Lisa and Erik – Swedish Church, Fuengirola – Las Islas Boutique Hotel, Torreblanca del Sol, Malaga
Swedish Church, Fuengirola – Las Islas Boutique Hotel, Torreblanca del Sol, Malaga
A wedding at an “Evangelical Lutheran” Svenska Kyrkan Swedish Church in Spain is interesting to photograph as there are some different traditions during their wedding ceremonies. The first is a 200 year old tradition where by the couple are able enter the ceremony together. I did a little more research into Swedish weddings as I like to know the ins and outs of all different religions, cultures and nationalities, I found that rather than the English tradition where the Bride & Groom do not get to see each other, Swedish couples can enter the church together and that they do this as a sign of equality between them. After a good chat with Erik by telephone I was confident that this wedding was under control and would probably be a smooth running and relaxed day. They travelled here just a couple of days before their wedding and because I knew they would be very busy so I suggested that we didn’t have to meet if they did not want to, as we had covered everything by telephone and it all seemed fine.
Below are just a few of my personal favourite images and the story of their day…
Lisa and Erik’s day
Swedish couples generally get married mid summer and even more commonly during the month of May and this May morning of Lisa & Erik’s wedding certainly was a lovely day already, hot and sunny with very blue skies and not a cloud in sight. Another interesting thing is that because a Swedish Bride & Groom do not need to stay apart on the eve of their special day it means that they can go together to the church and both welcome their own guests before their ceremony. Knowing a bit more about traditional Swedish weddings and guessing that Lisa and Erik’s small but intimate gathering with only close family and friends would be beautiful I set off early to cover their wedding ceremony. I wasn’t asked to photography any preparations and this was a shame as if you have seen any of my other posts you may have noticed that my reportage style needs an introduction to show the full story. Lisa and Erik were aware of this but were genuinely happy to only have their ceremony and some reception coverage so as I arrived the guests were already enjoying a drink under a toldos outside the church.
As everyone sat for the ceremony, Lisa & Erik waited with the vicar in a small area to the side of the church ceremony room and a bell was rang to mark the start of the ceremony, interestingly a tradition that dates back to old times where the noise of the bell was supposed to warn off bad spirits. The beautiful Lisa and Erik walked down the aisle followed by the vicar and as he began to speak I noticed Lisa and Erik that were still smiling with happiness and yet they were regularly giving each other the nicest and most loving glances. The ceremony was beautiful and as a piano was played they all sang hymm no.44 from their Swedish hymn books, I felt that everyone really made an effort to sing it as best as they could, including the kids. Their young son must have felt that he was missing out on the action and needed to be closer to his Mum & Dad, so he joined them at the alter clinging tightly on to his Dad’s leg. The Bride & Groom exchanged rings as the congregation looked on. I remember thinking that it is lucky that I know my weddings well nomatter which language as it is need to get the job done correctly. For example, I have to use a particular camera with a certain lens on a particular settings but most importantly I have to be in the exact right position for that particular part of the ceremony, I cant pause the ceremony or walk in front of anyone but even in Swedish I was luckily able to work out at what time each different point was, by their body language, reactions and facial expressions. There were a few more prayers while the Bride & Groom both knelt down facing the vicar, for his blessing of their marriage to one another. They kissed and even in Swedish I knew that meant I needed to get quickly but discreetly to the back of the church to capture the all important images of the happy couple walking back up the aisle together as husband & wife. They went back to the room at the side where they had come from with the vicar and sneaked in a loving kiss before family and friends also shared the celebration with lots more kisses and hugs.
Guests headed outside and got in position to throw rice mixed with confetti over the glowing couple, the rice or seeds were traditionally used to bless the newly weds with the hope of wealth and fertility long before paper was introduced to simply make it more colourful. I took some quick portraits as the happy couple and I went on ahead of the guests. The gardens at Las Islas were very lush and green for May and many flowers were already in full blossom and aiding me with prettier backdrops. After some nice portraits Lisa and Erik went up to a terrace shaded under a tree and overlooking the gardens to give themselves a 5 minute breather and let the realization of the day so far set in. The guests arrived down some stairs looking very impressed with the surroundings as they were greeted with champagne on their way to a warm but sheltered terrace overlooking the pool of this picturesque boutique hotel. It was all very relaxed and people started to enjoy themselves, various guests chanted, clapped and sang together and while Grandad kept the kids occupied and they in turn kept him fit as they all went off to explore the area, some amazing and tasty canapes were served. confirmed by peoples faces as they ate finished them off. We all moved to another area where the main table was laid out under a pergola for dinner and it had bottles of bubbles on it, an easy way to ensure that there is definitely something to do while people wait for their dinner. There was a short but very sincere sounding speech from Lisa’s Dad which actually seemed like more of a thank you than anything else and he then presented the happy couple with an engraved trophy like ornamental ring. Everybody clapped to congratulate the newly weds as they stood and kissed each other.
I was not asked to cover any evening celebrations unfortunately as it appeared they wanted it all kept relatively private and low key evening and I noticed how very relaxed everyone was as they continued with their good old fashioned evening and Swedish chanting and sing-a-longs.
It was lovely to meet this relaxed and pleasant couple and friendly happy group of guests, it was a honour to photograph Lisa and Erik’s special day and record their memories.