I’ve heard that most New Zealanders dream about having an OSE – Overseas Experience. Europe is a quite common destination, especially England. I guess there is a connection with their ancestors, and traveling halfway across the globe is not an uncommon thing.
Still… try to picture this: 36 hours of flights, several stopovers, across three different continents – to come from New Zealand to the Island of Brač to get married. The trip across the globe to get married. Wow.
Wedding Preparations – Group Swimming in the Adriatic Sea
Kate and Thomas, the bride and the groom, are really relaxed people and their wedding was just as cool as them. They created a completely stress-free and easy-going atmosphere. Right from the very beginning of the wedding day, they started off with a group swim in the Adriatic Sea. Everyone was playing, swimming and jumping around in the water – a perfect start for a hot day.
Morning preparation for this big day is not just about putting on makeup, making a perfect bow-tie knot and the Maid of Honor helping the bride to zip up her wedding dress. Those, otherwise ordinary activities, were spiced with excitement and anticipation.
Even though it is quite common, I love seeing each and every wedding couple goes through their own unique set of plans, mishaps, hijinks and laughter. I made sure I get plenty of sleep and get up early. I didn’t want to miss this part.
Marriage Ceremony Hidden in the Hills
The most common wedding venue in Croatia seaside are the gorgeous beaches, the famous Croatian Riviera and old cities of the famous tourist destinations. However, the cultural heritage of this wonderful area is so rich that one can still find locations which are “hidden treasures”. Kastel Gospodnetic is one of them.
It is and old family house, standing at the top of a hill. One part of it was restored and adapted into a restaurant, where the hosts proudly serve food grown in their own backyard. The house itself has not been refurbished, and everything looks the way it did back in the days when it was built, including the original furniture. It is an awesome wedding villa and a perfect venue for New Zealanders to get to know some of the history and enjoy this hidden time capsule.
That characteristic vintage beauty of the island – that was the main reason Kate and Thomas chose Croatia and Brač. Most of the buildings are half a millennium old, built from stone blocks which were carved out from the rocky parts of the island. This backdrop provided their wedding with quite unique scenery, something they couldn’t find in New Zealand – perfect set for my documentary style of photography.
When in Rome…
Before they came to Croatia, they had done a bit of research about the Brač wedding traditions. Even though most young people follow global trends when they get married, there are still many remnants of the olden days in the marriage rites. Every region and even town has their own their own tradition, and so does Brač.
Kate and Thomas decided to carry the flags of Croatia and New Zealand as they walked through the town center – something which locals traditionally do. The City of Postira on the Island of Brač is a lovely small town and community, where everybody knows each other. You can imagine what a spectacle the newlyweds were for the locals. All eyes were on them, with undivided attention.
One could hear the murmur of local old women: “Who are these people? Where are they from? Why would they take photos in front of those old houses?” This only brought out more of the infatuating charm of this ancient community. One could swear that those old wives were as old as the buildings around them.
They ended the evening with a gorgeous dinner. And the speeches that the guests gave, with their characteristic humor reminded me that they roots are in the United Kingdom. Among other funny stuff, we heard a bunch of stories about the high school adventures, where the maid of honor absolutely took the Academy Award for the best comedian.
Everyone had the opportunity to say a thing or two, a funny story, a revealing anecdote, the story of how the newlyweds met. Every story added more intricate details to the already gorgeous image of their wonderful relationship, full of true friendship. Just as every wedding photo taken during their ceremony added to their story and how it will be remembered.
Photos by Croatia Wedding Photographer Damir Plavotić
Location: Island of Brač, Croatia