themselves,” says Banqueting Supervisor Marilisa Bagnato. To enhance the scene further, have musicians glide into the bay on a boat. “You start to hear the music—a romantic aria, a mandolin player—then they magically appear through the dark to all the guests on the beach. It’s incredibly atmospheric.”
COCKTAILS AND CABANAS
Marilisa says couples appreciate the blend of tradition and innovation at the hotel. “They want authentic Sicilian food and wine—especially Etna wines, which are becoming very well known now—but they prefer an informal ambience. Rather than lots of sitting and speeches they like to stand on the beach with cocktails or use our stylish beach cabanas. Photographs are often reportage-style now, as well, which is more fun.”
Often guests have very specific requests. “Once a bride asked for a two-metre-high cake,” says Marilisa. “It had layers of flowers, and the pastry chef and florist accompanied it out. I was praying it wouldn’t collapse, but it was fine. We’re here to do whatever our guests want. We create dreams.”
Outstanding views unite all our properties. Enjoy sweeping vistas of Florence from Belmond Villa San Michele, where you can now get married in a licensed church. The ancient monastery’s former Lobby has been transformed into a reception area, with the heavenly San Michele Church available for wedding ceremonies. Afterwards, raise a toast to your new life in front of Michelangelo’s famous façade and dine in the Loggia overlooking the city’s twinkling lights. Florist Vincenzo Dascanio says: “To complement Belmond Villa San Michele’s exceptional setting I would suggest luxurious decorations blending rich blooms and lush greenery, all arranged very naturally. Our aim is to create a stunning but soft result in line with the timeless charm of the location.”
Or return to the home of that fabulous infinity pool in Ravello. At Belmond Hotel Caruso, you can also stage a fairytale reception in a garden full of roses, wisteria and Amalfi lemon trees. Events Supervisor Francesca Chianese says, “This is the perfect dream destination. Lush gardens, cloudless skies and the sea as a breathtaking backdrop. For most of our couples, the wedding is about experiencing the destination. They’re looking for rustic, wooden tables and bright ceramics brimming with lemons and olives. We can also arrange a traditional tarantella dance show or a Neapolitan quintet, and in the morning, why not have a tenor and a pianist wake up your guests?”Learn more about Belmond Weddings