Next on the website is Larissa & Tim’s intimate Lake Bled wedding held at the Grand Toplice Hotel in Slovenia. I remember having a lovely chat with the couple before they booked me. Both were living in Edinburgh at the time but are originally from Australia. So they wanted a location in Europe that could serve as a gorgeous place for a wedding but also a mini holiday for everyone. Well if you’re going to fly all that way you might as well have the perfect setting for it!
This was my first time in Slovenia; I always get excited about seeing a new country for the first time. You get pleasant anticipation of what this new place could be like as you fly at 30,000 feet above the ground. I arrived a couple of days before and decided to use the time up by walking around the old town of the capital Ljubljana. This historic part of the city has a sense of tranquillity about it. From its calming river etching, it’s a way around the castle to the countless cafes and restaurants all buzzing with people enjoying a spot of lunch under the hot Autumn sunshine. I note to myself to return one day with more time in hand.
As I drove to Bled lake, I wondered if it was as beautiful as the pictures I had seen online. I remember seeing a stunning photograph of a lake on my TV background and thinking where on earth is this place. Luckily for me, the backdrop in this picture was also the same location where Larissa & Tim would celebrate their wedding. Located in the Julian Alps of the Upper Carniolan region of Slovenia it is a feast for the eyes; stretching nearly 7000 feet with a spectacular island on the western side. I start to see why people have Lake Bled weddings!
The morning of the wedding arrives. I head to meet Larissa & her family and friends getting ready at the Grand Toplice Hotel, which conveniently located on the shores of the Lake Bled. It’s only when I head up and take a look out on the balcony of the room you get a sense of how much this is a perfect place for a wedding. Stretching directly opposite the hotel lies Bled Castle, hanging 130 feet on the cliff face and dating back 1000 years. This medieval castle displays a dominating aspect of the landscape that it’s hard not to think about all the history that this place must have seen over the millennia. After a few shots of Larissa, I head to meet the boys who’re getting ready at the Hotel Park a short walk away. I arrive to a mixture of ironing and pre-wedding drink to calm the nerves as they slowly don their suits for the day ahead.
The ceremony is going to be on the courtyard of the Grand Toplice hotel with the castle proudly standing in the background. After everyone takes in the dramatic scenery, they head to their seats and Tim, and his ushers wait for the arrival of the bride. Lake bled weddings are slightly different when it comes to ceremonies. Legally it has to be in the Slovenian language, luckily a translator is on board to help with the proceedings. After a few readings from friends and family, the couple gets to exchange their vows. One of my favourite images is of them both staring at each other with the castle right in the middle of them. Something very romantic about it.
After a small drinks reception, it’s time for a lovely surprise for all of the guests, the couple has organised a boat trip to Bled island. Everyone gets split into two traditional wooden boats called a Pletna. They have a particular character with colourful awnings all being pushed along by a smiling man at the back. After a 10-minute crossing, we dock to the island, a tradition in area states that the groom must carry the bride up the 99 steps to the top. Today Larissa has given Tim the day off, and they both walk up gracefully together. After the ascent, everyone gets to enjoy some delicious food as I head off with the couple for some pictures and an obligatory bell ringing at the church altar.
The return journey is a bit more dramatic as with the excitement of getting a photograph I move from one side of the boat to the other, and suddenly it starts to sway madly. Panic sets in as I think I’m going to capsize the boat and the resulting tragedy will mean I will be headline news across the Slovenian tabloids tomorrow… Lucikly for me the skilled boatsman keeps us upright, and we can all laugh about it as we head for some more pictures of the bridal party on the mainland.
The dinner reception is being held back at the Grand Toplice Hotel. Which is being set up with a long table for guests to enjoy the fading sunset with the opposing castle beautifully lit up as the sky darkens. After a fun entrance by the bridal party and newlyweds, it’s time for a mixture of speeches in-between tucking into the delicious Slovenian food. Speeches can be a lot of fun, but sometimes they can be emotional, especially when a close loved one is not with us anymore. Even I get slightly teary, but it’s always heartwarming to see the support everyone has for each other at this moment.
As the night gets colder, it’s time to head inside the hotel for the band to get the party started and everyone to warm up. The couple picked a Slovenian group who kick things off and even though it’s a relatively intimate wedding everyone from the moment they started until it ended didn’t stop moving! Towards the end of the night, Tim’s father even picked up the guitar and sang a song, with everyone singing and waving their hands in delight back to him.
And with that moment came an end to my first Lake Bled wedding, hopefully, more to come in the future! Let me know what you think at the bottom of the post? And if you like this one then definitely check out Leanne & Theo’s Tuscan Villa wedding or maybe Claire & Damien’s wedding at Quinta de Sant’ana.
A Lake Bled Wedding in Slovenia
Larrisa & Tim’s Other Wedding Suppliers
Venue – Grand Toplice Hotel
Planner – Petra at DaPetra Weddings
Dress – Love Bridal from Unbridaled Scotland
Suit –Hugo Boss
Shoes – Dune
Bracelet – Tiffany & Co
Earrings – Amelia George
Hair Comb – Lily Luna
Engagement & Wedding Band – Daniel Henderson Jewellers
Florist – Spaans
Make Up – Irina Kysselef
Bands – String trio – Strepitoso / Band – Zebra