Destination weddings, especially in Italy, are becoming an increasingly popular choice for couples. As soon as we got engaged, we knew we wanted to get married abroad. Travel has been a lifelong love so to start our love of a lifetime somewhere overseas just… felt right. So a Malcesine castle wedding it was. If you’re considering your own destination wedding, or just curious to hear more about ours, this Malcesine castle wedding guide shares everything you need to know.
Malcesine Castle Wedding: The Ultimate Guide
If I could go back in time and plan our wedding day again, I would honestly pick a Malcesine castle wedding every time. Italy was the first country we visited as a couple so an obvious place for us to start looking. After a few google searches, we stumbled upon Malcesine castle and it was love at first sight again (…cheesy, but true!).
Like almost every other bride in history, I think our day was absolutely perfect. But it’s not just me who thinks this way. Family and friends regularly remind us how wonderful the day was and how they’ve never been to another wedding quite like it. Other couples who have had a Malcesine castle wedding say exactly the same. So we can’t all be wrong!
Below is a summary on everything you need to know about a Malcesine Castle wedding – the ceremony, the wedding day, the organisation and the costs. Let’s go…
Malcesine: Local Information
Malcesine (pronounced MAL-CHES-INAY) is a beautiful picturesque medieval town in the north of Lake Garda, Italy. Its maze of cobbled streets sit on the the edge of the blue waters of the lake, in the shadow of Monte Baldo – the largest mountain in the Lake Garda region.
Malcesine’s most striking feature is its historical castle, Castello Scaligero. Dating back to 568AD, the fortress sits proudly on the edge of the lake and, in my opinion, is the best castle Lake Garda has to offer. The town also has a pretty port lined with cafes, restaurants, boutique stores and gelato eateries. From here, you can take boat rides out onto the lake. It really is one of the most beautiful places in the world.
There are four things which make Malcesine a great wedding destination – ambience, scenery, culture and food. Combined together, these elements provide the perfect backdrop for a romantic Italian wedding.
Malcesine is packed full of authentic Italian charm. It’s brimming with history, architecture, natural beauty and romance.
The locals are passionate and warm, welcoming visitors with wide open arms. On wedding days, locals come out onto the streets to cheer and congratulate the happy couple. As everything in the town is walking distance and pedestrianised, it genuinely feels like the whole town celebrates with you.
Food plays a big part of Italian culture and a wedding here is no different. There’s plenty of authentic Italian dining options for your big day – ranging from boutique lake side eateries to Michelin starred restaurants. The typical wedding breakfast menus consist of at least 6 courses! Lakeside bars provide a picturesque setting for post wedding drinks and cocktails. You can even create ‘ice cream vouchers’ for guests to enjoy a cone of their favourite gelato!
Weddings here typically take place from April – October. Whilst no-one can guarantee the sun will shine on your big day, there’s a strong chance you’ll be able to enjoy the entire day outside soaking up the atmosphere, spectacular views and topping up your Vitamin D levels!
Malcesine Castle Wedding: Guests
There are no set numbers you need for a Malcesine castle wedding – you can have as few as 2 and as many as 100! The indoor rooms seat up to 50 with space for more standing. Rivellino terrace has seating for up to 70 and standing for a further 30 more.
Most guests stay for a few days and sometimes, if there’s enough notice, they book a longer stay to explore the lake and make a holiday out of the occasion. The nearest airports are Verona, around an hours drive, and Milan Bergamo which is around 2 hours.
My best advice is to give your guests as much notice as possible. Malcesine is a small town so in order to secure the best deals and hotels, you must book in advance.
Malcesine Castle Wedding: The Ceremony
A Malcesine castle wedding is a civil ceremony which takes place in one of three venues.
Two venues are rooms inside of the castle, one of which has beautiful open views across the lake. The third venue, the outdoor terrace, is where we held our ceremony and said our vows. The terrace is the most popular venue option for couples.
