One of the (many!) great things about our job, is getting to delve a little deeper behind wedding traditions in different cultures and religions.
Which is why we were so delighted when Serbian-based wedding photographers, Ivan Diana Photography shared Jelena and Andjelko's intimate Bosnian wedding with us.
Not only is there all our usual favourite wedding accoutrements; the ubiquitous stunning bride in her glamorous white dress, the dashing groom who can't take his eyes off her, a fun flower toss and a night of dancing to the wee hours…
But there's also ring kissing, couple crowning and live music, all day long.
A gorgeous wedding that combines the contemporary, with the customary, there are reams to feast your eyes on – along with a little bit more about the day from Diana of Ivan Diana Photography – whether you're planning your own Eastern Orthodox wedding ceremony, or a destination wedding in Bosnia…
In Three Words
Intimate, modern and sophisticated.
A Modern Twist
Hours before the actual wedding ceremony, it is tradition to have a “bartering for” or “buying of” the bride. Grooms with his best man and troupe would go to the bride’s place to perform this tradition. But Jelena and Andjelko skipped this part.
The Church Ceremony
For the church reception, it begins with the rings being blessed first with the presence of the best man and best lady (as they call it English or Kum and Kuma for Bosnian terms).
After reciting blessings and bible passages, the priest makes the sign of the cross and then rings are placed in the couples’ fingers.
“Crowning” is an integral part of the ceremony. It sort of symbolises that the newlyweds have just become the King and Queen of their newly-created family.
One touching story that happened on Jelena and Andjelko's wedding day was related to a bench. It may look like an ordinary bench, yes, but it holds so much story and dreams, especially for the groom,
Andjelko was a professional volleyball player, who played internationally in Korea. But during his younger years in Zagreb, Croatia, before his career took off, he would always sit on that bench and spent many days and nights dreaming with his friend, Sime.
What a big surprise that on his wedding day, his friend got the very same bench for him as a present.
That bench traveled from Zagreb, Croatia to Trebinje, Bosnia and his friend had to write to the City of Zagreb in order to acquire it.
It is the same bench he and his friend sat many times on dreaming of big adventures. Wonderful, right?
The Civil Ceremony
After the wedding ceremony at the church, a civil wedding normally follows, either at the city hall or at the reception hall or a garden.
Jelena and Andjelko’s civil ceremony was held at the garden of the restaurant.
Bands play all throughout the day, during the set up, at the bride and groom's parties before finally meeting for their wedding, and there are normally musicians also at the church and of course, at the reception.
The music played and performed is almost always traditional songs. There are specific wedding songs for the bride and groom that musicians or couples may agree to play.
Our couple had traditional musicians that were hopping from table to table at the restaurant, and this is quite normal for Bosnian weddings. This is the way they entertain their guests., it’s intimate like that.
Andjelko, was also game enough to play and sing for everyone during their party. It was lovely.
Bosnians also have a traditional dance, a circle dance they call Kolo, and this is a special dance for everyone during parties.
It is a dance where people gather in circles and hold hands. It uses simple steps and everybody, no matter what age you have, even kids, would dance.
Bosnian weddings do not have a clean-cut program. The band plays all night, food is served, people gather at around 4pm, and the highlight of the evening after all the dancing, drinking and eating is the cake-cutting at around 9 or 10pm.
Yes, it’s non-stop dancing and it’s unbelievable what kind of energy Bosnians have during wedding parties, young and old.
Is it just us, or do you guys all want to go to a Bosnian wedding now? It looks like so much fun! And puts us, busting a move to Journey's Don't Stop Believing, to shame.
I love Jelena's two dresses, and her dramatic flowing veil is so stunning. The church customs are really beautiful too, I love the symbolism behind the crowns, so special.
Thanks so much to Jelena and Andjelko for sharing their unique wedding with us, and to Diana of Ivan Diana Photography, for explaining a little more about the day.