April 17, 2020
With only 200 permanent residents and all-wooden houses straight out of 1900, Tällberg’s intimate atmosphere starts at its very foundation. Though a popular tourist resort, it’s hard to think of a better place for Gustaf and Mikaela’s intimate wedding in Sweden. The unique natural beauty of this location gave me so much to work with as a photographer. However, the familial vibe of the ceremony became the real difference, making every moment I captured natural and human.
Before I delve into Villa Långbers, where the reception took place, I have to highlight the church where the marriage happened. It balanced modern functionality and weathered beauty. Stained glass windows filled the building with vibrant light, making the altar and chandeliers shine that much more. The sanctuary didn’t feel too big or too small. I felt like I was shooting a professionally-directed movie scene. Inside and out, the church felt both inviting and elegant. Still, the real difference became the genuine human interactions on display from everyone in attendance.
While it can be hard to limit a head-count, but intimate weddings benefit from a closer bond between the people who go. Choice candid shots threw themselves at me left and right, because the reception actually felt like a family get-together. Everyone understood their place in what was happening, so setting up the necessary group shots became a piece of cake. Everyone wanted to be there, and that sense of appreciation is clear just by looking at the shots. The lack of superfluous greetings also made it easier to get the couple by themselves for their own photo session.
The Tällberg’s spacious fields and winding pathways had a wild beauty specific to itself. Nowhere in America is such a vast supply of untouched green so nearby. We hardly had to move from the village to find these incredible vistas. The field may as well been in the middle of nowhere. And yet, it felt carved out with divine forethought. The trails lead to picturesque views, presumably found by locals over the past millennia. It looked like a work of fiction brought to life, and it was so much fun to milk the scenery for all its worth.
The rustic village complemented the untouched nature hand-in-hand. The couple could be themselves in what looks like a Disney movie backdrop. It’s hard to believe so many gorgeous places were just waiting for us to use, from lived-in cabins to placid nature trails. We found ideal spots with ease, like they were there just for us. It also allowed my shots to feel cohesive. The fantasy forest and wide open fields felt connected to the Villa Långbers, without feeling tainted by humanity.
The limited people made the shots of the couple posed above their friends and family much easier to pull off. Since everyone knew their role, getting everyone to the right place at the right time became much less of a chore. Those particular shots may as well have been stills from the PBS show Downton Abbey. The cinematic scope played the perfect foil for the intimate group. The whole view seemed pieced together for that particular event. That’s the main difference between this wedding and a wedding in Souther California. Where I can’t avoid sharing LA with countless people, I seldom got that feeling from Tällberg.
Sweden’s culture differs from that of the U.S. in a multitude of ways, but its people-to-nature ratio that really stuck with me for this shoot. An intimate wedding in Sweden doesn’t have to limit itself to four walls. The whole of Tällberg felt like it opened itself up to us that day. The quiet, yet breathtaking beauty allowed Gustaf and Mikaela to be in their element while the photos I got of them seem like a portal to another world.