Colin Spooner felt calm and collected in the days leading up to his wedding to fiancée Melissa Grimm. And why not? The couple had been relaxing with friends and family, enjoying the fairy-tale scenery that surrounded them at the gorgeous resort in Lake Como, Italy where their destination-wedding weekend took place. Three hours before the event was scheduled to begin, his mother beckoned him over to meet a stylish woman with whom she was having a conversation in the lobby.

The woman, it turned out, was a guest who had been coming to the resort every summer for the past 45 years, and who had apparently managed to steal a glance at the couple’s reception set-up. “I won’t ever forget what she said,” recalls the groom. “She said, ‘I’ve never – and I mean never – seen the banquet hall look so incredibly beautiful. It’s simply amazing.'” It was at that moment when the groom officially became nervous.

Nevertheless, the storied event was soon underway. The picturesque wedding ceremony was set in the estate’s historic gardens, nestled amongst the breathtaking greenery of the Italian countryside. A towering structure known as “the Mosaic” served as a stunning backdrop, showcasing artwork and statues dating back to the 16th century. Although little additional décor was required to enhance the setting, two sets of bronze vessels containing a mixture of blooms in blush, ivory, and pale cherry tones flanked an aisle lined with rose petals and complementary arrangements in terracotta pots. Wooden seating blended perfectly with the natural surroundings. Elaborate programs featured a romantic watercolor likeness of the garden, a keepsake of the enchanting service.

The groom’s anxiety dissipated the moment he laid eyes on his stunning bride, who looked absolutely resplendent in a strapless blush gown. Delicate floral embellishments dotted the décolletage while cascading layers of organza floated to the floor. Her short, stylish coiffure fell effortlessly around her face. She carried a bouquet of pale pink peonies. “They were the most magnificent peonies I’ve ever seen,” she recalls.

The bride’s sister, dressed in a stunning noir lace gown, served as Melissa’s matron of honor, while the groom’s son, his brother, and the brother of the bride had been enlisted to stand up for Colin. “Watching my son deliver his best man’s speech with a grace and poise that belie his age made me swell with pride,” confesses Colin.

Just as the hotel guest had foretold, the resort’s banquet hall had been magically transformed into a fantastical space thanks to warm pink lighting and ornate stencils that were projected on the walls to dramatic effect. Romantic candlelight cast a dreamy glow from towering candelabras that ran the length of two banquet tables draped in silky mauve linens. Floral arrangements of varying heights (in tones inspired by the bride’s gown) completed the elegant design.

Apropos to the host country, the food, the wine, and the celebration were all first-class. A grand display of fireworks over Lago di Como, and an after-hours “discotecha” ensured the festivities continued well into the early morning hours.

“We were incredibly fortunate to be able to stop the world, gather our closest friends and family in a stunning setting, and truly be in the moment,” effuses the bride. “That is something I will cherish forever.”

The groom agrees that the weekend was truly a once-in-a-lifetime event, and has but one regret. “The only thing I would do differently if I had it all to do over again,” he smiles, “is marry her sooner.”