UK Destination Wedding Photographers in Slovenia
This post not only documents our first experience as Destination Wedding Photographers within Europe but the sweetest fairytale wedding of a wonderful couple. Ladies and gentlemen we give you Caroline and Simon’s Slovenian wedding… as someone pointed out the word Slovenia is mostly love!
We love shooting destination weddings, especially when they are relatively intimate. The number of guests attending Caroline and Simon’s Slovenian adventure was of such a perfect size. For the three days that we had the pleasure of their company we were able to greater observe and naturally capture the individually personalities of the members of the wedding group, their interactions and emotions.
Destination Wedding Photographers Travel to Slovenia
Unusually we met the wedding party at Stansted airport, they were a lively bunch, so much so that you couldn’t help but feel like you were going on holiday.
Murray and I were surprisingly impressed by not only Stansted airport but the whole EasyJet flight experience. We had been nervous about our first time flying with our kit on a ‘budget airline’ because our previous experiences working as destination wedding photographers had always involved long hall luxury flying. We found EasyJet very accommodating with photography equipment, exceptionally understanding with the case of the erroneous tripod and enjoyed every minute with them in the air.
The day brightened and we dipped beneath the cloud line flying over snow-capped mountains to Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. At the airport we were eagerly greeted by Bled Tours for a bus ride to Bled.
Arriving at the lovely Hotel Kompas we were given our first impressions of the wedding venues. Even though the misty dark evening air we could tell we had arrived in a fairy tale location.
After dining with the wedding party we double checked our kit and headed early to bed.
Destination Wedding Photographers at Lake Bled, Slovenia
The next morning we were able to fully appreciate the hotel’s panoramic views across the lake. We found Caroline and Simon bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, keen to take a stroll about the lakeside and see the sights. Out of the blue we stumbled across a Dali exhibition (and some of the wedding party) which was fascinating. Simon took a little morning foray into the depths of surrealist art.
Back out in the fresh air (and reality) we took a walk alongside the famous Lake Bled. The bride and groom to be were so obviously in love they were almost skipping along hand in hand, only pausing on a bench next to a huge love heart, as you do!
As destination wedding photographers we like to research our locations before arriving at a wedding destination. All of the promotional material for bled and the accommodation is covered in pictures of Lake Bled in the summer. Bright blue skies, emerald-green water and crispy clear mountains everywhere else was not what we were experiencing. Autumn had definitely arrived in Bled with its gorgeous yellows and deep oranges in the tree leaves. Mist hung in the air and the snow-capped mountains rose into low-lying clouds.
Wild Swimming at Slovenian Destination Wedding
Simon and Caroline were so very taken with the fairy tale like surroundings that they bravely decided a swim in the glacial waters would be a good idea. It’s usually Murray or myself that ends up getting waist deep in water for the perfect wedding photograph- not the bride and groom.
Looking around our stunning surroundings you could clearly see all three buildings that would be utilised later in the day. The Town Hall registry office, which looks like a villa was to be the site for the legal ceremony. Rising from the lake in the distance was Bled Island, topped with Assumption of Mary Pilgrimage Church. Finally along with the snow-capped mountains dominating the vista up on its cliff like precipice was Bled castle. Combined with the crispy fresh breeze Lake Bled in the autumn is simply gorgeous.
Destnation Wedding Photographers Capture Wedding Morning Preparations
Back in the hotel, wedding preparations were under way. Caroline and Simon’s sons busily smartened themselves, combed hair and tied their gold ties.
The girls, in varying states of preparedness gathered around Caroline as she had her hair and makeup styled. Even with the cold of the lake behind her and a glass of champagne in front she was cool as a cucumber. Slowly a happy jovial atmosphere grew in the room, aided by the popping of champagne. I found the laced full applique white wedding dress hanging against the mountainous backdrop in Nanma’s (Caroline’s mother) room.
Meanwhile Simon, our groom, looked exceptionally dapper in his blue Ted Baker suit with gold accessories. He and other members of the wedding party ‘checked’ to see if the bar was open. They then admired the stunning views with a couple of glasses of Dutch courage.
