September 1, 2018
Every once in a while, you get to travel halfway across the world to document a love story that is worth telling and retelling.
Riikka is Finnish. Khalil is Lebanese, yet spent formative years living in Germany.
Against all odds, these two met in a bar in Slovakia, of all places, and communicate in the only language they have in common–English. I promise, I’m not making this stuff up. 🙂
As you can surely imagine, Riikka and Khalil spent much (all?) of their relationship making the long distance thing work. They visited one another as often as possible, rendezvousing in a wide variety of different countries, as their schedules and passports allowed. All in all, over FORTY international trips were made between these two lovebirds in order to see each other. Despite distance, cost, time, and language barriers, the love that these two have for one another flourishes.
Alllllll the heart eyes everywhere.
Khalil and Riikka decided to get married in Vaasa, Finland, near where Riikka grew up. This area of Finland is known for its archipelago, which Finland proudly celebrates as its very own UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lush forests speckled with wild blueberries, kind and helpful folks, rocky coastal shores, and mind-blowing sunsets (at 10:30 at night in the summer) all combine to make this area feel like a startling (yet lovely) combination of a fairy tale world and your favorite small town.
But like seriously, though.
Riikka and Khalil opted for a first look in a gorgeous coastal forest. Riikka’s playful personality combined with Khalil’s authenticity and easygoing attitude made for a darn cute first interaction.
Gentlemen, take note: There is NEVER a bad time to twirl your bride.
The ceremony took place at a venue called Salteriet, which used to be a fish-salting factory before it was turned into a cafe and event venue.
Go ahead and pick your jaw up off the floor. I’ll wait.
Their wedding was an intimate affair, with the guests standing on either side of the pier. I’d never seen a wedding done that way, but it was pretty cool! Kind of freeing, actually, without any chairs to trip over.
Aren’t they just the sweetest?!
After the ceremony, we moved indoors to begin a reception I’ll never forget. Lebanese and Finnish food gave the attendees a taste of the flair that this couple brings:
Another fun fact about this lovely couple is that they are incredibly talented dancers. As in, Foxtrot, Waltz, and more. Not this hold each other and sway nonsense that most of us (myself included!) do. So you better believe that their ceremony was en pointe, with live music to boot!
Riika and Khalil, I wish you all the happiness this life has to offer. I hope that you treasure each moment, and see the good in everything. I pray that your love continues to endure, despite the troubles this world has to offer. Your love for one another shines bright as an example for others, so never let it go dim. Cheers to your resplendent future.