HITCHED!!! …In Bled, Slovenia

JUNE 2nd, 2018

Whitney_and_Chris_Wedding_Bled_Jost_Gantar (336)

Back in 2015, we unexpectedly visited an absolutely beautiful country tucked mainly between Croatia and Austria, but short borders with Italy and Hungary exist.  SLOVENIA was never on my bucketlist.  I even had friends insulting the small country, informing me I should travel to Croatia instead.  I call shenanigans… Slovenia is amazing. So much so, that I decided to get married there.

Having completely planned, organized, and cut expensive corners on my first mistake… uhh wedding… I assumed there was no way in hell I could get anything cheaper overseas.  I quickly realized I was wrong.  A Google search yielded several wedding planners in Bled that did not look too outrageously expensive.  Could it be too good to be true??

I emailed four different companies/planners with inquiries.  I received a total of three responses – one quickly, one shortly after, and one LONG after.  I quickly bonded with one in particular.  She was wonderfully personable, responded quickly, and gave me a ton of information.  My fiancé and I debated between two – the cheaper and the awesomer (yes, I just invented my own word).

We decided on the awesomer – DA PETRA. Who wouldn’t?!

Whitney_and_Chris_Wedding_Bled_Jost_Gantar (220)
Me, Petra and Hubs

Should anyone decide Slovenia is a phenomenal location to get married, I HIGHLY recommend her to help you plan a phenomenal wedding.  I don’t care if you’re American, European, or reside in a multitude of other countries, she is absolutely amazing.

Petra Cuk contacted me quickly.  She was informative, friendly, and honest.  I received a detailed breakdown of her quote immediately.  Petra not only responded quickly, but also answered every question I asked her, plus more.  I do not ask typical questions, nor do I converse in a normal fashion (probably evident from my writing).

She took care of everything from the get go… She explained every aspect of the process, she contacted the registry office, provided me with every single bit of information that I would need prior to flying over.  She took care of the annoying paperwork that obviously confused me (as I don’t speak Slovenian)… she even reserved Bled Castle for the dinner within less than 24 hours of deciding on a date.  AND reserved the Registry Office for the ceremony.  After having planned a wedding in the States once before, I was amazed at how easy doing it overseas was with the help of Petra.

But it wasn’t just her flawless handling of the typical wedding arrangements.  Petra is extremely friendly, engaging and open.  We shared photos with one another.  We chatted about everyday events and travel plans.  Working with Petra was not just a business transaction – I felt like I left Bled with a friend.  I will miss receiving emails from her regularly.

Moral of the Story: PETRA IS FANTASTIC!!!!

Whitney_and_Chris_Wedding_Bled_Jost_Gantar (84)

 

 

 

Should anyone wish to take advantage of the flawless services provided by Petra, she can be contacted at:

www.dapetra.com   OR petra@dapetra.com

 

 

 

 

 

UPDATE:

A majority of the above was written several months prior to the wedding.  Post-wedding, my opinion has not changed, and has, in fact, improved.  While I may not be the typical, panicking bride when issues arose at the day of the wedding, shit happens.  We certainly did not have the unmistakably “perfect” wedding, but it was absolutely perfect to us.

Whitney_and_Chris_Wedding_Bled_Jost_Gantar (20A)

Whitney_and_Chris_Wedding_Bled_Jost_Gantar (19A)

 

Whitney_and_Chris_Wedding_Bled_Jost_Gantar (76)

June 2nd, 2018 started after a night of wonderful sleep at the Penzion Berc (thanks for the suggestion, Petra).  About 1130 in the morning, Irina came to perfect my hair.  She was successful.  My long hair that desperately needed a cut was braided beautifully and pinned up.  Irina was incredibly friendly, talented and personable.  She wore a utility belt that contained her many hairsprays, which she informed my Mom and I that she got after seeing multiple photos of her securing a can of spray between her legs in a less-than-flattering manner.  Irina did a trial run of my hair a couple of days before. That sucker fell down (10 pins and little hairspray cannot keep my insanely straight hair contained).  The second go lasted more than a day, to include the wedding (rain, champagne, wind, etc.), a night’s sleep, a swim in a glacial waterfall, and a few hour drive.  I finally took it down after I saw myself in the mirror.  Anyway, I call that a success.

Whitney_and_Chris_Wedding_Bled_Jost_Gantar (75)

Whitney_and_Chris_Wedding_Bled_Jost_Gantar (80)

Whitney_and_Chris_Wedding_Bled_Jost_Gantar (45)

 

Back to the wedding…

Irina did a wonderful job on my hair.  The intricate braids looked beautiful, and everything was properly secured with pins and lots of hairspray.  Shortly after, Petra and the photographer showed up.  Some awkward photos, and a couple decent ones, during our prep were the result.

