We chatted to graphic artist, Ana Duje, to get the lowdown on her 3-day Argentinian wedding.
Born in Argentina, Ana Duje now works between Hong Kong and Barcelona as an illustrator and graphic artist. Here at Sassy we are big fans of her cartoon-like designs, which make use of bold colours and shapes. We knew she would bring her own distinctive sense of style to her wedding, so couldn’t wait to see the photos (and they definitely didn’t disappoint).
Ana met her Norwegian husband, Alex, when she moved to Spain in 2016. She had initially contacted him about a graphic design job before she arrived in Barcelona, having come across his workplace on the streaming site, Periscope. They then stayed in touch, as LinkedIn connections and Facebook friends. When Ana eventually made her move to the city, Alex was away travelling. But he told her she could stay in his flat for a week while she found her feet. In the end she found more than just her feet, she also found her future husband!
Every bride has a proposal story, so what’s yours?
Alex and I went to Japan for two weeks and celebrated our anniversary on the last night in Tokyo. We were at a very nice teppanyaki restaurant (where they cook your food in front of you) on the 52nd floor of a building in Shinjuku, and after the meal he proposed. It was very casual and intimate, nothing too cheesy (he knows me well!).
Tell us about the ring.
I have three triangle tattoos on my left hand fingers, so he wanted to get a ring that had a triangle in it. He found one with six small diamonds that form a triangle shape. Alex knew he wanted to propose in Tokyo, but he couldn’t find an engagement ring that he liked back home, so he took a risk and bought it on the first day of our holiday. I was out shopping and he said he was going to get some coffee, and that’s when he bought it.
What did you do for your hen party?
I actually had two “half parties”. One of them was back in my home town in Argentina, on our last visit back before the big day. But it was way too early (about one year before the actual wedding), and I had a very bad fever that day. The other one was a weekend away in Bilbao (in Northern Spain) with my friends from Europe and a friend from Argentina who was visiting. They all came with me for my first dress fitting. Neither of my hens were very crazy, but at least I can say I had two!
Tell us about the dress. How many did you try on before you found “the one”?
I had a very specific idea of what my dress should look like, especially regarding the shape. I think every woman knows her body and what suits her best. I tried a few dresses on in some shops in Barcelona (where I used to live), but none of them seemed special enough. So, having such a specific idea, I just decided it would be easier to have a designer make it. It was more expensive, but totally worth it.
The designer was Alicia Rueda, and I travelled to Bilbao (which is around a one-hour flight from Barcelona) four or five times for fittings. I highly recommend her, she really is amazing. The dress was pretty simple in terms of shape, but it’s all about the fabric. It had three layers of different laces that created a very special pattern. As it was made of lace, it was a bit transparent from the knee down, but it had a short skin-coloured dress underneath, all of which made it feel very special. It was also photographed well in different light settings.
What was the best advice you received before the big day?
Actually, my makeup artist gave me the best advice. She told me to remember that there’s a photographer capturing face all the time, so try to be aware of the fact that every face you make could appear in your photo album. Of course you shouldn’t stress about that, just make sure that you smile all the time and show how happy you are. I actually had no problem with that, because I couldn’t stop smiling the whole day anyway!
She also recommended that I go for a strong makeup look. Initially, I wanted to have very natural makeup, but she recommended making it heavier because she said , “believe me, you won’t see it in the photos”. And it was true! In the beginning I felt like was wearing too much makeup, but in the photos it looks much more watered down.
What was the wedding itself like?
We decided to have the wedding in Argentina, my home country. Being an international wedding (because my husband is Norwegian), we decided we’d do it in a hotel, where all the guests could stay. Almost without planning, we ended up having a three-day wedding, because we had a dinner the night before, and then stayed for lunch and hung out by the pool the day after.
We had around 120 guests, with about 80 to 90 of this number coming from Argentina. The rest came from Norway, Spain, UK, and the US. Being a graphic designer, I decided I’d make all the signs myself and we had some fun cards on the tables with translations in English, Spanish and Norwegian as ice-breakers. We also had some Norwegian wedding traditions printed, because our cultures are very different.
The style of the wedding was pretty relaxed, maybe a bit “boho-inspired”. We had four long tables and had an Argentinian barbecue (obviously!) for a buffet-style dinner. We also had a “living room” area and a beer bar for the reception. We didn’t have a religious ceremony, just a nice civil ceremony next to the river beside the hotel.
Do you have a favourite part of the day?
Everything! But I think in general the cultural mix was my favourite thing, because it’s what made the wedding unique for everyone. It was so nice to see everyone getting along and having fun together, even when some of them couldn’t speak each other’s language. Seeing friends of mine and Alex’s dancing together and trying to understand each other was hilarious! Everyone enjoyed dancing to music from both Argentina and Norway.
What were the most memorable parts from the wedding speeches?
All the speeches were beautiful. Everyone did a great job, especially considering that it was a trilingual wedding! We all spoke a bit of English, Norwegian and Spanish (especially Alex and me).
Was there one detail you and the groom just couldn’t agree on?
Money! But seriously speaking, Alex was great and very flexible with everything. Being a designer, I’m much more picky when it comes to the way everything should look, so he was very patient and just let me make most of the decisions.
What was the most fun element about planning your wedding?
I’d say the very first stage where you start thinking and dreaming about what it could be like. I also really enjoyed looking for inspiration and drawing up the guest list.
And what about the most stressful moment?
I tend to get very anxious and nervous in situations where I’m the centre of attention, but I don’t know what happened that day. I was super nervous the day before, and for some reason on the day itself, I woke up smiling and thinking “ok, I’m getting married today!”. Just thinking about being with my husband for the rest of my life took away every bit of nervousness I felt.
What would you say was the best decision you made about the wedding?
To get married in my home country. I can guarantee I wouldn’t have had more than ten people attend from my side if we had done it in Europe.
What were your wedding favours?
We didn’t really have wedding favours per se, but with the big day being in spring (almost summer) we put some paper fans in a basket at the ceremony location, and we also had some flip flops for dancing in.
Read more: Wedding Favours: Gift Ideas For Every Guest
Any tips and tricks for brides-to-be?
Make sure you have photos of everything that will be destroyed at the end of the party, for instance, the tables, the wedding favours, the dress! I forgot to tell the photographer to take a good picture of the dress on its own before I wore it, and I totally regret it.
Another thing, this is something we’ve all heard before, but the most important thing is just to relax and enjoy the day. And make sure you spend time with your husband. No-one will notice if the food, the drinks or the music aren’t exactly perfect. What they want to see, and what they’re there to celebrate, is the bride and groom and the love you have for each other. That’s all that matters on the day, so make the most of it!
And that brings us naturally to your honeymoon. Where did you end up going?
We chose Africa as neither of us had been before. We went to Egypt for five days and Zanzibar for two weeks – I would highly recommend both!