Weddings at Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni

Planning your wedding in one of the most renewed venues of Lake Como

Here we are, at Lake Como, famous wedding and ceremony venues. It is not only a natural element, that is unmissable, but also a fine taste of villas, ancient buildings with almost forgotten stories.

Whether you are looking for chic, elegant, opulent or minimalist, bohemian landscapes, Lake Como can host all of these.

Then, it is simply a matter of your choice, whether you decide to spend the precious moments of the wedding or celebration in some of the famous spots of Lake Como. Where to begin?

Take a look at the map, see the space, service and transport option.

If you cannot visit the place during the examination process, that is not a problem! We are here to get you closer to one of those chic and famous wedding venues of Lake ComoVilla Serbelloni.

Right at the strategic centre of Lake Como, protected mostly by waters of the lake and from one side from the land leading down to Milan.

Getting fantastic views, peaceful landscape, being close to the chic history of this place, that has formed a touristic era bringing us developments of hotels and tourism, which we can enjoy until today.

I started my career as a wedding photographer in 1994. Since then I photographed dozens of weddings here, and these galleries are a summary of the experience acquired here.

Get ready for practical information and questions, you would like to know, but have no place to ask. Get ready for my images provided in this place.

I hope it will give you an honest and truthful idea about the qualities of this place. You can see yourself, whether it would be your favourite wedding spot.

Remember, you need no doubts about where to have taken the best photographs, this will be my help for you.

View of Villa Serbelloni from the lake, taken just before the beginning of a wedding photo service.

Let’s see more about the history of this remarkable villa. To find the roots of Villa Serbelloni, we need to go back to the mid 19th century. Lake Como was not that frequented tourist spot as it is today. Though, it had a reputation as a leisure and calm area. Many artistic, political figures and after all, noble families from all around Italian peninsula would arrive to spend their relaxing days.

Villa Serbelloni would be soon transformed into a luxurious hotel – yes, one of those Grand Hotels, that we can often see in movies to observe their system, beauty and perfection of services provided.

Design-wise, rooms and suites were constructed so that they can host visitors from all around Italy and the world of those days. We are still at the end of the 19th century, so you can imagine how „easy“ it was, to travel with the whole regiment of clothes, hats, bags and cases! If you are wondering how the wealthy travellers of those times would arrive at Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio, you would be surprised.

Already by the start of the 19th century, there was a motorized steamship with sails launched on Lake Como.

Back in time, the location would be reached by train, boats, but why not also in small private planes if you wanted to make a fuzz.

Weddings at Villa Serbelloni: close-up portrait of a newlywed couple.

When talking about the past, one can easily fall into ideas that everything was nice and romantic. It was not so, just as in life.

As hospitality and general evolution would be continuing, it would be cut by 2 world wars.

Understandingly, it did not leave Lake Como unchanged. But as it happens, when countries fail, disappear, there are silent testimonies in form of art, architecture, and after all, nature, that stands still.

As since the end of the 1st world war, it would be led and owned by the Swiss family named Bucher.

Villa Serbelloni survived also the chaos after the 2nd world war- good for us, admirers of the ancient villa and spectacular spots of Lake Como.

After wars, there were more optimistic times, 1950-s in Villa Serbelloni would be busy with visitors such as an exuberant movie or music stars.

History of Villa Serbelloni would name guests such as Sir Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt, the Rothschilds, J. F. Kennedy, Mary Pickford, Clark Gable, and Al Pacino and many more.

Nobody can promise you that you can sit in the same chair as used Al Pacino, but you can definitely enjoy almost the same natural setting and professional and friendly staff would do their best to remind you of the high class of hospitality. You can see that Villa Serbelloni is a perfect place for a special retreat stay but as well it is ready to accommodate delicate events, such as weddings.

I have experienced this as a wedding photographer and providing a couple photoshoots in the villa. I can only recommend collaboration with the Grand Hotel´s direction. For me as a professional photographer, they were always a great partner and provided great communication and space to offer the best services. 

