Many times, when faced with the thought of where the most romantic place in the world to get married is, a couple will respond Paris, Napa, Venice, Maui or New York. If Lake Como, Italy didn’t come to mind, you will surely be enticed after one glimpse of its alluring waters, majestic mountains, enchanting gardens and historic properties.

The stomping grounds of George Clooney, Madonna and Sir Richard Branson, Lake Como is comprised of three major branches navigated via a triangular boat service. Since religious weddings can only take place within the church, many couples opt to get married in the Church of San Giorgio in Varenna, Como Cathedral or Basilica of Sant’Abbondio in Como, or Church of the Ascension in Cadenabbia. Civil ceremonies are available at many of the area’s town halls or can be officiated at one of Lake Como’s incredible villas.

After the ceremony, taking wedding pictures walking through the cobbled alleyways, café-filled piazzas and along the pristine shorelines of any of the lake’s major villages–Bellagio, Lenno, Tremezzo and Varenna–is a must. If you want to give your guests an authentic experience, consider transporting them to the reception on a private boat with a mini tour along the way; sea plane is another, more grandeur option.

Some of the most famous choices for weddings include gated Villa D’Este with its 25 acres of gardens and free-standing mosaic wall in Cernobbio and exclusive Villa del Balbianello with its panoramic terrace and distinct loggia in Lenno. Known as “The Pearl of the Lake,” Bellagio is home to Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, which is more like a compound with its vast park and mooring facilities. Other memorable choices include Grand Hotel Tremezzo and Villa Carlotta, both of which are strategically located in Tremezzo facing Bellagio and the Gringe mountains. Lastly, in Blevio, lies the Castadiva Resort and Spa, which boasts an outdoor amphitheatre and terrace. At the end of the night, a fireworks show over the lake is the perfect way to cap the festivities and bid your guests adieu.

> Written by Jessica Latimer

Location: Villa Carlotta, Tremezzo, Italy