Archive for July, 2012

Our Amazing Wedding and Incredible Honeymoon in Germany – Because Racecar!

July 12, 2012

Exciting news – Erik and I got married! It’s true, this is my first post as Ainsley Jacobs. 🙂 The wedding itself was a blur, but it was an amazing weekend and I hope to never forget it.

We started things off on Friday, June 8, by picking up the tuxes for the boys, my rental jewelry (“something borrowed”) as well as my wedding band (talk about last minute!) from the jewelers, then we ran a few more errands and headed down to the Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta to begin our weekend. We checked in to the hotel and were immediately greeted with champagne and smiles – nice! Our suite was HUGE and there were even more goodies waiting there for us – chocolate covered strawberries and more champagne! We unpacked, met up with some of the bridal party and headed down to do our rehearsal which was actually a lot of fun. The rehearsal itself was pretty easy in that it was just “who walks/stands where and when” but it was a good occasion to relax and have fun before the craziness began. Afterwards we had a few minutes to get settled into the hotel and then ran off to Max Lager’s Wood-Fired Grill & Brewery for our rehearsal dinner. We were joined by about 30 of our closest friends and family and spent the evening relaxing, drinking delicious beer, eating amazing food and being excited about the next day’s festivities. The event space at Max Lager’s is really neat; it’s a private area overlooking the street outside but also features the massive copper brewing kettles used to make their own beer, and it’s so interesting! Everyone was commenting on how good the food was (most opted for the southern fried chicken and pecan caramel brownie, of course) and really enjoyed themselves. When the dinner was over, we returned back to the Ritz and tried (unsuccessfully) to get some sleep before the big day.

Me and my amazing bridesmaids!! I love these girls!
Click here to see the rest of the rehearsal dinner photos!

The morning of Saturday, June 9, we slept in a little and got started around 10am. The hair/makeup team responsible for beautification of me and my girls arrived at 10:30am, at which point Erik was banished to go hang out with his groomsmen. Me, EJ (Maid of Honor), Alyssa, Sarah, Cori, Alana and Jill spent the morning goofing off and being silly while the team worked their magic and got us ready. An awesome Chick-Fil-A lunch was delivered courtesy of the boys (thanks, Dan and Seth!) and we even put on wonderfully silly My Little Pony press-on tattoos – mine was white and the girls had pink (thanks to Alyssa for bringing them), of course! Around 2pm, once we were all finished and looking great, our amazing wedding coordinator Daria and our mind-blowingly incredible photographer Nadia showed up. I was ushered into my dress and my ladies helped with the finishing touches like my shoes, garter and necklace. Once they were dressed as well, we headed down to the hotel lobby to take some formal photos and then I was escorted to a more private area where Erik and I got to see each other for the first time. He looked beyond handsome in his tux and I’m pretty sure he thought I looked beautiful, too. 😉 It was a really cool feeling seeing him, knowing that in just a few hours we would be married. We spent the next few hours snapping more photos with just us, with the bridal combined party and with our family. Then, it was time to begin!

The first event was the ketubah signing at 5:45pm, which was done in a private room with just a few witnesses and our rabbi. Once that was done, it was time to REALLY get started. Our guests had arrived and were seated in the ceremony space. At 6:15pm, the wedding began. Erik was escorted down the aisle by his father, our mothers walked together and then it was my turn. The doors opened, I focused on Erik and everything around me disappeared. I had to remind myself several times while walking down the aisle that I should slow down and enjoy the experience (LOL) but I was so set on getting to my future husband that the rest was a total blur. We stood under the chuppah, surrounded by our most amazing friends and family and tons of love, and listened as Rabbi Coffsky performed the ceremony. He said a lot of beautiful things, but the most beautiful to me was when he pronounced us husband and wife. Our first kiss was amazing, and it was even funnier when the rabbi said he “could keep talking if we wanted to keep kissing”, which we did! Ha! And with that, the string trio started playing and we made our way up the aisle together!

Erik and I enjoying some alone time shortly after saying “I Do”.
Click here to see the rest of the “behind the scenes” wedding weekend photos!

