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Claire & Paul
Tuesday 23rd September 2008

Claire & Paul

On our first visit to Villa Giona, we knew immediately that it was the perfect venue for our dream wedding.  After viewing prospective venues in Tuscany and Umbria, we travelled to Verona to view Villa Giona with Marion and Franco.

Not only were they both very approachable, but they were a friendly, professional couple with experience up their sleeve and a good working relationship with local suppliers. Justifiably Verona’s Leading Wedding Planners for quality on the UK /Irish Market.


In comparison to other potential venues, Villa Giona definitely stood apart from all the rest.  Paolo Saletti, (the owner of Villa Giona) and Marion, were there to greet us at the door and we were welcomed with open arms and very large glasses of the Villa’s own Valpolicella wine.  The location was ideal as it boasts lovely grounds which offer privacy and seclusion, yet it is on the doorstep of the enchanting city of Verona and Lake Garda.  It was the ideal size to accommodate the numbers we wished to invite and the rooms were spacious, each offering fantastic views of the lush gardens and of course the vineyards.


We were so thrilled after seeing Villa Giona, that we confirmed our dates for the wedding on our first visit.  We decided that we would book for four nights and when we shared information and pictures of the villa with our guests they were equally excited.  We only travelled to Italy once after our initial visit, as we had complete confidence in Marion and Franco’s organisational abilities and attention to detail.  We were in no doubt that Marion and Franco as wedding planners coupled with Paolo at Villa Giona had to be a recipe for a fairytale wedding.


Our guests were blown away on arrival at Villa Giona and were speechless when they had a chance to explore the impressive villa and surrounding grounds.  Many commented how welcome they felt when greeted by Marion, Franco and Paolo.  Others remarked on the well kept gardens and how spacious their rooms were.  As to be expected, the bridal suite was elegant and beautiful, with plenty of room for all the bits and pieces a bride needs with her when getting married!  Her groom… and his money!  


With Marion’s professional guidance our ‘pink themed’ wedding became a reality and we devised a plan of events, something for each day of our stay.  On the first evening we had a fantastic Italian barbeque whilst being entertained by the musical talents of local musician Ivan  on the saxophone and clarinet.  Marion and Franco joined in with the singing and dancing and the relaxed atmosphere allowed all our guests to get to know each other.


The afternoon of the second day was spent exploring the streets of Verona.  While many of the Romeos searched in vain for their Juliets, it became apparent that the majority of the Juliets had found the many designer boutiques that Verona has to offer!  The second evening will hold very dear memories for a very long time.  On the advice of Marion and Franco we booked a nearby 5 star boutique hotel for dinner.  Rarely in life do you get to dine in such a fabulous hotel while enjoying the finest of Italian cuisine and wine. 


Day three was the main event!  On the morning of the wedding, Marion, Franco and Paolo sent up some beautiful roses with a lovely Venetian mask wishing us all the best on our wedding day.  These personal touches made everything so special.  We chose the town hall in Bardolino on the shores of Lake Garda, to have our wedding ceremony.  The ceremony took place in the second floor of this attractive building and just outside the ceremony room there is a balcony which offers spectacular views over the lake and small port.  

To add a special touch to the ceremony our Grannies had been chosen as our witnesses. And at the age of 79 and 74 they did us proud another tender moment to cherish.


The locals welcomed us with open arms, whilst keeping a safe distance from the 46 pink clad people who had just descended on their town.  Our guests were able to enjoy drinks on the lake front promenade amidst the relaxed atmosphere that Bardolino offers, whilst we were off having photographs taken.  Our photographer, Tullio  from Verona,  was excellent and encouraged us to be ourselves, relax and introduce an element of fun into our photographs.  Many crazy moments were captured on camera and the photographs taken certainly reflected our personalities and the personalities of our guests. 


The reception was held back at Villa Giona.  On our arrival, we were entertained by local 10-piece jazz band .  The band was not only visually stunning, but they sounded fantastic and kept our guests entertained as we had photographs taken amongst the vines. 


We decided to go with a Venetian theme, decorating the tables with feather masks.  In keeping with the setting, we named our tables after fine Italian wines.  Wine connoisseur Franco, ensured that everyone had a chance to sample the Amarone as well as other fine wines from the region.  The wedding banquet was exquisite and every course was enjoyed by all our guests.  In the evening we enjoyed entertainment in the form of top Italian DJ Marco, whilst enjoying the acrobatic skills of our very own cocktail bartenders .  We danced into the small hours in the grand hall in the centre of the villa.


On the final day most of our guests enjoyed exploring the small towns around Lake Garda, before returning to Villa Giona for its first ever Pizza, Pasta and Pyjama party.  Having been dreamt up over an after lunch grappa with Marion and Franco on our second visit,  this was definitely one of the highlights of our four days at Villa Giona.  It was such an enjoyable evening and our photographer, Tullio, even returned to capture the madness of us in our pjs!  We decided to keep the wedding cake until the evening of the pyjama party and it was an exceptionally large heart shaped cake, every inch of which was covered in strawberries.  As a surprise Marion and Franco had organised for Ivan to return  to entertain and keep us warm for the evening.  Roberto, possibly the most handsome villa manager in the whole of Italy serenaded the ladies with Italian love songs and all the villa staff embraced the evening and dressed up in their pjs as well.  It was really quite something and when we thought it could not get any better, an old fashioned style ice cream cart arrived, much to all the children’s amusement.  This, along with everything else, has been a talking point amongst all our guests ever since.


Prior to our arrival in Italy, we both had a vision of what our wedding day would be like, but what we experienced at Villa Giona was something that went beyond our expectations.  Every request throughout our stay was granted by the calm and unflappable Marion, from the obscure request to source a big screen and install Sky just for the day to watch the final  of the Ryder Cup to the strangely predictable ‘just one more bottle of wine’! Paolo and all the staff could not have been more attentive or accommodating and like Paolo explained to us when we arrived, it really was our home away from home.


Franco even seemed to have control of the weather.  When a storm loomed on the afternoon of our wedding, Franco reminded us that it never rained at Villa Giona and he was right as the dark clouds soon disappeared and the sun re-emerged!  It was truly fantastic how smoothly the four days unfolded and this was only due to the control and capable manner Marion and Franco had over the whole event.


It was better than we ever envisaged it would be and the efforts of Marion, Franco, Paolo and all the Villa Giona staff greatly surpassed anything we expected.  It was truly out of this world and we would like to extend a heartfelt and sincere Irish thank-you to all of them for making our time at Villa Giona so special and unforgettable.



Claire & Paul xxx 






Testimonials archive

Kristina & Simon
Saturday 31st August 2013

Kristina & Simon Villa Giona

Laura & Stefano
Friday 26th July 2013

Laura & Stefano Catholic Ceremony in Church on the hill above Villa Giona and Reception at Villa Giona

Lauren & Brian
Thursday 27th June 2013

Lauren & Brian Civil Ceremony at Villa Giona

Liz and Paolo
Saturday 22nd September 2012

Kay and David
Saturday 15th September 2012

Kay & David Verona / Villa G

Browse the archive ... 1 2 3 4

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