Iva and Steffen’s Spiritual Summer Wedding
When Iva and Steffen asked us to photograph their summer wedding, Sam and I were thrilled! These two souls have an innate warmth and generosity of spirit; we knew their big day was going to be special.
Set amongst three lakes in the wild southern region of Bulgaria, Belite Skali (meaning ‘White Rocks’) is eye-poppingly gorgeous! This ‘eco-complex’ blurs the boundaries between a pastoral homestead and a resplendent, modern hotel.
Built only with organic, natural materials, the White Rocks Hotel was the perfect venue for our nature-loving couple. This venue was replete with so many rustic charms: wooden bridges, tree-lined aisles, rock ponds, and even an Indian fantail pigeon coop.
The morning was spent in the private houses; here, Iva and Steffen prepared separately for what was going to be a truly magical day. Aided by her close family and friends, Iva was dressed in a stunning white gown of intertwining floral patterns. Iva’s rich and luscious bouquet of eucalyptus, wildflowers, and a Pink Ice protea complemented her organic dress perfectly.
Steffen was smartly dressed in a crisp white shirt and summery brown chinos. Along with his Best Man, Ruben, they enjoyed a morning laughing in the joy of each other’s company. Iva’s mother, Valentina, then arrived to send off her Son-in-Law (to-be) with a fabric and lavender boutonnière and an emotional hug. She even designed the boutonnière to match Iva’s dress!
When we had our pre-wedding meeting to discuss their big day, Sam and I helped plan out the sequence of events; we also made sure to include the First Look and it was certainly worth it!
When it came time for the First Look, we were so excited! Sam brought Iva down to the far lake, where Steffen and Ivana awaited. We had secretly organised for Konstantin the musician to welcome their arrival at the lakeside. As Iva arrived, Konstantin’s sweet violin sang out from across the still water.
The moment was serene! Time stood still as they embraced for the first time, only releasing when the violin’s beautiful melody ended.
We then guided the bride and groom to their waiting families, who were bursting with joy to see them. Gathering the family prior to the ceremony was ideal; everyone was full of energy and could hardly keep away from Iva and Steffen! With the family formals completed before the ceremony, everyone had more time to celebrate with the couple afterward.
Iva and Steffen stood surrounded by their guests, the ceremonial table, the traditional band and the decorated teepee behind them. The guests held together tightly as the ceremony proceeded and blessings were showered on the bride and groom.
The unconventional ceremony itself was intimate and organic in nature; it had a bohemian style, yet was familiar and humanist.
Everyone was held in rapture during the spiritual ceremony. Family and friends knitted together and smiled on as Iva and Steffen became husband and wife before our teary eyes. They finally broke the ceremonial bread and said their “I Do’s”; everyone then rushed up to congratulate the newlyweds with gifts and hugs.
After the blessings and tears, we returned briefly with Iva and Steffen to the far lake. Here, in the pre-dusk glow, they enjoyed a quiet, loving moment to themselves.
When we returned, the festivities (and eating!) began in earnest! The familial mood created by their ceremony had migrated directly to the dinner tables; everyone was heartily chatting and enjoying themselves with the sumptuous food. But to enjoy an earthy, airy summer wedding like this properly, you had to do it barefoot!
The rest of the evening was filled with lovely food, great company, and traditional Bulgarian dancing (even to the unusual sound of AC/DC!). Love filled the mountain air and everyone danced their socks off – quite literally!
Everyone wanted to compliment their summer wedding with a grand finale. So, we all sent Iva and Steffen into their new life through a tunnel of showering lights.
From the bottom of our hearts, thank you so much Iva and Steffen for sharing this wonderful day with us. Congratulations and we wish you love, happiness, and health for the rest of your lives.