Lake Como, a luxury destination wedding for real bride Anastasia as featured in Hello! Magazine

A wedding destination for the elite, Lake Como is a luxury destination unlike any other luxury wedding destination. But if you don’t have a big budget, you may be discouraged from choosing this beautiful Italian region—until now.

For real bride Anastasia and her fiancée, the luxury wedding destination of Lake Como was not a vanity choice for their nuptials; this UK couple had truly fallen in love with the picturesque beauty and the old-world charm of the Italian region.

But upon approaching wedding planners, the couple were “heartbroken” at the estimated costs. Committed to staying true to their dream, Anastasia and her fiancée were left with no option but to take on the planning themselves.

And as featured in Hello! Magazine, they shaved a massive £120k off their quoted wedding costs by doing so. And they certainly did not compromise when it came to wow-factor moments!

But before we get into how this UK PR professional and banker duo achieved a massive saving on their Lake Como wedding, let’s first tell you about Anastasia’s gorgeous wedding gown by designer Elbeth Gillis.

Breathtakingly elegant, Anastasia’s dress choice from the Desire Bridal Collection was a sculpted Mikado ‘Vivian’ wedding gown with a high bateau neckline with deep V armholes and a plunging back.

“When I first saw the Elbeth Gillis wedding dress on Instagram, I absolutely fell in love. The timeless beauty and elegance, combined with fun and modern features—yes, it had pockets!—and the fact that it revealed just the right amount of skin—just blew me away. It was just perfect for our Lake Como wedding celebration! Super comfortable to wear, very easy to get in and out of—a requirement I later greatly appreciated once our DIY wedding planning commenced,” oozed Anastasia when reminiscing on her first fitting at Angelica Bridal Boutique in London.

With 60 of their closest friends and family in attendance, the couple set their date for a gorgeous three-day wedding celebration at Relais Villa Vittoria in Laglio, Lake Como.

In her interview with Hello! Magazine, Anastasia revealed that their biggest investment was the venue. “Acting as both the wedding venue and accommodation, the venue was by far our biggest investment but totally worth it. We didn’t need outside catering, arranging furniture and cutlery rentals, or building a marquee.”

Taking charge of all the concepts for their wedding celebration, the couple cut back on extras not needed by choosing the luxury destination of Lake Como.

“We opted for minimal flower arrangements, letting the beauty of Lake Como and the venue be the natural backdrop.”

Instead of a formal rehearsal dinner, the weekend got off to an impressive start with guests enjoying a private three-hour boat tour of Lake Como with a professional guide.

The following day, guests arrived at the lakeside villa at their leisure to enjoy food and the amenities of Relais Villa Vittoria before the nuptials.

Flying in by seaplane, the groom surprised guests with a James Bond-style entrance, while Anastasia arrived in a stunning £200k wooden Riva Ariston classic speed boat, which cost £550 per hour to hire.

“We had a live band and a spectacular wedding dinner overlooking the lake, topped off by a cellar party with an open bar and a DJ-led boat party,” she said.

“Our first dance was a salsa; not only did I NOT fear any wardrobe malfunctions during our deep leans and lounges, but with my Elbeth Gillis wedding gown, I could also move around with speed and grace. The dress truly made my wedding day.”

Local wedding photographer Cristiano Ostinelli captured the wow-factor moments of this gorgeous Lake Como, giving the bridal couple a lifetime of memories to treasure.

All in all, including the entire weekend of guest entertainment, the couple spent less than £50k (€58.5k), making a saving of at least 50–75% off the originally quoted price that only covered a single-day celebration. This included the private boat tour, accommodation for the newlyweds and their close family, and entertainment and babysitting for the kids on the big day.

Making the most of the private wedding venue, the couple finished their weekend with a post-wedding brunch at Relais Villa Vittoria and a mandatory ‘bucket list’ dip in the lake to close off the celebrations.

Inspired to go DIY to get a luxury destination wedding on a budget like Anastasia’s? Read more about her wedding tips in her interview with Hello! Magazine.