Can you imagine a more romantic place for an elopement in Europe than a beautiful city in a Dalmatian coast surrounded by the Adriatic Sea? We couldn’t either.
One day, we received an inquiry from a couple from the United States and they were interested in having a destination wedding in Croatia. The couple was searching for a wedding photographer and cinematic wedding videographer for shooting their intimate wedding in Zadar. We immediately respond to it as it’s no secret that we love Zadar! They had an interesting story and planned an interesting wedding so we couldn’t say no to them. They decided to do elopement in Europe and say their “I do’s” in the church of St. Donat in Zadar.
Today, we’re bringing you Emma and Stanislav’s romantic getaway wedding in Zadar. In Cinematic film and Photography:
The church of St. Donat in Zadar was always appealing to us. It’s a place that draws everyone to enter because of its interesting interior and a way how the natural light makes this picturesque place.
Emma and Stanislav never visited Zadar before, as a matter of fact, they never visited Croatia, so why they chose Zadar and St. Donat’s church for their elopement in Croatia? We couldn’t but wonder, and at the end, we asked them to share their love story and how they chose this place for their wedding elopement in croatia.
Although it has been an intimate wedding for just the two of them, we spent almost an entire day with the couple, from early morning till late afternoon. Except for taking photos and filming, Emma and Stanislav in the center of Zadar, we made a small road trip to the island of Pag and on our way, we visited the city of Nin and old bridge in Pag.
On our journey, we met this lovely couple even better and finally connected the dots on why they chose Zadar in Croatia for their elopement in Europe.
Emma & Stanislav’s Love Story
Emma and Stanislav met at work. One day, Stanislav had a chance to visit Emma at her home where he saw various Slavic icons and relics and got confused as he had no idea what they represent. Emma is a girl from Pennsylvania, where all those things came from? When they got to know better, he found out that Emma is fascinated by the Slavic mysticism and culture. Stanislav is a Russian native and he emigrated with his family to the US while he was still a child.
Throughout the history and the ancient times, Croatia was between the East and the West, between the Byzantines and the Roman Empire. The church of St. Donat is a perfect example of the influence of both worlds. When you look at it from the inside, this church from the 9th century seems like being all Byzantines, but when you enter, the interior of the church screams western.
So, Emma and Stanislav decided that Zadar and the church of St Donat represent a symbolic way to link the east and west of the Mediterranean and that it’s a perfect place to have their wedding elopement. The church is mystical and full of history. It’s interesting how hundreds of years ago, the builders who built the church knew how to build a building worth of admiration and how to make everything so the place gets the necessary light to make everyone awe when entering inside. Emma and Stanislav could not choose a better destination for their wedding because this space really deserves to be a place where Emma and Stanislav will say their “I do’s”.
The Wedding Day – The perfect set for Elopement in Europe
The day was very windy, and we used the space around the church of St. Donat, and the waterfront near the Sea Organs for which Zadar is popular all around the world, as an ideal location for the first part of the session. Emma and Stanislav used these moments for romantic whispers, being gentle and intimate, creating valuable moments, which is ideal for every photographer because their spontaneity and sincerity were shown in the pictures.
The Wedding Ceremony
As a destination wedding photographer and cinematic wedding videographer, we were really amazed and inspired by the church of St. Donat, so it was not hard to get really amazing wedding photos and videos, not to mention we really enjoyed shooting this elopement in Europe all the time.
The monumental space of circular shape, dominated by pylons that reach their full height at 27 meters, has a lot of window openings that are relatively small to make the light disperse. There are some places inside the church that has no light at all. There’s no high contrast of light-say, which is why this place is very interesting to photograph.
After the ceremony in the church of St. Donat, we went on a short road trip to the island of Pag at the 2nd part of the session. We chose it because of its magical beauty, stone karst, and to get a contrasting content from the photos and videos we took in Zadar. The day was extremely windy. The wind blew with all its strength and made it possible for us to capture a special expression in photos and videos for their ‘Elopement in Europe’ cinematic wedding film.
