Today’s bride and groom wanted an intimate and relaxed wedding, under the blue sky, surrounded by trees, sea and closest family and friends. As they had many guests travelling from abroad (from 19 different countries!) they decided to make it into a little holiday getaway and sail everyone onto an island. Vis island is one of those well-kept Adriatic secrets. It has been a military base for many years, closed for tourists, and as a result of this seclusion, it resisted over-development and mass tourism, and remained a simple and authentic fishing and winemaking paradise. This peaceful oasis of raw, unspoilt natural beauties and rich history, 2 ½ hours boat ride from Split, and worlds away from the tourist hustle and bustle, was perfect for their little circus of love!
From the bride: Warm up
Since our families never met, we organised a beach gathering a day before the wedding for everyone to get to know each other. We chose a private little beach in Stoncica bay, with abundance of shade and a sandy area for children to play in. It was a pure fun day of laughter, indulging in sea, sun and delicious local grilled delicacies from a beach restaurant, under the palm trees.
Probably one of the first things that you will see when you sail into bay of Vis, is a small, gorgeous peninsula with a Church and a Franciscan Monastery from 16th century. This is where we got married. Inside the walls of a little stone church of Saint Jere, built inside the remains of an ancient roman theatre. We kept the Church very simple and romantic, with colourful wild flowers tied around benches and candles lied down on the stone floor, leading up to the altar.
We had the cutest little two-year-old flower girl, Sophie, who was carrying a heart-shaped wooden sign hand carved by my brother, saying: “Tio Rafa, here comes the love of your life”. My father walked me down the aisle with melodies of Jack Johnson’s “Angel”, played on ukulele by my close friend Matko. I didn’t know about this part, it was a surprise organised by my Maids of Honour and Matko… Hearing this very special song to us both, and seeing Rafa just staying there, calm and patient as always… waiting for me to join him at the altar, and into the life… I swear – time just stopped for a glimpse of a second. I felt like I took one deep breath in and didn’t exhale until I touched his hand and made sure this is real. Incredible moment to cherish forever.
We managed to find a lovely Colombian priest who actually lives in a tiny village, deep inside Dalmatian hinterland. We talked him into coming with us to the island, and performing the ceremony in half Spanish half Croatian. This was a surprise for all guests, especially our Colombian family who were in disbelief when don Carlos started the ceremony in local Colombian accent. Rafa and I said our vows in both languages, which was a nice gesture and was appreciated by our families (as mine speaks only Croatian, and Rafa’s only Spanish).
The dress is made of a beautiful vintage-like Spanish lace that we re-styled, added sleeves and cut the front (brand: Novia d’Art, model: Pekin, rented from Glamour Sposa in Split). After midnight, I changed to a short, cream, backless lace dress (brand: ASOS) that allowed more freedom on the dance floor. Rafa was wearing Ted Baker’s mix and match – navy chinos, a light blue jacket, a delicately patterned grey waist coat, with a simple white shirt. He also had a pink handmade bow tie, sewn by our friend Rob (brand: Hound London). Maids of Honour were wearing identical short, lacy daffodil yellow dresses (brand: ASOS). Best Men were wearing traditional Colombian guayabera (white linen, plated shirt) and cream chinos.
Rings were made two days before the wedding by my cousin, a talented jewellery maker from Split. They are both identical in shape and size, polished light gold, with engraved dates on the back and a special word for both of us. I wore vintage gold earrings that I got when I was born from my Godmother. Around the neck I had a beautiful golden Burning Sun necklace with a very special meaning about strength and eternity, given to me by my two amazing Maids of Honour on the day of the wedding.
For the ceremony, I had simple sandals from Accessorize and boys were wearing white Startas – legendary Croatian handmade canvas trainers. Girls also changed into Startas later on, for the dance floor, but in red colour.
I was wearing a white gypsophila flower crown made by a local Vis florist. This incredible lady did a great job and made all the flower arrangements for the day. All flowers were picked from the island, mix of wild and grown, different shapes and sizes, very colourful, happy and summery.
When we first saw Fort George, there was no doubt in our minds that this is where we want to hold our wedding celebration. This absolutely magical 200 years old, medieval English fort is built on a hill, hidden behind thick pine trees, somewhat 3km from the town Vis. It overlooks nearby islands and boasts breath-taking views of endless Adriatic sea. On the top of the fort is a massive stone floor terrace where we had our welcome reception where we served finger food, our homemade “rakija” aperitif drinks and with Klapa singing.
