Part One: The Pre-Wedding Festivities
Katharina and Andrew hosted an incredible destination wedding in Austria — not to mention some epic pre-wedding festivities —and I was so thrilled to photograph this absolutely stunning wedding.
I love nothing more than a good destination wedding and it’s even better when it is in Europe. The culture, the fashion, the food — it is such a statement of who you are as a couple when you choose Europe as your wedding destination location.
Katharina and Andrew are an incredible couple who live in the city (in the most stunning apartment overlooking Central Park). Of course, my fashion-loving self must mention that Katharina works in fashion design at Rent the Runway — so I knew even before our first meeting that her wedding fashion was going to be on point.
The couple met over a decade ago at Boston University. Fast-forward ten years to a private island off of Cape Cod and their sweet engagement was made official. You can see more of Katharina and Andrew and their NYC engagement session here.
As a couple who prioritizes travel, it was an easy decision to host a destination wedding in Austria.
Katharina’s parents are both from Austria and she grew up spending her summers at Velden am Wörthersee, a small summer town on Lake Wörthersee. Her family has connections here dating back six decades, so not only is it just a beautiful place, but aa meaningful one too.
Located close to the Italian and Slovenian borders in western Austria, Lake Wörthersee is an alpine lake that is a summer paradise. With beautifully designed hotels and spas dotting the coast, pristine beaches, and ample water sports, it really is an idyllic location.
The Pre-Wedding Festivities
The Kick-Off Party
Thursday night started Katharina and Andrew’s weekend of festivities. They kicked it off with a welcome party on the MS Klagenfurt, a historic tour and party boat on Lake Wörthersee.
The party had an all-white dress code which was exceptional and really set the scene for how the weekend would play out.
The night started with hor d’oeuvres and drinks as the boat sailed towards Krumpendorf, another small town on the opposite shore of the lake. The vibe was very chill and relaxed as the sun began to set and the cooler temperatures set in. However, after a brief stop in Krumpendorf, the party really got started with a DJ, music, and fun dancing.
It was elegant, sophisticated, and a lot of fun — not to mention a perfect way to introduce their guests to the area.
The Welcome Party
The next day — the day before the wedding ceremony — the couple held a traditional welcome party at Katrina’s grandmother’s house (the Funder Villa). The dress for the event was requested tracht (which is the traditional Austrian dress like lederhosen or dirndl) or summer chic.
Katharina and Andrew spoiled their guests with traditional Austrian dancers, live music, and local food and drink. The party gave total Sound of Music vibes with the beautiful mountain backdrops and traditional music filling the air. It was a perfect introduction to
Katharina’s family’s history and heritage for their American friends.
Why You MUST Have Pre-Wedding Festivities
Let’s talk about the pre-wedding festivities for your wedding. Whether you want to call it a welcome dinner, rehearsal dinner, or kick-off party, it doesn’t matter. All too often these pre-wedding festivities are put on the back burner and not given nearly as much attention as your wedding.
Introduce the Local Culture
First, your pre-wedding festivities are what will set the stage for the entire wedding weekend. They set the vibe and the expectations for your entire event. Plus, it is a great opportunity to give your guests a taste of the local culture with unique experiences.
When planning your pre-wedding events, look at the experience from your guests’ perspective. You may know the area well but maybe your guests don’t. What experiences and events could you hold that introduce the local culture? Think about tours, wine tastings, and local foods that you could share.
More Fashion, Please
Second, why would you ever pass up on an opportunity to bring more heavenly fashion and insane details to your wedding? The pre-wedding events are such a fantastic time to show up and really have fun with your clothing choices. These events also give your guests more opportunities to have fun with fashion.
Spend More Time With Your Guests
Another reason to really invest in pre-wedding festivities is that it gives you so much more opportunity to spend time with your guests. Your wedding day can be fast and furious and you often feel like you miss out on quality time with those special people. Curating events before the wedding is a great way to spend more time together.
Photographing Pre-Wedding Festivities
And finally, make sure you commission your photographer to be there. The pre-wedding festivities are a wonderful time to get more candids of your people and a more relaxed set of images of you and your partner. Pre-wedding events are usually more laid back and have a more flexible timeline.