As she walked down the aisle, many faces felt tears stream down their cheeks. They had never before seen a more beautiful and graceful bride. Her serene expression gave away no nervousness, save for the gentle flush of her cheeks. The walk through the woods beforehand with her father had been a different story. As she clung to her father's hand, trembling breaths causing her to shake slightly, the only other sound was that of the birds chirping and the echo of waves crashing on the seashore. But she was ready. Upon approaching the last stretch of woodland trail, she leaned over and whispered in her fathers ear and saw a single tear roll down his cheek.
The wedding ceremony for Alice and Daniel took place at Gjorgjić-Mayneri park on island Lopud in southern Croatia amidst the tall pillars and fluttering leaves of the trees. The ceremony was in all ways beautiful, but no element shown more brightly than the loving glow on Alice and Daniel's faces. They simply couldn't take their eyes off each other as they spoke the words that would bind them for life. Then came the fist bump. It was an unexpected moment of hilarity between the two that let everyone know just how at ease they were with one another. It was funny, touching and a sign of the quirky type of love they shared.
The reception and after-party was at Villa on a hillside overlooking the bay. It's a gorgeous stone house with a large pool and spacious balcony, perfect for hosting the wedding party and their guests. Before the festivities got started, Alice and Daniel danced their first couples dance to Henry Mancini's “Moon River” in the silver moonlight drifting over the balcony. They leaned tenderly against one another, eyes closed to the moment. I don't think they were even aware of the guests around them as they slowly circled the dance floor.
I felt a little twinge as I watched them. The way they held each other and laughed with one another made me think of the phrase “two against the world.” They are each other's rock, a steadying hand when the storms of life threaten to wash them both away. When you find someone that understands you the way that no one else can, who accepts the crazy part of you by showing you their own, you know you've found your soulmate. I know that Alice and Daniel will stand by each other for their entire lives. Theirs is a love that will never die, come rain or come shine.
Recently I had the great pleasure of shooting the wedding of Paula and Antun—who you may remember from this post—the star-crossed lovers who overcame distance to find one another in the lush hills of Croatia.
Just as the tangerine trees grown by Paula's family blossom, ripen, and bear fruit, Paula and Antun's love has gone from trembling bud to bold, nourishing colour, culminating in them being wed in Konavle, near Dubrovnik.
Konavle, like Paula and Antun, is both lovely and traditional, with centuries-old streets and pristine nature all around. The couple were wed in a small, intimate ceremony in an old stone church, before moving on to a dinner party at the Konavoski Dvori resturant. This restaurant, which abuts an ancient mill that straddles the clear, cold Ljuta river (one Croatia's cleanest and most beautiful mountain streams) was rich in traditional, home-cooked food and fine wines—the perfect fare to toast a love as real and robust as Paula and Antun's.
During the ceremony I witnessed Paula—dressed in a stunning vintage style, right down to her perfect shoes and bouquet—being given away by her father, in a scene so elegant and moving it could have been taken right from a classic movie. No one at the wedding held back; emotion poured more freely than wine, as Paula's father gave his cherished daughter over to the embrace of her devoted suitor.
In this day and age, when so many people try to come across as being “cool”, downplaying what they feel and putting up an iron guard of modern, jaded cynicism, the emotion of this beautiful family seemed like a miracle from another time.
In the vivid beauty of such open love, I was reminded that to show unrestrained emotion is to express the glory of nature. It is to become one with the joy of a river flowing unhindered, the leaping antelope, the wildcat at play, and the sun that rises in a cloudless sky. Nature is, after all, not self-conscious; it does not apologize for its power or its honesty, just as great love ought not.
This was a particular treat for me as capturing raw emotion is, of course, what makes a photograph powerful!
Distance is nothing when love is real. Almost 800 kilometers were dividing them because they were born and raised in two opposite parts of Croatia, but their connection got only deeper and stronger.
Tradition means a lot to them, so we shot an engagement session with the beautiful traditional attire. Paula was dressed in a gorgeous dress from Konavle area, combined with enriched hat embroidered with flowers. Antun first wore attire from Konavle, and then he changed into attire from Slavonia area, where he is born originally.
Inhabitants of Konavle area are famous for their respect for traditional heritage and land cultivation culture. Paula's family is growing all kinds of vegetables and fruits there, but they are most proud of their big tangerine orchard. Besides I used it as a background for photos, I enjoyed sweet and juicy taste of that gold fruit.