After the ceremony, we said hello to some friends, took even more photos, and got to enjoy our first few minutes as Mr. and Mrs. Together in private, where we were served hors d’oeuvres and champagne while the guests enjoyed their own in the cocktail hour space. Once the clock hit 7:45pm, it was time for the reception to begin and our guests were invited to enter the main ballroom which had been converted into the most beautiful wedding space I had ever seen. We made our grand entrance and proceeded into our first dance which was a foxtrot to The Ramones’ “Baby I Love You”. We had spent weeks taking dance lessons from our fabulous instructor Kathy at All About Ballroom and had been doing really well, but unfortunately we couldn’t practice with me in my giant dress and I spent most of the time trying desperately not to trip or slip or fall or otherwise make a fool of myself. Erik was a hero and saved me a few times, leading the dance wonderfully. We survived, and enjoyed a lovely dinner afterwards but didn’t get to eat much since we were so busy walking around saying hello to everyone! Then, it was time to party! The dance floor opened and everyone had a blast. Some fun wedding night memories include: presenting a “Farthest Distance Travelled” award, car show style, to Tomas who flew in from Sweden, a special dance with our mommies to “You Are My Sunshine”, being absolutely terrified yet exhilarated while up in the air in the chair during the Hora, and us almost accidentally pushing the cake off its stand during the cutting – oops!! We also had a photobooth present which was a huge hit and people were playing in it all night, which resulted in a really hilarious wedding memories scrapbook/guestbook at the end of the night! Speaking of the end of the night, we had the Ritz bring out delicious mini grilled cheese sandwiches before we called it quits, and then made our grand exit out of the ballroom and up the stairs to the escalators while our friends and family hurled rose petals at us and waved pretty pink streamers.

The newlyweds playing in the photobooth!
Click here to see the rest of the photobooth photos!

Once we were finally in our suite away from the craziness around midnight, room service delivered two huge cheeseburgers and fries, and a bottle of champagne, so we could finally have dinner. And it was *delicious*. I hadn’t eaten dairy for about 7 months prior to the wedding (it makes me break out) so I was beyond excited to have cheese, as silly as that sounds. When we finally decided to fall into bed, we found that it was not only covered in beautiful rose petals in the shape of a heart, but that the Ritz had given us lovely pillowcases monogrammed with our new initials as a surprise!

Overall, the wedding was beyond incredible and I can’t imagine having had a more perfect day. Our friends and family are incredible and we are so indescribably fortunate to have such amazing people in our lives. Being surrounded by that much love was exhilarating. Everything was beautiful beyond belief and went off perfectly – I still can’t believe it happened!

The next morning, we slept in and woke up, enjoying the fact that we were now Mr. and Mrs. Jacobs. We met up with some of Erik’s family for coffee in the hospitality suite, said goodbye to other family members and friends, and then had a big breakfast at the Atlanta Grill restaurant in the hotel. We packed up our van with all of the wedding stuff (decorations, turbochargers, gifts, clothes, etc.) and headed home, where I made Erik carry me over the threshold into our new house. That evening, Seth brought over two amazing Pizza Hut Stuffed Crust pizzas for dinner and I was ecstatic – I had been desperately craving one since I realized I had to quit dairy! Ha! Monday we spent the day running errands, returning borrowed goods and then met up with Tomas and Scotty for lunch and burgers at Ann’s Snack Bar, followed by dessert at Morelli’s.

Tuesday we loaded up the Subaru with luggage and drove down to the airport where we boarded our flight! Since Erik and I met through cars, we thought it was appropriate to go to Germany and do a motorsports-focused honeymoon. We flew first class and were amazed by how surprisingly good the food (and the service!) was. We landed in Stuttgart on the morning of June 13, picked up our rental car (a black 6-speed Audi A4 TDI wagon which we named “Helga”) and tried to figure out how the heck to get the GPS to speak in English. We failed, and spent the next week listening to directions in German. (I even learned a few words… it’s pretty fitting, though, that I learned German from a car!). We dropped our bags at our first hotel, the Pension am Heusteig, and hit up the Mercedes-Benz museum. The museum itself was incredible with an unbelievable amount of historical displays showcasing everything from the first internal combustion engines to modern racecars featuring the latest in technology. A quick nap was needed afterwards to help alleviate some jet lag symptoms, and then we took a walk down to the Königstraße (“King Street”) which is essentially the shopping/tourist hub of Stuttgart. We stopped for our very first German pretzel (so yummy!) and explored the local sights. We then spent some time in the Schloßplatz admiring the amazing architecture and historical buildings, dating back many centuries. We got stuck in a surprise rainstorm which actually wound up being quite beautiful and romantic, and then headed over to a restaurant called Vetter where we had local Swabian-style food for dinner.

One of the beautiful fountains in the Schloßplatz.
Click here to see the rest of the honeymoon photos!

