Lena & James’ destination dream wedding on Lake Garda.
Sitting on my sofa with the log-fire burning and pitch black, dank, early evening outside, I reflect upon the warm wonder that was Lena and James’ Lake Garda wedding in glorious September sunshine.
One of my favourite things about meeting my lovely couples is their story. How did they meet? I always want to discover how life brings true love into people’s worlds.
James & Lena met five years ago through one of Lena’s housemates in Limerick. The cheers and hullaballoo of a shared Munster Final later, numbers were excitedly exchanged. Their second date, pints in Mickey Martins, quickly led them to know they were destined for each other.
As for how I met the lovely couple, I came to Lena through a recommendation of a guest at a wedding I’d previously shot. I’m so grateful to this person who had fallen in love with my pictures and shown them to Lena. My relaxed, informal and friendly approach matched with plans for Lena’s own wedding day.
Lena and I met in a coffee shop in Cork City in 2017 where Lena regaled me with the upcoming plans for their dream wedding in Italy. Two hours passed like minutes. Her warm, bubbly and chatty personality instantly drew me to her.
When Lena asked whether I would consider travelling Italy to photograph their special day, there was no way I could refuse. I think I was almost as excited as Lena at the prospect, as I have no doubt that destination weddings are a gift. There’s the incredible light, dream scenery, glorious weather, castles, wine, an orangery… and, you’re a million miles from reality.
Just as Lena and James wished, their wedding was the epitome of chilled. The warm Italian sunshine helped lull everyone into a feeling of sunbaked bliss. This glorious, golden light suffused the photographs, heightening the rich colours of the historic town Tori Del Benaco with Lake Garda as the glistening backdrop.
One of the principle reasons for the gorgeous bride and groom being so relaxed was thanks to wedding planner extraordinaire Catherine, of ‘Marry Me in Lake Garda,’ who had fine-tuned the day to Lena and James’ specifications. In fact, it is partly due to Catherine that the happy couple decided on Lake Garda to begin with since it was meeting her at a wedding fair in Dublin that helped them decide on this fairytale location.
Marry Me in Lake Garda’s Catherine & Claudia were there from that first meeting right through to organising florists, make-up artists, and transport even finishing up on the evening of the wedding by with making sure every guest got home safely. This is incredible service and attention to detail that I feel is quite unique to these two women.
On the morning of the wedding, the sun pushed through the open windows, lifting colours and giving textured inter-play between light and dark. The bridal party gathered, tears of laughter occasionally threatening to upset the make-up. Lena looked incredible in her sweetheart neckline Margarett Bridal wedding dress from The Attic, Limerick. Like the wedding ceremony, she was dazzling.
In my experience, weddings are a personal story, a love story but also a combining of families and traditions. With Lena being from Germany and James being from Ireland, the pair included German and Irish readings and music in the ceremony. This was especially meaningful for them and for all the guests who had flown from afar to celebrate with them.
The local Italian mayor presided over the ceremony with typical Italian style, grace and humour, followed by pouring them their first glass of Prosecco as a married couple. I’m a sucker for an Italian accent, so throw in some Prosecco and I’m sold.
I believe wedding photographs are love and light. Lake Garda sums this up. It is a place that demands exploring and relishing. With cobblestone streets laden with history and atmosphere, we explored with child-like glee, plotting one beautiful background after another to create joy-filled photographs for the couple to cherish, along with the memories that made them.
Stealing away for our couple’s shots, we roved around the open square, indulged with gelato, and took our time to savour the setting, enjoying every step we took and place we roamed. Later on, the sunset in the vineyard was a dream to capture, and I so loved being witness to this absolutely gorgeous couple on their special Italian wedding.
The wedding feast was held at the beautiful rustic vineyard Tre Camini, a short bus journey away. The couple made the most of their time by having their speeches before dinner to help alleviate nerves and so everyone could enjoy their Italian feast.
The advice I would give to couples thinking about a destination wedding would be ‘do it’ and bring me with you… On a more serious note, think about hiring a local wedding planner, as they can help with so much on the day and in the preparation. They are experts in their field, have organised hundreds of weddings before, know the area and it is in their interest to ensure you have the most magical time of your life, though do remember that if you have a preferred photographer, let’s say, then let them know you’ll be bringing me along with you.
Finally, thank you to Lena & James for having me there to share in your beautiful dream wedding in Italy.
Bridesmaids dresses: Lilac Rose, Limerick
Accessories: Jules Bridal Jewellery, Dublin
Cake: Tre Camini
Cars/Wedding Favours: Provided by ‘Marry me in Lake Garda’
Stationery: Made by Lena
Make Up & Hair:
Wedding Rings: Matthew Stephens Jewellers
Wedding planner: Catherine Sherry and Co., Marry me in Lake Garda