Whitney_and_Chris_Wedding_Bled_Jost_Gantar (8)

getting dressedWhitney_and_Chris_Wedding_Bled_Jost_Gantar (25)

us

The Details…

Details.jpg

Our entire guest list (excluding us) consisted of seven people:  My mom (henceforth known as Mama Rubes), Morgs and Leah (mentioned in previous posts), Marshal (another coworker, also mentioned previously), Diane (yet another colleague) and her cousin, and JB (my old friend from college).  We, unfortunately, had a few last minute bailers.  Second weddings are usually much smaller, and much better!

Whitney_and_Chris_Wedding_Bled_Jost_Gantar (65)

Whitney_and_Chris_Wedding_Bled_Jost_Gantar (68)

Whitney_and_Chris_Wedding_Bled_Jost_Gantar (90).JPG
Our whopping NINE guests… Everyone accidentally matched quite well!

Anyway, all nine of us rode in shared vans to Town Hall – a quaint villa hidden up a hill next to the lake.  We did not have your typical, American wedding where the bride and her father walk down the aisle with guests standing in rows subtly taking sides depending on which side of the aisle they chose to sit on.  Nope, our seven guests were seated in a small room overlooking the lake.  Fiance and I strolled in together around our group while being serenaded by a violin and piano rendition of Moon River – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_a_sZnp6aQ0

Whitney_and_Chris_Wedding_Bled_Jost_Gantar (97)

 

We approached a table, at which stood three stern-looking individuals.  To the left, the translator; square in the middle, the officiant; and to the right, the registrar.  The entire ceremony was in Slovenian, before being translated to English.  The registrar with her brilliant red hair began the ceremony.  Her portion was incredibly literal and serious – how we shall arrange and handle our finances, to where we must reside.  Then we moved on to the officiant.  I had absolutely no clue what the expressive gentleman wearing an intricate necklace was saying in his wonderfully soothing voice, but I continued to smile and nod just because of how entrancing and calming he was.

Ceremony

Whitney_and_Chris_Wedding_Bled_Jost_Gantar (130)

 

Whitney_and_Chris_Wedding_Bled_Jost_Gantar (134)

___________

Prior to the ceremony, we were warned by Petra that the ceremony was serious, and we were not to joke.  Uhh… we aren’t particularly good at NOT joking, so this could get interesting.  We were advised a couple had once said “no” as a joke to the very important, final question, prompting the three people at the front table to turn and walk out.  We hesitated, but asked if we could possibly handcuff ourselves together (as were are both police officers and why not?), but after we properly answered that final question.  Petra inquired, and received yes as an answer.  Alas, after the ceremony being a serious as it was, we hesitated on follow through.  After the awkward pause, the translator suddenly asked us, “is there something you’d like to do?”  YES!  Enter handcuffs!

PVAK0880

 

Whitney_and_Chris_Wedding_Bled_Jost_Gantar (151)

We, and our two witnesses – Morgs & Marshal, then signed another document none of us could read to finalize the ceremony.  Moral of the story throughout the day: For all we know, I was being sold into the slave trade in exchange for a goat.  So far so good, I have not been swapped for a farm animal!

Whitney_and_Chris_Wedding_Bled_Jost_Gantar (165).JPG

 

 

… Move forth to the patio overlooking Lake Bled

We were joined by rain.  That’s good luck, right? …

Whitney_and_Chris_Wedding_Bled_Jost_Gantar (179)

a1

Whitney_and_Chris_Wedding_Bled_Jost_Gantar (191)
Mama Rubes & I
Whitney_and_Chris_Wedding_Bled_Jost_Gantar (190)
Champagne Toast

And opening our champagne bottles with a sword!  Why is this not a thing in the US too?! I later learned why.  My now husband happens to be insanely accident-prone.  When one is working, and receives a phone call that their significant other has accidentally attempted to remove part of his finger with a kitchen knife, one gets concerned when HUGE knives are placed in his hands.  Alas, his bottle opening was successful and uneventful.

champagne.jpg

That’s more than I can say for my own.  The photographer caught the shock and shower frame-by-frame…

Frame by fram.jpg

whitney_and_chris_wedding_bled_jost_gantar-207.jpg

Momentarily rendered blind, I asked only for a napkin.  After removing the champagne from my burning eyes, I glanced up to see some frantic, frightened looking people.

All good!  Just let me fix my damp make-up!

Whitney_and_Chris_Wedding_Bled_Jost_Gantar (199)a2MXHC0009Patio

After drinks on the patio, many hugs with the concerned sword-wielding champagne opener expert, and sadly bidding adieu to Petra, Hubs and I departed in a classy Mercedes bound for a boat to the island.  Upon exiting the vehicle, we were greeted by a horde of camera-brandishing Asian tourists.  I am quite sure they took more photos of us than our own photographer.  We then boarded the Barbara, a small manually propelled boat, which was piloted by a gnarly-handed gentleman with a lot of endurance.  Re-enter the rain.  Thank you, canopy, for keeping us mostly dry for the trek across the lake.

