Getting married on Croatian Island of Vis | Fort George outdoor wedding
Because love is a journey…
Like many other couples from Britain, our couple decided to have a destination wedding in Croatia, because of the climate, the sun, the sea, because of the incredible Croatian beauty and also because of the desire for a destination wedding which means something new, big and beautiful for family and friends. At the end of the day – Because love is a journey…
Vis Island wedding
After spending her summers in Croatia visiting all the popular summer festivals and before she met Ben, Corrina knew that Croatia will be her wedding destination and from all cities Croatia has, she had chosen the island of Vis. Famously called the island of sun, wine, lemons and olive oil, its untouched beauty remained the same even during some hard historical occasions. The feeling that the island provides is somewhat different, like it’s from another time, a slower beat, another life… and just because of that, as a magnet attracts couples from all over the world. They all want to give their wedding that special feel, so it was no wonder Corrine and Ben wanted to add that value to their wedding day, or at least stop for just a little bit and have the best wedding day in Croatia. Vis has several “exceptional” wedding venues. One of the most popular is Fort George.
Fort George – “Fortica” – treat for a Croatian wedding photographer
Due to the incredible view from the roof terrace to the port and the neighboring islands, the beautiful garden and the surrounding ambiance, many couples have decided to say their “I do’s” right here at this place. To the most people who have visited one of the most beautiful islands on the Adriatic coast, Fortica is a well-known location. However, if you have never visited the island of Vis, you will love the story of how the historic building has become one of the magnificent locations you should not miss while visiting Vis. The Fort George was built in 1813 by the British Royal Navy, and after its numerous military roles, it was abandoned for two centuries. Its restoration started in 2012 by the European Travel Ventures company. William Wenkel and Erik Biörklund fell in love with the island of Vis while they were sailing along the Croatian coast four years ago and were fascinated by the fortresses. So they started thinking about its potential and what they can do with it to provide something different to the tourists. They began to cooperate with the authorities and planed the restoration to make Fort George a place that both locals and tourists would adore. The restoration was completed at the time of the 200th-anniversary celebration, held in July last year. Some of the guests that attended the celebration were the Mayor of the island of Vis, the commander of the Croatian Navy, and many other significant guests. After the celebration, “Fort George” is continuing to develop, and today, it’s a really popular tourist destination. Of course, the fortress has also become one of the favorite wedding venues in Croatia. Due to the incredible view and the beautiful garden, many couples have decided to have their wedding right here, at one of the most romantic locations in Croatia. Aside from weddings, “Fort George” is opened daily as a full-time cafe/lounge bar and relaxation area. The restaurant opening is also planned in the near future. The best time to visit Fort George is surely late in the afternoon when you can relax in the armchairs and sip a refreshing drink, while watching the most beautiful sunset on the Dalmatian coast. In the evening, the garden turns into a nightclub where regular domestic and international DJs are staged, as well as unavoidable concerts of local musicians. For those who like culture, the fort also has a small museum where you can see works, maps and various other items related to the exciting history of Fortice, and in the art gallery, you will be able to see the works of domestic and foreign modern artists. We would say it’s an ideal summer oasis. While Fort George is hosting beautiful outdoor wedding ceremonies, Corrine and Ben decided to have their wedding ceremony in the old church of St. Jere.
St. Jeromes church and monastery at the Vis Island
Monastery of St. Jere at Prirovo, the pear-shaped peninsula, doesn’t have an old history as some other “historic” monasteries of the Province of St. Jerome from the 13th century (Split, Šibenik, Cres, Pula) have. Reliable documents speak of 1520 as an information from which we can link the origins of this monastery, which is often, in history, referred to as hospice. We do not know whether the Roman theater in Prirovo – whose remains can still be seen today in the basement of today’s monastery – may have been damaged during the conflicts between Venice and Ferrare in 1483, when Vis and the main settlement of Vele Selo were attacked. After that, the island of Vis is growing and growing when it comes to the number of its residences. Today’s monastery is not entirely as it was at the beginning of the 16th century when the friars came here. Over time, it was upgraded and refurbished, so it changed its appearance a bit. The core of the monastery was where the old theater used to be is best preserved, and that is its ridge, the outer wall on the northwest side, with its original bell tower. So this is the reason why, today, the monastery has an unusual, somewhat hollow and partially semicircular shape, as it was built on the vaults and the outer wall of the auditorium of the Roman theater, which can still be seen today. On the aforementioned draft from the middle of the 18th century, the church is somewhat lower. The top part of the facade was cut off. The church had only one window on the south side. The bell tower was much more beautiful and more elegant. Nowadays it is separated from the church, leaning against the monastery building. However, as in the second half of the 18th century, the belfry was damaged by the thunder, in 1758 there were works that led to the loss of the beauty of the upper part. Now the bell is somewhat more massive and firm, but no longer as slim and stylish as before. The exterior of the church reveals the late Renaissance style. The door was profiled, pointed with shallow roses and stigma reliefs, covered with a lunette. The builders used the remnants of Roman theater, marble blocks, and square pieces of carved stone embedded in the facade. After all, the other residents of the island of Vis used old Issa’s material for building their homes and dock. Even the marble remains of the theater can be found around the surrounding vineyards and fields.