The girls left Caroline and her friend Sarah to finish off the wedding makeup as Simon and his wedding guests headed out into the rain to the Town Hall.
At the last-minute it was time for Caroline with the expert help of Nanma to don her stunning dress. Descending the hotel stairs she really did now look like a princess in a fairy tale.
Waiting outside the hotel was the final touch to her fairy tale (skipping over the obvious prince charming). A Fijaker – a coachman with his traditional horse and carriage.
Bled Town Hall Civil Wedding Ceremony in Slovenia
While Caroline and Nanma enjoyed their ride clip-clopping through the streets Simon and the wedding party were waiting in the town hall ceremony room with the Mayor, Registrar and interpreter. The civil ceremony with wonderful words was read by the mayor in Slovenian. It helped that he had a voice like melted chocolate and was translated by the enthusiastic translator. The entire wedding party witnessed the marriage of Caroline and Simon all overlooking the church island on Lake Bled.
Simon was a mixture of what looked like nervousness and feverish excitement, whilst Caroline maintained her happy calmness. Family and close friends looked on. After much laughter, hugging and tears the happy couple signed the register and left into autumn rain as husband and wife.
Destination Wedding Photographers Capture Boat Ride on Lake Bled
A short jaunt down to the shore line and we embarked two ‘Pletna’. The traditional flat-bottomed boats or gondola, powered by one man with two oars. Wrapped up and sheltered against the elements we slowly moved across the lake. The distant island and it’s church growing larger and larger on the horizon. Slovenian tradition dictates that a groom should carry his bride up all 99 steps to the church without her making a sound! Given the rain and carpet of wet leaves we were glad that some traditions were left to be.
Destination Wedding Photographers at Bled Island and Church
As the guests warmed up in a café we had a couple of minutes with the happy couple alone before the light left us. We utilised one of the bell tower walls and a couple of doorways. The Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Mary dates back to the 1400s. Restored several times after multiple earthquakes it is an eclectic mixture of gothic and baroque styling.
Fragments of frescoes with the scenes from Mary’s life are preserved on the walls for all to see. The eye is easily distracted by extensive golden detailing inside. In the centre hangs a bell rope belonging to the ‘Wishing Bell’. Consecrated and rung since 1534 it is said that whomever rings this bell gives honour to the Virgin Mary and their wish will come true.
Caroline and Simon held on to the rope, had a kiss and rang the bell. We wondered what they wished for, whatever it was it didn’t stop them kissing again and again, and again!
As their guests gathered outside with confetti in hands there was still a lot of kissing going off in the church. A joyful shower of confetti later and we descended the 99 steps back onto the boats.
Waiting on the near shoreline we were greeted by the familiar bus of Bled Tours which swept us through the steep winding streets and tunnels up to Bled Castle.
Destination Wedding Photographers at Bled Castle Wedding Reception
Up close and in the warm evening light the medieval castle with Romanesque tower looked even more impressive. All cobbles and stone with detailed metal work and a view to die for overlooking Bled, the lake and the national park behind.
A drinks reception and canapés in the undercrofts greeted the guests who, after the climb were happy to see some refreshment. The popping of champagne corks mixed with the happy chatter and laughter as guests warmed their cockles in such an impressive setting.
Upstairs the gorgeous Bled Castle Restaurant Jezersek had been set up for the wedding breakfast. Right at the edge of the castle the huge glass window overlooked the now glowing town set against the darkened landscape. Simon and Caroline were welcomed in with a standing ovation. We were all then treated to an incredibly tasty three-course meal with local wines.
The speeches saw Simon don his reading glasses and he and Caroline snuggled up together in fits of laughter. Then there were the tears of joy…
Wedding Speeches at Bled Castle, Slovenia
You know it is a wonderfully emotional wedding when you see an ex-marine sent over the edge by the speeches. Caroline had carefully restored and printed some black and white photographs of Simon’s parents which had him speechless. A speech written by his son added to the tears. At the point at which the audio telegrams were played there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.
Once everyone had caught their breath the music finally played. Before exiting our medieval surroundings the happy couple danced their first dance and all of the guests joined them for a boogey.
A beautiful fairytale day in a beautiful fairytale wedding destination, so full of love (and tears!)