The next morning we checked out of the hotel, played on our first speed-unrestricted section of the Autobahn and arrived at LegoLand! The place was practically empty, which worked to our favor, and we wandered around the park acting like children and riding cheesy Lego-themed rides. A quick lunch when we were done and we got back on the road to drive to Munich where we checked into the Hotel Mariandl. After ditching our luggage, we hopped on the subway (“U-bahn”) and made our way to the Englischer Garten where we enjoyed the amazing green space. We walked through the beautiful park and found the spot where the surfers hang out (yes, surfers in Germany. There’s a section of a river in the park that creates a wave and surfers gather to ride it) and caught part of a football (soccer) game in one of the huge outdoor Biergartens by the Chinesischer Turm (“Chinese Tower”). We then took the U-bahn to the Marienplatz (city center) and found our way to the world-famous Hofbrauhaus for dinner. That place itself was amazing, and after we finally got a table we ordered a pretzel and a beer that was literally as big as my head, along with actual dinner. Considering it was touristy/bar food, it really was pretty good but the overall experience of being there and the crazy stereotypically German atmosphere was the best. We stopped for a quick dessert at a small gelato stand afterwards (I had Ferrero Rocher flavor) and then called it a night.

Ich liebe Bier! WOW!
Click here to see the rest of the honeymoon photos!

For our second day in Munich, we visited the BMW Museum which was amazing! They had some truly unique displays and exhibits and we had fun learning about the company’s history. Once we finished up there, we went back to the Marienplatz to explore it better. We even were lucky enough to catch a show from the Glockenspiel! The architecture of the buildings was incredible, and we were amazed by how much history was just out in the open for people to touch and see up close. Next we visited the Viktualienmarkt (open-air food market) and tried some samples from local vendors, then had a refreshing lunch at the Löwe am Markt. After refueling, we hopped back on the U-bahn and then onto a street car before arriving at the amazing castle, Schloss Nymphenburg. We got there about 30 minutes before it closed, but still managed to get in a quick tour of the interior. I couldn’t believe how different it was seeing stuff that usually is found in a museum in its natural environment – it made it so much more interesting! The property of the castle itself is breathtakingly gorgeous and the gardens stretched as far as the eye could see. As evening started to approach, though, we headed back towards the Marienplatz (with a quick stop to see the Sendlinger Tor) and found a restaurant, Wirtshaus Ayingers am Platzl, where we had a romantic dinner. We had hoped to get a good night’s sleep, but unfortunately the Hotel Mariandl had booked a very, VERY loud birthday party in their ground floor restaurant that went until 4am and, despite repeated calls from us to management pleading for help, did not quiet down. It was a simply awful night, but if that’s the worst that happened during the trip then I guess it really wasn’t that bad.

The amazing Glockenspiel Rathaus in the Marienplatz.
Click here to see the rest of the honeymoon photos!

The following morning, we checked out and geared up for our daylong roadtrip to explore the Romantische Straße (“Romantic Road”) which wound its way across the German countryside, through many old cities and highlights some really beautiful stops. We followed the road for several hours and loved the scenery, but eventually got hungry and stopped at a McDonald’s for lunch. We wanted to see if it was the same as the ones back home, but other than them serving Bubble Tea and having a slightly more upscale interior, it really wasn’t all that different. Our final stop on the Romantic Road was a town called Rothenburg ob der Tauber which is a tourist-friendly city that has been around since the middle ages and has preserved its history very well. We took a carriage ride through the city, explored many of its old buildings and even the city wall, then wound up meeting two locals at a restaurant and enjoyed a beer and some pretzels with them! When it was finally time to leave, we got back in the car and drove to Frankfurt where we spent the night in a Marriott, which may sound boring but after the horrible night before, the American-style and guaranteed quiet was a very welcome change. Dinner was at a local restaurant called Pielok and we got to try apple wine (along with a real German apple strudel) for the first time.

One of the beautiful homes we saw in Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
Click here to see the rest of the honeymoon photos!

On Sunday, we hopped in the car and cruised over to the town of Mombris where we met up with Burkhard and Doris from Wanderreiten im Spessart and were introduced to their beautiful Andalusian/Quarter Horse crosses, Sultan and Chetan, who we would spend the day riding through the Spessart (“Woodpecker”) forest. The trail ride itself was beautiful and we enjoyed the scenery and sights. After 2.5 hours, we arrived at a local restaurant, Schluchthof, where we tied the horses to a hitching post and ate lunch. Erik even had wild boar that came from the very same forest we had been riding in! When lunch was finished, we mounted back up and rode another 2.5 hours back to our guides’ home, where we untacked and fed the horses. Just when we thought the day couldn’t get any nicer, we were surprised with a beautiful dessert/picnic table spread that our hosts had provided for us! Doris was excited that we were on our honeymoon and even got special “Love Bird” napkins, which was so incredibly cute and thoughtful. She had baked us an apricot tart and made fresh blueberry muffins, served with fancy tea and champagne – it was so lovely! We hated to say goodbye, but had to get back on the road so we could be ready for our next adventure. A few hours later we arrived at the Guesthouse Fuchsröhre where we got situated in our room (named after Senna) and went to bed so early it was still light out (although in our defense, it was 9pm… it just doesn’t get dark until VERY late in Germany in the summer).