The somewhat poor and modest monastery experienced devastation at the time of the English administration (1812-1815), when the church and monastery were converted into a military warehouse, and the rare cultural and artistic treasure that was kept here was scorched, especially the altar in the church and some artworks in the monastery. From the preserved treasure there were very valuable relics from the 16th century and the archival material which was somehow sorted without any logical connection and consistency. The library does not have old manuscript codecs or incunabula, because the monastery dates back to the beginning of the 16th century, but keeps some rarity, such as Paštrić’s Old Slavic Misal (1689). During the time, the monastery received a large number of canvas and wooden artistic paintings for the altar, most of it disappeared, was damaged or plastered. Still, something is preserved, such as “Mary with Jesus” by the 16th-century Italian-Cretan school, the oil canvas “The Last Supper” of an unknown author from 1600, and the Italo-Byzantine icon on the “Mary with the Son and the Angels” from an unknown author, from the mid-17th century. Another work of art worth mentioning is a large wooden crucifix similar to Gothic crucifixes from the 15th century.
British weddings in Croatia and their traditions
We love British weddings organized in Croatia because they bring all sorts of new and pretty traditions. Great Britain is world famous for its wedding culture. With more than 2000 years, the British people and the entire nation celebrate weddings with class and a large dose of elegance. Destination weddings are popular in the US, but if we look back a couple of years, we notice that more and more British couples are coming to Croatia to say their “I do’s”. And bring their beautiful and specific traditions in which we enjoy photographing and filming. Here are some traditions we noticed and liked:
Having a bunch of bridesmaids is not something you’ll see at Croatian weddings, but the traditional British wedding ceremony will begin with a flower girl dropping flower petals while walking down the aisle, accompanied by the bridesmaids following her down the way. All dressed in the same colored dresses, this tradition dates back to the Roman Empire when highwayman and robbers often did bride abductions. In the Roman times, bridesmaids were dressed as a bride to ward of the abductors. It became a part of English tradition but eventually modernized so bridesmaids are no longer looking like the bride, but still, they are dressed elegantly matching the theme of the wedding.
Good luck charms
English brides usually wear good luck charms like a silver horseshoe hemmed into their wedding gowns, or on a wedding bouquet. Another tradition is that a chimney sweeper kisses the bride while she’s on her way to the church, or if the rain pours on the wedding morning, it’s considered an omen of good luck. As for the wedding ring, the King Edward VI in the 15th century decided that the official place for a wedding ring is the 3d finger of the left hand, so all British people changed their wedding ring places following this rule, which is still a tradition at many countries as well as in Croatia.
The Wedding Ceremony
Usually, there’s no rehearsal dinner in British wedding tradition, but only the “hen and stag parties” held the night before the wedding by the bride and groom. Bride parties with her best friends, while grooms celebrate the last day as single with his friends. The same tradition can also be seen in the US, although for the church weddings the tradition is to have a bachelor and bachelorette party three weeks before the wedding. This tradition in Croatia is also popular, but there’s no “rule” when it will be organized.
One of the British wedding ceremonies that amazed us and is different from Croatian weddings is that the wedding ceremony is held at noon, so that everyone can come to the church and witness the couple recite their vows. Although, it’s not custom for strangers to enter the church to watch the wedding, there are some places in Croatia where this is a custom. Also, all weddings are held afternoon, usually between 5 and 6 pm.
The Wedding Reception
The whole world knows that British love their breakfasts, so it’s a tradition that all guests are invited to the “wedding breakfast” that includes 2 different cakes after the wedding ceremony. The cakes are usually made from ground nuts and cherries, and the top layer of the British fruitcake is traditionally called the “christening cake”, which couple sets aside and keep it for the christening celebration of their first child.
Another British tradition that dates back from to Tudor period is that the groom usually has his cake, popularly called the “grooms cake”, which is made of chocolate.
Perhaps the prettiest wedding locations in Croatia are the Islands. Their intimate distance from the tourist buzz gives that specific dose of peace and are free from crowdedness which is not what weddings are all about. Also, there’s no better feeling than when the newlyweds and their guests are all together in one place all the time. Then, during the busy wedding day, we get plenty of beautiful and unforgettable moments captured for their wedding album. Island weddings are specific because of the fact that guests have to come to the island by boat, so these adventures are also something special and new to some of the guests… something they have never experienced before. The island of Vis is one of the most popular islands in Croatia, an island where time has no significant meaning… We truly hope it will stay this way for a long time. Corrine and Ben – A romantic and extremely nice couple, parents of two beautiful kids, spontaneous and in love with the island of Vis. It was my great pleasure to be your wedding photographer on Vis, to meet your great and heartfelt family and to be a part of your special day.