As some of you know, the last few months have been hectic for me while I was planning my wedding in Serbia all the way from Canada. Destination weddings are not an easy feat when you have to plan out every little detail on your own, so props to all of the brides (and some of the grooms) who have done the same. Planning a wedding is not easy by any means, but when you are thousands of kilometers away with a 6 hour time difference, it can be stressful nonetheless. Despite all of the chaos that comes with planning a wedding abroad, I am so happy that we decided to have our wedding in Serbia. For one, majority of our family lives in either Serbia or neighbouring Bosnia, with lots more friends and family (at least mine) living in different parts of Europe. I got to spend my special day with people who would have not been able to come celebrate with us in Canada otherwise, and who are so dear to me despite being so far from each other. Our wedding was also (relatively) cheap to have in Serbia, which saves us money for more traveling in the future…we all know how much I love that!
|Getting my make up done by the talented Danka.
Our morning was off to a rough start. I had been experiencing bladder pains for a couple of days, and did not think much of it. That morning I woke up and was peeing out blood, not something that a bride wants to experience on her wedding day. Despite the pain, I got up, got my hair done, and returned to the hotel to get ready with my maid of honour and my sister. I also took this opportunity to stuff my face with food because everyone knows, a bride barely gets to eat on her wedding day (future brides, have a big breakfast. You can thank me later). I avoided drinking liquids because I didn’t want to have to use the bathroom during the ceremony. Boy did I regret this later…
|Getting my dress buttoned by my dear friend Ivana.
|My sister helping me put on my shoes.
Once we were ready, my brother in law came to get me from the hotel room. Serbian tradition is that the groom’s brother, or closest male relative who is not married, comes to get the bride. It is also tradition for him to come buy the bride, which was a tradition I did not want to take part in so we skipped out on that.
|Here comes to bride! No, the Canadian flag was not attached to my hair haha!
From the hotel, all of our 120+ guests (oh ya…this was just for the morning, we had more guests in the evening) got in their cars and followed us in their cars to the church. Kind of like a parade. In Serbian this is called svatovi. The guests follow slowly behind each other, and honk their horns. Other drivers usually stop and honk in support. It is a lovely feeling and a great stress reducer for the pre-wedding jitters!
|Our ride for the day.
During the ride to the church, we happened to cross paths with another couple and their svatovi. A couple of our guests got confused and started following this bridal party to their church. More on that bridal party later…
|During the ceremony
We got married in a Christian Orthodox church. The ceremony was about an hour long, but it seemed to go by quickly. During the ceremony the bride and groom take part in a couple of rituals to symbolize their union. My favourite part was drinking wine from a gold goblet.
Why? Remember how I said I didn’t drink anything before the wedding? Well I was in desperate need of a drink so that freshened me up to keep on going throughout the ceremony. But in all seriousness, the whole ceremony was beautiful. I also enjoyed looking like a queen with my king 😉
|Inside the beautiful church.
I also found our church to be the perfect backdrop to our beautiful wedding. As some of you might know, we debated for a long time which church to pick (we only ended up picking one 2 months before the wedding). I am happy with our choice. Just look at those frescoes!
After the Church
|Getting carried into the house!
It is tradition that after the church the bride and groom return to the groom’s house and for the groom to carry the bride through the front door. Oh my I was screaming so much! Radojko kept teasing me that I was heavy and I was just waiting for the moment when we were both going to fall over. Luckily, he had been working out before the wedding so we had no problems.
|Getting served by my husband.
|Serving my husband.
It is also tradition for the bride and groom to serve each other a Serbian specialty called slatko. I guess the easiest translation would be a fruit compote. This is something that is served to guests when they arrive to your house in Serbia. Oh, and I am not sure why I had to sit on my mother-in-law’s lap, but it is also part of tradition.
|Misko and Malisa!
My favourite part of the day? Coming home to take pictures with our pups!
|My favourite picture!
As some of you know, my first choice for our church was a monastery just outside of Cacak called Nikolje. I just love everything about this place. From the church, to the garden, to the priest and head nun.
|With the priest and nun that baptized me.
Although we chose not to get married here because the church is very small (holds about 10-15 people) as it is from the 13th or 14th century (it is not known when it was built), I decided to get baptized here. It was a real treat to get to see the priest and head nun that baptized me on my wedding day. They are the sweetest people that I have ever met.
|Getting bit by a puppy on my wedding day.
The monastery adopted some stray pups recently. I decided to get down to pet them. The white one was a brat. He bit me (he left a nice mark) and he also tugged at my dress. The golden one was sweet and just wanted to play.
|Our head table
At our reception we had over 270 guests, 300 if you count all the musicians, photographers, and videographer. It was great! As you can imagine, with that many guests, comes a lot of responsibilities, but luckily for us, everything went smoothly. At least we didn’t hear any complaints.
|Let the party begin! And no that is not me in a different dress. It is also not my twin.
|Dancing the night away!
I know that we should have had a protocol of when things would happen. Our first dance happened a lot later than we wanted to. During the dance, Radojko and I were both super awkward. Neither one of us like being in the center of attention, so we were happy when others got up to join us!
It is not typical for a bride to give a speech in Serbia. This is usually done by a host, who is an uncle of the groom. But, I did mine and thanked all of my guests from all 11 countries that they came from…
|Speech time…I spoke in Serbian and English.
We had guests from Canada, Australia, Czech Republic, Sweden, Hungary, Bosnia, Croatia, Montenegro, Mali, Germany, and Serbia. 4 continents! What an honour!
|Not our cake.
So the unthinkable happened on our wedding day. We got the wrong wedding cake! That is right! Take a look at the initials. They are not A&R, but M&C. I was in absolute shock! The place where we ordered it from sent us the wrong cake. But guess who got our cake? The bridal party that we ran into on the way to the church! I ended up connecting with the bride on Facebook so I was able to see pictures of my wedding cake.
|Cutting some other bride’s cake 🙁
|Brass band and cake!
Despite getting the wrong cake, this was still my favourite part of the whole night. The brass band that played was simply amazing! It was loud. It was wild. It was a lot of fun!
|Happiness is being surrounded by those you love!
It is true what they say, your wedding day is the greatest day of your life. As I finish this post I have tears of joy for having had such a beautiful day. Despite some hurdles along the way, I would not change a single thing about that day. For future brides and grooms, embrace every moment of it. Your wedding day will flash before your eyes. It will all go by so quickly so enjoy every single minute. And don’t stress over the little things. Once the day passes, all you will remember are the fun times.
Cheers to all of you who took the time to read my post, to those who made the day so special, and to everyone for the well wishes. And a special thank you to our amazing photographers from Studio 85 who worked so hard to get beautiful shots and to present me with our wedding and engagement photos on my 30th birthday. If you ever want to get married in Serbia, or want a professional photographer to take pictures, in Serbia or abroad, I highly recommend these guys. And for those of you who are interested on my dress, I got it from the amazing La Creme in St. Jacob’s, Ontario. I also highly recommend them for your next outfit for a special occasion!