Fah and Mindaugas flew from their home in the US to marry in the European country of Lithuania situated along the Baltic Sea just north of Poland. The couple toyed with idea of having the wedding in Thailand, where Fah’s mother lives, but after some thought decided to have it in Mindaugas’ home country as it was important for them to have his grandparents there. They decided to tie the knot in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania- it’s the most central destination between Southeast Asia and the US, as well as being an easy flight for friends coming from the UK. The couple planned a whole weekend of celebrations for their guests so that they could experience the beautiful ancient city of Vilnius properly. Their beautiful day was captured by Foto Perlas.

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DESTINATION DECISION

“Mindo and I met for the first time at Central Park in New York, and a year later on that same date we were engaged. Mindo popped the question at the New York Botanical Gardens on October 12, 2014. We didn’t want a long engagement so we decided on a summer wedding the following year. We had toyed with idea of having the wedding in Thailand where my mother lives but we also had to consider Mindo’s family in Lithuania, and some of my family living in New York and California, as well as my friends from the UK where I had grown up. We finally decided on Vilnius (Mindo’s hometown), and capital of Lithuania- the most central destination between Southeast Asia and the US, and an easy flight from the UK. It was also very important for us to have Mindo’s grandparents present on the day since they are not able to travel. We wanted the entire weekend to take place in the beautiful old town of Vilnius so our guests could walk to the venues without having to take cabs. We wanted the guests to have a greater experience of the city by exploring the cobbled streets and admiring the baroque architecture at the same time.

PLANNING

We encouraged my family and friends to rent flats through airbnb, to be more comfortable since most were staying a week. But we also offered different budget suggestions for hotels in the city. To create some excitement before the wedding, and since it was a destination wedding, we created a website via myweddings.com where they could find general information of where to stay, places to visit and some general fun facts about us. Both of us are pretty laidback and creative so our theme was bohemian chic. We chose a blush and cream colour palette to keep it light, with an accent colour on Mindo’s blue suit.

THE DETAILS

We added little personal touches to our wedding that reflected our cultural upbringing. The ring bearers wore a traditional barong from the Philippines where I was born. The flower girls wore dresses and sandals designed and hand stitched in Bali, a country I have visited many times since my brother and his family moved there 5 years ago. The buttonieres had an orchid petal to reflect my father’s homeland, in Thailand. When we arrived at the reception, a tray of salt, water and bread was presented to us by our mothers, a Lithuanian tradition to symbolize health, wealth and longevity. The small elephant candle which had the names of our guests attached came from Bangkok’s Chatuchak market. Our signature drinks at the reception included an elderflower cocktail that we usually make at home in New York City on a hot summer day. These fun facts as we liked to call them appeared on the fan which the guests picked up when entering the church, and on the tables at the reception. I also had an illustration of us made for the cake topper.

WHOLE WEEKEND OF CELEBRATIONS

On the Friday, Mindo, and one of my bridesmaids and I checked into the Kempinski Cathedrl hotel. Mindo stayed on a separate floor so there was no chance of me bumping into him the day of. That evening we walked to the Manos Kiemas bar for both sides of our family and friends to get to know each other before the wedding day. We had a fun game where three of our guests could “win” an I Love New York t-shirt since we live there.There were a few Lithuanians that couldn’t speak English so it was quite fun seeing our friends use sign language to communicate! That evening it really poured with rain but it just added to the fun, intimate atmosphere.

On the Satuday morning of the wedding since the ceremony didn’t start til 3pm, we arranged a two hour private walking tour of the old town for our out of town guests. The service was held at St. John’s church which is part of Vilnius University. We had a small choir and organist during the service. After the service we immediately had champagne and strawberries dipped in chocolate before the guests walked to the reception. There were three violinists playing. As the guests walked to the reception, Mindo and I had an hour walking around town with the photographer. We placed a love lock on one of the bridges. We hired a photobooth to keep the guests entertained at the reception before our arrival. We chose the reception venue from when we had walked passed the summer a year before, and it always stuck with me—a courtyard behind the church which was being used by the restaurant next door, La Boheme. All the events were held outdoors which was risky since we didn’t know what the weather would be like. We did have pashminas for our guests in cream and blush which came in handy in the evening. The wedding planner arranged for our flowers to be transferred from the church to the reception on Saturday, then to the Sunday breakfast at the park. We initially contacted Bar Bora ourselves then handed the reigns to our wedding planner. A small tent was put up in the park and the food and drinks was beautifully displayed. The weather was perfectly sunny, and the guests were able to wander around the beautiful park.

BEST DECISION

The best thing we did was hire a wedding planner. We definitely could not have done it by ourselves, the language barrier would have been too tricky (for me) and finding vendors. Viktorijos Vestuves was our one-stop shop and they arranged everything we had discussed over skype. We had Skype calls on a few weekends until the week before our arrival in Vilnius. They are very professional and really do go out of their way to make everything possible and most of all beautiful.

ADVICE

Our biggest challenge was that we had to have everything in two languages- English and Lithuanian, which included the service by the priest, the invitations and all printed material. My advice to future brides would be: Get nail gels or shellac which I didn’t do even though I was advised. I was applying and re-applying nail polish the morning of the big day! Do take a moment and look around at the reception, we had so many “stations” i.e., the photobooth, second bar with bites, and photos of us hanging that I wasn’t really able to spend that much time at any to appreciate, but my guests loved. Also, if getting married abroad—have your papers in order which need to be approved by your local priest and the diocese abroad, we were cutting it fine.”

Photography: Foto Perlas | Photography Assistant: Wilari Tedjpsiswoyo | Wedding Planner: Viktorijos Vestuves (Karina Mickevičiūtė) | Reception Venue: La Boheme Restaurant | Wedding Dress: Galliani Signatura from David’s Bridal | Bridal Shoes: Stuart Weitzman | Headpiece & Earrings: Tradesy | Veil: DIY Bride’s Mother | Groom’s Suit: Topman | Groom Shoes: Cole Haan | Bridesmaids Dresses: Asos | Wedding Cake & Sweets: Liu Paty | Wedding Cake Topper: Jordan Grace Owens | Stationery: Minted | Print for fans, programmes, etc: Printdeco | Flower Girl Dresses & Sandals: Made to order and hand stitched in Bali | Hair and Make-up Styling: Yury | Photobooth: Fotokubas | Chorus: St John’s Church Gospel Choir

2 Responses

  1. Sarah

    So glad to find this post! My fiance and I live in NYC as well. He is from Lithuania and we are thinking of doing the wedding in Vilnius next summer 2018. We are definitely taking the wedding planner route if we decide to marry abroad. Thanks for all the recommendations!

    Reply

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