A Belgian (Him) married a Swede (her) & together they became the house of Debecker....
Charlotte + Kim
Some people that you meet in this life touch your heart & your soul so much, that in doing so, become so much more than just acquaintances. They become friends. They become like family. Imagine that there are two such individuals on this Earth who managed to find each other. Yep, they're pretty special to me these two & watching them together is like seeing kindred souls share a space. I'm so utterly blessed to be able to call these folks (& many more now too) my very dear friends.
It is so hard to put this wedding into words, because it wasn't 'just' a wedding at all. It was a magical celebration of two utterly amazing human beings who had chosen to share their lives together. It was family & friends that had flown or driven in from other countries to bear witness to their commitment. It was a week I know I'll never forget, but that flew by with such pace, that I'm still even now trying to make sense of it all. It was also a very profound week, one of life changing moments (starting with watching "The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty" about 5 times on the plane trip - OMG have you seen it? - it's my favourite movie of 2014)
Stepping out of the airport & into the Swedish Summer weather was utterly sublime. I'd just had a 36hr trip from an Australian Winter & was still wearing my Ugg boots! A quick change & I met up with the very sweet bride to be Charlotte, & we headed off. Arriving at a lakehouse just out of Nortallje, I met Charlotte's parents Peggy & Leif soon after (regardless of language barriers) we got chatting & waving our hands around like it was nobody's business! A suggested refreshing walk around the lake gave me another burst of energy & I went merrily on my way for a few hours.
Summer in the Northern hemisphere enjoys extended hours of daylight, where the afterglow is still there until 10 or 11pm & rises again at 3 or 4am. It was so invigorating & energising that I woke & was out on the lake by 4am the next day to photograph the changing light & rolling fog. There was a family of swans teaching their babies the way of the world. Their encouraging honking echoed off the hillside, & I watched for an hour in utter silence, mesmerised by their attentiveness.
Aware that their international guest list would need a place to stay, the couple chose to book everyone into the cabins & hold their ceremony at the historical islet of Marholmen. From the minute of my very first visit, I had flashbacks of the summer holiday place in the movie "Dirty Dancing" - only surrounded by the ocean. It was pristine. The woods were magnificent, the sea beckoned a quick dip, & the pathways invited strolling at a leisurely pace. It was also where Kim proposed to Charlotte.
"Day 1" became arrivals & introductions day, complete with a lovely BBQ held in a meadow by the shore.
The next day was the wedding.
They were to spend their first night in the beautifully restored Viking lodge & so chose to get ready together there & have pre-ceremony family get together there also. The ceremony took place in a clearing in the woods at the bottom of the hillside near the lodge & we remarked afterward that it felt a bit like a place where the elfin people from Lord of The Rings had once roamed. It was perfect. There was nothing pretentious about it at all. There were no bridesmaids or groomsmen. It was just them & their nearest & dearest. I think I teared up on & off all day, but by the time Charlotte was lead to the meadow at her dads side, I was crying completely & could barely see (yes I'm 'that' kind of photographer-hehe)
It was a multi-lingual ceremony. Their UBER talented & unbelievably hilarious priest had to say it in 3 languages - the only one I understood was English, but that didn't matter. The meaning each time was clear & spoke louder than the words. For the entirety of the procession, there was live folk music to keep us all entranced by a very talented dear friend. Afterwards, we nipped off on the property to get a few sneaky location shots whilst everyone else went over to the reception hall for drinks & socialising.
When we got back, everyone went into the beautifully decorated ("Mario Bros" themed) hall where the speeches were made, & a special movie presentation by Charlotte's extremely talented film maker sister Tess had the entire room bawling. Magnificent food accompanied (catered by the talented folk at Marholmen) wonderful conversation was had & new friendships were formed. Dancing followed until well into the wee hours of the morning.
The following morning we had a fabulous -post hangover- breakfast at the main lodge before heading off on a bus to the lake house for a type of Hunger Games family tradition. The Belgians arrived bearing their country flag & cheekily donning their country colours upon their faces as they gave the traditional gifts & ewere welcomed by the parents of the bride. They all share the same fantastic sense of humour, so Leif made a big show of their newly aligned solidarity by re-erecting the flags as one united display. The day was taken up by shooting, ballgames, more food, then swimming, footraces & 'find the scattered pinecones'...It was absolutely superb! We all retired back to the lodge very tired, but extremely happy & the bus trip was alive with stories of who's team beat whom all the way back.
The next day was sadly my last day in Sweden, & Kim's amazing parents organised a bit of a tour amongst us of the city. After a teary farewell with Charlotte & Kim, I went with the rest of the group back to Stockholm. Stockholm is such a tourist friendly place, with many of it's streets for walking & cycling only, giving the holiday maker right of way to go where they like at whatever pace suits best. It is a city on water & it's menu's & sightseeing are reflected in this. The day was over far too quick, & I said goodbye to my new friends & headed back to Oz.
Thanks to Charlotte & Kim for asking me to capture their precious days in Sweden, it was such a privilege & an honor to be involved. Thanks also to Peggy & Leif, Meike & Ivo, & Tess (dear Tess! thank goodness for you too!) So many memories to cherish, so many friendships formed. It was a truly magnificent week & one I'm still - like I said - coming to terms with.
Her dress - Linea Raffaelli
Her shoes - Menbur
Her purse - Menbur
His suit - Hugo Boss
His shoes - Floris Van Bommel
His tie - Hugo Boss
His belt - Hugo Boss
His shirt - Hugo Boss
Theme - Super Mario Bros
Inspiration, reason - Overlapping childhood memories
DIY - Table decorations, wedding invitations, gift bags for guests
Processional - Protestant
Signing the register - No
Recessional: Visa vid vindens ängar – Mats Paulson / Ring of Fire – Johnny Cash / Jag ger dig min morgon – Fred Åkerström / Let’s Stay Together – Al Green – all songs performed live
First dance - Your Love Keeps Lifting Me (Higher and Higher) – Jackie Wilson
The artist - Ola Pettersson https://www.facebook.com/ola.pettersson.39
How many guests - 74
Ceremony & Reception – Marholmen, Sweden
Makeup Artist - Sandra Illeman at Frisk & Skön
Hair Artist - Lina Westerlund at Inzide
Floral crown - yes
Flowers/bouquet - Fröken Knopp https://www.facebook.com/frokenknopp
Wedding Cake - En Liten Smula
Centrepieces - Super Mario figurines made by En Liten Smula
Favours - Chocolates from Leonidas in Leuven, Belgium and traditional liquor from Norrtelje Bränneri in Norrtälje, Sweden
Rings - Meister, germany
Other Jewellery - Pearl earings and pearl bracelet from Dihn Van, France
Catering & Bar - provided by Marholmen