Marlena and Kevin’s wedding not only took place in one of the most stunningly scenic areas, but is also one of the most fun-looking celebrations we’ve come across. The couple married in Germany’s Bavarian Alps, on the very day Germany won the world cup.. which made for a pretty amazing atmosphere, as you’ll see! The brilliant Gerry Sulp captured these gorgeous images, and we have more from Marlena below on planning their wedding in Germany from the US.

Wedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian Alps Wedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian Alps Wedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian Alps Wedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian Alps Wedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian Alps Wedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian Alps Wedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian Alps Wedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian AlpsWedding: Marlena & Kevin Bavarian AlpsWedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian Alps Wedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian Alps Wedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian AlpsWedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian Alps Wedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian Alps Wedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian AlpsWedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian AlpsWedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian Alps Wedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian Alps Wedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian Alps Wedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian Alps Wedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian Alps Wedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian Alps Wedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian Alps Wedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian Alps Wedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian Alps Wedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian AlpsWedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian Alps Wedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian Alps Wedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian AlpsWedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian AlpsWedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian Alps Wedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian Alps Wedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian Alps Wedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian AlpsWedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian Alps Wedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian AlpsWedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian Alps Wedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian Alps Wedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian Alps Wedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian Alps Wedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian Alps Wedding: Marlena & Kevin Bravarian Alps

HOW THEY MET

Kevin and I met in 2012 at a gym in Manhattan. After I finished my workout, Kevin walked up to the facility’s snack bar and asked if he could “buy me a smoothie.” We chatted for a few minutes, he got my number, invited me to dinner and (after a six hour first date) we’ve been together ever since. Kevin proposed to me, after a seven day climb, at sunrise on top of Mt. Kilimanjaro in February last year.

DECIDING ON THE DESTINATION

We knew we wanted to have an intimate wedding and we knew we wanted to have bit of an adventure- so a destination wedding was perfect for us. We are definitely “mountain” people (climbing/hiking/skiing) and Kevin’s mom was not only born/raised in Germany, but his parents met and married in Munich before moving to his father’s native Oregon. My dad had done business in Germany throughout my upbringing and it had always been a place I wanted to go! We googled “most beautiful parts of Germany” and our search very quickly brought us to the Bavarian Alps and Schloss Elmau. Not only are its surrounding mountains, lakes, castles, and villages picturesque, but the hotel has a fantastic reputation for dining, spa, and service.

CHALLENGES

It was definitely challenging to plan a wedding from afar. I am not a particularly “high maintenance” person and was determined to be a very relaxed bride but I did find that determining outdoor ceremony location, menu, and activity planning having never been to the country was difficult. We were fortunate enough to take a weekend trip from NYC to Schloss Elmau, though we hadn’t thought that would be necessary, and it made such a difference. For me, meeting face to face with the people with whom I had been emailing and also being able to capture the tone of our venue in person was such a comfort.

PLANNING

We didn’t use a wedding planner, but the staff at Schloss Elmau were very helpful in communicating with the vendors we used. I gave Schloss Elmau the general tone we wanted, for example with the florals we wanted wild flowers native to the area, and they organized drop-off of the bouquet and a few floral arrangements. The hotel has no wedding planning program as such (they expressed a lack of desire to turn into a “wedding factory”) yet they really accommodated every need, one of the most impressive being allowing our Beatles cover band to play late into the evening in their beautiful bar. Since we had only six months to plan the wedding we didn’t go for a certain style or theme. We wanted the general tone to be clean and natural, but our main focus was more on planning activities for our families (hiking, castle tour, traditional Bavarian lunch, spa day) rather than the decorative details.

BEST DECISION

The best decision we made was to really focus on making our wedding a magical adventure of a vacation with our closest family and one couple who are our close friends. How often does that happen?! We will cherish the time we got to spend together: watching Kevin’s mom play games with my three year old niece or seeing my brother-in-law dance with Kevin’s sister to The ReBeatles.. the list goes on!

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS

Two days before the ceremony, we had an incredible hiking tour through the Alps that ended at a fondue mountain house. It was surreally beautiful and the hike, being more challenging than we had previously imagined, really did so much to bring our two families together.

Surprising our guests with our Beatles cover band after our wedding dinner. The ReBeatles were my husband’s idea: what generation does not love the Beatles? The band sounded great, had costume changes, and the spirit was jubilant as our wedding night fell on the night that Germany won the world cup! The atmosphere was electric- we would never have been able to predict that happening when we picked our wedding date!

Because we had such an intimate wedding, Kevin was able to create a really meaningful (funny and tear-jerking!) iMovie that incorporated the story of every person present at our wedding. It is a really wonderful piece to have.

ADVICE

The only thing I would do differently would have been to arrive in Europe a few days earlier in order to get over the jetlag that inevitably hit us in the first few mornings of our trip. My advice: Breathe! Enjoy! Eat! Drink! Dance! Marry Kevin Calaba! And get Gerry Sulp to be your photographer!

Photography: Gerry Sulp | Ceremony & Reception Venue: Schloss Elmau | Wedding Celebrant: Gunter Mehler (info@gunter-mehler.de) | Bride’s Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Groom’s Suit: Craig Robinson | Cake, Catering, Hair & Makeup: Schloss Elmau | Band: The ReBeatles

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