If you have your heart set on a destination wedding in France or Italy, prepare to have your head officially turned.
This gorgeous destination wedding in Croatia has it all, an ancient sun-soaked town in the mountains, a beautiful fairytale castle and breath-taking vistas of the countryside around it.
Yasemin and McLain's, Northern Croatia wedding was a luxurious yet relaxed affair.
Featuring a stylish bride, dapper groom and chic bridesmaids in blush pink, alongside exquisite food, abundant blooms and a dramatic al fresco dinner venue.
But in amidst the white carpet and Chantilly lace, was a relaxed gathering in the sun with local wines and indigenous blooms; the perfect balance for an elegant destination affair.
All photographed in striking style by Anna Kuperberg Photography, with an informal rehearsal dinner photoshoot, and beautiful shots from the big day itself, today's real wedding is an utter treat.
In Three Words
Fairytale, old world, multicultural
We chose to get married in Motovun, in part because the scenery is so breathtaking.
We decided to go for more simple and understated decorations so as not to take away from the beautiful surroundings. Our colour palette was rose blush/neutrals with apple green accents.
We chose Anna Kuperberg because she is an incredible photographer and is very easy to work with.
She was gracious to come with us to Croatia to document this special time in our lives.
My dress was Anne Barge, Kelsey, from the Spring 2012 Collection. It was a strapless fit and flare gown of striped pearl Chantilly lace along with scalloped accents on bodice and tiered hemline.
For accessories, I wore a pearl and diamond bracelet from Turkey, diamond earrings borrowed from my mother, Nihal Denari, and a hair accessory piece from 1800s and a gift from Kirkor Kocek, of Kocek Jeweler in Carmel, CA.
The bridesmaids all wore the Wtoo 296 dress in buff with an apple sash from Weddington Way. Weddinton Way was started by my friend and Stanford GSB classmate Ilana Stern.
They have a great selection of designer dresses and I enjoyed being able to vote and comment on them with all of my bridesmaids.
My bridesmaids were living in multiple countries, but Weddington Way made the bridesmaid dress selection process simple and efficient, despite the distance between all of us. Everyone looked stunning at the wedding!
Our ceremony was unique in that it included both American and Croatian elements and was partly in English, partly in Croatian.
The wedding was jointly officiated by my father-in-law Roy Southworth and the official registrar Mirko Opasic and translator Maja Lerga.
We signed the official wedding registry of Motovun, Croatia, and our wedding became internationally official during the ceremony (which took quite a bit of upfront work, but was worth it!)
We also had a bit of a surprise for the audience- when Roy Southworth asked if anyone objected, my brother stepped forward and said that there was something that needed to be cleared up first. He proceeded to read a note that I had written back on October 24, 1987.
It read: “I am Yasemin. I do not want to get married ever. If I change my mind my mother Nihal Denari will show me this paper. Yasemin Denari.”
My parents had been keeping that paper in a safe for 26 years. After I agreed that I had changed my mind, my brother read “Union” by Robert Fulghum, and the ceremony continued.
After the ceremony, the local Motovun klapa band, Klapa Motovun, performed in the town square
The Personal Touches
My mother came to Motovun three weeks in advance of the wedding to prepare many thing and plant flowers around the town.
She also collected shingles from the town and set Motovun succulents in them – these were placed along the overlook wall for the wedding dinner.
One of our guests, Brian Padilla welded a large metal heart and my mother provided cards and envelopes to guests, who wrote their advice for us and then placed their envelope inside of the heart – this was a surprise for us!
We created a custom map on Here and There on Etsy hop, that had a heart linking California (where we met) to Croatia (where we married). Guests could sign the map based in a location that was important to them.
Love Locks, inspired by Paris’ love lock bridge. My family spent months going to flea markets collecting a lock for each couple / guest who would be attending the wedding. Each couple / guest was given a lock with their name(s) on a tag attached to it and were asked to make a wish and hang the lock on the “Eternal Bridge” frame, which was also created by welder Brian Padilla – this was another surprise for us.
I had personalized bridesmaid cards with the actual bridesmaid dress design from Etsy’s Prince Whitaker and all our party favors (pasta, truffle products) were provided by local vendors, particularly the Bencic Tartufi shop in Motovun.
We had mostly white roses and other white flowers, interspersed with succulents, which are very common in Motovun.
Ross Martin & Eric Hoffman of Ross Martin Design Limited also kindly provided the plant baskets that we hung around the courtyard where the ceremony was held.
We rented out all of the restaurants on the overlook just outside of the castle walls. Our chef was Klaudio Ivasic, of Konoba Mondo, which was featured on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations, and our wine was provided by local wineries.
My mother brought the cake “petals” and topper from the United States, and Pekara Concettino made the cake and put it all together.
We love the show Game of Thrones, and part of the show (King’s Landing) is filmed in Croatia.
Since our wedding took place in a magical, historical Croatian town with a castle, we thought it would be fun to incorporate the show somehow.
Our friend Eric Hoffman is a jazz musician and he followed behind us playing the Game of Thrones theme song on his trombone as we entered our wedding dinner.
Advice for Other Couples
Definitely try Weddington Way for bridesmaid dresses! And Motovun is such a beautiful and quaint little town, and we would highly recommend it as a unique wedding destination.
If anyone is interested in holding their future wedding there please feel free to reach out and I can connect you with the appropriate local vendors (@yasemindenari).
Wow. I mean, wow.
Isn't that last shot from Anna Kuperberg Photography just so stunning? Just about everything in this wedding is gorgeous, from the location to that dress. I love the sweet parasols and the personal touches, and how incredible is Yasemin's mum for putting so much of it together? Superstar!
Thanks so much to Yasemin and McLain for sharing their unique destination wedding with us.