Joel and Mariana were recently married with the most amazing sprawling wedding, covering three cities in Switzerland and including a civil ceremony in Baden, a Church ceremony in Lucerne, a limousine ride, a boat journey, a walk around Lucerne city and a dinner and party at the beautiful Waldstätterhof Hotel in Brunen.
Having never been to Switzerland before – but having eaten lots of Toblerones in my time – I did plenty of research beforehand (ie I went on Google images), and have to concede I was one excited little photographer in the run-up to the big day.
So after a taxi journey, a plane ride, a train journey and another taxi ride, I eventually arrived in Baden, just outside of Zurich, where the bride and groom live.
On the wedding day itself, I began even earlier than usual, photographing Mariana and her girls during their bridal prep in the salon at the very crack of dawn.
I was then whizzed along to catch up with Joel as he prepared for the day ahead at his groom prep, all before making our way to Villa Boveri for the 9am ceremony.
Villa Boveri is a beautiful, listed neo-Gothic villa with all the ornaments and grand adornments you’d anticipate from such a description, and which boasts not one but two perfectly manicured gardens.
As a non-Swiss (nor Swiss-German) speaker, I can’t say I understood every word of the ceremony, but I really didn’t need to to pick up on the warmth and closeness of everyone in the room.
After a few quick family pictures in the grounds of the villa, and some portraits of the happy couple in the gardens, I jumped into a limousine with the bridal party, where we all made our way to Lucerne with lots of champagne flowing.
Once reaching Lucerne, we headed straight into St Paul’s Church for ceremony no.2, a more traditional Catholic service in a truly magnificent church building.
We then had a bit of time to wonder around Lucerne, taking in the sights and getting lots of pictures of the newlyweds in some of their favourite spots before everyone jumped on a boat for an hour-long, champagne-fuelled journey to Brunnen, where we all disembarked at the Waldstätterhof Hotel for the reception and dinner.
Both Joel and Mariana are x-ray specialists (but not the standard x-rays you get in hospitals, etc….we’re talking super-powered, splitting atoms-type x-rays, I think?), as are many of their friends, and what this translated to was a best man’s speech that went almost entirely over my head. But the guests were in hysterics, and Joel and Mariana themselves in stitches throughout, meaning I truly felt like the slowest person in the room right then, what with my paltry undergraduate degree. Hmmm.
Photographing weddings in different cultures always throws up new and interesting customs, and at Joel and Mariana’s, there were certainly a few…..one involving the bride being kidnapped and hidden by the best man (and I mean properly hidden, not just behind the curtain in the corner as I had expected – she was eventually found by her groom on a balcony outside the hotel).
Another custom saw Joel get marched from table to table, where guests could bid on a small portion of his tie, which was promptly then cut off by the maid-of-honour and sold to them.
To finish the night, there was the traditional bouquet toss, the cake-cutting and a lovely first dance, before the happy couple were joined on the dancefloor by their friends and family.
All in all, it was a true privilege for me to have photographed the entire day, and I can’t offer the happy couple a big enough ‘congratulations’.
So here for your viewing pleasure is but a small selection of my pics from their amazing day: