Oksana and Craig had their destination wedding in Lithuania, on last day in September. It was the last wedding of the season, and I finished with a big bang! It was such honor and a huge pleasure to document this wedding. I loved it, how everyone was relaxed, enjoyed their mini vacation and celebration in Lithuania, however lets’ star from the beginning.
Many of the guests were making the journey and looked at a map to decipher where Lithuanian is so the obvious follow on the question how does a bloke from Burnley end up marrying a girl from Lithuania?
About nine years ago Craig took a call for an appointment to view one of his properties. He remembers showing an attractive nevertheless steely faced young lady around and with the stroke of a pen, she became his tenant.
Several years passed and this young lady gave notice and moved out of the house. They lost contact for a while, but soon had a chance conversation which established they were both singletons. After several conversations, they agreed to go out together. Over the years, they had many brief exciting interludes. Both of them sipping back into the night after our encounters until one day, four years ago, they decided to go out for “coffee”. Yes, coffee, without alcohol. A novel idea indeed! This, as they say, was the start of their beautiful relationship.
They began to see each other on a regular basis and Craig felt like he’d found someone who made him laugh. Oksana and Craig simply found each other when neither of them was looking. She made his dark day’s light and they laughed a million times, sung a million songs and danced regularly until the sun came up. They often wondered how they got here. For him, the question of “where are we and how did we get here?” is a simple one. They are here because his girl wants them to be.
When Oksana was growing up, she planned her wedding like every other little girl. She planned to meet a Prince and marry him in the church she visited every Sunday with my Grandma. She has wonderful childhood memories of this little church surrounded by the beautiful lake that she swam in the heat of summer and the woodlands she spent hours walking through and playing hide-seek in with her best friends and family. She returned many times year after year. Her most important memories, the ones that really count, are those of her Grandma and her holding hands walking to and from the Church week after week, year after year.
She left Lithuania when she was 19 years old with my son Benas and the most special person in her life. She left to fulfill the many dreams she had in her young head, with hopes of seeing so many new things and meeting many new people. She lived in London and eventuality came to live in Lancashire. After many years of enjoying life, she met Craig and they became great friends over the years. One day things changed when he asked her to go for coffee and since that “coffee” they have become inseparable. He makes her laugh and cry in equal measures, but deep down she knows how much they do love each other and they wouldn’t have it any other way.
This explains why they wanted all guests to visit her special church here in Lithuania. She is so proud that they all making this special journey for them, it’s truly humbling. Finally, not only is this church such a unique place for Oksana, the venue Smuklè Žarija also holds beautiful memories too. She remembers fondly celebrating New Year’s Eve there in 2012 with her Grandma and her family.
Oksana and Craig planned very well for four days stay in Lithuania. Every guest flew from Leeds to Vilnius. Carriages picked them up from the airport and they have nice lunch and sight seen in Vilnius. In the evening they arrived at Smuklė Žarija their venue for the next three days!
All week I was looking weather forecast. The weather was terrible, it was cold and rainy. However on Saturday morning, I woke up, and it was a miracle! Sun was shining in the sky! When I arrived at the venue, all guest were already ready to leave to church. So after quick detail shots, groom and the guests left, and I started to photograph gorgeous bride Oksana. I loved that she did not forget her bridesmaids, and had beautiful gifts for them – exquisite pink floral print dressing gowns by Ted Baker. After champagne, cheering and laughing it was time to slip in the gorgeous wedding dress designed by Essense of Australia. Oksana looked stunning! Downstairs the Bentley S was already waiting for the bride and her bridesmaids. When we arrived at Saint Mary church in Kairiai, her son was already waiting and ready to walk Oksana down to the altar. The ceremony was very emotional, and end up with rose petals toss and a lot of hugs.
For more photographs, we headed to Burbiškis Manor. After arriving back to the venue, bride and groom were greeted with bread, salt and water followed by candle lighting ceremony. Newlyweds took a few moments to have everyone at the ceremony watch the candle burn and remember the deceased in silence. Candles burned during the duration of the reception and blew it out once everyone has left the event venue.
The evening had started, dinner, speeches, first dance, cake cutting and disco. Cigars and whiskey for the boys and a mixologist for the ladies followed by a surprise at midnight!
I told you that I finished the wedding season with the big bang! It was an epic wedding for everyone!
Oksana and Craig, I can not express how thankful I am for you choosing me as your wedding photographer. I appreciate your trust and support. Wishing you all the best!
Thank you to all the wedding vendors, It was such a pleasure to work!
Venue – Smuklė Žarija
Event design – Poula Gill
Florals – Gardenijos Žiedai
Wedding dress – Essense of Australia from Ava Rose Hamilton
Bride’s shoes – Ted Baker
Bridesmaid dresses – Jenny Packham
Makeup artist – Ieva Make up artist
Wedding car – Bentley S
Cake – Saldus sapnas
Host – Haroldas Urbonavičius