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Anastasia and Valéry – a Russian wedding in Cannes and Monaco

The 2012 season has started with a lovely, intimate wedding of Anastasia (Russian) and Valéry (French).

The preparations took place in the couple’s flat where Olga took care of Anastasia’s make-up and hair stylisation.
No need to say, Olga is very talented and it’s not the first time we’re working together either on a wedding or fashion photo shoot.
This time though, we both had a fairly easy job – we were both amazed by Anastasia’s natural beauty, she is also very photogenic!

After making sure that our bride’s beauty is underlined, it was time to proceed with a Russian custom – the ransom of the bride.

In Russia’s distant past the ransom of the bride was a true folk theater performance full of national color. The bride’s family would block the road several times during the groom’s trip to the bride’s house. They would not let him pass until he demonstrated some of his talents. He could be tested on strength, intelligence and various other skills. For example, he could be asked to saw a log that is blocking the road or solve a riddle proposed by the bride’s family. If he failed any part of the test, he had to pay with coins or candies.
In modern-day Russia this ritual is usually performed on the way to the ZAGS department or on the groom’s trip to the bride’s house. The “setting up” of the ransom is conducted by the bridesmaid and the best man (called “witnesses” or svideteli). Today this custom is comprised of funny challenges for the groom, such as composing a poem for the bride, writing her name in rose petals, etc.

As you can see on the pictures below, Valery also had to be tested. The letter describing the operational tasks for the groom (James Bond) was coming from the Secret Intelligence Service! His test consisted of: drinking lemon juice without making a gurn, walking on his hands, drawing the bride’s portrait and the most difficult of all – asking Anastasia’s father for her hand and fighting a dragon in a knight costume.

Once his mission was successfully accomplished, he also prepared a surprise for the bride, Maurice – a little goldfish, called so after a french TV spot. We’ve all followed to La mairie de Cagnes-sur-Mer for the official part, after which another Russian tradition took place.

The tradition of sharing a wedding loaf was borrowed from the ancient Romans. In addition to being a symbol of health and prosperity, karavay is also a way to find out who will be the head of the family. This is done by having the newlyweds each take a bit, without using their hands. Whoever takes the largest bite is considered to be the head of family. Valery was the winner!

The couple and the guests had a delicious dinner in Dame Nature restaurant in Saint Laurent du var.
Afterwards we took some pictures by the sea and headed to Monaco where we carried forward with our photo shoot at the Casino square.

The evening has continued until late hours in the luxury Fairmont hotel at L’argentin restaurant.

Who said Matryoshka dolls can’t wear wedding jewellery?

A mix between Jane Russel and Jean Simmons and we’re in the ’50s !

Valèry had to scream love words in russian to Anastasia who was on the balcony.

It may look serious and scary, but Anastasia’s dad is a very gentle man!



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