Kira Burke, 26, married Johannes Walter, 28, at San Francisco City Hall in October 2015. They then had another ceremony at the Kirche Hl. Jakobus and reception at Schloss Traunsee, both in Grünau im Almtal, Austria, in September 2016. She says:
I met Johannes in Geneva, where we were both working at the time (I'm from the US and he's Austrian). It was really hard when I had to move back to San Francisco, but we kept up our long-distance relationship for a year. Then, one day, when he was visiting me, he proposed! Within a week we were married at City Hall. Looking back, it seems so crazy, but it was also extremely romantic. Most importantly, it meant that we could finally live together in the States. We're happiest when together.
My engagement ring was my grandmother's, an old mine cut yellow diamond from the 1800s. I inherited it when I was 18 and had always known I'd wear it when I found the right person. It's my most sentimental and treasured possession.
We spent the next year planning the wedding of our dreams in Johannes' Austrian hometown, Grünau im Almtal. The church was stunning, nestled in the Alps, while Schloss Traunsee fulfilled my dream of having our reception in a castle. It was a fairy-tale.
I chose my blush Chantilly lace gown because of its stunning 1930s style. With its plunging back, scalloped shoulders, cathedral train and crystal beading, it was just the elegant look I wanted.
I loved the idea of having a colour spectrum on the day. I asked my bridesmaids to choose full-length wine-coloured gowns and gold, strappy heels; our flower girls wore pale pink dresses with matching ballet flats; my cousins were ushers and were asked to wear gold cocktail dresses.
Our cakes were both handmade from Café-Konditorei Grellinger in Gmunden. I designed both of them myself on a napkin and they literally made them exactly as I drew! Austria has the most amazing cakes. Our more traditional wedding cake was one layer Sachertorte, one layer Malakoff Torte and one layer Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest gateaux). Johannes' Cake (Ski Mountain) was just Sachertorte.
In addition to our Wedding Planner, we had a 'Master of Ceremony' - one of my husband's best mates - to guide our guests through the day. From cutting the cake, the first dance and special toasts, to letting everyone know to head outside for our 'fire surprise' (we lit sparklers and attached them to balloons), he made everything run smoothly. And he's hilarious, which helps!