“I feel like part of my soul has loved you
since the beginning of everything.
Maybe we’re from the same star.”
— Emery Allen
So this day arrived.
We’ve been in love for more than 13 years.
We had an instant connection and have been inseparable ever since. After his 2016 proposal on the Nasva river (among the shooting stars, warm night air, and plenty of joyful tears), we always imagined a lavish wedding on the ancient Viking island Saaremaa, somewhere in a holy grove surrounded by all our friends. A wedding with white horses, torchlight, and wild food. We imagined massive teepees, dancing for three days in a row, and feathers in our hair. A celebration that everyone would remember for the rest of their lives. Great plans but then we realized, wouldn’t we be exhausted by the time the ceremony started?
And then it became very simple, and clear. To truly enjoy, to truly have all the moments for ourselves – the wedding had to be small and the circle even smaller. We still thought of it as a big celebration, even though the guest numbers became limited. The date we picked – 22.08 – was two months from that moment.
We decided it should take place in Provence instead – one of our favorite spots in the world where we’ve been truly happy. Our local friend offered her garden for the wedding night, accommodation for our family, and her help with organizing.
It turned out to be quite a hustle to even book restaurants from distance – the emails were left unanswered and if you don’t speak the language you may just as well forget someone will bother to talk to you on phone. But everything seemed to be going well. We closed our atelier for private orders and focused on creating a wedding attire for ourselves at the very last minute.
As we knew the weather was going to be rather hot.
We both decided to go for a full silk look as nothing breathes like this wondrous material. Sten wanted to feel comfortable so he designed simple drawstring wide-cut trousers that he paired with a long silk shirt and straight-cut Willidow Suit Jacket. He complemented the look with a Nipernadi straw hat and white leather slippers from our friends in Marsell, the Italian shoemakers.
Joan created a matching suit with high-waisted wide-cut trousers and a double-breasted suit jacket while a grand, flamboyant white Corsaire hat with sustainably collected ostrich feathers crowned the look. For the main day, she wished for something very simple yet ethereal. More than 10 meters of delicate silk wrapped around her to celebrate her Viking and Mediterranean roots. The long wings reflected her love for fairy tales and fantasy worlds. The flower crown was entwined by her friend Eva as a symbol of fertility. The golden snake arm cuffs are part of our upcoming jewelry collection.
We started driving from Tallinn a week before the big day.
And then it happened – our friend canceled her invitation to host us, and also – all our plans and restaurant bookings. And just like that – we had nothing waiting for us! It is one thing to organize a wedding two months prior but completely another story to do it a week before! Especially in the middle of August – a high season in Western Europe where everything’s booked for months in advance. All we had were dusty kilometers flying under our wheels as we approached the lavender fields and hope – all will go well. Sometimes such things happen so everything could go even better, right?! The whole road Joan was TripAdvisoring for great restaurants and Airbnb’ing so we’d all have a place to stay once we got there.
We arrived in Provence 3 days before the wedding. We drove through all the places Joan had found and were able to book half of them for the 5-day wedding celebrations. But we still had no idea where the ceremony would take place. So we decided to try our luck and drive to the mountains, to our favorite idyllic estate in Provence – La Domaine du Castellas. Nestled in the valleys of the Grand Luberon, overlooking an exceptional panorama from the Alps to Ardéche, it’s a postcard-perfect small boutique hotel that used to be a family farm centuries before. Once we arrived and the owners met us face to face, they restored our reservation and by miracle, we could still book the place for all of our guests!
As the biggest question got solved …
And we still had one full day before the wedding we decided to spend it photographing our new GUILD gowns and silk suits. We woke up at five in the morning and drove to the Calanques to capture the dresses on majestic cliff sides.
The other half of the day we drove through some flower stores just to learn our only options were some roses and prairie gentians. As we wandered through the picturesque villages, we stumbled upon Jardin de Blanc – the White Gardens – that seemed to be quite abandoned. Joan spotted some dry, fluffy plants she instantly fell in love with. Wouldn’t these strange weeds balance the classic beauty of blossoms?
