If you follow my Facebook or my Twitter, you probably noticed that in September I was gone for a week to shoot a wedding in Russia (since I talked about it nonstop!). Shooting destination weddings in other countries is the absolute pinnacle of what I do, and I feel so blessed to have these opportunities from time to time!

You might also have noticed that I didn't blog the images here, and even when a wedding is really really amazing, that sometimes happens. It's basically a case of overwhelm--SO much to say and so many images to choose from that the thought of sitting down to sort through everything is a little daunting! I've gone through these images a thousand times, and I just love them all so much it was awful choosing.

This wedding will be split into two parts, so bear with me :)

Going to Moscow to photograph Maria & Andrey was a highlight of my career. Maria in particular made it SO easy, and we had a wonderful guide while we were there (Hi Alyona!). Getting to know this couple was worth every second of the trip, and on this particular day if you had told me there was a happier couple anywhere in the world, I wouldn't believe you.

The question I've been asked constantly since returning from Moscow is, "How was the wedding? Are weddings in Russia like they are here?". So here's the answer:

Weddings in Russia have some differences, but for the most part, love looks the same in any language.

Well, sort of...


Like weddings in California, at a wedding in Moscow, you might catch a glimpse of a beautiful bride peeking off her balcony:


In Moscow, the decor is almost guaranteed to be beautiful:


In both California and Moscow, you will find an etherial dress (but I've yet to see a bedroom like this here in the US):


A bride (the gorgeous Maria) gets her hair done by an expert on her wedding day:


Jimmy Choo is the same in both Russian and English :) :


Andrey and Maria both prepare for what is going to be a LONG day ahead of them!


A little detail of Andrey--that man has STYLE! In fact, that was one of the first things Maria noticed about him when they met. Such a fashionista :)


And in both countries, there will be rings:


One fun Russian tradition is the process of "buying the bride". Andrey has to complete a series of tasks that proceed from the entrance of the venue (the absolutely incredible Morozovka Estate) to the door of the bride's room. Everyone watches and participates with him, and it is an absolute blast with tons of energy!


Another difference: In Russia, every single person is gorgeous (at least at this wedding):


I found it so endearing that with all the fuss and chaos of the wedding, Maria wanted to be with her family as she got ready. Her mother helped her prepare:


They have a really beautiful relationship:


I don't know how to say "beautiful" in Russian, but I do know what it looks like:


Although I didn't understand a lot of what people said that day, communicating with Maria was always easy:


You might be wondering what happens to Andrey once he completes the tasks given to him: He barges his way into Maria's room, despite the best efforts of Maria's sister Kate and friends! He was rewarded with a kiss and sent on his way:


Maria took a few last minutes with just the girls:


Well, almost just the girls! Maria's father is SUCH a character! He's the most likable man, everyone just adores him! More about him a little later:


Cheers! There are many ways to say it, but they all mean the same thing:


My favorite unplanned moment--perhaps Maria's only minutes alone the entire day:


The ceremony room was so gorgeous! Maria told me that she took inspiration from JP & Kris Ann's wedding, as they did such an amazing job decorating their indoor ceremony:


There were tons of little details around the room: Tall candles in hurricane glasses, chandeliers, and the paintings and moldings were just incredible:


A little close up detail of the flowers:


Slightly off-topic, but Russians LOVE flowers! Each arrangement was bigger and more elaborate than the next, it was awesome! I love these guys :)


The wedding had a Midsummer Nights Dream theme, and the flower girls fit perfectly with their flowing dresses and crowns of flowers:


In both Moscow and California, a father walking his girl down the aisle might hide a few tears:


Andrey signing off on the marriage certificate:


The ceremony was quite short, and although I didn't understand a word, pretty similar to a civil wedding here:


Of course there was a ring exchange:


I've seen many first kisses, but I do believe this is how it should be done (what better way to communicate?!):


One more:


Like shooting a wedding anywhere, my job was to watch and find moments of love. They were quite easy to find:


This coming week I'll be posting the portraits, reception, and wedding details! Here's a little preview:


And I would be remiss if I didn't thank my travel buddy Gabriel for coming with me, being wonderful to travel with, and working his tail off!

More coming soon!

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