"After spending a couple years embroiled in the process of wedding planning for a larger affair, we have decided to throw the big event out the window and take off to Bavaria to elope. We are flexible with the specific day, but we are shooting for sometime during the two weeks of folk festivals that take place around mid-August in Garmisch-Partenkirchen to maximize the braids/lederhosen/dirndl/beer swilling good times! Do you have any availability to be flown out to capture the day and drink some german brews with us?”
That’s how it all started. My reply was almost instantaneous with a “Yes, please! I will gladly document your wedding and drink some German brews with you!” Over the next few months, Melanie and I talked back and forth to discuss logistics to make it happen. Serena was brought on as the official photographer, as I concentrated on making a memorable film of the day. Serena and I both adore intimate elopements and what could be more romantic than eloping in Bavaria, the land of Grimms’ fairy tales?
Serena and I arrived on a Tuesday in Munich. After navigating the train system, we arrived in the city center for lunch. To our surprise, Melanie and Farhang passed us by as we were eating! We ended up traveling together by a combination of train and bus to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Each of the towns retain their own distinct character: Garmisch has a modern feel, while Partenkirchen has retained its old-world Alpine village vibe. The funny thing about Melanie and Farhang is that, when they met five years ago, they both shared their dreams of getting married in Garmisch one day. This fondness for the town brought them together and for them both to finally be there was an amazing moment to witness. We capture a lot of weddings with lovely editorial details, but Melanie stated that their wedding would be simplistic. It would be about the culture and place that we were in. The breathtaking views, wonderful locations that were rich with history, and the traditions of the people—those were their “details.” In a world filled with picture-perfect, object-driven Pinterest boards and social media outlets, it was a moment to step back and realize how profound that is for them and their story.
On Thursday, we headed up Wank Mountain with Melanie and Farhang for them to exchange their vows. To reach the top, we took a cable car, which provided some breathtaking views. Below, one can see Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and in the distance, the Zugspitze rises at 2,962m. As Melanie and Farhang exchanged their heartfelt vows, it was difficult not to think how incredible it was. Just seeing the two of them and the true beauty of the mountain top scene is an image we will never forget.
After Melanie and Farhang exchanged their vows, we ventured around Bavaria with their tour guide Jake. Jake, an American transplanted to Germany, filled us with knowledge about local historical landmarks and the towns making up Garmisch-Partenkirchen. We were honored to be along for the ride as not only a photographer and cinematographer—but as friends.
At the end of the day, we headed to Garmisch for the town’s beer festival. Melanie and Farhang wanted to make the strangers and friends they met that night their “wedding guests.” We were immersed in a culture filled with fun-loving people, lederhosen, beer, and songs performed with whips and accordions.
Love By Serena is a vintage loving, video game playing, documenter of love stories. She has a love for analog film photography, hand lettering & illustration, traveling, and chai lattes. After photographing her first wedding in 2009, she became obsessed with the art of capturing fleeting moments.
Josh Gooden has a love for traveling, good stories, cappuccinos, and aviation. After an early start in interactive media within the jewelry industry, Josh discovered that his passion was creating content – specifically documentary style brand films. In 2009, he applied the same techniques he learned to weddings.