It’s the stuff fairytales are made of. An emotional, intimate wedding set in the small German town of Heidelberg. The ceremony – a castle perched high atop a hill overlooking the town. It’s hard stone walls and broken history standing in contrast to the joining of two lives. The castle’s immense quiet enlivened by the smiles, and joyful tears on the faces of the fourteen family and friends surrounding this young couple. I never imagined I’d be part of such a magical story – a real life story of two close friends.
Cody and Allison are high school sweethearts and the best of friends. They met in a small town in eastern Pennsylvania, but wouldn’t have dreamt of any place better than Germany to have their wedding. They fell in love with it during a trip they made together a few years earlier. Cody and Allison were set on a journey to a spectacular and beautiful venue after their original venue in Cologne fell through. They found the Hotel Villa Marstall nestled near the Neckar River in the heart of Heidelberg. In a moment of spontaneity, they decided to wait until they arrived in Germany to find an impromptu ceremony location at the base of the world famous ruins of the Heidelberg Castle- the perfect backdrop for their emotional ceremony.
Cody is always a great time. He’s a jokester, makes light of any situation, but has a heart reserved for Ali (that’s what he calls her). On the morning of the wedding, after a 6 mile run, the entire group went for a hike. I fell behind everyone to grab a few scenic shots. When I was hurrying to catch up I came upon Cody sitting on a fallen tree just off the path. He was working on his vows. “I bet Ali thinks I am not going to take this seriously,” he said as he paused for a moment to think before writing again.
Allison is sweet. She loves books and quotes, and thinks deeply. So when it came time for her vows, Allison’s beautifully crafted, carefully worded thoughts and quotes cut right to everyone’s core- the men to my left trying to hold back their reserve, and the ladies to my right hugging and wiping their eyes. Cody looked down at what he had written earlier that morning in a small moleskin notebook. The perfect words about what he felt for her were hard for him to form, and overcome by the weight of the moment, he uttered only a few words barely audible to Allison alone. The tears came flowing. They hugged and kissed, and put rings on each others fingers, then turned smiling ear to ear only to hear the cheers of hundreds of people that had gathered atop the wall in the courtyard overlooking the ceremony.
That night was perfect for them. There was no big party. No lights or dance floors. No DJs or thumping music. Just 15 people on a boat ride with a beautiful dinner and fireworks, topped off with beers, cigars, hugs, silly antics, smiles, stories on a bench older than our home country…and more beers.
Cody and Allison- Thank you for inviting me along on your journey. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. I love you both.
Thank you for looking!