Tanja and Aleksander utilized Mississauga Grand for their larger-than-life Serbian wedding. It’s a lovely venue with super friendly staff who really helped us out. It’s the type of hall that can transform for any event. Especially this culturally vibrant event with a vintage theme. Completely different from their engagement shoot only a few months earlier.
Purchasing the Bride
Let’s start this summer wedding at the top when the couple first meets. This isn’t a private one on one experience but rather a huge merging of both families. The groom begins by gathering his full family together and heading over the bride’s home. Serbian families often have a home-brewed brandy. So when the families get together, they share each other’s brew. In the past, the groom would make a financial offering to purchase his bride. However, this family offered their best brandy which seemed to win over the crowd quite well.
Unfortunately, the bride wasn’t ready. So instead, the bride’s family offered a decoy. One of Tanja’s male cousins dressed up as a bride and attempted to woo the groom. Needless to say, he was hauled off. When the bride finally made her appearance, there was a full-on mob. And maybe in the distance, you could see the groom’s smiling face. For any wedding photographer who gets easily annoyed by cellphones in your way, this is not the wedding for you. The family is the key. They wave flags, they drink brandy, they play live music, and they dance… a lot.
Serbian Orthodox Wedding
The Serbian Holy Transfiguration Monastery was a very impressive church to work out of. It had elaborately painted walls and a beautiful dome ceiling. Serbian Orthodox wedding ceremonies do differ from Catholic/Christian. To start, the procession is completely different. The bride’s brothers escorted her to the church. But, the bride and groom walked down the aisle together. Following that, they exchange rings at the beginning of the ceremony. The priest blesses both rings before placing them on the third finger of their right hands. Next, the wedding sponsor swaps the rings between the bride and groom to symbolize their future connection.
The bride and groom are each given one white candle to hold for the remainder of the ceremony. When they light these candles, it signals the Sacrament of Marriage. The crowns symbolize the couple’s marriage as a blessing from God. Similar to the rings, they swap crowns between the bride and groom three times as well. The significance behind performing these rituals three times is the holy trinity. So the couple sips wine three times, and walk around the altar three times. Making circles around the wedding altar is a symbol of infinity and the couple’s eternity together. Finally, the officiant removes the Stefana crowns and says a prayer for the newly married couple.
If there is a first kiss, it’s often quick and unannounced. In fact, the highlight was after the ceremony when everyone attending the ceremony joined the couple outside for a grand family photo.
After the couple’s portrait session at Rattlesnake Point, we all headed to Mississauga Grand for the reception. The decor had a vintage Great Gatsby theme. Everything was black and gold with prohibition styled elements. As elegant as the arrangements were, this was still a Serbian wedding. So the couple’s grand entrance was met by music, dancing, and flags. This may have been my first Serbian wedding, but I am hooked. Keep them coming.