Whitney_and_Chris_Wedding_Bled_Jost_Gantar (236)

Whitney_and_Chris_Wedding_Bled_Jost_Gantar (227)

Lake Collage

OSHP5416

The rain came to a halt just as we reached the island.  Perhaps rain on your wedding day really is good luck!  Bordering the boat dock one is given two options – lake or 99 stairs up to the chapel.  It is good luck for the groom to carry the bride up all 99 stairs.  Bravo, Hubs!  You succeeded!  If I weighed more than 120 lbs. (54.4 kgs), I feel this hike would have turned out much differently.

Whitney_and_Chris_Wedding_Bled_Jost_Gantar (253)

Whitney_and_Chris_Wedding_Bled_Jost_Gantar (257)

99 Stairs

IMG_0788

A cheering section greeted us as he approached the top.  You can do it!!!

Whitney_and_Chris_Wedding_Bled_Jost_Gantar (268)

We retired to some other building for the traditional Slovenian potica cake (we settled on chocolate and hazelnut), and more drinks.

Whitney_and_Chris_Wedding_Bled_Jost_Gantar (278)

Snack

Whitney_and_Chris_Wedding_Bled_Jost_Gantar (283)

*********************

Whitney_and_Chris_Wedding_Bled_Jost_Gantar (285)

 

 

Shortly thereafter, we headed to the chapel to ring the wishing bell – wishes AND good luck!  The intricate chapel is perched on the highest point of the island, and has a long rope hanging in the middle of the room leading down from the pitched ceiling.

Chapel Bell

Whitney_and_Chris_Wedding_Bled_Jost_Gantar (292)

*********************

Whitney_and_Chris_Wedding_Bled_Jost_Gantar (322)

 

 

 

We were secreted away for a few photographs prior to departing.

 

 

Whitney_and_Chris_Wedding_Bled_Jost_Gantar (324)

AAAAA

Whitney_and_Chris_Wedding_Bled_Jost_Gantar (330)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fun was still not over, and we ferried over to the mainland on the same boat.  Next stop was the medieval castle guarding the alluring Lake Bled.

Bled Castle…

Whitney_and_Chris_Wedding_Bled_Jost_Gantar (345).JPG

We were unceremoniously dumped at the entrance to the castle.  A traipse up a cobblestone path followed, which lead to the upper terrace where the restaurant was housed.  We were lead to the gazebo-esk structure on the terrace, where the waiters had two MORE bottles of champagne waiting… and yet another sword.  Shit.  I refused to make another attempt at exploding champagne bottles, so Hubs and Morgs took shots at these bottles.  One booze shower was enough for the night.

Whitney_and_Chris_Wedding_Bled_Jost_Gantar (338).JPG

Due to the rain, we dined inside the restaurant.  Our table was set up directly under a huge picture window providing a fantastic view of Bled.  Now it was time for the FOUR COURSE meal to commence!

 

 

** Smoke Piran Sea Bass on smoked fennel salad with green apple and mustard seeds

** Light garlic soup with a crab pastry

** Mashed vegetables with scallops and parsley oil

** Tornedos Rossini – Filet Mignon, foie gras, bread crouton, onion jam, sauce, truffles

** Walnut Potica with vanilla sauce

IMG_0972

Group Collage

IMG_0786

Collage

The entire meal was delicious, the wait staff was phenomenal, and the drinks kept flowing.  The wonderful day ended back at the gazebo with the presentation of the wedding cake.  I had not only never seen the wedding cake, but I also had almost zero input into what it looked like.  My only instructions to Petra were “police themed” and I choose the flavor.  The cake was a complete, and extraordinary, surprise conceived by our remarkable wedding planner.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When our badge appeared atop our wedding cake in another country, my somewhat muddled brain started hypothesizing.  Then I recalled our first meeting with Petra.  She nonchalantly asked to see our badge, and then excitedly asked if she could, by chance, take a picture of it.  Of course we agreed!  Thinking nothing of it at the time.  And then the little bugger materialized on the cake.  Petra’s unbelievable services just keep getting better and better.

CAKE.jpg

yexn8157.jpg

 

 

After a short dance to Moon River, courtesy of our cellular devices, we departed the exquisite Bled Castle, bound for Penzion Berc.  We could not have asked for a more unforgettable day, and the little mishaps (like champagne explosions and rain) were all a part of it.  Thanks to our friends who joined, and a huge thank you to Petra, the most outstanding wedding planner!

 

 

As I flip through the photographs two months later, a smile creeps across my face.  To some brides, our day may have been a catastrophe… From rain, to some close friends bailing at the last moment, to a champagne bottle exploding in my face.  The photos are not perfect, we have some odd looks on our faces, and they are most certainly not always flattering.  But that day was perfect to us, and I would not take back a single moment of it.  To many more years of goofy imperfection…

cewp2752.jpg


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s