A Wedding in Bled Castle


The Slovenia of my imagination came with blue skies, sunshine, and fat white clouds.

Real Slovenia was not like that. In real Slovenia it rained, a lot, and I spent most of the time with soggy shoes and wet jeans. If ever I return to Europe in the fall I will not arrive without boots and skinny pants with hems that do not make contact with the ground.

Swan at Lake Bled
And when the rain breaks, evil swans follow you around the perimeter of the lake. It’s a no-win situation.

The forecast for Alexa’s wedding day was for rain and plenty of it. I met Alexa and her sisters in the getting-ready-room at Hotel Toplice, where we were all mentally preparing for inclement weather.

Somewhere between the arrival of the hair and makeup people and the videographer dressed like a ninja, the skies parted and the sun made a dramatic appearance. We oohed and aahhed from the balcony, which gave us a perfect view of Bled Castle – where Alexa and Doug would be getting married a few hours later.

Hotel Toplice
I kept abandoning Alexa to obsess over the view from her balcony.

Planning a destination wedding can be challenging, but it’s a whole other ballgame to plan one in a country neither of you is from. Alexa and Doug pulled it off and I take it upon myself to speak for all of the guests (and Korean tourists) in attendance when I say we were adequately blown away.

Bled Castle
Castle turret, check.

First, it was in a castle. She could have turned up in a pillowcase and we would have been bowled over. (FYI she didn’t.) Second, the groom opened a bottle of champagne WITH A SWORD (no I don’t have pics believe it or not sometimes I like to absorb things with my eyes). Third, this:

Bled, Slovenia

Also THIS:

Bled Island from Bled Castle
Believe me when I say it looked about a thousand times better in person.

Being in a place this beautiful with one of your favorite people on one of her most important days is the best. Alexa was the first friend I long-term traveled with, back in 2004 when we boarded flights from Indianapolis to Sydney without any idea what we were in for. If you’d told us then that we’d be in Slovenia for her wedding 11 years later, we would have been surprised, but I think we would have believed you. Some friendships are like that.

Wedding rowboat to Bled Island
From the castle, we boarded rowboats to the island.
Bled Island stairs
99 steps but tradition can get stuffed.

Tradition suggests that Doug is supposed to carry Alexa up the 99 stairs to the church, where they will then ring a bell and make a wish.

Alexa nixed that from the beginning and they walked up the stairs together, equally capable, with their little boy leading the way.

Wedding at Bled
OMG kids in tuxes be still my ovaries.

At the top we applauded as the newlyweds picked up their son and rang the wishing bell.

Wishing bell in Bled
Wishing bell time

We let the two little kids in attendance have their chance at the bell, then I pretty much pushed my way to the front so I could have a go. Seven years after I first visited Bled and rang that bell, wishing things would work out with the Aussie I’d just met, that then-crush-now-husband and I grabbed hold of the rope and did it together.

The next day it drizzled, then downpoured, well into the evening.

No one seemed to care.

Similar Posts


  1. I’m Doug’s Mom, Alexa’s new mother-in-law! Since I spent the wedding day in the hospital in Munich I really appreciated your take on the wedding. It felt like I was there!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *