Standing the Test of Time – A Lighthouse Wedding in Croatia

Do you think that a lighthouse wedding is the most romantic way to say I do? If that’s the case, you’ll just love this story. Recently, we had an interesting conversation with Antonia Novosel (marketing assistant at SailingEurope) about weddings in Croatia and she shared her latest adventure she had as a wedding guest. Since we loved the story about her friend’s lighthouse wedding, we asked her to write a blog post on this subject. Here’s her lovely story:

Fairy tale weddings aren’t just a girl’s dream or a sneaky marketing trick. Coming from a skeptic who is not so easily impressed, it actually is possible. A few months ago, I was invited to a wedding on the island of Dugi Otok in Croatia, just across the historic city of Zadar. Since it was one of my closest friends and I also never miss an opportunity to dip in the sea, I just had to be there. She has always been a hopeless romantic and I expected nothing less from her than to have a lighthouse wedding. Which, when you think about it, kind of makes sense: to promise eternal love to your soul mate, to your own personal lighthouse, who will be waiting for you and be your beacon in all the storms and nights life throws your way.

I have been to a lot of weddings in Croatia and they all look pretty much the same. There is the traditional coming for the bride, then church or register office, then food and drinks at a restaurant, and, if you are lucky, good music to dance to. This was a completely different experience. We arrived to the island by ferry from Zadar, which was an hour and twenty minutes of staring into the deep blue of the Adriatic Sea, with sailing yachts scattered all around the Zadar archipelago, really enjoyable for a sea lover like me. The ferry brought us to Brbinj, from which we then continued by car. Veli Rat is about 20 km away. To get to the lighthouse itself, we went through a pine forest, and as we emerged onto the clearing, the view took our breaths away. The Lanterna stands in the middle of this little cape (although the village itself, Veli Rat, literally means “grand cape”) and is surrounded by pebbly beaches and crystal clear waters of the Adriatic.

lighthouse wedding
Lighthouse and a church (source: Wikipedia)

The lighthouse has two apartments, one including a room with three beds, a kitchen, a shower and a toilet, and the other with a double room, a larger kitchen with a sofa and sanitary installations as well. The lighthouse tower is 40 m tall. It was built in 1849 and according to a local legend around 100 000 egg yolks were used to give the façade its yellowish color. In the lighthouse courtyard, there is the small chapel of St Nicholas, where wedding ceremonies are performed. We were a small wedding party, so the lighthouse hosted the wedding, as well, with catering from a local restaurant. There are several restaurants and hotels on the island which provide catering services.

However, before they could even think of organizing the whole thing, the bride and groom had to obtain a permit from the company managing all the lighthouses in Croatia, called Plovput (from Split). This was a church wedding and required only a previous date arrangement with the priest. If it had been a civil wedding, the registrar would have had to come from Zadar, since there aren’t any on the island itself. And the lighthouse keeper is a really nice guy so even if you are not staying at the lighthouse, he lets you climb the tower stairs.

lighthouse wedding
A view from the lighthouse (source: Flickr)

The ceremony was truly impressive, the scenery makes you want to get married even if you had no plans to do it, and as my friend said – it makes you want to get married every day. The beautiful blue sea and the deep green forest, together with the magnificent lighthouse tower – the  whole thing was an unforgettable experience. And of course, seeing one of your best friends smiling at her “lighthouse” is the most beautiful sights of all. And if you, like her, then go on your honeymoon sailing around Croatian islands with your special someone, the whole thing is even more memorable.

Hopeless romantic or not, a lighthouse wedding is a spectacle, a surreal experience which makes you forget the daily worries for a moment (or the whole weekend, in my case). In terms of weddings in Croatia, this is definitely my top 1 and I don’t believe it will be dethroned any time soon.

Written by: Antonia Novosel

About the Author

Antonia Novosel is a marketing assistant at SailingEurope Group which is one of the leading European sailboat and yacht charter portals.  The best way to visit Dugi otok and have original honymoon is by sailing, so if you would like to know more about sailing in Croatia, find all relevant information on www.SailingEurope.com

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