1 June, 2023

By Robert hatcher

Intimate Luxury Elopement on
Lake Como, Italy

 Arriving in Como, Italy after a long trip was refreshing. Adalenne and I arrived on August 2nd, just after noon. We explored the beautiful city as we waited for Ema Giangreco (Ema Giangreco Weddings) and Lucy Munoz (Lucy Munoz Photography) to arrive. The city impressed me with a combination of big beautiful architecture and cozy single lane streets. Being in a place like this really fueled Adalenne and I's creativity. We met Ema and Lucy outside our beautiful Air BnB just down from the Piazza Alessandro Volta. We all spent the remainder of the evening having dinner, catching up and planning for the wedding day that followed. Adalenne and I cherish the time that we got to spend with Ema and Lucy because it made the wedding day effortless as communication between all the vendors was so natural. On August 3rd, we arrived at the Mandarin Oriental on Lake Como. The weather was perfect. It was warm but there was a cooling breeze off of the lake that kept it at nice temperature. All of us were buzzing to start capturing such a gorgeous day at an impressively elegant venue. 

 Joe and Stacey are some of the most kind and genuine people Adalenne and I have ever met. The conversation that we had between all the scheduled events of the day, had so much intent behind them. I recall asking Joe why they chose Lake Como and he said that they had never been before as a family. He said that it was an adventure that they could all experience as one family. I only had the pleasure of speaking with Joe for the hours I was there to capture his big day but I could tell that his words carried weight in a good way. Just listen to his vows in this video and you will understand what I mean. Joe seems to have always been a romantic. Stacey shared their proposal story with us. "He rented a private plane and flew myself and his daughter to Carmel California, which is one of my most favorite places on earth. We stayed the weekend and he proposed on the first night. He asked me to marry him in the backyard of the Airbnb in front of the girls....it was adorable!" Stacey has a calm and kind spirit about her. It is obvious that she cares deeply about those around her. She made sure to make all her vendors feel appreciated by speaking kind words to us all day. She said that some of her favorite moments of the day were "getting to meet all of you, getting ready with Lina, and the first look!" 

Joe and Stacey had their first look on the yard of the Mandarin Oriental in front of a grand ivy wall. The trees shaded the area and it was a perfect spot for the two to see each other for the first time that day. Their reaction to seeing one another was long anticipated and a sigh of relief for the both of them. All the nerves for the day were out after the first look. 


 After the first look, Joe and Stacey had their portrait session with Lucy Munoz on the Mandarin Oriental property. It was so much fun to see them together and their excitement for the remainder of the day. The ceremony was just a few minutes away when we got up to the terrace to see the extravagant floral arrangements by Siloh Flowers. The terrace was decorated with a beautiful traditional Jewish huppah, designed by Ema Giangreco. Joe and Stacey planned an intimate ceremony with just the two of them, along with Joe's two daughters. The anticipation started to build as we set up a live stream for the family join in and witness such a beautiful setting for Joe and Stacey. The sun began to set during the ceremony to create the most magical lighting that could not have been better for us to capture. Thinking back on this day gives me chill bumps because of how incredibly beautiful the day was set up. I love going back and watching this video to relive these moments that don't seem real. Joe and Stacey exchanged some of the most heartfelt vows I'd ever heard to one another and had everyone in tears. During Stacey's vows, she gave Joe's daughters rings to symbolize her devotion and love for them just as she has for Joe. It was such a beautiful moment. Joe concluded the ceremony with the breaking of the glass as everyone shouted "Mazel tov!" 

 After their ceremony, the family went down to the docks at the Mandarin Oriental and got onto a classic wooden speed boat for a Lake Como cruise into the sunset. Adalenne and Lucy had the pleasure of joining them on the boat ride as I flew the drone behind them. When they returned, Ema Giangreco had a beautiful table set for them to share a special family dinner provided by a private chef. We left them to enjoy their dinner with the beautiful scenery in the background. It was such a pleasure to work with this team of vendors. Ema made sure that the event was well planned out, visually perfect and communication was key. Lucy has such a brilliant eye for her photos and was a joy to work beside all day. Adalenne and I are beyond grateful for the opportunity to capture such special moments in an incredible place with even more incredible people. The day could not have gone better with how Joe and Stacey planned it and Ema executing it to the t. We asked Stacey if she had any advice to any brides planning a wedding and she simply said "Elope". If you are planning an elopement or have more detailed questions about planning a wedding in Como, fill out our inquiry form so that we can schedule a call. We would love to help answer any questions and document your beautiful wedding! 

Vendor List:
- Ema Giangreco Weddings - Wedding Planner 
  - This is what Stacey had to say about working with Ema. "I cannot say enough about Ema as a wedding planner. She is absolutely incredible at what she does and I am so lucky to have found her. Ema was the person that introduced me to all the other vendors. I have her to thank for this miraculous team."
- Lucy Munoz Photography - Photography
- Cine Garden Film Co. - Videography
- Siloh Flowers - Florist

Stacey's Wedding Day Attire:
  - Designer: Kate Willis Holmes
  - Store: En Blanc in LA on Abbott Kinney
  - Designer: Manolo Blahnik 
  - Store: Harrods in London