I had never done wedding photography for a traditional Ukrainian wedding ceremony before, so I was intrigued when Cristen called me a few months before to have her wedding professionally photographed.
She and her soon-to-be husband Jakub very much wanted to stay within his culture’s traditions, but were daunted by how much family and all the logistics they would have to deal with. They decided to elope from Edmonton, Canada and come to Los Angeles to get married on their own.
They’d searched for Ukrainian churches in the United States and came up with one in New York City, one in San Francisco, and the on in L.A. They chose Saint Andrew Orthodox Ukrainian Church because the priest was so kind over the phone. He even surprised them with a wedding cake and a bottle of champagne after the ceremony!
Traditional Ukrainian weddings can sometimes last days, but this one was an hour only. They performed most of the rituals, including stepping on a rushnyk (an embroidered towel) before they took their vows.
The church was ornate and beautiful on the inside, but one of my concerns was where to take nice outdoor wedding photos because the location in Echo Park was quite urban. Thankfully, we walked around to the back of the church and there was a green area with orange trees and it worked out great.
Photographing Jakub and Cristen’s wedding was a special experience for me. I felt like I was the witness to this union in more ways than just my signature on their marriage documents.