Alanna Herling and Maxx Watternberg always “knew” of each other, but never spent much time together. “He was a year older than me and, admittedly, was a lot cooler than I was in high school,” Alanna describes. “We grew up down the block from each other, attended the same grade schools, temple, and sleep away camp; but it wasn't until a family trip to Europe that we really got to know each other.”
Three families jetted off to Capri together, and it was in one of Italy’s most beautiful settings that Maxx and Alanna bonded over a shared love of pasta and wine. “The connection was undeniable to everyone around us, although for us it was just a friendship we were interested in pursuing,” Alanna recalls.
I HAD SEARCHED DESTINATIONS ALL OVER THE COUNTRY AND NO VENUE WAS MORE ACCOMMODATING THAN EAU WAS.
“In Capri, we dove off rocks at the Fontelina Beach Club, danced on tables at ristorante Aurora, and drank wine as we sailed past the Blue Grotto. Five billion calories later, we were off to Mykonos. A table was set for 13 and a tame lunch turned into an unforgettable party. Glasses of rose turned into shots of tequila and everyone danced together as day turned to night.
It was the last night of the trip and everyone was tired after our big day at Scorpios, but Maxx and I had one more party left in us. That was the night that changed everything. We landed in New York on a Tuesday, and that Friday night, we went out in the city. We spent the entire weekend together and have not left each other’s side ever since.”
It was a weekend in March when Maxx asked Alanna and some friends to meet him for a pre-dinner drink at the Gramercy Park Hotel in NYC. When Alanna stepped off the elevator and turned the corner, she was greeted by a room filled with rose petals and photos of the couple. Maxx then got down on one knee and popped the question. “Our families flew in from Florida to surprise me, and then Maxx told me I had three hours to get together, because he had invited 100 of our closest friends and family to meet us on the rooftop for a party,” adds Alanna. “We had the best night!”
Soon after their engagement, plans were in the works for a wedding at Eau in Palm Beach, Florida. “We fell in love with the Eau because it was a blank canvas and the staff could not have been nicer,” Alanna says. “I had searched destinations all over the country and no venue was more accommodating than Eau was. No matter how big or small the idea, the Eau said yes to everything. When I looked outside, I could envision my friends and family taking over the pool area; and that is exactly what happened.”
After 13 months of planning every last detail – from welcome bags for the guests, to the ballroom reception – the big day finally arrived. The bride wore a custom Galia Lahav wedding gown from Bridal Reflections in NYC, which included three different looks that she transitioned between throughout the festivities. To honor her grandfather who was a holocaust survivor, Jewish traditions were beautifully incorporated into the ceremony, and Alanna wore her late grandmother’s ring down the aisle.
A touching ceremony lead to a lavish, blowout Palm Beach reception and afterparty that lasted all night. Afterwards, the newlyweds took off on a blissful honeymoon that included the clear blue waters of the Maldives, and an epic safari adventure in Sri Lanka.