We Eloped to Italy!

Hello again!

I’ve missed writing! I decided to take a break for a while last summer with our wedding coming up and with some other big life changes–a big promotion, a move, and too much more to keep track of!

It’s old news now, but I’m still so excited to share that I got to marry my gorgeous best friend Alyssa, in one of the most beautiful spots on earth. We eloped to Italy and exchanged vows at the incredible Villa del Balbianello on Lake Como, August 25th of 2015–il giorno più bello.

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In the morning, an amazing hair and makeup artist (Valeria–remember her if you ever know anyone getting married in Italy!) came from Milan to our private apartment just up the hill from Lake Como. We felt like royalty. And Alyssa looked like a goddess! We went down to the lakeside, met our photographers (Alessandro and Veronica–they’re AMAZING!), and waited at a hotel dock for our awesome wooden boat. The driver sped us to and from our destinations on the lake for the rest of the day.

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We spent the first part of the day visiting the most beautiful place–the Villa del Balbianello. It had been our dream for a long, long time to get married in Italy, and this Villa was our favorite version of the dream.

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The day could not have been more perfect, peaceful, and happy. Our ideal wedding day was one in which we would spend time together, just the two of us, celebrating us–just us–sharing our promises to each other–and just celebrating. And it was exactly that. It was as happy as could possibly be.

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We made our vows to each other and gave each other our wedding rings at the Villa. It was perfect.

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We spent the afternoon wandering from place to place around the lake. Alessandro and Veronica captured so many beautiful and happy moments for us to remember for the rest of our lives. Everywhere we went, people stared at us (especially Lyssi). We felt like celebrities. Everyone smiled and said “Auguri!”

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When we finally got back to our apartment in Mezzegra–a straight view from our balcony to the Villa where we had our ceremony–we were tired and hungry, but as happy as could possibly be! We realized that all we’d had to eat the entire day was a little breakfast of fresh fruit in the morning. So we went in search of a meal worth a wedding day. And we found a perfect one! We waited for a good two hours to get into a quaint little restaurant–a real hole-in-the-wall down the hill from our apartment–Antica Trattoria del Risorgimento. Delicious entrees, gourmet cheese, and amazing wine. A perfect end to a perfect day.

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I want to share a few more things with you that have been on my mind since my wildest dreams came true that summer day in Italy…

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Il dolce far niente

The wedding day was just the start. We honeymooned (luna di miele) on Lake Como for a while.

We learned some Italian–a lot when we were traveling, making our way from the airport near Milan all the way up to Lake Como by train and bus. Going to restaurants and markets. I think our favorite phrase we learned was il dolce far niente. It means the sweetness of doing nothing.

And that was our stay in Italy. We slept in late in our beautiful apartment every day. And we stayed up late and talked and read and laughed and played games and smiled and laughed some more. Visited the most incredible restaurants. Had an unbelievable amount of unbelievable pizza.

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We walked or jogged down to the market when we needed to restock our fridge full of fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, bread, wine, and cheese to die for. We ate and drank what sounded best when we felt like it. We sat on our balcony a lot and just stared at the incredible lake and mountains. We talked about our dreams and our memories. We smiled a lot. We took our time.

We went exploring every day–walking everywhere we went. Walked miles and miles some days. Lenno, Mezzegra, Tremezzo. Followed paths that were taking us who knew where. Went running sometimes. Or just sat on benches. Took some beautiful pictures.

Meals in Italy are very slow and long. People gather for hours to just be together and enjoy each other.

It was such a relaxing adventure. So peaceful. We really got to know the sweetness of doing nothing. Of just resting. Just experiencing the beauty around us. That’s something we will keep for our entire lives. An idea that we will build our life around.

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Look what we did!

Life hasn’t been a joy ride for either of us. We always had these big hopes and dreams, but when we were being honest, neither of us often expected we’d be able to make them come true. At least not so soon and in such a big way. We’ve had to work hard and push through a lot to make dreams come true.

Figuring out how to go make a wedding happen at one of the most incredible wedding destinations in the entire world–taking that on all by ourselves–was a crazy experience. It started as a “Wouldn’t that be amazing? If only…” And then we got thinking. “Why not?”

Why not? Because we can’t just up and fly to Italy, get our own apartment, rent time at a famous Villa, book Italian wedding photographers, planners, and artists, and secure a beautiful wooden boat for a day. That’s a lot of … stuff to figure out. And pay for. And make happen. Despite all the reasons why it wouldn’t make sense or we probably couldn’t do it.

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Well. We did it. And it went absolutely perfectly! What an adventure! So many details and nerve-wracking research went into that elopement. So many things aligned just right. Sometimes things “align just right” because you spend hours and hours searching and researching and asking for advice and trying crazy things.

We really made it happen–our biggest dream so far in life. We made it happen and it was incredible!

And that’s something I’m really proud of. It was so encouraging to look back afterward and to be able to say–“Wow. Something so difficult to pull off and such a huge dream. We went after it, and we made it happen.”

Good lesson. We can make things happen. And so can you. Never give up hope. Chase your dreams. You’ll be shocked by what you can accomplish.

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My friendship with my wife is the most important thing in the entire world.

Our life is about us. Not only about us. But in a big way, it is about us. Alyssa and I are best friends. And we’re a team. Taking time away from the rest of our day to day life and just celebrating our relationship–it was so clear just how valuable our relationship is and always will be.

Alyssa’s happiness is more important to me than anything else. I honestly am at a loss for words to describe how much I care for her.

But “marriage” gets such a bad rap–it’s sad. Married couples (even and sometimes especially the ones who are really pious about it) so often get sick of each other. They just live in this constant frustration and annoyance with each other. And they complain about each other incessantly to friends, co-workers, even strangers. It’s expected.

… Why?

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Yes, relationships take hard work. Humility, courage, honesty, care, tears, selflessness.

But they can also be full of happiness and fun and beauty.

But maybe in our darkest days we should think back to the beautiful, happy memories of being truly in love–wrapped up in each other. In that moment, our hearts belonged to each other in every way.

We humans forget that too quickly and easily. We forget just how much we adored the good in each other, just how genuinely we embraced each other’s weaknesses, and just how important being best friends was.

Well I owe it to my beautiful wife and to myself to not forget. Nothing can ever be as important in my life as my best friend and “life person”–because as soon as something becomes more important, we lose that incredible purpose in our lives: To be each other’s best friends and closest teammates for life.

Nothing else in the world is as valuable as having and loving each other.

Maybe that’s just us. But we will be happy.

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Thanks very much for letting me share with you one of the happiest stories in history–at least to Lyssi and me. The memory means more than I can say. The wedding was perfect. The honeymoon epitomized il dolce far niente. The adventure was empowering. And it’s all for the sake of having the most beautiful and satisfying life with my best friend.

I’m excited to get back to writing now!

A BIG thank you to Alessandro and Veronica Roncaglione for being the most incredible wedding photographers for Alyssa and me. They couldn’t have done a more perfect job! Grazie mille!

And thanks to all our friends who have been there along the way to be happy for us and help us celebrate!

Take a look at all the rest of the pictures!

Author: Peter Elbridge

I am a lifelong learner and avid reader, which translates into doing smart work for myself, my team, and my clients. I have a passion for effective leadership and an even bigger passion for helping others do and feel better. I have a lot of experience in communication, public speaking, and writing. Above all, I have a deep and genuine care for every life I touch. That's why I write. (My opinions and endorsements are my own and do not represent my employer.)

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