Cute ponies!! 🙂
Click here to see the rest of the honeymoon photos!

Monday morning we got up super early, excited to get the day started. We had a quick breakfast and then drove over to the RentRaceCar location where we picked up our toy for the day, a race-prepped BMW Z4 which we named “Gretchen”. We also met up with our instructor, Martin, and went over some of the logistical details for the day. Why? Because we were going to drive the NURBURGRING!!! When all the details were taken care of, we drove over to the track and immediately got started. I went first and was SO nervous because I had never, ever driven on a road course before and was now about to attempt to drive the most difficult, challenging and intimidating track in the world. Yep, I’m crazy. But, thankfully, we had opted to drive on a day in which the track was closed to public traffic and only available to those who had signed up for the private track day, so that helped a lot. What was my saving grace, though, was having Martin in the passenger seat acting like a rally co-driver, dictating what I needed to do and when. The Nordschleife is 12.93 miles long and consists of 154 turns. Martin literally talked nonstop and gave me fantastic directions. He would say things like “fourth gear, flat out, over the crest then turn right and aim for the fence” and I had no choice whatsoever to do as I was told. It was AMAZING. Apparently I did pretty well (he said I had gotten about an 11-minute lap and considering he has driven thousands of laps at the Ring himself, I trust that’s fairly accurate) and I was just proud that I didn’t die. 🙂 I did four laps in total, as did Erik. Unfortunately for Erik, he started to get very nauseous and we decided to call it quits for an hour while we had lunch at the on-site Devil’s Diner. After lunch, I did a fifth lap with Erik in the passenger seat instead of Martin, but had to go very slow to keep my new hubby from barfing. I had hoped to drive more, but by that time the track day had ended. Overall, though, five laps on the Nurburgring isn’t too shabby! After what can only be described as a “you’ve got to experience it to understand it” experience, we stopped at the ring*werk for souvenirs and to play in the amazing, fun and motorsports-centric Nurburgring Museum. I still can’t believe how much fun we had, how fortunate we were to have had this opportunity, and that we’ve now conquered the Green Hell!

Erik and I with our fantastic instructor, Martin, at the Nurburgring!
Click here to see the rest of the honeymoon photos!

The next stop on our itinerary was a much-needed relaxing night in a castle. Yes, a real castle. We drove to Oberwesel and arrived at the Burghotel Auf Schönburg, a historical site which was first mentioned in records back in the 900s! Despite us being hot, sweaty and Erik still being slightly nauseous, we were able to enjoy the castle and spent a few hours exploring the gardens and surrounding property. Everything was picture-perfect gorgeous and very, very romantic. As the sun started to set, we got cleaned up and found a beautiful table for two awaiting us on one of the outside dining patios, overlooking the Rhine River. Dinner was an incredible 6-course meal, complete with a fabulous bottle of wine from the castle itself. Between that and the Nurburgring adventure, I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect day and am so grateful to have such a wonderful husband to plan things like this for us!

The new Mr. and Mrs. Erik Jacobs, all fancied up for a special castle dinner.
Click here to see the rest of the honeymoon photos!

Tuesday was our last full day in Germany, and after we said goodbye to the beautiful castle, we drove to our final destination: Dusseldorf. My former riding instructor, Miriam, happens to live in the city with her new husband and so we arranged to spend the day with her! We met up at her stable to see her super-cute new horse, and then headed over to the Wildpark, a nature preserve where you can touch, feed and interact with the wildlife (specifically, deer) and then to the Galopprennbahn am Grafenberg, the local horse racing track. Then we hit up the river walk area and had dinner, followed by even more dinner as we tried our first currywurst (weird!) and had dessert. After a long day, we crashed with Miriam at her apartment and stayed up all night talking and catching up. It was SO great to see her!

Unfortunately, our trip was quickly coming to an end and we woke up painfully early in the morning to make it to the airport in time to catch our flight back to the States. More tasty first-class food and 8-9 hours later, we arrived safe and sound back in Atlanta. When we finally got home, we were exhausted but ecstatic and were even happier to see that my amazing Maid of Honor, EJ, had left a super-sweet surprise in our living room to greet us! 🙂

Overall, the entire experience was nothing short of amazing. From the rehearsal dinner to the wedding itself to the honeymoon and beyond, it feels like a dream. I can only hope that our future together as husband and wife holds as much fun, adventure, excitement and love as we experienced over those two weeks.

NOTE: our actual wedding photos haven’t been posted yet, but you can check out a preview gallery here in the meantime!