On our last day in Sweden we met up with the Foxes to have a picnic, and whilst we were feasting on cheese and wine Brian asked me if I had an all time favorite wedding. Asking a photographer that question is a bit like asking a Mom if she has a favorite child! What I can tell you is that Brian and Johanna’s Swedish wedding and all the adventures and new friends that it brought with it, is now in my memory bank as one of the best experiences of my life!
Brian and Jo got married on Finnhamn Island in the middle of the Swedish Archipelago. The sheer beauty of this wonderful little landmass in the Baltic Sea is staggering! Finnhamn is a nature reserve and has has no cars, it is so tiny that one can actually cycle or jog around it in no time at all. This did mean that every single bottle of wine, flower, vase, fairy light and guest, had to be ferried in, which in turn meant that the logistics involved in pulling off the wedding were absolutely enormous. Luckily both Jo and Brian are very proficient project managers, and had a willing team of friends and family who got stuck in to make their vision come to life. There were no planners or décor people working behind the scenes on this wedding, only Brian, Jo and their nearest and dearest.
Brian is South African and Johanna is Swedish, and they met whilst Jo was working as a dive instructor in Samoa. Both of them have traveled extensively and this meant that their guest list was very eclectic and they had people traveling in from all over the world. The photographer in me was absolutely delighted with the exquisite nature, the old barn that was used as a reception area; I loved all the little red houses and the fact that there was still light at 10.30 pm. But the thing that enchanted me the most, was the phenomenal tribe of people that gathered for the weekend and the marvellous spirit that ensued. There was an energy on that island that weekend which is hard to put into words, and I am confident that everyone that attended will gladly tell you that it was one of the best weddings they had ever been to!!! I am also doubly sure that they will tell you that Johanna and Brian are two of the nicest people you will ever meet and make a dynamite couple!
Brian and Jo thank you so much for flying us out to shoot your wedding! I am still pinching myself that I got to be the lucky lady that captured your big day. You guys are now stuck with me as a friend and I look forward to our next catch up. See you at the end of the year!
And now for a few words from the bride and groom …….
When we started planning our wedding we envisioned a couple of relaxed days filled with fun and laughter and all our friends and family together from all corners of the world. Little did we know how perfect it would be! To begin with, after a particularly miserable summer the sun decided to come out on the day of our wedding and didn’t leave for the next month. Of course every guest from both the southern hemisphere and north claimed they had brought it with them… And so we must apologise to New Zealand, South Africa, Canada and more for stealing your sunshine for a little while :).
We settled on having the wedding in Sweden as it is the country where we’re currently living. Also, it is a country that may not be at the top of the “to visit list” for most people, yet, it is incredibly beautiful and we wanted to show this to those from other parts of the world. We decided on the island of Finnhamn in the beautiful Stockholm archipelago; we met on an island (Upolu, Samoa), got engaged on an island (Seraya, Indonesia), and so it was only natural to have our wedding on an island. Having the wedding on an island, came with it’s own logistical challenges and these became the focus of many days and nights over the past year. How does one get cake delivered to somewhere over 20km from the nearest bakery? How much food and alcohol will 85 consume over the course of the wedding (plus the 3 days thereafter)? And so on… Yet at the same time, we also wanted the wedding to reflect our mix of cultures as both of us have spent at least a few years in each other’s homelands. This was reflected in various ways that are unlikely to come out in photos but were an important part to us nonetheless; from close friends and family singing traditional Swedish and Xhosa songs at our ceremony, to the mixing of traditions at the reception, to the festivities over the weekend that followed. Everything helped to make the wedding more special.
Given the cost of things in Sweden we ended up trying to do as much as possible ourselves. We’re not exactly DIY people but this actually worked out really well for us in the end. From writing our own ceremony to hand-making most of the decorations; every detail reflected who we are. Of course, this would not have been possible without the help of so many of our wonderful friends and family – both in the lead-up to the wedding and more importantly on the day itself. We are also, incredibly grateful to have had the pleasure of hosting both Jacki and Liz at the event. Having met Jacki and seen her work at a friend’s wedding we knew instantly that we would have to try and tempt her to come visit the north. Thankfully, she agreed! Her and Liz’s dedication, outgoingness and desire to capture the spirit of our day was incredible and we like to believe they arrived “on a job” but left as friends.
When it came to the day itself, all the stress, hopes and wishes fell by the wayside. Everything came together so perfectly – thanks, once again, to a lot of planning and a lot of hard work from all our family and friends.Right up until half an hour before the ceremony started, folks were making canapes, running back and forth between the hostel and the “harbour” to ensure everyone arrived and knew where they needed to be, putting drinks on ice, serving drinks, and so, so much more. Sure, there were issues but these really didn’t phase us… when it comes down to it, what matters most is that so many people came from far and wide and we were surrounded by the people we love.. Everything else…. every minute detail you stressed about… all ceases to be important. What’s important is being present in the moment. The rest is all history and wonderful memories. Hopefully the proof is in the (photo) pudding…
Second Shooter: Liz Donnell
Venue: Finnhamn – http://www.finnhamn.se/
Wedding planners: Us 🙂
Decor: Us 🙂
Flowers: Olas Blommor – http://www.interflora.se/store.asp?StoreID=1145
Hair and make-up: Bride’s friend and bridesmaid Josephine Lagerquist
Brides Dress: Zetterberg Couture – http://www.zetterbergcouture.se/
Brides shoes: Rizzo – http://www.rizzo.se/
Bridesmaids dresses: ESPRIT – http://www.esprit.com/
Groom’s Suit: Suit Supply – http://www.suitsupply.com/
Cake: En Liten Smula – http://www.enlitensmula.se/
Music: As mentioned above, we are incredibly lucky to have a very talented group of family and friends who provided entertainment for us over the course of the day. These were: Björn Andersson, Ashton Fox, Åsa Källén-Lindh, Annika Källén, Anthony Hehir and Max Wallbom.
Officiant: Friend – Liv Hofgaard
Stationary: TWINK – http://twink.se/