Pictures by Ca’Sagredo

Venice is a magnet for those who are in love. So it is no wonder Italy is the leading European wedding destination for people who want to have their big day abroad, and the second in the world after tropical paradises like Hawaii. A Venice wedding celebration in this city is not only something for the rich and famous, but is possible for everyone.

“Everything is possible in Venice,” says wedding planner Ornella Naccari, who has organized destination weddings in Venice since 2002. “Venice is one of the most beautiful locations in the world. Almost every imaginable type of symbolic weddings can be experienced here. You can be married in a historic building that will make you feel as if you have been transported backwards in time. You can get married on the bridges over the 150 canals through the city. You can even say your vows while the sun sets in the lagoon.”

Naccari noticed the demand for destination wedding planning after she agreed to help with arranging papers for an English couple. Before she knew it, she was arranging photographers, flowers, gondolas and all the other components of a ceremony. So she started her own business, ON-View, which stands for Venice Italy Exclusive Weddings, and never looked back.

While many couples come just for the ceremony and wedding reception, Naccari says, others go through the whole process – from proposing to ordering a gown to the actual wedding – spread out over a few trips. Venice, as you can imagine, has the best places in the world to propose and since it is famous for its lace, brides can order their wedding gowns on the spot, although this does take some planning. A handmade wedding veil in real Burano stitches, for instance, takes four months to make, but with stunning result.


Naccari showed hiEurope around Ca’Sagredo, a 15th century former mansion of the noble Sagredo family, which has all the right rooms and decorations for spending a wedding day like European aristocracy. Ca’Sagredo is one of the more popular palaces Naccari works with, and one short tour easily explains why.

A wedding here starts with a boat ride in the special gondola to the grand entrance of the hotel. Entering this building is like being transported into the golden age of Venezia and being swallowed up by the grandeur of the ancient Palazzo.

From the imposing lobby, it’s on to the grand staircase, which was designed and completed by architect Andrea Tirali in 1732. The stairs are in an impossibly beautiful chamber with a spectacular fresco-covered domed ceiling depicting The Fall of the Giants. ‘Some couples decide to have the ceremony right here on the stairs,” Naccari says.

The stairs lead to the Portego, the great hall of the noble floor, a chamber with high ceilings and thick wooden beams hung with a series of ancient Murano Glass chandeliers that set the room ablaze with light. Wedding dinners are held in the music room, another incredible room completely covered with frescoes from the 16th century, a perfect place to add a baroque quartet in 17th century costumes to play at the wedding banquet.

Newlyweds can choose between a spacious bridal suite, or the more intimate library suite, which was once the personal chamber of the Sagredo family, and is fully restored with gold interiors. Nacarri shows wedding pictures taken in these rooms, and they are just as stunning as the rooms themselves. “The biggest wedding I have organized in Venice was for an Australian movie star. She brought over 200 guests with her,” she says. “It was a beautiful procession over the Grand Canal.”

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