One of the main things that make us different from a lot of our wedding companies is the fact that we try to personally communicate with our clients, gauging what they're wanting on their big day, and how we are able to make their dreams become a reality. Milka & Mladen first contacted us November of last year which was great timing as we had just finished editing the video for our first ever Serbian wedding for Dean & Dijiana, because of this we were more than prepared to jump back into this cultural wedding. While it's different compared to a lot of weddings we shoot today, we aren't afraid to jump out of our comfort zone and take a risk no matter how unusual or different it is.
After seeing our highlights video of Dean & Dijiana and loving how we managed to capture all of the slight details, we managed to seal the deal, this was an exciting moment for us, as since then we've accrued more cultural weddings after shooting the first one. We must be doing an excellent job in recreating all of the key moments if we managed to get Milka's bridesmaid and sister's wedding in September.
With a team of four getting ready to shoot both photo and video of Milka & Mladen we split up in two's; one team going to the boys and the other going to the girls. With Milka's dress fitting her perfectly she accentuated her looks with smokey make up and her hair done up with a long veil matching. Collaborating her choice of gown was her three other bridesmaids all dressed in fuchsia pink.
Walking into the brides house the place was blaring with traditional Serbian music as people were running around, making the finishing touches. The best thing was the Kolo dancing and drinking started way before the ceremony was conducted. One of the things that are always to be admired about is their carefree nature, and their readiness to let go, we spent most of the morning alternating between both the bride and the groom and venturing downstairs to get some amazing footage of both guests singing in their traditional language with an accordion, never too far in the background playing. At one stage the music got loud enough that the police got called to Milka's house to turn the music down, still this didn't deter anyone and the lovely police decided that this was a special occasion and they werent going to be the ones to ruin there big day. As the girls decorated all of the cars for their guests in white ribbons spreading across the windshields in a traditional manner, this didn't stop the whole house from being lit up in hues of pinks and whites.
Before Mladen and Milka are to see each other, first the Groomsmen must eat and drink then commence the tradition of buying the bride (bartering, fake bride presented) This further progresses by Milka going down the stairs and greeting the groom’s parents and main family members. After the formalities are conducted, traditional sashes are placed on the male bridal party members. We were all in for a bit of a surprise when Milka took the the streets, leading the rest of the guests into a traditional folklore dance in front of house on the road.
One of the older traditions we've seen previously before is the “Apple Shooting“. An apple is hung in the courtyard of the bride's house, on the top of the tree. The groom has to shoot the apple, only when he takes off the apple from the tree, he is allowed to enter the bride's house. This isn't exactly done with a bow and arrow anymore, more so a fishing line with an apple attached to the hook. By capturing the apple, it's showing the Grooms readiness to get married to his bride to be.
Looking back on the footage, I remember one particular encounter/ tradition of sorts. One of the groomsmen had to pay money to get the traditional bottle of drink open (Rakia). while the father of the bride kept saying no to the lack of money provided. Before the ceremonial drink was opened, they eventually got to around $500.00 before the commencement started, and the drinks started to freely flow.
When arrives at the Serbian Orthodox Church Gold Coast in Arundel. We love seeing the traditions take place, from the typical symbolic crowning, to the walk and the lighting of candles.
The candles symbolise the perpetual light of Christ, and remind the couple that from now on they must shine in virtue and purity with good deeds. The rings are first blessed by the priest, who holds them in his right hand and makes the sign of the cross over the couple’s heads. The rings are then placed on the 4th finger of the right hands of the couple. The rings are then exchanged between the couple three times. The right hand of the bride and groom are joined when the priest reads the prayer that beseeches God to "join these servants, unite them in one mind and one flesh." The hands are kept joined throughout the service to symbolise the "oneness" of the couple.
The crowns are said to represent the martyrdom, sacrifice and unwavering devotion. The priest takes the object and makes the Sign of The Cross three times over the couple. The crown is then kissed by the groom before it is placed, then the same with his bride. Then the crowns are exchanged between the heads of the couple three times.
The couple will drink wine from a chalice to symbolise that they will be sharing the happiness and sorrows of life together. They do this three times. The priest will then lead the bride and groom three times around the alter on their first steps as a married couple.
Before leading the couple on their first walk together as husband and wife, following in the footsteps of Christ, the priest ties the right hands of the couple together while praying for their marriage, the act signifying their “Oneness” from now on. As Milka and Mladin excited the church as a married couple it's tradition that the Best man throws coins out of a bag for the children to collect. This shows by gaining coin and placing it in the foundation of a house, this ensures luck for the property.
As the ceremony was conducted and finished, we all went back to the grooms house for some food and to do all the traditions left on the day. The youngest and therefore the (lightest) male member of the family was lifted above the brides head 3 time; they went on to start the red apple and wheat throw over the Grooms house. This is a tradition to expel evil spirits from the house hold. After Mladin had carried Milka over the threshold, the Grooms mother greeted both parties at the front of the door with honey. The Bride then placed traditional sash's around the edges of the icon of the grooms families patron saint.
There was an experience for everyone was we travelled to the Bundall Botanical gardens on the Gold Coast for our photo/video sections of the day. With open green fields surrounded by lush terrain, we were able to get some stunning photos of the couple by themselves and also some amazing family photos on the day.
We were also lucky enough to be shooting around the same area in Bundall, precisely at 'The Hellenic Function Centre' . With the reception perfectly situation in the heart of the Gold Coast, The function room choose gives you the advantage of choosing a small get together from 20 people to the maximum of 600 or more guests. As the night set in to be a memorable occasion we spent most of our time shooting and capturing the traditional Serbian dancing played to their unique and vibrant tunes. It was such a pleasure shooting for Milka and Mladen, from the start to the finish of their day, we managed to get all of the key elements, swiftly capture all of the traditions, and snap a few smiles that they're able to put away in the memory box.