We don’t often venture outside of Europe to feature destination weddings but when we saw this simply breathtaking real mountainside wedding in Crimea, we just couldn’t pass it up. Like many couples, musicians Anna and Zhenya, met at university but only a few short weeks later, Zhenya went into the army. Anna never doubted that she would wait for him and four years later, the proposal came. Although they were on a budget, they made the ver wise decision of investing in their photography and my goodness, did that pay off ten times over. We know you will agree when you see this stunning capture of their big day by Alexander and Marina Santi.

From Anna, the bride

“Zhenya and I met, like many couples at University. As musicians, we both attended the special University of Culture. He was a confident sophomore saxophonist, and I was a naive freshman vocalist. For about six months, we got to know each other as friends. I was constantly smiling at him and used to sit on the bench waiting when he will pass me! It seemed to me that he had absolutely no interest and simply didn’t notice me. Then one day in May, when I was once again waiting and waiting for him in the corridor, Zhenya came up to me and asked me, “what are you doing tonight?”. I bravely replied.. “Waiting for you invite me to the movies!”. It paid off and he asked me out!

We had two beautiful weeks of dating before Zhenya had to go away into the army but there was never any doubt in my mind that I would wait for him. After all, true love knows no barriers. In University they called me “the wife of a Decembrist,” because I often went to see him in that part of Russia and brought back cakes. 

May for us was a special month because not only did we first date in May, we also got engaged in May four years later.

The engagement was probably not the most traditional of proposals as it actually followed a difficult few weeks. It happened on the first anniversary that we were actually not together anymore! A few weeks prior, he was in Simferopol on tour with a chamber choir and I had gone to visit but we had a big fight and I ended up leaving broken hearted. Two weeks later, I returned to our apartment as I had not found anywhere else in the meantime and I opened the door to the tidiest house and the most amazing smell of a freshly prepared meal. Zhenya, with a very serious face wanted to to talk. He then proceeded to get on one knee and pulled a velvet box from his pocket. With the most beautiful ring, he asked the most important question in every girls life. Wanting to cry and laugh at the same time, I said “Yes”!

We had a year to prepare for the wedding! We wanted a cosy celebration with our closest friends and relatives, and an outdoor location as we both love nature. Even though it was going to be an intimate gathering, I decided not to organise it myself and instead left it in the hands of the professionals.  

The most difficult was to find a wedding planning company that could organise our wedding with such a small budget. And once we found them, everything worked like clockwork.

We had a pretty modest budget, but I knew we couldn’t compromise on the photography ! I had already come across and had been a long time follower of Alexander and Marina Santi and I loved their bright and delicate pictures and fine art aesthetic. I knew they had to be our wedding photographers. 

 The venue we chose was simply stunning, a country Alimova Balka manor house located in the valley between the cliffs in the vicinity of Bakhchisarai. When we booked it, it was winter but it was still beautiful and we were afraid that our date would be taken otherwise as it was a popular choice.

The day of our wedding flew by in an instant. It was so easy and so much fun!

Photography; Alexander and Marina Santi | Planning, Concept Design and Styling; WedLab | Styling; Julia Pascenco | Master of Ceremonies: Sergey Petysh  | Venue;  Alimova Balka Country Manor house, Sebastopol, Crimea

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