Later on, the guests were moved to Garden area, a beautiful green patio under the starlight and pine trees. Centre point of the venue is an incredible drained stone pool that we used as a dance floor! In the corner of a dance floor we placed a small children play area with carpet, cushions, toys and personalised colour books that every child. The place is so incredibly romantic, bohemian and full of soul and beautiful energy – that we both left a bit of our hearts there. We were blessed with beautiful weather and stunning dark red sunset that went straight in the sea… absolutely amazing. Honestly, it did look and feel like a fairy-tale…
The décor of the Fort was also quite bohemian, with old chests, wooden tables of mixed shapes and sizes. We also had a few vintage sofas and chairs laying around for people to chill in. Trees were decorated with cream paper lamps and Moroccan-style lamps that looked gorgeous in the night. As we entered the Garden, all guests were already waiting for us there. I keep replaying the image of entering through the stole hallway covered with red carpet, pianist playing “All you need is love”, and us walking under the green leafy arches, hand in hand with my price – I truly felt like living my own fairy-tale.
A crucial part of the wedding party was played by my band from Zagreb called “Chasing Milagros”. Made of old, dear friends playing tunes that all have a special meaning to us and carry a lot of good memories. Rafa’s uncle played Beatles on drums, I sang few songs for Rafa (which was quite expected as I usually sing); and Rafa was signing for me (which left everyone in disbelief as he never touches the microphone); and my Dad was signing for me, for us all … lots of emotions, lots of love… craziness and happiness. The rest of the night is just in one big hazy blur of salsa and reggaeton moves on the dancefloor, loosing voice on Croatian 90ties dance tunes and Dalmatian serenadas, and dancing the night away with party vibes….it was spectacular.
Food and Drink
We had a talented Chef and a great Food and Beverage team in general from Fort George who served delicious specialties from the island, including gazpacho, octopus, seabass, lamb, and plenty of colourful salads, snacks, fresh fruit, charcuterrie catering both for meat eaters and vegans. After midnight we served local fillo pastry snack with cheese called – Burek.
All of the deserts was made by my aunties and the amazing local girl called Djeni who made our wedding cake. The Cake was ultimate dream come true – white Lino Lada cream (a Croatian version of a white Nutella) with almonds and mascarpone, but in rainbow colours! We got little Lego groom and bride as cake toppers which was quite cute. This way, my little dream of getting married with Burek, Lino Lada and rainbows around me, came true!
Both chairs and tables were mix and match of different sizes and shapes. We kept tables very simple with simple candle jars and wild flowers scattered around. The wedding table was at the top of the venue, with guests tables moving to the left and right around the pool, creating an arc around the dance floor. This way we kept the feeling of closeness between all guests with the energy flowing in-between each others. Rafa’s and my were seated on a vintage velvet chairs, like true prince and princess, and we placed Mr. and Mrs. sign behind them. On the front side of the table, we placed “All You Need Is Love” flags, all made by my dear and diligent Maids of Honour.
When we did the seating chart we realised we have 12 tables, which is exactly thenumber of the countries that Rafa and I visited in the last 2 years together, as a couple. So we named tables as countries, and we left everyone a special thank-you note in 3 languages, with a temporary tattoo of our names / portrait .
We tried to customise and hand-make most of the things for the wedding, so that every single item carries a bit of our energy in them.
Rafa’s sister is a graphic designer and she surprised us with a drawing of Rafa and myself holding a gigantic heart-shaped balloon. We made a guestbook out of it, and every guest left a fingerprint inside, with their name. This is a life-long memory and we like to think that we can always “touch” everyone who was there…
My parents found an old man from a village close to Split that makes organic bramble honey, which is very rare and unique for this part of the world. So we bought little jars and filled them with this delicious honey and walnuts. Later on, my maids of honour spent hours labelling the jars and covering them with colourful tops. “Love sweet as honey” jars were given to every guest as a wedding favour.
Since we had so many beautiful trees around the venue, we decided to turn one into our own Tree of Love. Rafa selected photos of us from all over, including the ones when we were little, and we pinned them all over the Tree. This was a nice little detail that everyone seemed to love.
My brother hand carved a gorgeous wooden little chest for us to keep all the wedding advices and cards in. My maid of honour hand made the Thank-you sign hanging from it.
I really wanted a photo booth as I find them crazily amusing and fun. We couldn’t afford one, so we improvised. Our (awesome)photographers borrowed us a tripod and we used my Nikon D40. I bought a remote on Ebay for £4 that worked well, along with some cardboard props and chalkboard signs for guests to leave us funny messages. My maids of honour bought colourful tissue paper out of which they cut hundreds of long ribbons, and left them hand between two trees. This was such an impactful and beautiful image!
Photography: One Day Studio
Wedding Dress: Novia d’Art, model: Pekin, rented from Glamour Sposa in Split
Reception Dress: ASOS
Groom outfit: Ted Baker
Bow Tie: Hound London
Maids of Honour Dresses: ASOS
Jewellery: Vintage, Handmade and gifted
Bride’s shoes: Accessorize
Groom’s party and bridesmaids reception shoes: Startas
Flowers: Local Vis florist
Venue: Fort George
Music: Chasing Milagros
Food and drink: Fort George
Wedding Cake: Handmade by aunties and local girl called Djeni