Following their stateside “Secret Garden”-inspired wedding in Southern California, Chelsea Montgomery-Duban and Dominic Wächter prepared for yet another wedding, this time in Germany, where the groom is from and where his family resides. “After having a very quintessential ‘California’ wedding in my hometown, we decided to go for something that felt very fairy-tale-like and traditionally German,” shares Chelsea. “It was a big over-the-top wedding compared to what most people celebrate in the area, but choosing a castle venue really made it feel like the marriage of our two cultures into one.”
Since they had worked with Charley Izabella King of Bluebell Events for their first celebration, the esteemed planner also organized the big day in Germany, with the assistance of a local planner who speaks the language. Organizing nuptials in her beloved’s country allowed Chelsea to learn even more about her husband’s Bavarian/Franconian culture and background. “Domi’s mom was the reason we knew about any of the German wedding traditions that took place, and she helped Charley put those moments together so they could be executed just like any German from that area would expect them to be,” affirms the bride.
The nuptials began at noon with an alfresco ceremony, which took place on the manicured lawn in front of the stunning venue. “We mimicked the ‘Secret Garden’ theme of our California wedding on a smaller scale, letting the backdrop of the castle do the talking,” adds the bride. A stunning ceremony structure embellished with florals and verdure in soft shades of blush, ivory, and sage marked the spot for the vow exchange. Similar arrangements decorated the entrance of the ceremony and lined the grass aisle accented with whimsical décor such as lanterns adorned with fresh greenery.
After the bride and groom exchanged heartfelt vows, they were yet again pronounced husband and wife – this time in German. “It was so different than when we got married in California,” confirms Chelsea. “We got to hold on to each other and walk into this new life together.” The newlyweds then partook in traditional German wedding games that demonstrated their teamwork and set them forth in the newest chapter of their lives. After a series of traditional activities – such as downing two glasses of Champagne to determine who would be the ‘head of household’ and sawing a log in half to demonstrate their partnership – Dominic’s brother, who served as his best man, took Chelsea to a bar in town to have a drink together while the groom walked through the city looking for her. “He found me hiding in the back of a pizzeria, where we toasted to the future,” smiles the bride, noting curious on-lookers helped to point him in the right direction.
At last, Chelsea and Dominic joined their guests in the exquisite reception space, which was decorated with an Art Deco feel to honor the venue. “We used an abundance of candles to add to the romance… It felt warm, elegant, and magical,” affirms Chelsea. Tables were decorated with golden candelabra holding flickering taper candles, as well as all-white arrangements of calla lilies, orchids, roses, and hydrangeas. “We love things to be beautiful and magical, but in our hearts were just two kids in love that wanted to have a good time and enjoy with their family and friends,” shares the bride.
While most American weddings offer a choice of entrées when guests RSVP, guests of the wedding in Germany were delighted to make their choices as they arrived to the fête. “The incredible thing about the Grand Hotel in Nuremberg is that they were actually able to take peoples’ orders upon arrival. It was pretty spectacular,” notes the bride. “The food had a traditional German essence while bringing a sophisticated edge to traditional dishes.”
To ensure all of their loved ones felt comfortable throughout the soirée, an emcee was hired to translate between English and German. Chelsea also surprised her beloved’s family by reciting a speech in German. “I have been in classes for two years, and I was proud that I was able to speak to my new family in their native language,” muses the bride. Her best friend also sang and spoke in German, which she had just learned the morning of the celebration. “I think languages are oftentimes seen as a barrier, but I believe our wedding showcased especially that when there is love, there is no language needed,” says Chelsea. “You will always be able to feel what is in the other person’s heart.”