The adage which states life begins when you step out of your comfort zone proved to true both literally and metaphorically for Julie, a vivacious Scottish beautician I met recently through my work as a destination wedding photographer.
Though I am natively a Croatian wedding photographer, I am available worldwide for shoots and have recently spent a long while in Cyprus, so I am no longer used to meeting people as gregarious as Julie; many people in this region of the world are rather quiet and keep to themselves, independently going about their lives. Julie, though, radiates a bubbly life-force that draws everyone to her—so much so that she was well-known and liked by all of her neighbours at the apartment complex she lived in just over a year ago.
Naturally, then, when a handsome single Dutchman by the name of Bart moved in to the said complex, titillated whispers lit up the building as its residents immediately saw a potential match for Julie. Soon, her customers at work were telling her about the charming newcomer to her flat and doing their best to set up a date—which Julie at first flatly refused.
But, the seed was planted—as she went about her day-to-day life, she could not help but start to look for Bart in and around her building, to notice the twinkle in his eye and the warmth of his smile. Something in her heart started to tug at her, telling her to take a chance, to ignore her hesitancy and take a risk on a possibly awkward blind date with a stranger.
Eventually, Julie accepted the invitation to go out for a drink, and when she let herself meet Bart's eyes for the first time, she felt a sense of instant, unmistakeable connection. One date turned into many, and within a few months, the couple realised that the only times their flat truly felt like “home” was when they were together in it. As such, they decided to take their biggest risk yet; despite how new their relationship was, they chose to move in together.
Their choice was immediately blessed—that New Year's, Julie was overjoyed to discover the greatest of surprises: She was expecting a baby! In a whirlwind of holiday celebration, she and Bart got engaged, and are now planning a wedding for a next year.
The little decorative box I photographed Julie's ring on perfectly captures what has unfolded for this couple: “Every once in a while... right in the middle of ordinary life... love gives you a fairytale.” As you can see from the pictures, their life has started to unfold like something from a storybook; in March, they moved into a beautiful big house surrounded by a palm-strewn garden, a little patch of paradise all their own. Inside, however, there were many signs that Julie and Bart have held onto their down-to-earth candour and sense of humour; I found an adorable “wedding fund” piggy bank, surrounded by seemingly endless congratulations cards from their friends and family, as well as a quirky plaque.
After capturing these mementos, I took the couple to the beautiful Ayios Georgios Alamanou rocks (near Governor's Beach in Cyprus). This beautiful beach has long been a place for lovers to walk, hand-in-hand, as the sun sets, finding hidden nooks among the many sea caves and tiny islets where they might quietly whisper their secrets, dreams, hopes, and fears, their voices blending into the soothing murmur of the waves.
I shot Julie and Bart against the beach's famous stones, which rise as pure and white as dove's wings from the inky black sands below and overlook the shimmering waters of the Mediterranean sea. This uncluttered yet dramatic landscape draws the eye out to the endless blue horizon, creating a thrilling sense of the unknown and making one contemplate the majesty of the future—the perfect aura to surround this couple, whose fairytale has truly only just begun.