Anton and Denis are fighting for their right to be together.
Anton Sheleg and Denis Ivanov are from Belarus, but same-sex marriage is not allowed in their country. So they decided to get married Maribo Lake, a nature-based cozy region in the Danish islands. Their wedding was chosen as one of the winners of the Belief Awards.
Anton and Denis met 6 years ago. In more than 40 countries around the world, same-sex marriage is already allowed. For Belarusian gays and lesbians this opportunity is closed, the only way for them is to legitimize their relations in Europe, and afterwards to live together in Belarus – together, but underground. Anton met Denis on a dating site. The guys started to host the first personal and open gay blog in Belarus, which openly share the details of the coming out and the warm moments of their relationship. This is unsafe in such a homophobic country as Belarus, but the guys are fighting for human rights, and therefore decided to officially get married, even if their marriage is never recognized at home.
They wanted to say yes in a quiet, cozy environment. It was a really special day for the couple, because their dream – a love and romance without boundaries – came true.
How did you come up with the concept of this wedding? How was the décor of this wedding? Did the wedding have a theme or a special color palette? What was it? What was the inspiration for this wedding?
I just follow our general concept: eco-style weddings and elopements. We did not focus on the decor, we made a ceremony in an open space with rustic outdoorsy vibe, in location ( the lake) where the native flora and fauna provide natural adornment.
How did this wedding change your career as a wedding planner?
It was one of the first weddings, where I began to offer not just a ceremony, but also an intensive program after. An adventure-filled day with the opportunity to experience the nature and history of the Danish islands. My husband and I are not only private guides, but we get close to a couple and have a great time, and people appreciate and adore it!
Were there any challenges for this wedding? How did you manage it?
When the wedding is held in the open air, we always expect it to rain, and therefore we must be prepared. We have transparent umbrellas, transparent raincoats and the ability to pull the tent. But this time, everything promised to be more serious, since two days before the wedding a storm warning was announced. Therefore, I had to worry and come up with a plan “B” – we decided to use a concert venue located right in the forest. But nothing happened, the storm passed us by.
What was their impression of the wedding?
“We want to express our deep gratitude to Elena and Karsten for organizing our wedding, as well as for the rich tourist program. After all, Denmark is not only Copenhagen and the mermaid, it is much deeper and more interesting. Only thanks to them we fell in love with this country, plunged into Hygge with our heads. You gave us a fairy tale”
What was the most heart-touching moment for them? What are their favorite memories of the day?
The ceremony was held on a wooden pier by the lake. Suddenly, just a minute before the ceremony, a boat sailed to the pier and a group of retired tourists came out, who, having seen the ceremony, wanted to stay and see. They sincerely congratulated the guys, took photos and drank champagne with us. The fact that strangers rejoiced in their happiness affected the couple to the core.
Tell us a little bit about this destination – what differentiates it from other places?
All our locations, include this one (Maribo lake), is a nature-based cozy places on the Danish islands. This location is just perfect for the couples, who want elope to what they love in their life: peace of mind, unity with nature, exploration, love to history and adventure. It is ideal for the NORDIC ADVENTURE, and gives the couple unique opportunity not just marry but also explore the Danish islands – with us.
Wedding planners from 23 countries submitted their work and only 15 professionals made the final cut.
“We are this year celebrating the 5th anniversary of our community. This edition gathers together wedding creators from different countries that are committed to delivering the best concepts, destinations, and ideas. One more time we are celebrating real weddings, with real people, with creativity and love” – Giovana Duailibe, CEO of Belief Wedding Creators.
Wedding planner: Nordic Adventure Weddings, Instagram: adventurewedding_dk
Photographer: Natallia Dunai, Instagram: photo_natallia_dunai
Ceremony venue: Maribo lake (Maribo nature park)
Reception venue: Reception was not provided
Officiant: Leif Utermöhl