September Wedding in the Swedish Countryside: Rachel + Kristen
Rachel and Kristen met as young students in Uppsala. As Rachel turned 30, almost nine years after they met, Kristen proposed. The wedding planning took off and today we will experience how the bridal couple arranged their September wedding in Gotland that photographer Neas Fotografi perpetuated.
Planning of the wedding
Rachel: I spent hours reading wedding blogs and magazines and collecting ideas on Instagram and Pinterest. We were mainly inspired by weddings that felt relaxed and not overly pretentious, but still clearly special events. We live in Stockholm but wanted to get married in the Swedish countryside. However, neither of us has a country house or any particular connection to a specific place elsewhere in the country. We both love Gotland's unique, dramatic landscape, and I had been to Gåsemora before and loved it, so we had it in the back of our minds, though we initially worried it would be too inconvenient for our mostly international guests to get there. Some of our friends told us that we had it backwards, and our guests would love the unique opportunity to visit Fårö, which they might never do otherwise. So we decided to go for it! We couldn't be happier with our choice and our guests were over the moon about the beautiful surroundings.
Rachel: We wanted to have a mostly civil ceremony, but also include Jewish elements as I'm Jewish. We investigated if it would be possible to be married by a rabbi, but for various reasons it didn't work out. In the end, we decided to have a civil ceremony with an official from the local government. A good friend of mine then held a Jewish part of the ceremony (more symbolic than religiously binding). It was perfect! I found it really difficult to find inspiration for Swedish-Jewish weddings - if you're in the same situation and want to share ideas or hear more about our solution, feel free to get in touch!
Years earlier, I had seen a Jenny Packham bridal gown and since then had been completely sure I wanted exactly that for my wedding. 1930s inspired, maybe some lace or beading, and a simple silhouette. As I began my search online and started going to stores to try on gowns, I continued to feel attracted to this style, and even searched for vintage gowns without finding the perfect one. Later in the process I discovered Hermione de Paula and fell in love with her incredibly detailed and beautiful creations, but wasn't 100% ready to go that route. During a trip home to the US, I had planned a shopping day with my mother and sister where we visited a few different bridal stores. Alongside all of the lacy mermaid-silhouettes, the saleswoman in the first store we visited suggested, A&Be Bridal, a very simple Rebecca Schoneveld design. As soon as I put it on my mom started crying. It was "the one", even though it was completely different from what I had planned.
Kristen tried on suits on a couple of different occasions but didn't want something overly fancy - that's just not who is is, and when we tried on three-piece suits and ties it felt wrong. Eventually, he found a stylish and simple suit in navy blue from Georg Sörman, a menswear store in Stockholm. It was perfect!
Styling och accessoarer
Rachel: I had a fairly relaxed attitude toward hair and makeup. I spent the most time searching for the right veil and shoes. I wanted a long, dove-grey drop veil, and either burgundy or forest green shoes, ideally velvet, and leather-free (as I'm vegan). I found the perfect veil from Blossom & Bluebird and after a lot of searching found the perfect heels from Stella McCartney.
Rachel: The day before the wedding we went to a local farm, Sudergårda Grönt, where you can pick your own flowers, and picked lots. Back at the farm, we made the bridal bouquet and used the rest as decoration. I love using artichokes decoratively and was excited when we noticed that there were a ton growing at the farm, and picked lots. It turned out that the artichokes weren't for sale! We felt terribly about it, but fortunately the owners of the farm were understanding. Having picked so many artichokes, they inadvertently became a somewhat prominent part of the decor. A lot of the guests thought it was some kind of cultural thing from German, Swedish or Jewish weddings (whatever culture they weren't a part of). But we just like artichokes.
About the photographer
Rachel: Hanna was completely fantastic and we couldn't be happier with our choice. We found her by searching online and thought she seemed like a genuine and nice person. Her photos matched up with our taste, and we liked that she had a connection to both Gotland and Uppsala, where we met. Cost was also a factor for us and we found hers to be quite reasonable, so with all these factors combined it was an easy decision to get in touch. I think it's important to mention costs because it can be hard for those of us with limited budgets to find the right photographer. Having said that, Hanna is definitely NOT a "budget photographer" - she's extremely talented and so easy to work with, not to mention generous. It's clear she cares a lot about her clients.
Advice to others
Rachel: Do what what feels right for you and your partner! People have lots of opinions but it's YOUR wedding and something you'll remember for the rest of your life. There's nothing that's categorically "the most important" - sit down together and decide what you want to prioritize and then do so. Having said that, I'd still strongly recommend anyone to hire a professional photographer. It's easy to be spooked by the cost if you have even a somewhat tight budget, but you'll look at these photos for the rest of your life - so if there's one thing that I'd recommend anyone prioritize, it's that. Another general piece of advice is to find a dress that you feel completely comfortable in and can dance in if you're going to be dancing. I completely love my dress, but after alterations it ended up a bit more low-cut than I intended and I never found a perfect solution for the quite long train. This made me a tiny bit less comfortable than I would have been otherwise. And you want to be comfortable on your wedding day!
Photographer: Hanna Karlsson, Neas Fotografi
Wedding dress: Rebecca Schoneveld
Venue: Stora Gåsemora Gård, Gotland
Florist: Sudergårda Grönt
Rings: Ateljé Johanna O, Öland´
Wedding stationery: Designed online through Canva and printed online.