Hair and make up: Mari Ojasaar
Wedding dress: Maggie Sottero
Bride’s shoes: Rainbow Club
Bridemaids’ dresses: Debenhams
Groom’s and groomsmen’s suits: Next
Bouquets and boutonnieres: Elisabet Aias
Rings: Muscari Jewellery
Venue: Laitse Graniitvilla
Catering: Erki Palo ja Laitse Graniitvilla
Cake: Heidi Park kondiiter
Wedding planner and decorator: Egerta.ee (Adoore)
Registrar: Argo Reiljan
Master of ceremonies: Virgo Jaani
Ceremony music: Trio Comodo
Band: Margus Vaher ja Alkeemikud
Dj: Dr. Philgood
Video: Tomvar (Toomas Vardja ja Henry Talvik)
A word from the couple:
Rob and I met on my first day at university in Norwich, England. We spent some years living the student life together, which were followed by a few years of trying to get our careers started. So I suppose our relationship had a textbook start, apart from the fact that I had moved to another country for education and then ended up staying in this foreign country because of love. After four and a half years together, Rob proposed in a park near our first London home. Rob had been tempted to propose on the first of April but was weary that his humour might not go down very well on this occasion so he popped the question on the second of April. I, as usual, arrived late and missed the sunset. It was still a beautiful evening spent in a park full of early spring blossoms and birdsong, followed by some bubbly and mussels at a home pub.
In reality, we had spoken about marriage for a while and I am anyway slightly obsessed with weddings so we (read: mainly I) already had quite a few ideas for our wedding by the time of the proposal. There was no doubt that the wedding would be in Estonia. We wanted an active wedding, not just a dinner and a dance. Of course, integrating some British customs was still important for us. Inviting everyone to Estonia was also a brilliant way of introducing my home to many of our friends and family who had barely even heard of the country.
We wanted the wedding to have a feel of a big party for friends and family across the world, rather than it just being about us getting married. We did not want it to feel very formal and it had to be in the countryside but close to the capital. So Laitse Graniitvilla fitted wishes list perfectly, with its one of a kind character in cultural and green surroundings. We then were fortunate enough to hire an incredibly talented Egerta as our wedding planner and decorator. She took our ideas, guided us to the decision and then made it a reality. Her personal designs using our navy and coral colour scheme were beautiful and she even put together the gorgeous flowers that were our centrepieces. Not only was this a great help as we were planning the Estonian wedding from London but it also really enabled us to view the decision making difficulties and politics with friends and family as a normal process of wedding planning.
Of course one of the first items to tick of the to do list was the wedding dress. I knew mine would be a lace one and it would need to be light and airy so I can dance the night away during our spring wedding. Although I did try on many dresses and visited a number of shops in London and Tallinn, I ended up buying the first dress I tried on in the first shop. It also matched the hairpiece my mother wore when she got married to my father. As they say “When you know, you know”. However, finding the suits and bridesmaid dresses was a challenge of another level. We spent hours on end trying to find a shade of navy that Rob and I could agree on and many dresses just seemed too pink or orange. But eventually it all had a happy ending and we were pleased how the outfits demonstrated our colour scheme so nicely on the day.
Many of our ideas were inspired by images and stories we looked at or read in wedding magazines and Pinterest. One of our favourite ideas was an alternative guest book: “madlibs”. So we wrote a text, leaving space for words to fill in the text and Egerta designed the leaflets. The texts written by our guests really showed how creative and hilarious our closest people are. We also wanted to highlight the wonderfulness of having many guests come from afar. So we had a map for people to pin themselves on based on their residence and/or nationality. Some of the kids did become a bit too enthusiastic about this pinning activity as I do not think we had any guests from Siberia, South Pole or Papua New Guinea but otherwise it was accurate and is now a fun keepsake! Other ideas that stemmed from those inspiration sources, were naming our tables after places that are close to our hearts, our second, third and so forth homes. I also loved the lasercut “Armastus” sign hanging over us during the ceremony.. because that is where the best stories start.
In terms of the British traditions, Rob and I decided not to see each other before the ceremony and I walked down the aisle with my father. We had not seen each other since the afternoon of the day before so I was bursting with excitement to see him at the end of the aisle and my father provided me with the emotional (and physical) support to walk there. Rob’s mother also did a heartwarming and humorous reading “He never leaves the seat up”, which reflected our relationship. We also wrote our own vows as it felt much more meaningful. Although we did not read each other’s vows before the ceremony, we both made them quite funny. Consequently the ceremony felt lighthearted as well. Additionally, we were able to have our rings designed like we imagined by a very talented Portugese duo so this was another personal touch that we continue to carry with us daily. Some of the highlights of the reception were the speeches by my father, us, maid of honour and best man. These provided everyone with achy abs and tearful eyes (in a good way). As traditional in Britain, we decided to have favours too. Very kindly my aunt’s family provided all guests with a small pot of their honey, which was another personal and sweet aspect of our wedding.
Although I am an absolute sweet tooth, the cake was one of the most important parts of the wedding for Rob. We ended up with a traditional tiered cake with a sugar peony on top and lace around the tiers, matching our flowers and my dress. However, as we always try to compromise, we did end up deciding on the flavour that I liked the most during the tasting: chocolate and blackcurrant.
As said initially, we wanted an active wedding full of laughs and dance. The speeches and traditional Estonian wedding games already covered the laughs part more than enough. We chose three different music performers for three different sections of the wedding. We both love contemporary music played on classical instruments and we were thrilled when we discovered Trio Comodo. Naturally, the Game of Thrones theme tune went down a hit during the pre-ceremony set. The band had the dancefloor full the entire length of sets during the reception and it was fantastic to see people from different parts of the world sing and dance along to the same tunes. Luckily, our good friend Phil offered to play a DJ set at the end of the night as a wedding present to us. So we danced the night away with all our favourite people and then watched the sunrise on our first morning as husband and wife.
It is clichéd to say that it was the best day of our lives but it is the truth. Actually, as my husband said during that sunrise “It was a truly magical day”.