Believing it would be interesting for the readers and visitors of this website, I am bringing you a short interview with the manager of Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni Mr Jan Bucher.

Wedding Photoshoot with the main stairs of Villa Serbelloni.

Interview with Mr Jan Bucher, member of the owner family and Hotel Manager of Villa Serbelloni, Bellagio

Here are practical questions that can occur while considering the villa as a wedding or celebration venue.
They would be answered right by the person who knows it perfectly: Mr Bucher.

→ Mr Bucher, why is Villa Serbelloni a good choice when talking about planning a wedding here? What is a special quality of the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni?
The Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni enjoys a spectacular location on Lake Como and it’s a prestigious international destination for wedding receptions.
We offer 22 suites, 72 rooms, all with views of the lake or gardens
Two restaurants, the Michelin-starred Restaurant Mistral and more informal Restaurant la Goletta, both offer great dining experiences.  
The Hotel offers complete health, fitness and beauty spa as well as swimming pools, and tennis; golf, horseback riding, shopping, cultural and artistic tours. All of these are very easy to reach.

→ What is the history of the Villa?
The Villa was built as a private house in 1850, for a noble family from Bergamo. 
In 1873 it was transformed into a luxury hotel with the name Grand Hotel Bellagio. The name was changed again to Villa Serbelloni after the 1st World War, in 1918, when the Hotel was bought by Mr Arturo Bucher, the first generation of the Bucher family, which is still the managing proprietor of the Villa up to these days.

→ Is it possible to visit the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni and to see the location before deciding?
We gladly send the general information for weddings in our Villa as the first presentation of our services and the location by email.
If the guests are interested in our general offer, we could discuss more details, and then also decide on a date for a site inspection.
All these contact opportunities are very useful to finalize the wedding planning in the best way, and our staff would gladly continue to support the bride and groom from the start throughout the whole wedding event.
Our staff can help brides and grooms in organizing their most important day in our Hotel, and contacting providers for any service or need they might require.

→ How to choose the wedding menu? Would it be possible to modify it with special requests?
Our wedding and event menus are carefully created by our Michelin starred Restaurant Chef. He could arrange any change in case of allergies or intolerances so that the menus could be appreciated by every guest.

→ What is the best time of the year to have a wedding on Lake Como?
Our Hotel is open from April to the beginning of November. Every month has its charm and benefits, which we will gladly present to the bride and groom for a better experience for them and their guests.
While April and October are the cooler months with a quieter atmosphere; May and September are times of flowers and the best for photo shooting also on a boat; whereas June, July, and August are the most bustling months of the summer on Lake Como, with (very) warm weather and bright sunshine.

→ What is the recommended time for guests to arrive at the wedding location?
The bride and groom could arrive a few days before the wedding ceremony, in case they would like to prepare in advance, whereas their guests could arrive even on the day of the wedding if you would prefer a “surprise effect”. However, every decision would depend on where the guests come from, as jet lag could be affecting the guests attending the event.

→ What would you recommend as for the time and planning of the wedding?
We would advise the bride and groom to start to organize as early as possible, as arranging for every aspect of the wedding could be challenging.
Just to be sure to be able to organize everything without too much stress, it would be useful to decide most details a few months in advance.

→ How and where is it possible to organize a religious ceremony?
In Bellagio and all the Como province, it is not possible to celebrate catholic weddings for non-residents people. However, on our property, it is possible to celebrate other kinds of religious weddings.
For civil weddings, the bride and groom should contact the Town Hall for paperwork, costs and availability of the civil officer, which will let them know which documents to fill in and all the requirements for the wedding certificates.
Near Bellagio, there is also an Anglican church, where it would be possible to celebrate religious weddings.

→ Which locations are available in the Villa for a wedding ceremony and reception?
Villa Serbelloni has different locations for a perfect wedding.
In our Salone Reale, we can host parties of up to 240 people.
More intimate Sala Tivano is suitable for up to 60 guests and offers a lake view.
Weather permitting, cocktails can be served, before dinner, on the boathouse terrace overlooking the lake or in the garden, with private music entertainment.

