I arrived in Sweden almost 2 weeks before Kristi-Anna and Johannes’ wedding day. In the summer, the sun doesn’t really set before 11pm or so, which is what I blamed our late nights on. But, between catching up on life, tying ribbons, fastening brooches, and the bright evening sky, Kristi and I didn’t go to bed one night before midnight. We joked that we hadn’t stayed up so late, so many consecutive nights, since college! More family and friends arrived the following week and we all packed up and drove three hours from Stockholm through the countryside to a little (and I mean little) town called Säffle. It’s knowing the backstory of this little town that makes this wedding location so special. Kristi’s parents were missionaries in Sweden for years at Greater Europe Mission’s Bible College in Säffle at Krokstad. Krokstad is now a beautiful countryside hotel but it used to be the bible college. Kristi was young when her parents moved back to the States, but she and her three siblings have many memories here. Johannes’ parents both attended the Bible college while Kristi’s parents were missionaries there, and for years Johannes and his siblings would attend family camps at Krokstad, put on by the college. The college closed, sadly, but as I mentioned it is now a fabulous newly renovated hotel, and this is where Kristi and Johannes chose to have their wedding. Are you following this story?! Kristi and Johannes both spent time in their childhood at Krokstad and now, so many years later, they’ve fallen in love and chosen to vow forever to one another in this beautiful place. Such a crazy story, and there couldn’t have been a more perfect place for their wedding! When we all arrived at Krokstad it was just pouring. We unloaded the cars and prayed (as we had been) that the rain would let up. We had a beautiful sunset the evening before the wedding and somewhere in the night, the rain started again. And it didn’t stop for the entire day. I arrived in Kristi’s room early Saturday morning to head down to breakfast with her. The decision had pretty much already been made to move the wedding indoors, but the hope was still there to have a break in the clouds. It’s hard not to be disappointed as a bride when you wake up to gray skies. Johannes’ brother joked that last year, Swedish summer happened on a Thursday- because that is the way with Swedish summers, apparently. Lots of rain and cooler temperatures, and for whatever reason the Lord had it in the plans that their wedding day would bring much rain. We’ve all heard that rain is good luck on your wedding day, but someone told me that in Sweden there is a saying that all the rain is the tears and sadness you now won’t have to experience in your marriage! I like that. ;) Rain aside… the day was literally perfect. The indoor ceremony was intimate and lovely. Kristi and Johannes looked fabulous and all of their closest family and friends were there. God was glorified and worshipped throughout the entire day. And a Swedish wedding reception, (lasting until 2 in the morning!) is one of the most fun things I have ever been a part of!
In typical Swedish tradition, there are not bridal parties as we know them. Kristi and Johannes planned a Swedish wedding, but since Kristi is American, they did add a few flares that are typical of an American-style wedding. I was beyond honored to be Kristi’s matron of honor and Johannes had his brother David stand as his best man. I was 100% there to be with Kristi like a good bridesmaid should, and I was able to completely enjoy the wedding as a guest- but this also meant that I couldn’t be the photographer. Kristi asked me to still take a few photos as I wanted, but it wasn’t my “job” for the day. I think I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much if I hadn’t taken any photos at all, and yet I am so blessed to have been able to be completely present at their wedding! They had a wonderful photographer from Germany, Esther Herberth, who captured the whole day and was gracious to let me take some photos as well!
For this reason, this post may seem a bit odd because it will have a lot of pieces of the day missing- pieces that I wasn’t holding a camera for! (Save a few photos in the end that my husband took of me dancing! haha!) Mostly, there are portraits of Kristi and Johannes… but let’s be honest, that’s all you really want to see anyway, right!? :)
Kristi’s shoes were probably the most beautiful wedding shoes I’ve seen. They are works of art! Kristi had Figgie Shoes… Deborah, the artist behind Figgie, hand paints the shoes to help tell the story of your wedding day. SO intricate and just amazing!
This bouquet was a vision that Kristi had a while ago. She collected brooches over the last year and her mom found many as well. A few of the brooches are even family heirlooms. Kristi wanted to make a brooch bouquet for both herself and me and it was one of the first projects we got started on when I arrived. Let me tell you, this was a labor of love! Twisting wire around each brooch was not an easy task but between Kristi, Johannes, and myself, we got it done! Kristi did a beautiful job arranging the brooches amongst the hydrangea, finish it with some teal ribbon and it was perfect. I love how this bouquet turned out!
Kristi and Johannes decided to go out in the rain for their first look and a few portraits. I got to tag along with Esther and take a few portraits myself (while also fixing Kristi’s train and carrying umbrellas!) Kristi had to get her hair re-curled before the ceremony and we all had to dry off a bit from the rain, but it was worth being outside even if only for a little while!
I am convinced Swedish wedding receptions are 10 times more fun than ours! The dinner lasts for hours and throughout the evening guests prepare skits, songs, and toasts to the bride and groom. Some friends had Kristi and Johannes do a Jimmy Fallon style lip-sync battle, music trivia, and more. And we were all roaring with laughter- it was so fun!
Kristi and Johannes slipped out with me for a few more portraits in the evening. The rain had let up to a lighter drizzle but we still brought the umbrella! I was so thankful to have this time with them!
At midnight (yes, midnight!) there was a small snack served and the party moved into another room for dancing. Another thing that isn’t traditional for Swedish weddings- but Kristi loves to dance so there were definitely a few hours for dancing!
Kristi and Johannes, what can I really say? I love you both so so dearly and I am so thankful to have been a part of your wedding day. Such a perfect day in beautiful Sweden!
Venue: Krokstad Herrgård
Catering Chef: Håkan Mattsson
Bride’s Dress: David’s Bridal
Bride’s Shoes: Figgie
Groom’s Attire: Benjamin’s
Bridesmaid Dress: French Connection