STUNNING MULTICULTURAL WEDDING IN THE FRENCH ALPS | NICK + JENY
I have so much to say about not just this incredible wedding day under the shadow of Mont Blanc, but the entire experience as a whole, that I knew I had to come home - unpack my many memories and feelings from the weekend and write this blog straight away... So here we go!
Nicholas & Yevgeniya, Nick and Jeny, I barely know these two people, they booked me to photograph their wedding just a few months ago, and as is customary, I've dealt solely with Nick throughout the entire process. It's been a strange one for me not to connect with a bride before her wedding day, even on the day I didn't have one full conversation with Jeny, just little snippets and many, many knowing glances and giggles... but after this weekend, I see her. I see both of them through their friends and families eyes and can say with utter conviction what a truly incredible couple they are.
They were married in Chamonix, France, even though the Groom is Malaysian and the Bride is Korean from Kazakhstan! Nick owns a beautiful chalet in St Gervais les Bains and it's a part of the world so close to their hearts. The night before the wedding we spent a lovely intimate evening in one of the hotel's on-site chalets, eating delicious home-cooked Korean food, drinking fabulous wine, enjoying music and great conversation. From the moment I walked through the door to meet not just all the guests, but Jeny for the first time, I felt so welcome. I was immediately at ease and honestly, at home. All Nick and Jeny's friends are so much fun and both their families made me feel like I'd known them forever, I am now the proud owner of several new Korean Aunties! It was truly a perfect evening and exactly the right tone was set for the wedding ahead, I knew it was going to be an amazing celebration.
Saturday morning arrived, the wedding was finally here. What I didn't expect was to well up probably six or more times throughout the day, from watching Nick in the morning have his tea ceremony jacket placed on him by his parents, both smiling, but perfectly silent with tears rolling down their faces, I didn't know what was being said by the Chinese celebrant or them to each other, but I knew what an intensely special moment this was to his Mother and Father. To then listening to everyones emotional toasts at the evening reception, I felt so emotional watching them before anything had even been translated, the outpouring of love was just so evident you couldn't help but be swept up in it. From that first moment in the Grooms chalet at 9am onwards I knew this was going to be a deeply emotional day. I need to be real though, the mornings tea ceremony was absolutely beautiful but also BONKERS. I say this with full support from the Bride and Groom who also thought it was pretty full on! From the calm and beauty of the dressing rituals and the serving of the teas, to the madness of having to do so many things in so many orders with so many time limits, throwing fans from moving cars and toasting with chicken thighs, myself and Jun the videographer don't need to go to the gym for a month now from all the crazy running around we did, it was definitely an experience! But so amazing to see these deeply engrained Chinese traditions and superstitions brought to life in front of your eyes.
After the tea ceremony Nick and Jeny parted ways to go and get ready to say their vows to each other down at Les Granges D'en Haut, a beautiful Chalet hotel in the heart of Les Houches. The wonderful three piece folk band Leon Coeur played a Korean song they'd learned especially as a surprise for the couple, as they said their vows and exchanged rings in an intimate ceremony with the mist rolling over Mont Blanc behind them. It was such a celebration of them as a couple, and even though they didn't want to be in the spotlight on their wedding day - for them it was very much about friends and family coming together - it was a really special moment focused on just the two of them and the story of their love. After they said "I do" we moved downstairs to their wedding reception where we ate incredible French cuisine, drank incredible wine, played lots of games hosted by the hilarious Vladimir Markoni, enjoyed many sweet and emotional toasts by all their closest friends and family members, and then partied late and HARD into the early hours!
It's absolutely a weekend I'll never forget and I genuinely feel like I've made some friends for life. I've learned about traditions I didn't know existed, eaten the best Asian food of my life, befriended some of the most fabulously dressed Russians to grace this earth, fallen in love with the cutest pair of dancing Kazakh cousins I've ever met, laughed, cried, danced Gangnam Style and been invited with open arms to homes in countries all over the world, all because of these two peoples love for each other.
Isn't love incredible?
There's something so special about seeing so many nationalities, cultures, races and backgrounds all joining together to celebrate not just their differences, but their similarities. No matter where you're from, what traditions you have or how you choose to celebrate, in the words of one of my lovely new friends Denis... "We should be able to love whoever we want, and everyone should be happy"
I couldn't agree more.
What an experience, thank you so much for having me Nick and Jeny, I wish you both a lifetime of happiness xx