I don’t even know where to begin about Jophiel and Alex’s incredible Lake Ohrid wedding. These two brought their families and friends together from different sides of the globe for a multi-day celebration in Lake Ohrid, an ancient town that’s recognized as part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Their wedding took place at The Church of St. Sophia, one of the most important monuments in the country. Built on the remains of a 5th century Roman church, the structure has weathered a cycle of rulers destroying and rebuilding, reusing materials from earlier buildings. When the Ottoman empire established its presence in the area during the 15th century, the church underwent a transformation into a mosque. It was abandoned during the first half the the 20th century, and immediately after World War II restorations began, revealing frescos from the 11th century. It’s estimated that the courtyard Jophiel and Alex had their ceremony in was built sometime in the 1300’s. It is easily one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve photographed!
With their families hailing from North Macedonia and Mexico, the merging of Jophiel and Alex’s two cultures made the event even more special. You could feel the love from everyone present, and it was a reflection of just how much care and intention these two put into the people around them. It was an honor to be invited into their community and witness so much beauty.
The festivities kicked off with a welcome gathering on the first night at a little lodge on top of a mountain, overlooking sheep grazing in golden fields. Everyone gathered outside for a cocktail hour while the sun set over Lake Ohrid, dipping behind the coast line of Albania, visible on the other side. Afterwards they shared a family style dinner in the restaurant, toasting and dancing into the late evening.
The second day was focused on capturing moments with the extended family around Old Town. Jophiel and Alex shared that they wanted unposed images of their family as it was the first and possibly only time all of their loved ones would be together. It turned into an evening filled with connection, tears, gratitude. We started at the church and ended at the boardwalk, capturing some images so beautiful and tender that I was tearing up while editing them.
The third day was their epic Lake Ohrid wedding celebration. After a beautiful ceremony in the church courtyard that was translated into three languages to ensure all could understand, they walked through town to join their guests aboard a boat to Sveti Naum. This monastery is from the 10th-century and sits high on a cliff overlooking Lake Ohrid. There are peacocks that roam freely around, beautiful gardens, pathways, beaches for swimming, and the Sv Naum Springs. Alex had visited the springs and taken gondola rides since she was a little girl, and the beauty and tranquility made it one of her favorite places. They had their reception at Restaurant Ostrovo, a beautiful garden venue on the property, tucked between the beach and springs. There were traditional Macedonian folk and wedding dances, heartfelt toasts, lots of Mexican music, and a dance party that went late into the night.
The day after their wedding, Erik and I hopped in our rental car and headed out of town. We drove from North Macedonia through Albania, Montenegro, and Croatia. The trip was captured on my little point and shoot film camera (the small but mighty Contax T3) which I’ll share next. It was definitely an adventure off the beaten path and we saw so much in the short time we had!
The images shared below were captured on a mix of 120 film, 35mm film, digital, as well as Super 8.
Such huge congratulations to Jophiel and Alex! We wish you a lifetime of love and happiness!
LAKE OHRID WEDDING VENDORS:
Film Cameras: Pentax 645NII with Zeiss 80/2 and Contax T3 | Film: Fuji 400h and Portra 400
Digital Editing Profiles: The Archetype Process
To see another wedding on gorgeous historical grounds, view this Hacienda San Gabriel de las Palmas Wedding.