Jardin de Blanc – the White Gardens
We decided to go hunting for wild plants. We were walking on the dusty roadsides, cutting everything beautiful for our next day’s wedding bouquets. But nothing came close to those wonders of Jardin Blanc. And this was the first time Joan “stole” something. She sneaked into the gardens at night and cut a few straws while whispering grateful prayers to the person who had once planted them. She didn’t take much – you couldn’t even notice she’d been there – but enough to make her bridal bouquet unforgettable with a story of how she stole a few of the plants from the White Gardens for her bridal bouquet under the round, full French moon.
The next morning
We packed all our things and left with Felix to have a beautiful wedding brunch in Castellas. Joan’s brother – who unfortunately couldn’t join us – called to congratulate us on this great day.
So, where are you going to have the ceremony?”, he asked.
“To be honest, we still have no idea”, we replied laughing.
“All we know is it’s going to be somewhere on the hill of Castellas.
He couldn’t believe his ears, “I have never heard anyone saying on their wedding day they have no idea where the most important part is going to take place.”
The brunch in Castellas was more than amazing.
The sun was high, the weather hot and we were served so many plates we started to worry if we’d even fit our clothes anymore. But the most wonderful sangria with white peaches dropped our guard. As we ate, hours passed. We were full of joy and happiness until we realized – the guests would arrive already in an hour!
We weren’t dressed, we hadn’t even showered yet and we still had no idea where the ceremony would take place. We took a quick look on the hillsides until we found the perfect spot overlooking the valley. By the time we got back to the old farmhouse, the first guests had arrived but as the spirits were high – all was well!
We got dressed in less than an hour.
No makeup artists, no hairdressers.
The ceremony took place at sunset – the most magical time of the day next to sunrise. Joan’s father came to walk her down “the aisle” which in our case – was a vast field of globe thistles.
As her father passed her hand to Sten, we could already see the first tears sparkling in the eyes of our dearest ones. Everyone gathered in a half-circle around us and our friend Jaan was there to unite us. They say – only priests, wedding officiants, and captains can do that and to our luck – he was the latter.
We gave our vows, one of them has also been written down as it came to Joan during her shamanic ceremony a few months before, and though in Estonian, we’d like to share it here with those who’ll understand the beauty of it.
Armastan Sind. Valin Sind
Sind. Sind. Sind
Sind ma armastan
Kuni kestavad mu päevad
Ja kauemgi veel
Siin hetkede keel
Ja siis Armastan veel
The Universe in our eyes – united us. Sten’s vow was just as beautiful and in a way, these were the words that truly united us. Our promises – united us. The endless depth, the Universe in our eyes – united us. Time stood still. It felt almost surreal. Then, our hands were fast with an indigenous handcrafted “kirivöö” of Kihelkonna and we became each other’s forever. The rings were also designed by us – Joan’s ring was inspired by ancient Viking treasures found on the lands of Estland. Hand-hammered with “wolf teeth” or “hundihambad” – magical symbols that protect the wearer from all evil. Sten’s ring was also inspired by the ancient, 2500 BCE Sumerian gold twisted ring – this is where his roots stem from his mother’s side.
Spontaneous, thoroughly romantic, everything felt so right.
We were in such a love bubble, we could only see each other, and the perfection of each passing moment. We had some Champagne and were serenaded with French lullabies by our friend, Eva.
The night ended with the most abundant soirée under the stars. Seated around large wooden tables, there really isn’t anything as divine as French cuisine al fresco. It’s true that luxury – and happiness – are hidden in small things – to be surrounded by loving friends and family, fresh air, great wine, and good food. And all this time – we were surrounded by the violin orchestra by grasshoppers as the warmth of the night air wrapped us in a soft haze.
Coffee, pancakes, and Confiture d’Oranges.
The next morning we woke to the smell of coffee, pancakes, and Confiture d’Oranges. The goats were running around freely and the chicken sneaked under the tables for a bite of croissant. We had the longest possible morning – people were so high on love from the day before and the atmosphere was ecstatic.
We then had a “Monday pool party” that was followed by another, long brunch under the oak trees. While all our guests wore GUILD hats, Joan had opted for a new GUILD gown that was crafted of 30 meters of ethereal cream-colored silk as she flew the bridal bouquet to the only single lady in our small party. Sten had another outfit that was comfy and cool – silk Otero shorts and a Galen shirt, topped with a straw hat.
What started as a fairytale, is now our forever reality.
We will never be able to properly describe how otherworldly this week was –
but one thing is for sure – it was nothing less than epic,
and so far, the best week of our lives!