→ Do you think it would be possible to fit personal taste into locations in the Villa or are there some limits?
Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni has majestic salons, conference rooms, staircases, and terraces, that create a spectacular background for any wedding and photoshoot all together with magnificent lake views.  
Every location can be decorated with flowers, lights, and so on, depending on the taste of the bride and groom.
We will gladly help you with recommendations based on our experience and knowledge of the Villa and the Lake.

Thank you so much for your time to respond to these questions, Mr Bucher. It is interesting to have here an insight from someone who is overlooking operations at such a place!

Dear visitors of this website, readers. Let me believe it would help to see this place also through the practical and more vivid optic.
All these images show special moments and as well unlimited beauty of Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni and its spaces.
Experiencing first hand the atmosphere you can see here will be incredible.

Least but not last, I will be honored to have your wedding at the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni. I reserve time and focus to deliver the best work of photography for you.
Do not hesitate to get in touch with me if you have any more questions regarding my possible offer for you.

Getting ready in the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni

The villa offers an occasion to also produce fine portraits before the ceremony

A bride in her room looking at herself in the mirror at the end of her getting ready.

Wedding ceremony opportunities

Villa Serbelloni offers various options for wedding ceremonies, regarding visual, practical and also religious considerations.

In the next lines and the parts of photo galleries I prepared for you, you will see various options of having a wedding ceremony, celebration or a special event related to your wedding on Lake Como.

While planning a wedding here, you can take into consideration, which type of wedding would you prefer. Is it a civil marriage, or a religious one? By having a look here, you will be able to understand what is the suitable option for you. 

Being a storyteller means I will build your story by interpreting who you are.

Though, it is always a plus if you explain to me more about you, your personas. Like this, I can produce wedding photographs that fit your lifestyle, family and philosophy desired.

Wedding ceremony in the Lakeside garden of the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni

Most of the weddings have a preparation part in one location, the wedding ceremony at a different and then the reception in a different place. Lots of organizations, transfers, changes.

The advantage of having a wedding ceremony in the Lakeside garden of Villa Serbelloni is not only a heavenly view of the Lake Como but also a need not to change the location! You can fully enjoy the wedding ceremony, spending this magical time with your closest ones. 

As for wedding photography, I always use only natural light without additional light or flashes. The exterior of Lake Como will enable me to deliver amazing photographs and unforgettable memories for you. My concept is to capture the photographs that represent the most natural way what the bride and groom are experiencing during their precious time of wedding.

If you dream about having a wedding in the spectacular exterior, this is it.

Wedding ceremony in the lakeside gardens.

Catholic ceremony in Bellagio (Basilica of Saint Giacomo)

Villa Serbelloni is located in the iconic town of Bellagio. The main Catholic church of Bellagio is the “Basilica di San Giacomo” (Basilica of Saint James). The church is within a walking distance from Villa itself, so it is an easy place to reach. 

Please note, the churches belonging to the Lake Como dioceses are usually reserved for local parishioners. Quiet important information.

It is said to be not an easy spot to get permission to have a wedding as an “outsider”. The wedding is allowed here for “the outsiders” only in rare cases, such as when the priest who celebrates is a close relative of the couple. But it is not certain, because authorization is given on a case-by-case basis and depends on the reasons.

Basilica of Saint Giacomo has its roots already in the 11th century. Its interior is breathing with a history, and its structure and art having a stamp of Roman-Lombard art. Even there are also more contemporary additions, the interior has an original charm and it is truly an unforgettable place for the wedding ceremony.

The arrival of the bride at the Saint James basilica of Bellagio.

Protestant ceremony in the Anglican Chruch of Cadenabbia (Church of the Ascension)

Cadenabbia –  a picturesque village lying on Lake Como, on its south-west branch, very close to city Como. It is ca. 30 km from Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio. It is possible to reach it by car or by a boat, or a water taxi. 

