This is part of a series How to Plan A Destination Wedding in Italy: A Step-by-Step Guide. Read the full guide here.
After getting engaged while hiking in Alpe Veglia above Lago Maggiore at Lago delle Streghe, Pat and I set out to plan our destination wedding in Italy on Lago Maggiore. Of all the places to get married in Italy, Lago Maggiore was #1 on our list. For many reasons…explained here. If your dream wedding is saying “I do” in a jaw-droppingly beautiful location, sipping Aperol Spritz during the reception, and having an assortment of enriching cultural experiences between events, consider Grand Hotel Majestic. Close your eyes and imagine the most romantic place you could ever dream of: a fabulous lake wedding on Lago Maggiore with marvelous steamship ferries and old school fisherman boats floating by on the shimmering waters with matchless Belle Époque style villas and hotels lining the waters. Our vision is an intimate, Italian evening with close friends and family who’ve always wanted to experience what it’s like to travel like us. And now they do. It’s an evening filled with laughter, love, plenty of wine, and lots of dancing. It would be at a small, intimate wedding venue in Italy.
When determining places to get married in Italy, one of the first things we did was meet with the small wedding venue and hotel on Lake Maggiore, do a food tasting, wine selection, and property tour to start planning the big day.
Small weddings in Italy means 80 people or under. Most small wedding venues in Italy are private villas or intimate hotels that can host a group of people, like Grand Hotel Majestic. By choosing an intimate and small wedding venue on Lake Maggiore, you can ensure guests stay at the same venue with you. And if budget is a problem, well, not here. Unlike America, the property rental is included in the price for food. The price for food can range anywhere from 150 euro to 200+, but includes the entire aperitivo and cocktails, a four course meal and wine pairing, local ingredients and cuisine, wedding cake, cutlery, tables, tableware, chairs, location, staff and more. That’s right – you get an incredible four-course Italian meal and a stunning location all within that fee. When choosing places to get married in Italy, the right location matters and makes a big difference.
The historic Grand Hotel Majestic, located on Lago Maggiore, was built in the 1870s and provides a picturesque setting for a destination wedding in Italy. The architecture marvel of the Belle Époque style hotel has been admired by musicians, artists and state officials who have stayed at the property back in it’s golden years in the 1930s. Even the royal family of Monaco and the Borromeo family couldn’t stay away after getting married at the Borromean Island next door…
The garden overlooking Lago Maggiore with it’s the stunning mountain backdrop and nearby Borromean islands is where most couples say “I do.” From these expertly manicured spaces, you can look out onto spellbinding views of Lago Maggiore as you engage in one of the most important moments of your life. Not to worry, on a rainy day you can bring it inside to the Sala Intra room. Even on a rainy day, you have a big panoramic terrace that allows you to take in the views and can accommodate up to 140 people.
After the wedding ceremony, you can have your reception in the sprawling garden or hop aboard an old steamship ferry that will take you around the islands. The steamship boat will meet you at Grand Hotel Majestic’s private dock. Grand Hotel Majestic will take care of all the drinks and classic Italian aperitivi foods aboard of course. Think prosciutto, bread sticks, local bacon, honey, and nuts, mini croissants, salted pastries, and cheeses like parmigiano reggiano…bruschettas of course with tomatoes, mozzarella, and crispy praws…the list goes on. Yes, they have vegan and vegetarian options.
Dinner continues in the Sala Toscanini named after the famous musician Antonio Toscanini who stayed at the property on multiple occasions. The lavish touches in the room such as the 19th century frescoes make for an elegant evening that can seat up to 240 guests. The menus you can choose from are named after the Borromean Islands and neighboring towns: Isola Madre, Isola Bella, Isola dei Pescatori, Isola San Giovanni, Pallanza, Mergozzo, Verbano, and Intra.
The wedding cake is a decadent Chantilly lace cake served alongside a flute of champagne. You can partake in the cake cutting outside on the lawn or keep it inside in Sala Toscanini where the sound of laughter, music and dancing will ripple across the lake until the clock strikes midnight. And where you’ll have A/C…remember you’re in Italy, not many places will offer it by Grand Hotel Majestic does! And you’ll want it in the summer, trust me.
Planning your dream small wedding on Lake Maggiore shouldn’t and isn’t difficult. The staff at Grand Hotel Majestic Pallanza are multi-lingual and extremely capable of handling all requests. They can create a room block for you at a special rate for your guests, coordinate all day of and pre-wedding details, work directly with your wedding planner, and answer all of your questions immediately, detailed and promptly. I promise you, I have plenty of emails back and forth with the property to prove it! Their promptness, clear communication, and event planning skills are to be lauded. They are on the luxury, higher end of customer service in Italy, something that may be a given in places like the US, but not so much in Italy.
The team will even coordinate a food tasting and property tour for you so you can ensure the meal your serving your guests from aperitivo to cake meets your expectation. They allow you to customize your own wine pairings that guests will receive during dinner with a wine tasting during the meal tasting. Lastly, they take you through every room on the property including the suites so you can choose where to spend the night. Did I mention the bride and groom get a free night in the hotel the night of their wedding? Imagine waking up to one of the tallest balconies on Lago Maggiore overlooking the Borromean Islands on a beautiful, sunny June day. Enjoy breakfast on the balcony or experience it with the rest of the wedding party in one of the private breakfast rooms with window views of Pallanza and the lake.
After a fairytale wedding like this on Lago Maggiore, you might think you haven’t awoken from your dream. But I promise you, it’s reality.
Typical Cost: Starts at 150 euro per person per meal, includes wine, cake, tableware, and venue fee
Capacity: 240 for Sala Toscanini room, 80 for garden ceremony
Bonus: The hotel has over 80 rooms and suites on 5 floors. They even just created and opened 6 neighboring apartments for rent starting 2023 known as the Montibello residence. Each has a kitchen and a dining room. If you’re lucky, you can even rent the 1 villa, Villa Montibello, an elegant mansion built in 1860 and completely restored with 2 apartments, each with 3 rooms. The villa includes exclusive use of the semi-level sloping garden and the infinity pool, reserved to the Villa guests only.
>> Next: The Borromean Islands on Lago Maggiore: History, How to Get There, What to See
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