Sofia & Vladimir.
Khao Lak, Thailand.
S&V: We met through a mutual friend. Our friendship didn't last long. After three months of knowing each other, Vladimir asked me to move in with him. I thought he was crazy, but said yes. We believe that friendship and a sense of humor are what makes our relationship so special.
V: We went on a holiday to Budapest just in time for my birthday. The weather was perfect, and the city was incredibly beautiful. Since Sonia usually plans all our leisure activities far ahead, she had all the restaurants booked for every evening. Hence, I had to improvise where and how to propose – one place was too crowded, another too cold, the third one – far too dark... Finally, we dropped by a beautiful Viennese café. I had prepared a video with our photos and music to show to her and be the time she finished, I dropped on one knee and popped the question.
S: I did not expect it at all; it was the most touching. I am not a crybaby, but the video was so beautiful and personal, that my eyes watered. Suddenly Vladimir started to fall under the table. The café was full and the place quite tight, at first, I did not even realize he was proposing.
S: I knew I wanted a dress that would look and feel like me, something different, sophisticated, even daring. Atelier Pronovias, which is the high line of House Pronovias, makes the most beautiful dresses. Each dress is a piece of art. I dreamed of wearing Atelier Pronovias dress for my wedding. We settled on the style of both wedding dress and the groom’s suit only after we decided on a location and basic styling. Indeed, what is suitable for Thailand is not suitable for an Italian villa. For our Thailand beach wedding, we went with a beaded mermaid gown with Chantilly lace for the bride and a blue linen suit for the groom. I hunted down this particular style of Atelier Pronovias all over the globe and finally found it in Pronovias boutique in Saratov, Russia. The owners kindly agreed to sell online and ship from Saratov by post.
I think one of the most important things is to feel comfortable and appropriate; that is why I wore the dress without an inner liner and the groom had a light linen suit. And I must tell you, it was the right decision taking into account humidity and heat in Thailand in December. Vladimir had his suit tailor-made for him at BQ Räätälistudio in Helsinki, and he looked gorgeous. Usually, the emphasis is on the bride’s dress, and I do not think it is fair. Grooms also deserve a star moment.
S: We were eloping just two of us, which meant we could have a relaxed schedule. I am used to organizing big forums and coordinating things, so planning a wedding was not stressful for me at all. We had an excellent breakfast together, and then I left Vladimir to relax while I had my manicure and makeup done. I believe the whole team was very professional and was coordinating with each other smoothly.
V: I think the only thing I would do differently from the timing point of view is to have my suit prepared by hotel team faster. Maybe, it was just a misunderstanding or general mañana style of the beach living. Everything else was perfect.
S.: Usually, I am the type of person that has an idea, but with the flowers, I was indecisive for over a month. I am thankful for the hotel coordinator’s patience; I was afraid she would cancel our reservation! My dress was the main accent, and I wanted something that would complement but not overshine it. At the same time, it needed to be acceptable for Thailand and fit the groom’s attire – an easy task, ha! Thankfully our hotel coordinator found perfect curly, white orchids. They were beyond beautiful--all I ever wanted.
The stationary and décor were a blue/grey/gold theme, continuing with the sea inspiration. We have thought it through and chosen everything ourselves. The flowers were provided by the hotel; we just gave instructions regarding how we want them to be arranged.
V.: I think the color theme was simple and elegant. I had a supervising role on the décor, meaning that Sonia would show me four to five options, and I would choose the final.
V.: We wanted something exotic and warm (the Maldives were out of our budget :D). Also, we loved the hotel premises, as they have been voted the best hotel in Thailand for many years.
S.: We knew for sure that we wanted to elope. Our families were very supportive of the idea. We considered Italy, Martinique, and even St. Petersburg, but decided in favor of Thailand. (Although Vladimir promised that we will have our 10th wedding anniversary with a big party in Tuscany.) Italy is a perfect romantic destination, but our close friends live there, and for us, it would have been more like visiting home than elopement to an exotic paradise.
S. One thing we knew is that we wanted the ceremony on the beach by the sea with a fresh breeze, and it was perfect. We were a bit scared about the weather. It rained the two days prior to and the whole morning of the wedding, but then a miracle happened. The rain stopped, and the skies were most beautiful. The sunset and the dinner at the beach were heavenly.
S. I have been organizing bigger events professionally, so I had some head start. I think the most important thing is to plan in advance, to read reviews, and not to stress too much. People are professionals; they know what they are doing. However, if you have some specific requests be very vocal about it. No one is a mind reader.
I think two most challenging things in Thailand that I faced were the language barrier and the general “I am not late anywhere” attitude. We had a female coordinator at the hotel. We planned everything else ourselves, and it turned out perfect. Typically, hotels have their own makeup artists and photographers, but I am very happy we chose our own people that we could trust based on their portfolios.
S. I would like to thank the whole team that was working with us: Liuda and Misha – for photo and video, it was a very creative and relaxed experience. A real plus is that you could get both photos and videos from one team. My makeup artist was Lisa Allen; she was an angel and recreated everything I have asked for. We ordered stationary from website Papier.com, where you can choose standalone options and add your own texts and agate pieces from Etsy. The whole budget for our stationary did not cross 20 euro – pretty does not have to be expensive!
V: The best moment was when I saw my bride for the first time and thought how lucky I am!
S: For me, the most memorable time was after the ceremony because we finally relaxed and could run around and laugh and be silly and enjoy ourselves. The second best time was when we were dancing on the beach in the candlelight with Ed Sheeran playing in the background – it can never get more romantic than that.
1. Keep cool
2. Plan YOUR wedding not a wedding of someone else’s dreams
3. Do not be afraid to be different
4. Enjoy yourself, wedding is just one day, most important is your whole life together J
Video: @mikhail_nilov / Dreamwood
Photo: @ludmilanilova / Dreamwood
Locaton: Thailand. Khao lak . Khao sok