The Church of the Ascension with the possibility of weddings was built at the end of the 19th century. It has been since then a centre of English- speaking visitors and residents. 

The church is part of the Anglican Church and belongs to the Diocese in Europe. It hosts among regular wedding blessing services for the English-speaking couples, renewal of marriage or baptisms

Important and helpful info. It is possible to have a wedding blessing for Christians of other denominations if having an agreement with the priest of the Church of the Ascension in Cadenabbia

I have had the honor to provide a wedding photography service for numerous couples from various Christian denominations here. As you can see, the church has an appealing interior. It is big enough to host the wedding ceremony, but still has a sense of intimacy and charming beauty.

Here I am sharing with you a black and white series from the wedding ceremony in the Anglican Church of Cadenabbia. The photos will be accompanied by the email when the bride reached me for the first time to set me as their wedding photographer.

From the bride's email:
[...] We reviewed your portfolios online and are very interested in working with you if you are available.
I am a photography specialist and curator of photographs, having previously served as the executive director for a museum of contemporary photography in the US. I now am a photography specialist for Bonhams auction house in Dubai and I write about photography for various publications. My interest is in finding someone who has a keen creative and artistic eye.
For the album, we think we’d like to do this in black and white, the sort of grainy Tri-X quality that you do very well. Do you think that is a good idea? [...]

… so, it was a good idea!

The Church of the Ascension at Cadenabbia during a wedding ceremony.

Wedding celebration in the Town Hall garden in Bellagio

The town hall garden is both suitable for a civil ceremony or a religious one if a consecrated building is not compulsory.

The town hall of Bellagio is just at the beginning of the pedestrian area, you could reach it from Villa Serbelloni by feet, it is less than 500 metres. If you would like to add a glam, you can arrive at the Town Hall in a carriage pulled by horses.

The exterior of Town Hall is an option if you are searching for civil marriage and seek to have a small walk through the centre for your guests after the ceremony, just to experience more of the Italian mood. It may be to note that here you are “inside” of Bellagio, therefore there is not too much of a Lake view, or at least not until you reach Villa Serbelloni.

Wedding ceremony at the town hall of Bellagio, Lake Como

Wedding reception: cocktail and banquet

It is after the wedding ceremony, so time to celebrate! Previously I demonstrated options of having a wedding ceremony organized in different locations. 

Here, you can learn about the cocktail and banquet options for your reception. Every couple has different ideas about their wedding day (or days). Careful selection of reception locations will please you, and I will produce amazing photographs from there, indeed! 

Let’s have a look at various wondrous spots that are ready for a wedding cocktail and banquet occasions.

This photo gallery includes images taken at the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni during the cocktail party and the wedding banquet.

The cocktail party usually takes place in the lakeside garden for big weddings or at the Darsena for small and medium weddings. The Darsena is the boathouse terrace which can accommodate up to 120 guests.

Wedding banquet usually takes place in the Royal Hall (up to 240 guests), in the Tivano Hall (up to 70 guests) or in the glass walls veranda (Ristorante Mistral) which is perfect for intimate weddings with its veduta on Lake Como.

Outdoor wedding buffet in the lakeside garden of Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni

Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni offers great options for various chapters of the wedding.
Its garden is reserved for attendants of the wedding and is close to the spot where the wedding ceremony can be also held.
Like this, wedding guests can reach the wedding banquet and cocktail area within only a few steps. The moment of a pure wedding joy accompanied by the breath-taking view of a beautiful Lake Como.

When the wedding attendants reach this zone, it is also a good time and place to provide a  group photograph, if required.

Outdoor wedding buffet in the lakeside garden.

The boathouse terrace

La Darsena (literally: The Dock), or the boathouse terrace, is a comfortable shaded alternative to the garden for the cocktail hour.

The Darsena, or the "boat house terrace" of the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni during a wedding buffet.

In the lounge

The lounge in the interior of Villa Serbelloni is a very photogenic and dramatic “intermezzo” space. It can be used for weddings in a variety of situations. I will tell you my memories while remembering situations in the lounge.