All in all, it was an unforgettable moment to spend a day with this wonderful couple from the US who is so enthusiastic about Croatia that we believe that they will visit us again soon…
This wedding story shows a lot of emotional moments full of love, joy and hugs which are perfectly represented and shown in these photos. Emma and Stanislav showed us their intimate and romantic side of their everyday life, a side they usually keep for themselves, which made their wedding photos and video intimate and unforgettable. Adriatic sea, beautiful scenery and Slavic features are also part of their love story with which we wanted to capture their happiness, love and connection.
After you get through their beautiful wedding photos, feel free to take a peek at their wedding video and see for yourself how their intimate wedding was amazing.
We really hope they enjoyed with us like we did with them. Thank you Emma and Stanislav for everything, you were amazing clients and we wish you all the best in your future life.
Wedding Vendor Credits
Wedding ceremony location – The church of St. Donat, Zadar, perfect set for Elopement in Euorope
Besides Dubrovnik, Zadar is one of the most known Croatian cities in Dalmatia. It’s the largest cities in northern Dalmatia and offers a wealth of beautiful attractions. It has lots of small pedestrian streets which make this city interesting to research on foot. What attracts newlyweds to this city is the church of St. Donat, which was originally a St. Trinity Church. This place is the most valuable building of pre-Romanesque architecture from the 9th century (early Middle Age) and is a symbol of the city. Perfect destination for elopement in Europe!
The construction of the church follows the Byzantine style – the circular layout. It’s 27 meters high and 22 meters wide, and because of its rough monumentality, the unusual double interior space and cylindrical form make this church original and unique. If it’s to believe in the legend, the church was built in the 9th century by a well-known Zadar bishop St. Donat and was first mentioned in the 10th century in the famous paper “The administration of the state” led by the Byzantine Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus. The original name of the church was the St. Trinity Church (dedicated to the Holy Trinity), but the name changed in the St. Donat’s church in the 15th century.
Most of the church still has its original ornaments and is today used for various musical performances of which is the most popular “Musical Evenings in St. Donat” acoustic event.
About St. Donat (St. Donatus, Sveti Donat)
St. Donat is a well-known bishop of the city of Zadar. According to the legend, St. Donat originated from Zadar and was the conciliator between the Byzantine and the Franks. During Nicephorus’ reign, Donatus received a gift – the relics of the holy martyr Anastasia, which he brought to Zadar and stored in the St. Peter’s Cathedral, which was dedicated to the St. Anastasia, locally called “Sveta Stošija”. If it’s to believe in another legend, Donatus received the relic of the martyr Chrysogonus (locally called Kreševan) with which he enriched the culture and heritage of the Zadar churches.
He died in 811 and was buried in the Church of the Holy Trinity, which was rebuilt by St. Donat and was named after him. In 1622, the relics of St. Donat were placed under the altar in the church and when the French invaded Zadar in 1809, his bones were transferred to the Cathedral of St Anastasia where they are still kept.
The memory of St Donat is celebrated each year in February, 25th
History of Zadar
Built in the center of the Adriatic coast, it’s an ancient city that features cultural and historical monuments. 3000 years old, the city has a dynamic, tumultuous and rich history. It was often devastated and destructed, but every time emerged more beautiful and richer than it was before. The name of the city “Jadar” was first mentioned in the Illyrian tribe of Liburnians in the 4th century BC, but later the name of the city was changed so it’s been called Idassa, a name Greeks usually used, Jadera from Roman sources, Zara which was a name from the Italian and Venetian rule to today’s name – Zadar.
During Roman rule (after the year of 59 BC), Zadar was a city with the main square (forum), a rich road network and a beautiful temple. During the Byzantine time, in the 7th century, Zadar was the center capital of the Byzantine province of Dalmatia.
In 1797, the Austrians took over the city of Zadar and later from 1806 to 1813 it was under the government of the French rule. A few years later, the Austrians took over the city again and ruled in Zadar until 1918 when Zadar fell under Italian rule.
It was after the WWII when the city was added to Croatia which was still under the Federation of Yugoslavia. During the Serbian aggression on Croatian territory, the city was attacked in 1991 and was significantly destructed and devastated.
Today, the city stands proudly with its culture and rich history that outlined its urban appearance.