I've been so excited to share the photos of our first Finnish wedding, but I had to of course wait until the bride and groom had seen their photos first. I designed a special photo book for them as a gift from Ban and I, and wanted them to see the photos in that format first. There's something so much nicer about flipping through a thick book of photos to see them, rather than on a screen.
The wedding ceremony was held in the small light-filled church on the island of Kulosaari. The ceiling was painted with a nautical theme, and a huge tall ship model hung from above. The "pappi" (priest as we know him) was perfect- he even spoke a few words in English for us guests who didn't quite grasp the biblical Finnish. There were songs, a violinist played, and before we knew it, it was over. (Pant, pant- let me just say that I have new-found respect for wedding photographers. You have to be on point to catch every moment!).
I sprinted out the doors to catch the recessional, and everyone blew bubbles as the happy couple hopped in their car to whizz away to Kirkkonummi, a lovely woody area to the west of Helsinki. We had rented a Smart car for the day, so I put it through its paces trying to beat everyone there. I didn't, of course, as it turns out Smart cars are NOT designed for performance. It's literally a shoe on wheels. I managed to catch the table settings and quiet moments before the whole bus of guests turned up, and from then on it was go go go- cake cutting, first dances, waltzes, traditional Finnish songs, long speeches, and many toasts. The bride and groom looked gorgeous, the day was sunny and warm, and the old mansion in the middle of the woods was the perfect setting for a beautiful little wedding. Tina Turner was played. Old people got down.
I only hope the bride and groom were as happy with my photos as I was to be there. Like I said, I'm no wedding photographer- this was the first high-pressure photography I've done (normally I snap lambs on hillsides, old buildings, etc- eeeeasy stuff) so I was quite literally bricking it that something would go wrong and they'd hate me forever. I think I did alright- I caught the major moments, as well as some tender ones that perhaps weren't noticed by anyone else, so I think we'll be alright and they won't hate me for ruining their big day. I also brought along a box of photo props as well, as I anticipated the guests being a little startled by this strange girl shoving a camera in their face all the time. They really helped to loosen the guests up a bit (it takes a little while sometimes for Finns to warm up to you) and by the end of the night people were running after me, props in hand, screaming at me to get "Just one more photo!". The moustaches, top hats, and silly glasses really helped people feel a lot less stiff in the photos, as well as meaning I had another surprise in the photo book for the couple, as they had no idea I was bringing the props.
All in all, I think the day was lovely, and I was so pleased to be a part of it. And, our friend caught the garter- maybe there will be more wedding bells ringing soon for him and his lady, and another Finnish wedding to enjoy!
Meanwhile, congratulations to the lovely couple, J & E: