WWW readers Andreea and Daniel exchanged vows on the 13th of August 2016 in historical Transylvania. They are the very definition of an international couple – the bride is from Romania, the groom is from Malta and their paths first crossed in Istanbul. They had a church ceremony followed by a grand marquee reception at the Apafi Manor. Their colour scheme was classic white complimented by oodles of greenery and there was an air of understated elegance in all elements of their day.
The lovebirds set out to create a “small, relaxed wedding where we could share a drink with our dearest friends and family members”. This plan worked perfectly for them. They put a unique spin on their outfits too and I am a massive fan. Andreea looked divine in a two-piece lace bridal gown made by her very own Mum (!), a floral hairpiece and embellished flats. Daniel wore a very cool ensemble inspired by “Mumford and Sons music video” fashion, which looked beyond fabulous. He went with a light blue shirt, dark grey vest, brown pants, sand coloured jacket and a patterned bowtie. The after-party location looked über stylish with hanging décor of green vines, plants and fairy lights with wooden accents. Just gorgeous.
Thank you so much to Rares Ion Photography for these brilliant images.
THE PROPOSAL | If you’ve found yourself contemplating on how the smallest decisions can profoundly alter the course of your life, then our story is for you! My best friend Alexandra and I had just returned from a long four month trip in the US, when her mother asked us if we wanted to fill in for two students that had dropped out last minute of a youth exchange project entitled “Music, the International Language” that was going to be held in Turkey. We didn’t have much knowledge of music, but since the project was funded by the EU, we thought it’d be a nice experience, so we joined the Romanian team. That is how I, Andreea, from Romania, met Daniel, from Malta, in Istanbul, Turkey. Little did I know that six years after that, I would find myself back in Istanbul, being proposed to!
THE VISION | We live together in Malta (a small island in the Mediterranean with less than half million inhabitants). If you are familiar with living on a small island or any other small community, for that matter, then you know that their weddings are big! Since it is such a close-knit community, people marrying here tend to invite everyone they know, from their neighbours or work colleagues to their former schoolmates. Weddings here easily reach 300 to 500 guests and generally feel rather impersonal (to me, at least). People here also like to go a bit over the top and due to some traditionalism, you get that feeling that if you’ve seen one Maltese wedding, you’ve seen them all. We wanted none of that! We wanted a small, relaxed wedding where we could share a drink with our dearest friends and family members. We wanted our guests to come to the wedding because they cared for us, not out of some sort of obligation. That is why we decided to get married in my home country. Our idea was: small, comfortable, earthy, familiar. Nothing too formal or fancy. Just us and the most important people in our lives.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | I knew immediately that I wouldn’t be able to plan everything by myself, given that I had moved away from Romania quite a while back. I didn’t want to put any unnecessary stress on my mother either so I went on to research wedding planners. That’s how I found Andrada from the Wedding Styler. Her “no-bullshit” attitude and hands on advice helped us throughout the entire process of wedding planning. She helped us find the venue and pretty much all the suppliers we ended up booking. In fact, if I remember well, the only thing she didn’t suggest was our photographer, which we had decided on before getting in touch with her (we figured, this is the most important choice – the photos).
BUDGET | We didn’t want to spend more than €15k (we kept thinking it’s still a party, after all and we didn’t want to end up in any debt or delay the wedding too much). We thought we’ll surely exceed it but, with Andrada’s guidance, we actually kept quite close to it.
THE VENUE | After weeks of research, opinions, and countless suggestions from Andrada, we decided to go for The Apafi Manor, in Malancrav (Transylvania). Hosted in a beautifully preserved Saxon village dating back to the early years of the 14th century, this private estate was recently restored to its former glory by a heritage-preserving foundation, and seemed to tick all our boxes.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | I didn’t have to think much about my dress: my mother had custom-made outfits for the most important events of my life, from family weddings, to my “coming of age” party, graduation and so on. As soon as we decided to have a wedding, I knew she had to make my dress. I wanted something a bit unconventional, something that looks relaxed but elegant at the same time. Given that I am almost 6 feet tall, I am always in search of the perfect flats for every occasion! I spent months on end looking for shoes, both online and in local stores. I kept finding simple ballet flats but nothing I loved, until one day I was randomly browsing modcloth.com and I saw the most beautiful embellished white pointed flats that just took my breath away.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Similar to my attire idea and in tone with our wedding “concept”, Daniel did not want to wear anything too traditional: no tuxedoes, no black! He was actually envisioning himself in a kind of “Mumford-and-Sons music video” fashion. He wanted country, earthy tones; he wanted to be chic but also comfortable. We first headed to his favourite men’s tailoring shop – Bortex, a local family business that has been making men’s suits since the 60’s and, with the excellent in-store help, he quickly found his match in locally made brand Gagliardi.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | This was actually our biggest headache. We really wanted music that we liked and wanted to break away from the ever-present “wedding bands”. However, considering as well the fact that our wedding was a six-hour+ drive away from Bucharest (think instrument & musical equipment transportation and accommodation for all band members and sound staff), finding a balance between what we liked and what we could afford was not too easy. We listened and spoke to several bands or acts but we weren’t too convinced until finally, Andrada recommended Viorica Pintilie. We fell in love with her jazzy sound immediately, and given her flexibility in band size and song repertoire, we were hooked. To top it all, she also agreed to cover our first dance song choice in her unique style, which turned out beautifully. We couldn’t have made a better choice! It was also our wedding planner that recommended a DJ she had worked with before, the extremely helpful Mr Bogdan Nicolescu, who did a fantastic job at filling in between the band’s sets.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | Since the wedding was so small it didn’t make sense to me to have bridesmaids, so I only had the maid-of-honour, my childhood best friend, Alexandra, the very same one I was mentioning above. Since she currently lives in Barcelona and we couldn’t really meet until the wedding day, she arranged her attire herself.
THE FLOWERS | Working with Valentina from Atelier Interesart was a delightful piece of cake! She has to be one of the warmest, most patient people I have ever met. Not to mention her creative vision, moulded solely on some pictures in our minds that we described to her, was simply impressive. Our idea concerning flowers and décor was centred on nature and we wanted everything to look as neutral as possible, so we decided to go with the white and green pattern. Valentina created the most beautiful bouquet for my maid-of-honour and I based on that and she also created the seating décor: crisp white textiles and decorations and fresh green leaves, flowers and fruit arrangements on the tables and also suspended from the tent ceiling. We absolutely adored the way everything looked and given that we didn’t get to see it before our guests, it was also the most wonderful surprise.
THE CAKE | Another headache (but this time more for our wedding planner than for us) was the cake. Our venue was somewhat “in the middle of nowhere” and didn’t have proper catering facilities (i.e. good refrigeration) so, storing a cake(!!!) to be cut somewhere close to midnight in the heat of August was nothing short of a challenge. We didn’t make things easier either – we really disliked the wedding cakes covered in icing and we really wished for a naked cake kind of look, which is even more perishable. Luckily Andrada found Ligia, a pâtissier from Sibiu that was willing to deliver the cake to us at midnight, from one-and-a-half hour drive away and in complete “naked” form (Valentina, our florist, was to decorate the cake with flowers on arrival). Ligia suggested a light white chocolate mousse with raspberries on a chocolate sponge base, which was absolutely divine, while still light and refreshing. Our guests were thrilled and the cake received countless compliments!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Ah, our photographer! I have always been a sucker for beautiful photography so even before wedding planning I was always on the lookout for photographers of all “flavours”. We browsed several photographers together but as soon as I showed Daniel Rares’ work, we both knew he was “the one”. The very first thing we chose as soon as we decided to get married. We weren’t even sure of the date yet, when we messaged Rares for a quote and availability. The rest, as they say, is history.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Hmmm… from the moment my father so proudly walked me down the aisle, to our first dance, to the “clash-of-cultures” sing and dance, to the best man’s lively speech or cutting the cake, there are too many memorable moments to even list…but now, looking back, it feels as though it was all a dream. The truth is, everything passes by very quickly and before you know it, your wedding day is over. If only I could have paused time to enjoy it more, or really grasp what’s happening and get to savour the moment before it’s gone. Luckily, though, our wedding video came to the rescue.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Unfortunately, everyone gets to this realisation only after having had their wedding, but for what it’s worth, I guess the best “wedding” advice is this: don’t stress too much about it. Nobody cares about the flowers, the props or décor, nobody cares about what you are wearing, the way your hair is done, what accessories you have on etc. These things are only important to the two of you and you’re likely the only ones that will remember them. Your guests just want to be comfortable (i.e. not sweating or freezing), have some good food and plenty of alcohol, and they’ll happily dance the night away with you. That’s it!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photography | Rares Ion
Wedding Planner | The Wedding Styler
Venue | Apafi Manor
Flowers | Atelier Interesart
Videography | Film 3221 / Tiberius Margaian
Wedding Stationery | G+M Handmade Paper
Groom’s Attire | Gagliardi
Music | Viorica Pintilie & Band and DJ Bogdan Nicolescu
Bar | Flying Cocktails
Wedding Cake | Blanchette by Ligia
Hair | Coron Beauty Centre
Rentals | Kaffka Premium
Thank you very much, Andreea and Daniel for sharing your celebration with us. You have shown that you cannot go wrong with a simple theme and colour palette. Your pictures will be beautifully timeless. Congratulations. Abby xx