I never thought that wedding photography would allow me such dynamic life that the distance from “never heard of it” to shooting a wedding there would be only a few emails. Call it destiny, call it blind luck – but a young couple, Malene and Josip, who were supposed to get married in Istria, changed their mind just days before the big event, and decided to do it in Stavanger, Norway. Such an unexpected gift made me feel like a winner. As a destination wedding photographer, I get to see parts of our beautiful planet, which otherwise I never would have.
For quite some time now, Norway has been on my bucket list. The closest I got was shooting an engagement in Utrecht in the Netherlands, but I really wanted to see the gorgeous country of Norway. I often lose track of time googling images of the beautiful design, architecture and society, in general. This opportunity gave me a chance to work in Norway as a destination wedding photographer and to spend some quality time there with my family after the photo shoot.
The Stavanger church ceremony was short and sweet.
Long enough to please the tradition, short enough to go for ice cream before boredom started. Yeah, you heard me well. Ice cream. Why not? The couple did not opt for a wedding cake, but instead made sure that there is plenty of ice cream for everyone. Not just everyone at the wedding. Everyone in Stavanger. There were tons of it, in a whole galaxy of exotic tastes, cookies, toppings, all in radiant colors. And regardless of the sentimental value, this was definitely one of the best ice creams I’ve ever tasted.
We all fell apart by the central lake and enjoyed the ice cream. The father of the bride used this already special moment to give his speech. He did have notes, but I could see that the words came directly from his heart. Everyone felt his emotions and made that moment shine with joy.
Flor og Fjaere, one of the most beautiful Stavanger wedding venues
Next stop – Flor og Fjaere, a private estate with surreal gardens, straight out of “Alice in Wonderland”. This was the place I was most excited about, as it is one of the most popular Stavanger attractions. After they hired me to shoot their destination wedding, I took a sneak preview of the place on the web and I knew it would be a perfect surrounding for a photo shoot. As we took that half-hour drive across Stavanger archipelago, I felt nervous anticipation. Flor og Fjaere must be one of the most wonderful settings I have ever photographed.
Freedom from traditional customs was evident during the entire event. They skipped even the usual first dance. The guests gathered around the served food – a truly unique wedding menu. All of the ingredients – and I literally mean all of them – were from that island. Organic, juicy, natural, foods, prepared with amazing gusto.
Malene and Josip wanted me to shoot the bride and the bridegroom’s photo session in documentary style without posing. Simple and spontaneous, they let me photograph them being themselves. I just loved that we were on the same wavelength regarding that part. Short and sweet. We took a casual walk around the mind-twisting gardens, and half an hour was more than enough.
We came back to Stavanger at around 11 pm, and the guests who were in the mood for something stronger than ice cream were welcomed in a bar with great dance music. It was kind of interesting seeing all those people who were quietly eating ice cream and wiping tears during the speech quickly starting to feel the beat of the music and start partying. I made sure to blend in and document this sudden change.
As I was taking the final photos of the beautiful people celebrating in Stavanger, I felt like I managed to capture the essence of this wedding. I went back to my apartment, to my wife and daughter, who accompanied me on this trip. A perfect ending for a perfect day.
Photos by Destination Wedding Photographer Damir Plavotić
Location: Flor og Fjære, Stavanger, Norway