Janja and Lucas married on an unusually stormy summer’s day in the beautiful countryside of north-eastern Italy. Not only did the rain not spoil their day but in the end it made for some wonderfully dramatic photos, captured by the talented Petar of PJ Photos. Janja has some really useful and frank advice about using a wedding planner for a destination wedding and shares their story with us below.

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Getting Engaged

We met in Lucas’ hometown when I was doing an exchange semester at the university of Forli. Luckily, we met just some weeks before he was going to a new job assignment in Turkmenistan. So it was very good timing! I moved back home to Sweden to finish my studies and Luca started travelling with his job, to destinations closer to me, which made it easier for us to develop our relationship. Then he moved to UK, I decided to join him and that is where he proposed.

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 Deciding on a Destination Wedding

For us, there was no other option. From the very beginning we knew we wanted to get married in either Italy, where Lucas’ family is, or in Croatia, where my parents are from. Both countries are absolutely amazing, we spend all of our summers there and cannot get enough of them. It was extremely difficult for us to decide between the two. In the beginning we wanted to have a big wedding with all our families, friends and relatives. And because I have a huge family in Croatia we decided to have it in Croatia. But little by little we got more and more attracted of the idea of having a very small and intimate wedding, using a location that we already knew and where we knew we would always come back to and remember in a beautiful way. So we changed our plans and decided to get married where we met, in Italy, on a small town on a hill where we went on our first date, and to have the reception in the old house of Lucas’ grandfather, that is surrounded by fields of peaches that Lucas’ father passionately grows.

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Challenges

It is a big challenge to plan your wedding from another country. We had a chance to go to Italy for some days to take care of a lot of practical things and luckily we had Lucas’ parents there who helped us out on that end. Communication is also a problem planning a wedding in a country where you are not fluent in the language. I realized I wasn’t much help when all the arrangements and phonecalls had to be done so I tried to focus on the things I knew I could handle without communication. If I were to do it all over again, I would use a planner. There are so many details to take care of and when you think you are in charge of them all, you realize that was just half of it! We really wanted and tried to do everything by ourselves, so that our guests could just come, relax and enjoy the weekend. The planning and organization can really be fun, but if you want to enjoy it fully, I think a good planner is the answer.

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The Big Day

We actually didn’t have a strong theme in mind. We were going to be surrounded by nature so that in itself contributed to the style of the wedding. We wanted simplicity and understatement. If we had advice for others, it would be to have a ‘Plan B’, especially for such an unreliable thing as the weather. Our plan up until the very last minute was to have big white sunshades out in the garden, because no one ever expected a drop of rain at the end of May in Italy. Well, even if it hadn’t rained for years in May, it did that day and we had to hire a big plastic tent that we put up the night before the wedding, without any time to decorate it… In the end these kinds of details will be the last thing you or your guests will remember, but if you are spending months on planning, make sure you have a good backup plan.

Thanks to Janja for sharing her and Lucas’ story with us, and for her useful planning advice. Also a big shout out to the amazing Petar for these wonderful images, we are always honored to feature one of his weddings.

Photographer: PJ Photos | Ceremony: Concattedrale di Bertinoro | Reception: Family House | Florist: Copif Fiori | Stationery: Artcadia | Catering: Solegiallo | Bride’s Dress: Rosa Clara | Bride’s Jewelry: Ororé Jewellery, Forli | Groomsmen Suits: J. Lindeberg | Hairdresser: Hairport Parrucchieri | Makeup: Bride’s Sister

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