The Rivellino castle terrace is a spectacular place to hold a wedding ceremony. It enjoys undisturbed, panoramic views of the lake and the magnificent Mount Baldo to the rear. I struggle to put into words how truly beautiful it is up there. We feel so blessed to have taken our vows with such a breathtaking views of natural beauty.
The groom and guests arrive first and take their places up on the terrace. When it’s time, the bride enters through the castle gates and walks up the stairs and onto the terrace. Its a truly magical feeling (getting goosebumps reminiscing about this moment!). The ceremony itself lasts around half an hour and after the vows, there’s some free time to explore the castle grounds and take pictures.
Before booking a Malcesine castle wedding, here are some things you should know…
- Italian civil weddings are legally recognised in the UK and you have the same rights as if you were married there
- The wedding ceremony will be conducted in Italian and a translator must be present. You can however say your vows in English or Italian.
- By Italian law for women to remarry following divorce, 300 days must have passed since the date on the Decree Absolute
- There must be an exchange of rings as part of the service. If you do not plan to have a ring, you’ll need to borrow one.
Malcesine Castle Wedding: Post Ceremony
Malcesine offers an unforgettable wedding day experience for you and your guests. Aside from the beautiful castle, Malcesine offers plenty to make your big day unique.
Wedding Day Format
Whilst every wedding is different, typically most Malcesine castle weddings follow this format…
13:30: Groom and guests arrive at the castle
13:45: Bridal party arrive and the ceremony begins
14:00: Wedding ceremony with readings and music
14:45: Guests enjoy the castle grounds whilst bride & groom have pictures around the castle
15:15: Post Wedding drinks reception
16:00: 1 hour Wedding party boat trip on the lake
17:00: Walk to local restaurant for Wedding Reception
17:15: Welcome drink and canapés
17:45: Wedding Breakfast begins, starters and mains
20:00: Cheese, wine, first dance and party!
(Note: I’ve used 2pm wedding time, there are 11am and 5pm wedding slots available)
After the ceremony, champagne and canapés can be arranged at one of the lakeside bars or within the castle grounds. You can also opt for a wedding day lake cruise which offers a really unique wedding day experience. The wedding breakfast usually takes place at a local restaurant where you have exclusive hire (numbers dependant). In some places, you can have a band or DJ and dance the night away.
Malcesine Castle Wedding Cost
As with any wedding, anywhere in the world, the cost is largely down to your personal preferences and tastes.
The cost for the castle ceremony is roughly £2,000 with a wedding planner. Wedding breakfast packages start from around €60 per person.
Unfortunately there’s not a definitive number I can give you on the total wedding costs because what you want for your big day is entirely a personal choice. Flowers, hair, restaurant and entertainment choices, as well as number of guests, will all impact the final cost.
However, the good news is that Malcesine provides plenty of choice and options for your big day and therefore can cater for a wide range of budgets.
Booking a Malcesine Castle Wedding
If you are fluent in Italian, you can DIY your Malcesine Castle wedding.
However, if like me, that’s not an option the good news is there’s several companies which organise weddings in Malcesine.
Lake Garda Weddings are specialist wedding planners and who we used for our Malcesine castle wedding. LGW are based in Malcesine and have a fantastic network of local suppliers. Through them you arrange all the details of your big day; transport, flowers, hair and make up, entertainment and your wedding breakfast restaurant. They provide a first class, full wedding planning service including administrative and legal support in the run up to the big day.
The bride and groom need be in Malcesine at least 48 hours before the wedding day. This is because you’ll need to sign a statutory declaration of no objection (in place of the public notification of marriage) before a registrar at the “Ufficio Stato Civile”. You will not be able to get married without this.
I hope this has given you all the information you wanted. I’ve recently pulled together an article on Malcesine Wedding Photos, which may also be useful to read.
If there are other questions you have on planning a Malcesine castle wedding, please pop a comment below.
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