This Wedding May Have Taken Place in Italy's Northern Alps, But You'll Be Singing "The Sound of Music" Theme Song All the Way Through
When Julia and Franz got engaged in December of 2017, they already had a dream wedding venue in mind: Castel Fragsburg in the Italian Alps town of Meran. "We spent our first holiday as a couple in this hotel and fell in love with the place immediately," says Julia. "It's an old hunting lodge, right in the middle of vineyards and apple trees, miles away from everything else. I remember Franz saying, 'This would be a perfect location for a party.' Back then, we didn't know how right he was!" They booked the entire property, which includes 23 guest rooms, for the weekend of July 12, 2019, and planned a three-day affair for 55 of their closest friends and family members.
Though the ceremony was their official highlight, the couple savored the opportunity to spend so much time with their guests—which is why "it was always super important for us to have a relaxed wedding weekend," says Julia. One of her favorite moments came while she was getting ready: "I remember looking out the window and I saw all the boys from both our families in the pool, having a beer and playing some ball games," she says. "They were smiling from ear to ear and just had the best time together. It made me so happy to realize that the whole weekend didn't feel stressful or full of appointments—it was more like a cozy getaway with some loved ones and some new faces."
Thanks to the help of A Very Beloved Wedding, their celebration was that and so much more—the main event, which included a post-ceremony helicopter ride, spoke to who Julia and Franz, in their hearts, truly are. "We have a classic taste and are a very romantic couple," says Julia. "We wanted to have a fairy-tale love story, something very playful, young, timeless, and filled with love."
The couple's color palette included pale pink, violet, green, yellow, and a deep turquoise—many of the same shades found in the local scenery.
Tie a Yellow Ribbon
Franz and Julia chose an invitation suite from Shhh My Darling that previewed many of the motifs they returned to come the weekend: delicate butterflies that mirrored the design of Julia's wedding dress; tiny flowers inspired by the Alpine location that reappeared in the floral arrangements; and sunny yellow accents that referenced the welcome party's color palette.
Julia describes limoncello as "my family's absolute signature drink," so it was an obvious choice for favors at the welcome dinner, where the bright yellow color coordinated with sunflower centerpieces and other golden accents.
Her Dream Gown
Julia and her mother traveled to New York City to search for a wedding dress. "I always knew what I was looking for: a modern, dreamy, and natural dress with that little extra sparkle—no glitter, no corset," she says. When Julia put on her champagne-colored tulle gown from Liz Martinez it was, she says, "all about the butterflies"—literally: Both the ones appliquéd on the garment and the ones she felt in her stomach when she saw herself in the gown. The detailing inspired many other elements throughout the wedding, too. "I liked the idea of making a thing out of butterflies, the animals that stand for life and change," says Julia.
The couple customized Franz's traditional suit by selecting a rich brown linen fabric from Brunello Cuccinelli. "We wanted his outfit to suit the soft and natural bridal look, as well as the Italian environment," says Julia. Leather Bottega Veneta loafers and gold Cartier cuff links added sophisticated touches.
An Outdoor Ceremony
At the ceremony site, tall floral arrangements from A Very Beloved Bloom lined the aisle and created a semicircle around the couple, where they stood with their officiant. Deep green foliage offset the white, pink, and yellow flowers, infusing the color palette that appeared on the invitation right into the event.
So Happy Together
Julia's father walked her down the aisle in "the calming, certain way only a father can," she says—and since she and Franz hadn't posed for portraits before the ceremony, that walk also served as their first look. "When we saw each other for the first time, everything immediately felt safe, easy, and 100 percent right," she says. "I felt that comfortable feeling of coming home, which is, in my opinion, the best emotion on earth."
He Said, She Said
The couple exchanged handwritten promises in a Christian ceremony. "We wrote our own vows because we wanted to [express] our lifetime promises in our individual words," says Julia. "There were no special quotes or readings, just a few very personal words [to] describe our feelings."
Forever and Always
For Franz, the ceremony was a big-day highlight: "He told me that he felt like the biggest lucky fellow on earth when he saw me as a bride," shares Julia.
A Glass Tower
After the service, the couple briefly joined their guests at the cocktail hour—just long enough to pour the Champagne tower—before decamping for their newlywed portraits. In addition to the bubbly, guests chose from a menu of the couple's favorite drinks, including gin and tonics, Moscow mules, and bellinis, and ate passed appetizers like crispy quail eggs, focaccia with tomatoes and mozzarella, and gazpacho with prawns and olives.
On Top of the World
While Julia thought she and Franz would pose for portraits around the hotel grounds, her husband had a surprise: "He took me on a helicopter ride to the highest plateau in Europe," she says.
A Little Chilly
"It was cold—we went from 25 to around five degrees [Celsius]—but the photos were worth it!" reflects the bride.
Julia requested a fairy-tale bouquet that was "playful, natural, and romantic," a combination her florist achieved with roses, chrysanthemum, lavender, carnations, and jasmine in shades of blush, ivory, and pink.
Ready to Dine
The couple incorporated the dining area's built-in details, like the wooden overhang and floor, into the party's overall color scheme, choosing dark turquoise linens to complement both elements and adding wood-and-metal chairs for a cohesive touch.
A collection of centerpieces in vessels of different sizes and materials, including white vases and glass holders, showed off roses, carnations, and other blooms along the length of the tables.
Silver chargers and flatware added shimmer to the place settings, while custom menus relied on the same floral design element as the stationery suite. Custom portraits were set at each place to guide guests to their seats. "That was so much fun and everybody loved the idea," says Julia.
On the Menu
The couple focused on creating a menu filled with their own favorite dishes: burrata with tomatoes and basil or beef tartar as an appetizer; risotto with basil stracciatella and candied tomatoes; John Dory fish with red prawns and zucchini; beef with parmesan, spinach, and summer truffle; and marinated strawberries served with homemade ice cream.
A Sweet Finish
Julia and Franz's five-tier cake, frosted in white and decorated with tiny flowers and butterflies, came from the couple's favorite bakery, Demel. "We decided to go for an all-chocolate cake," says Julia. "It was filled with different chocolate creations they offer—one with fresh raspberries, one with a bit of orange liqueur, and one with very intense pieces of chocolate in it."
To the Happy Couple
Musicians Duo Darling provided background music during dinner; the couple decided to skip a first dance (and spins with their parents). "My husband and I are everything but dancers, so we decided to make it our day and skip this part," says Julia. During dinner, friends and family stood to toast the couple with a collection of funny and emotional stories. "There were five speeches in total," says Julia, "one more touching than another."
Photography, Ashley Ludaescher
Venue and Catering, Castel Fragsburg
Event Planning, A Very Beloved Wedding
Flowers, A Very Beloved Bloom
Videography, With Heart Films
Stationery, Shhh My Darling
Music, Darling Duo (ceremony and reception); DJ Iaia
Bride's Gown and Veil, Liz Martinez
Bride's Shoes, Jimmy Choo
Hair and Makeup, Alma Milcic
Bridesmaids' Dresses, Zimmermann
Groom's Suit, Brunello Cucinelli
Groom's Shoes, Bottega Veneta
Wedding Rings, Cartier