What a treat to start the season with the tale of this extraordinary Armenian wedding in Venice!
Maik and Gohar are citizens of the world, their work has led them to meet in Afghanistan first, and to live in many different countries of the world up to Kenya, where they live today. This itinerant life, but above all their great heart, has made them have friends in every corner of the world. And they wanted to gather everyone on an island in the Venetian lagoon for their Armenian wedding in Venice.
Lido, the trendier area of the Venice lagoon
Maik and Gohar chose an elegant and sophisticated spot as place where to spend some special days with all their loved ones and friends: the refined atmosphere of the historic Hotel Excelsior and its beach, the most famous on Lido island.
Lido is one of the main islands in the Venice lagoon. Sheltering the city from the sea, Lido offers award winning beaches and spectacular views on Venice. It’s undoubtedly most known for hosting Venice Film, but it’s usually avoided by the mass of tourists coming to visit the city, and this makes it extremely fascinating. The trendier area of the Venice lagoon, also known for its Art Deco architecture and sport resorts, it’s perhaps less known to tourists for its protected natural reserve, located on the south end the island. The oasis is composed of a pine forest and a complex dune system, immortalized for its beauty in the poetry of Byron and Goethe. The perfect romantic spot for this elegant Armenian Wedding in Venice.
Maik e Gohar reserved some rooms at Hotel Excelsior for all their guests, and from the private pier of the hotel, the evening before the wedding, a private boat sailed with all of them for the most romantic moonlit party.
The total white party on the boat
The idea of a private party on a boat lit by millions of fairy lights is already incredibly beautiful, isn’t it? but could you think of something that makes such an evening even more special?
We tried to do it with a total white smart casual dress code. So, to see all those white dressed guests dancing to the light of an incredible sunset on the Venetian lagoon was very impressive!
The pink light of the sunset on a clear summer evening has certainly offered an indelible memory of Venice from a unique point of view. It was the most magical welcome from Maik and Gohar for all the guests of their Armenian wedding in Venice.
The day after this special evening, on a sunny morning, an elegant wooden motorboat was waiting for the guests and the groom to take them to another special corner of this magnificent city on the water for the wedding ceremony.
The day of the wedding was in act, and the light-hearted euphoria of the night before had given way to an eagerly awaited emotion, but not before some traditions of the Armenian culture were respected.
Customs & traditions in an Armenian Wedding in Venice
Armenia is a culture steeped in rich history and traditions.
It is also part of Armenian tradition for a member of the bride’s wedding party to hold one of the bride’s shoes for ransom, to prevent the bride from “leaving”, until they are paid by the groom or his wedding party to prove his serious intentions.
In addition, every single female present during the bride’s dressing wrote her name on the bottom of the bride’s shoes for good luck. During a fun and involving collective moment all these traditions have been respected in the fun of everyone.
Then in Gohar’s room another significant tradition took place: before the veil was placed on the bride’s head, her mother circles the veil over the head of each single female present to bring them good luck in finding their Mr. Right. Per the tradition, the person who places the veil on the bride’s head should be a woman who has been happily married for many years. This blessing is meant to bring the bride good fortune.
After these meaningful rites, the bride was therefore ready to walk the aisle!
The charming monastery of SAN LAZZARO DEGLI ARMENI
The place that Maik and Gohar chose for their wedding ceremony was probably the most evocative Armenian Church in the world, San Lazzaro degli Armeni, lit. “Saint Lazarus of the Armenians” and Սուրբ Ղազար in Armenian; the church rises on a small islet in the Venetian Lagoon, which has been home to a monastery of an Armenian congregation since 1717. As such, it is one of the world’s prominent centers of Armenian culture and Armenian studies and still today it hosts a large collection of books, artifacts and the third largest collection of Armenian manuscripts.
For nearly three centuries the island of San Lazzaro has belonged to the monks of the Armenian Mekhitarist Order. This small island, once a leper colony, was given to the order’s founder Mekhitar in 1717 as he fled with his monks from the Turks. San Lazzaro became then a centre for Armenian culture, printing literature in Armenian. When Napoleon closed down all the monasteries of Venice and the lagoon, he made an exception for this one for its important cultural value.
On San Lazzaro the monks quietly worked away with their printing presses. One of their most glamorous brushes with the outside world was when Lord Byron took an interest in them. The poet, during his stay in Venice, would row out to the island to study Armenian with the monks and to help them produce an Armenian – English dictionary. A portrait of the poet is still on the wall of the room in which he studied.
This islet suspended in time is just offshore Lido and only 10 minutes by boat from Piazza San Marco but it’s like a treasure chest outside the city’s tourist routes.
The bride arrived on a private boat holding her white bouquet in her hands. Then, after a walk across the charming cloister, she reached the groom in the intimate church. They stood in front of the altar, under the beautiful blue ceiling of the church. The ceremony was solemn. There was rigor and sensitivity. They exchanged the wedding rings and pronounced the sacred vows. When the Armenian wedding ceremony with all its rich meanings was over, a romantic cascade of petals rained down on Maik and Gohar at the exit of the church.
The reception at Hotel Excelsior
After a shooting on the beautiful terrace of San Lazzaro island with the skyline of Venice on the backdrop, the photo tour continued on some gondolas to discover the beautiful corners in the very center of the city; just a dip in the historic heart of Venice before returning to the quiet elegance of the Lido. Then the whole wedding crew moved back to Hotel Excelsior where a sumptuous candlelight reception was waiting for them. In perfect harmony with the magic of the evening, the menu was really the best the Italian cuisine had to offer. The table was decorated with pure white flowers on a thin golden structure, at the base of it the mise en place made elegant the table with golden details.
After the cake cutting and some lighthearted dance steps, Mike and Max, his Best Man, entertained and impressed everyone with a frantic sirtaki. Everyone toasted with a glass of Italian prosecco and a special Armenian liqueur broght directly from Armenia; another symbol of this mix of cultures that made this Armenian wedding in Venice magical!