Neuschwanstein Castle (German: Schloss Neuschwanstein, English: “New Swanstone Castle”) is a nineteenth-century Romanesque Revival palace on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany. The palace was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and as a homage to Richard Wagner. Ludwig paid for the palace out of his personal fortune and by means of extensive borrowing, rather than Bavarian public funds. The palace was intended as a personal refuge for the reclusive king, but it was opened to the paying public immediately after his death in 1886. Since then more than 61 million people have visited Neuschwanstein Castle. More than 1.3 million people visit annually, with as many as 6,000 per day in the summer. The palace has appeared prominently in several movies such as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Great Escape and serves as the inspiration for Disneyland‘s Sleeping Beauty Castle and later, similar structures.
Ok, now that we’re all caught up on how epically amazing Neuschwanstein is, let’s dive into some of the back story of this amazing photo shoot Part 1:
I woke up early Saturday morning in Munich and after packing a few essentials – like 3 tiaras in my bag, grabbing a handmade bouquet (more on that later), my ski pants and my photography equipment I headed for the main train station in Munich and bought a day pass to ride the local Bavarian train. I had a 1.5 hour ride with one station change to visit the town of Seeg, the hometown of our groom, Miguel! Madison (a native of Nebraska), met me at the train station and we walked over to Manuel’s family home to get dressed and ready to drive over to Schwangau (the town that is famous for both of King Ludwig’s castles). I was so excited to finally meet these two after weeks of emailing and facebook messaging and WhatsAp-ing and we got started immediately getting Madison in her wedding dress and affixing the amazing “Cordelia” crown from Eden Luxe Bridal. It fit perfectly…and not going to lie, I was jealous of her beautifully styled, gorgeous, thick, perfect crown-wearing hair! haha!
I learned that in Germany, it’s tradition to have a Standesamt, which is a civil/courthouse ceremony prior to your wedding day church ceremony, so the bridal gown and suit you see them wearing is from their Standesamt. Since a photo shoot this epic and logistically challenging can be difficult, these photos are a fun post & pre wedding day photo shoot, which works perfectly since Madison originally wanted a winter wedding! After a week of snow and temperatures as low as 5 degrees, we were so lucky to have a warm, 25 degree, sunny day to shoot in and my destination wedding photographer heart was leaping with joy!
Having visited Neuschwanstein before but in the summertime I knew there was a huge field down below before the town of Schwangau and we headed for that area first. We pull off the road and managed to hang out with a bunch of locals using the field to cross-country ski! I was told by Manuel not to step in the tracks they made so as to be respectful and not mess up the deep grooves available for them while I was shooting. Also, for my photographer friends…it was noon. Full sun. With the castle in the shade. RAW is your friend in these situations, but we made the most of the glorious sun and had a great time before heading to Schwangau. Part 2 will cover our time up at the castle and the adventure that entailed, so make sure to come back!
The CORDELIA CROWN…ahhh!!!
A few quick shots in the town of Schwangau before heading up the steep 40min. walk to the castle!
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Marienbruecke (Mary’s bridge)