Villa Cortine Palace Hotel - An Italian Lake Garda Wedding
On September the 16th 2017, I had the great pleasure of photographing Victoria and Darren’s wedding at the Villa Cortine Palace Hotel in Sirmione, Lake Garda, Italy. Lake Garda weddings are a lovely experience as the setting around them is just so beautiful - it is easy to see why so many people are getting married in Lake Garda . The wedding was a small affair with around 40 guests, those being close friends and family from both sides. Victoria is Polish and Darren is Irish and they chose an absolutely beautiful location for their wedding. They even followed it up with a honeymoon in Bali!
I arrived in Italy a week before the wedding and we had a week full of rain and thunderstorms. Luckily the weather held out on the day and on their wedding day, the weather was hot and sunny. I had met with them a few days before the wedding in Sirmione itself to chat about the timeline of the day, what photo opportunities they wanted and also to walk around the Italian wedding venue so I could get a feel for it. This was my first time photographing weddings in Lake Garda so I wanted to make sure I found all the best spots before the day. I wanted to make sure the couple were happy with what I was shooting and that we included everything they wanted during their happy day. Having a wedding in Italy, they could have easily chosen one of the many Italian photographers so I am grateful that they decided to choose me as their Italian wedding photographer
The Villa Cortine palace hotel is renowned for weddings in Lake Garda - the setting is absolutely beautiful and the hotel really do pull out all the stops. They couldn’t have been more helpful in creating Victoria and Darren’s special day. The hotel can be found at Vaile C. Gennari, n. 2 - 25019 Sirmione, Italy and you can take a look at the hotel and what it has to offer here. The hotel is the perfect starting point for many of the bike and mountain bike excursions held, a boat trip, horse riding and even sightseeing. The views from the hotel are absolutely breathtaking.
Sirmione itself is one of the most popular sights on Lake Garda - thousands of visitors pass by every day to view the picturesque scenes. When many people think of Lake Garda, Sirmione is one of the first sights that comes to mind and it is easy to see why! Sirmione is an absolutely beautiful sight to behold. With the castle and Roman ruins to see, visitors really are spoilt for choice. Whilst Sirmione perhaps isn’t as popular a resort as the villages of Bardolino or Garda, there’s plenty of places to stay - just like the Villa Cortine Palace hotel - and lots to see and do.
A little about the area....
Sirmione has been settled in since the Stone Age. Discoveries show that it probably originated as a small village of fishermen who lived in houses on stilts on the banks of Lake Garda itself. Sirmione itself was of military importance over the years due to its position towards the south eastern corner of the lake and the peninsula’s defensive qualities. It was often caught in the conflicts of Italy - whether that be from invasions after the Roman Empire fell or the struggles between the Ghibellines and the Guelphs in the Middle Ages - struggles which ultimately gave Sirmione its major landmark of the Scaliger Castle, otherwise know as the Rocca Scaligera. Surrounded by water, this was built towards the end of the 12th century as part of a defensive network surrounding Verona. Eventually the castle lost the importance it held and became what can ultimately be described as a storage depot. It was eventually taken into ownership by the government at the start of the 20th century.
Weddings in Italy are known for being stunning - the weather almost always holds out on the day no matter what the weather has been like beforehand - and this wedding in Italy was no different. My wedding photography is primarily based in England where I am based but a wedding in Italy has always been on my list of weddings I want to shoot - Italian weddings just seem so special!
The wedding day went by happily. The ceremony itself was held overlooking the stunning Lake Garda with ample seating for the guests. Victoria looked radiant in her gorgeous wedding dress and we took some fabulous shots around the hotel grounds. Victoria was great - you can see just how happy she is and the joy felt by their family and friends was palpable. I managed to catch some great shots of guests arriving to the ceremony and even got a fantastic shot of Victoria and her father in the golf cart.
I couldn’t have asked for better lighting during the ceremony , it allowed me to shoot the day exclusively using natural light. As you can see in the photos I captured of the couple taking their vows and I especially like this shot of them walking back down the aisle as man and wife. The happiness on their faces so pure and obvious. I can certainly see why Lake Garda is one of the top wedding destinations in Italy and why Italian wedding photography usually contains at least one Lake Garda wedding - so many people are now getting married in Italy because it is simply one of the most breathtaking places on earth.
The wedding reception was also held outside like the ceremony with drinks and canapes available for the happy couple and their guests. There was a simple table plan for the guests and there was some lovely music played by a saxophonist. Guests were served punch which looked absolutely delicious and you could sense the fun everyone was having, chatting and talking all about the wedding and congratulating the lucky couple. We took the reception under cover later on with guests sitting at their respective tables, laughing and chatting between them and the couple walking in to great applause.
As you can see from these Italian wedding photos, the weather was amazing throughout and the sunshine shone down on the
guests throughout both the ceremony and the reception. Guests enjoyed the nibbles as they mingled with each other. The wedding may have been small in terms of guests but it was perfect and just what the couple wanted. Just the most important people in their lives there to share their special day - as it should be. One of my favourites of these Italian wedding photos has to be the shot of Victoria and Darren with all of their guests - you can see how happy they are to be surrounded by all the people they truly care about. I’m not the only wedding photographer in Europe so I am glad they chose me to capture their special day - we managed to capture some great shots such as the bridal party on the cobbled hotel steps or scenic views of the hotel and its grounds, even an aerial shot of the wedding party. Being a destination wedding photographer and doing destination wedding photography has always been a dream and now I can say I have achieved it. I’d love to do more weddings overseas - there is something just so special about them and to become a travel wedding photographer alongside my work in the UK would be absolutely fantastic. I took great pleasure in shooting this wedding - Victoria and Darren couldn’t have been any lovelier to work with and I am so glad they chose me to share their extremely special day. The location was beautiful, the ceremony was lovely and the bride and groom looked fantastic. Everyone had a brilliant time and the joy of the happy couple and all their guests could truly be felt through every moment of the day. I wish Victoria and Darren well as they start their married life together and I hope they have had a fantastic honeymoon in Bali.