In the hall on the entrance floor of the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, more briefly called the lounge, I photographed the most diverse moods working in tandem with one of my trusted videographers.

This can be the spot when the groom awaits the time of the ceremony and from here the bride with her father and the bridesmaids pass by to arrive at the ceremony in the garden.

Guests tend to chill or relax in the lounge during cocktails following the ceremony.

Here, I photographed ministers and personalities signing the famous guest book because it creates an uplifting scenery and desired framing for the photographs.

Many times, I have photographed there a part of the photoshoot with the couple, also using the visual impact made by the glamorous central staircase of the villa. Sometimes the couple have had their first dance starting here.

I told you it is a very photogenic space, but as you can see, clearly it is rich for the dramaturgy usage during your wedding!

The bride with her father are in the lounge, going to the outdoor ceremony.

Wedding banquet in the Royal Hall

A bit of a party!
You have already seen many conventional and calm images of the wedding reception here in the Royal Hall, so I present these for a change :). 

The bride and groom's first dance in the Royal Hall.

Tivano Hall

Sala Tivano” – Tivano Hall is a very intimate spot of the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni.
For weddings, it allows up to 70 pax.

It is a less formal room than the others and the most intimate one. Just outside the hall, there is a famous central staircase and the lounge with musicians of the villa, with which you can interact, even improvising your first dance.

Waiters switching on the candles at the Tivano Hall.

Ristorante Mistral

The entire area of the Mistral Restaurant has partially removable glass walls

It is being very suitable for intimate weddings as an alternative to Sala Tivano. Ristorante Mistral offers an effective plan B for ceremonies, in case of bad weather, when the shelter is needed.

Having a really good plan B option for bad weather is a strong point of Grand Hotel Serbelloni. Only a few villas on Lake Como possess it. Plan B must always be part of the wedding organization. 

From here, a view of Lake Como is guaranteed, and it can be considered as a privileged position.

Outdoor wedding dinner scenery.

Around the wedding day: discovering Lake Como and the Italian lifestyle

History, food and wine on breath-taking Lake Como

In this short section of my article accompanied by my photographs, I will give you some suggestions on extra activities around your wedding day.

I say it from talking with my wedding couples, that I photograph. Often, they express a wish that if they knew before, they would give themselves more free time on Lake Como. Simply to enjoy the moment, to get to know the area and to gain another point of view and something to take a look back.

You can experience true experience with Italy, its story, culture, famous wines and food. Easily – by booking the photoshoot and local tourist guide in the days around your big one.

It should all be enjoyable, perhaps including walks around the Lake in the unspoiled villages. A boat trip, savory plates of Lombardy and prosecco and wine tastings. Choosing fine works of Italian fashion accessories, exploring extravagant local painters, olive-wood objects or ceramics. That can be found in cities of Bellagio, Varenna, Como, for instance. 

We, Italians love to share our culture and traditions. We are proud of our good things and always appreciate when somebody is keen to enjoy it likewise!

The group of guests scouting the Bellagio suburbs.

Boat excursions from Villa Serbelloni

The best choice: discovering the lake from the lake

Lake Como is famous for its delicate beauty, hills creating spectacular scenery for small villages nestled around the shores of Lake. The most famous villages and towns are indeed Bellagio, Varenna, Menaggio, City of Como. You know what? There is even more!

By taking a boat excursion (which might sound boring, but it is not), you will be able to discover the most famous spots of Lake Como, with its iconic villas, churches, squares or gardens. And not only. The boat will give you the possibility to enjoy the view of the villages from the waterside point of view just as the original settlers did. There are numerous hidden villages and towns that are worth visiting, so this is a reason to get in touch with somebody that knows the place well.

I am in contact with reliable boat providers, and tour guides, which you can book to have a tour with. While discovering hidden gems of Lake Como, I will create memorable photographs, while you are taken by the charm of Lake Como.

Lake Como has been recently quite renowned for numerous movies located here, though it has an ancient history and a former fame too.

