“Getting married, for me, was the best thing I ever did. I was suddenly beset with an immense sense of release, that we have something more important than our separate selves, and that is the marriage. There’s immense happiness that can come from working towards that.” – Nick Cave
I didn’t have the chance to learn much about Catalina and Cosmin—the young Romanian couple at the centre of this dreamy wedding at Pernera Beach Hotel—before I arrived to photograph them. I only knew that, like many people scattered throughout Europe, they had been so drawn to Cyprus’s sunny shores and rolling hills that they decided to get married here. I was therefore able to let my imagination fly free, to get lost in my own artistic impressions and inspiration as I photographed their ceremony.
What struck me most about this wedding was the dream-like quality of it. With both the bride and groom clad all in white, the shining white archway and pavilion, and the delicate white flowers complementing the bride’s Grecian Goddess-style dress and flower crown, this ceremony was positively radiant. The generous light of the Mediterranean sun seemed to glow and reflect off the couple and their surroundings, creating a heavenly aura of love and purity.
In recent decades, weddings have diversified considerably; today, they can be formal or informal, small or large, traditional or entirely unconventional. While this is wonderful thing—each love is unique, after all—there is something truly magical about the traditional symbolism of white as a wedding colour. It runs much deeper than the idea of white as the hallmark of innocence; it is a spiritual shade whose layers of meaning are beautifully conveyed in the images below.
White represents peace and hope; embodied in the gentle dove, it signifies an end to conflict and the beginning of harmonious union. White is also the colour of new beginnings; a couple clad in white walks toward endless possibilities and the prospect of a fresh new life together. White is also the shade of the spirit: It was said in the Bible that, as white represents the colour of light, it is an emblem of the divine.
Knowing this, we can step back for a moment and appreciate the twist Catalina and Cosmin put on traditional wedding attire by having both the bride and groom (rather than just the bride) wear white: Not only does this choice represent the bride and groom coming together as one self in this life, inseparable from one another, it symbolizes both of them entering into a higher eternal union at the same moment. As I witnessed this dreamy wedding at Pernera Beach Hotel, I found I didn’t need to know Catalina and Cosmin’s story to see that their bond was one of not only the heart, but also the soul—a true beacon of light for all to behold.