Today, we’re used to the idea of weddings as being extravagant affairs, parties meant to include the couple’s whole extended family and their entire network of friends—but as I learned while photographing this bohemian wedding in Tochni, the flip side of the coin can be just as beautiful. As you can see from the moving emotions evident in the images below, a private affair grants couples more freedom to express themselves and lay their souls bare during their marriage ceremony: After all, few of us feel comfortable exhibiting our deepest and most tender thoughts and feelings in front of a crowd.
The couple shown in these images—Veronica and Constantinos—are quiet, discreet, yet deeply loving people. While they and their family said little to me with words, in each caring touch I saw shared between the members of this small group, I felt a sense of profound inspiration… Simple moments like the family styling one another’s hair, laying out clothing and decorations, smiling with their eyes alight, or resting thoughtfully, almost solemnly, as if meditating on the immensity of love itself—these precious glimpses all came together to make me feel as though I had been invited into some secret, sacred space.
This is the soul of any truly traditional Cypriot wedding: The knowledge that at the end of the day, your wedding is not about showing off your wealth or status, nor is it about having a lengthy guest list or the most glamourous hotel for a venue. It’s about you, your spouse, and those who have raised and nurtured you both so that you might one day go on to nurture each other. It’s about awe and quiet reflection as much as it is about joyous music and dancing—that reverent exchange of hands, hearts, minds, and vows as two people leave behind their old lives to start anew, together.
As this traditional Cypriot wedding in Tochni demonstrates, when it comes to marriage ceremonies, less really can be more: It’s the size of your heart, and not your ceremony, that truly matters.