Being a Croatia-based Wedding Photographer, I know that, when people mention Istria, most immediately think about one thing – the pristine Adriatic Sea and the Istrian Coastline. Of course, not without reason: small medieval coastal towns such as Rovinj, Pula and Poreč simply stay embedded in your mind for all eternity, and it is no surprise other landscapes fade away.
But one of the most magnificent pearls of Istria, the Meneghetti property is away from the beaches, hidden in a forest in the inland part of this beautiful peninsula. This Istrian wedding venue is completely secluded – a short drive from the picturesque town of Bale, and in the middle of nowhere, as you get off the main road a real-life paradise appears before you.
Villa Stancija Meneghetti
This place has a reputation of exclusivity, reserved for those with deep pockets, so I was worried it would be one of those stuck-up, snobbish high-society weddings. All my preconceptions disappeared when I first met Martina and Davor for a coffee. The lovely couple is down to earth, laid back and they both have a great taste for food and wine. Their original simplicity is best illustrated by their wedding ceremony.
It was an easy going, yet hedonistic chill out event with the family and their closest friends. No protocol or plasticity whatsoever. Even the children had a great time, enjoying themselves on a lawn by the swimming pool, munching on finger food. And the Meneghetti Villa turned out to be a cool, relaxed location, despite the lavish looks. It is now, alongside the Fortress of Grožnjan, my favorite inland Croatia wedding location, perfect for improvisation.
There is something I noticed way back, when I started doing wedding photography: the best weddings are the ones that have no script, but develop spontaneously, according to some collective mindset and feelings of the wedding couple and the guests. People are carefree and open, and I can take photos of them and capture who they really are, their essence.
The wedding preparations took place in a rustic-themed villa apartment, and the relaxed mood made it enjoyable and fun, which is rarely the case in most weddings. Martina’s choice to wear a dress which is not a traditional white wedding dress fit her personality perfectly. They were completely free and unrestrained by the traditional Istria wedding customs and activities.
We had a lovely photo session in a vineyard nearby, smooth and spontaneous. Every photo shows pure love and zero posing. The same goes for the rest of the ceremony. You don’t have to do anything special to have fun. We are not human doings, we are human beings. When people are free to just be, who they really are, without imposed circus acts, my camera captures true, spontaneous poetry.
Photos by Croatia Wedding Photographer Damir Plavotić
Location: Meneghetti Villa near Bale, Istria, Croatia