In the past, curvy narrow streets were lining around Lake Como, connecting cities such as today’s Milano and then down to Rome or up to Germany. You can still find some of these streets, often surrounded with palm or cypress trees, that were also brought here from Sicily thanks to Roman Empire.

The inhabitants of Lake Como had their own model of a gondola in the past and used the Venetian type too. The gondolas of Lake Como had a practical usage. Today it is memorable to have a great portrait with the scenery of this interesting work of handcraft.

Groom portrait with the gondola at Villa Melzi.
A couple on a Lucia. Photoshoot on Lake Como
Wedding photoshoot on Lake Como. Stunning scenery.

With a boat, you can reach another famous Villas of Lake Como – Villa Balbianello, with its incredible promontory transformed into a garden. That offers another fantastic option for the photoshoot.

Other beauties to visit and indulge yourself in Lake Como are Villa Monastero with a peerless botanical garden and Villa Cipressi, both in Varenna.
While Villa Monastero is a nice place to explore, Villa Cipressi is often useful for me as a wonderful location for photoshoots. Some more villas to know? Maybe you will enjoy saying ciao from the water to George Clooney at Villa Oleandra, Laglio 🙂

You can see here, that true, original and most photogenic look of Lake Como is the one you can see from the water.

During the wedding day or, maybe, during the day after, a boat ride on Lake Como with guests is very recommended to sense the best genuine experience you can have here.

extra day photoshoot

Taking home your bits of Lake Como through visual storytelling

Apart from the wedding photography service, I offer you my service for the “extra day photoshoot”. In case you are spending more time on Lake Como, before, or after your wedding ceremony, I can guide you around Lake Como and create unforgettable photographs for you.

I am ready to project the best itinerary for you based on your interests and style. Progetti Fotografici means Photographic Projects.

Each of our photoshoots brings together elements of visual storytelling, very much like the artistry of a film direction. My role in each project is to assemble the myriad of details into the final visual presentation.

I was deeply moved by this email received from a client: “The questions and planning for the photoshoot matched exactly how I had imagined capturing my concept of a Photographic Project.”

Every photo shoot, including yours, must be based on the client’s vision and ideas, not simply those of the photographer.

Above all, I am convinced that the importance of a client’s perspective in creating projects should be key in creating each project.

If you wish to add one more extra Lake Como experience to your wedding time itinerary, reach me with your inquiry. I collaborate with local tourist guides, boat providers and food & wine experts. Like this, you will have a bonus connected to your wedding memories of Lake Como.

Couple photoshoot: the couple looking at the lake from the gardens.
Evening couple portrait with a photographer in the gardens of Villa Serbelloni

Wow renewal in the main balcony hall

The Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni is an amazing venue to confirm your love

Being still in the wedding theme, some couples choose to come back to the joy of their wedding moments. Celebration of vow renewal is a charming act of expressing love to each other. 

My last image in the theme of a wedding photographer in Villa Serbelloni at Lake Como comes from a vow renewal ceremony, on the occasion of this couple’s anniversary.

With the delivery of my photographs for you, you can shift between two versions. I always deliver a black and white copy of all the images.

Here we are, at the end of my article themed “Wedding photographer at Villa Serbelloni”. Villa Serbelloni is the pearl of Bellagio, set in the centre of the jewel: Lake Como. I am honored to have been there as the photographer of numerous wedding events.

I hope I showed you in a useful and not only artistic way all possible to express about the villa. Each place in the villa that can be used during the wedding day has its section.

What I offer to my clients is not only a photographer’s storytelling but also the experience of a local photographer, with the knowledge of places and situations that derive from it. It is a must to know when and where to photograph both indoors and outdoors. Always using the given occasions and without having unexpected events due to the lack of knowledge of the area.

Maybe you already read this, I perform a maximum of 52 wedding photoshoots every year. If you are my client, my collaborators and I will do our best to reach and even exceed your expectations regarding the photographs we will take for you.

Get in touch with me today – below, there is a contact that you can use.

Looking forward to hearing from you!