Irina and Ben

Multiculturalism is what Australia really is all about and something I enjoy most about sharing weddings is learning about new cultural traditions and seeing them play out. Irina and Ben married with a Russian Orthodox ceremony in Brisbane and not only is the cultural significance so beautiful, but the love story that goes along with it? A wonderful story to share.

Irina and Ben share how they came to be. “On the 8th of August 2010, Ben (from Australia) met his future bride Irina (from Russia) at the Orthodox International Youth Fellowship in a small township outside the city of Kursk, Russia. Ben was flying out 48 hours later but the spark was unmistakable – he promised to return to Irina in January, 2011 but that turned out to be a lie: he couldn’t wait that long so he returned to her in November of 2010 for three weeks. Then in February of 2011 she flew out to visit him in Australia for two and a half weeks. A few days before she was to head back home, Ben told Irina he loved her and a few days later he decided to propose to her at a friends’ engagement party on a farm out near Stanthorpe. Some children ran past the table the couple was having dinner at and Irina turned to the groom and said, “I want children too.” Ben replied, “Well, being good Orthodox Christians, we must be married first” There was a pause … then Ben added, “So … do you wanna?”. Irina replied, “shouldn’t you be on one knee when you propose?” Ben said, “Ok, let’s walk back to our tent, away from the party, and I’ll ask you again on one knee.” They walked back to their tent, he asked on one knee, and she agreed … pending blessings from their spiritual father the priest and their parents. Later that year in July 2011, the bride and groom had the ‘betrothal’ ceremony in Kursk, Russia with close to 100 youth in attendance as part of proceedings at the then 4th annual Orthodox International Youth Fellowship.”

Photographs today are by Mary-Jane Photography & Design who stepped in at the last minute when the couple’s photographer got stuck overseas! Mary-Jane has such a sense of fun and rich beauty to her imagery.

Irina says, “The ceremony was at the Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Woolloongabba, the very first Russian Orthodox Church to exist in Australia (it was built in the mid 1920’s). The reception was at the Queensland Russian Community Centre, also located in Woolloongabba. It celebrated its 40th birthday this year.”

“A Russian Orthodox wedding service doesn’t have the typical ‘walking down the aisle’ scenario. But during the course of the ceremony, a close friend and amazing tenor sang a rendition of The Lord’s Prayer with the church choir singing in the background for musical support.”

Photographer Mary-Jane was a last minute addition for the couple after their photographer got stuck overseas. Irina explains, “Mary-Jane was a true blessing and a Godsend a mere three days before the wedding when we discovered our photographer was stuck in Germany. Words cannot describe, so we recommend you see the proof in the photos ”

Mary-Jane says, “I’ve honestly never seen someone more sincerely in love with their future wife, than Ben was with Irina – just from being around them, you could tell this couple would be the type of couple that would be celebrating their 50 year wedding anniversary one day (& I’d love to photograph that too!). It was also beautiful & admirable to see that whenever Ben looked at Irina, you could so clearly imagine what he was thinking – that she was the absolute & most beautiful woman he had ever set eyes upon! And I loved how someone like Irina can brighten up pretty much every situation – she has an appetite for laughter & happiness through & through – they’re going to have an amazing marriage together! ”

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Congratulations Irina and Ben! Thank you for sharing your wedding with us! Thank you also to Mary-Jane Photography & Design for sharing today’s photographs!