The Maltese wedding evolved dramatically over the past four decades probably in line with European trends, lifestyle and the advance in technology. There are different types of weddings which are quite popular in Malta and Gozo. This would probably depend on the lifestyle, spiritual sentiments, values, affordability, and perhaps budget that a couple would allocate for their wedding day.
Interestingly enough, the latest statistics in 2018 quoted that ‘Civil Weddings’ has just become the most popular type of wedding, almost at par with the traditional ‘Church Wedding’, followed by “destination weddings” which are also on the increase ( Please refer to the article /link at the bottom for more details and statistics). As regards the latter, Malta is attracting many potential clients from different countries and cultures who choose the Maltese Islands to “tie the knot” on their big day.
It is an undeniable fact that “The Maltese Islands” are currently offering advantageous packages and professional services together with the best of facilities to the extent that Malta is now booming in this respect. The Maltese Islands are now considered as one of the top locations for destination weddings in the Mediterranean. It is also a paradise for any creative photographer who is competent enough to exploit this location. The opportunities for sunset photography are simply magnificent. The archeological settings and architecture provide the ideal backdrop for any photographer. The lighting, which is the basis of professional photography, is simply excellent provided that the wedding time-frame blends nicely with that of the specifically selected location, particularly the northern side of the islands. The ‘golden hour’ is highly effective when it creates those beautiful long shadows on the texture of the Maltese architecture and the rest.
Malta also offers other unique attractions to those guests who decide to accompany and celebrate with the newlyweds in Malta. Apart from the big day itself, they have so much to see within that week or more. Moreover, the reasonable price tag, hospitality, professionalism and commitment by the local service providers, paralleled with the excellent facilities more than justifies the outstanding reputation that this beautiful destination enjoys for destination weddings. No wonder we are also hosting many married couples who return to Malta over and over again to celebrate their anniversaries in the following years. The nicest testimonial and satisfaction that a professional photographer would get would be that occasional ‘notification’ from previous clients, namely married couples from past weddings who keep coming back to Malta to renew their friendship.
In the traditional type of wedding, there is a tendency that the bride and the groom will put a lot of weight on the celebration of the mass. In most cases, it happens to be the local village parish church where they were baptized and where they probably received their first holy communion and confirmation. The church is normally decorated with artistic flower arrangements, a red carpet together with the appropriate wedding music specially selected by the couple. They would assign their favorite musicians which might also include a soprano, a duo or even a choir in some cases too. At the end of mass, one would also expect a barrage of confetti as soon as the couple would appear on the church’s doorstep. These are the moments that the photographer would be waiting for, mainly to capture the candids, fun-shots, the facial expressions particularly those of the newly-weds, family members and the bridal party.
The picturesque Mdina Cathedral is a historic and majestic backdrop in Malta. On the other hand, if one is planning a wedding at the sister island of Gozo, then the Cathedral at the Citadel is another unique location that would compare with the Mdina Cathedral in Malta. Some newlyweds think that the ‘Cathedral’ might also reflect some sort of a ‘status symbol’ or ‘classy ‘.
Apart from the village church, others might prefer a more modest chapel which would have the ideal characteristics to serve as a beautiful backdrop for their official photographer. This would guarantee more artistry in their wedding album pages at a later stage. The so-called ‘traditional wedding’ is nowadays matched by ‘civil weddings’ which increased considerably during the past two decades or so. One must, of course, mention ‘gay wedding’ which also found its place in the Maltese wedding calendar.
THE PHOTOGRAPHER ON THE BIG DAY
In most cases, the job of the official photographer would start punctually at the residence of the groom. This coverage would normally take an average of thirty minutes. The photographer would eventually proceed to the bridal residence in a rather restricted time-frame averaging between one hour to about eighty minutes. Normally the coverage provided by the photographer runs parallel to that of the videographer during the process when such filming services are requested accordingly. Following the detailed coverage at the residencies, the photographer moves to the church to continue the coverage during the process of the wedding mass. His job at his stage should be executed in a very subtle way not to interfere with the celebration of the wedding mass without distracting the congregation.
The coverage at the church is normally concluded by the ‘signings ceremony’ just after mass followed by some official portraits created by the photographer which should take just a few minutes. A typical Maltese wedding mass would take an average of seventy-five minutes or so. Following mass, the newly-weds together with their respective families and guests would proceed to the reception venue. This would be the final phase for the hardworking photographer whose coverage could take anything between nine hours to eleven hours of non-stop coverage, in other words, ‘shadowing’ the newly-weds ideally at a distance.
In a typical Maltese wedding, one would always find the best-man or perhaps a wedding organizer. Yes, we do come across genuine, experienced and professional wedding organizers who are outstanding in the execution of their job to the extent that they also reserve a parking space for us photographers referring to the church vicinity and the reception venue; On the other hand, the reality is that we also come across a substantial number of enthusiasts or semi-professionals in this role of wedding organizer. One should keep in mind that you are probably trusting such a lifetime event probably costing you thousands of Euros while risking a disappointing outcome because of the so-called ‘enthusiast’. My advice to any prospective bride and groom is the following. Please ensure that you are selecting the right ‘professional’ or service provider for any of the services that are required in the organization of the wedding. This is fully applicable to the role of the professional photographer or videographer. This should be a serious approach to any successful wedding also applicable to all the other services involved in the organization of a wedding event.
Coming back to the ‘car space’ issue further above, the reality of the parking situation in Malta in many church squares and other central areas, is not an easy situation especially in a situation where time is very precious. Consequently, the photographer would probably be the very ‘last’ men to leave the church location and he must have parked his car at the reception venue ‘before’ the arrival of the bridal car. This is the main reason why the official photographer must have the full support and cooperation of all concerned in order to be punctual. This would obviously avoid unwelcome delays for the bride and the groom on their arrival.
Talking of wedding planners/organizers. In the case of a destination wedding, the services of the wedding planner are highly recommended considering the fact that the couple is probably living thousands of miles away. Coming to the selection of any service provider, one should not base his selection just on the attractive promos, ‘sweet-talking’ on the counter during a wedding fair, fake discounts, or perhaps catchy slogans. One should instead base such an important choice on the reputation, portfolio of services, word of mouth recommendations, genuine testimonials, the price factor, qualifications and of course, efficiency on the big day of the service providers. Before paying a deposit one must ensure that the details of the package or guaranteed through a signed contract. Normally such weddings would have an average duration of four to seven hours. You are free to clarify all the details of your agreement with your service provider.
Coming back to civil weddings, the ceremony would normally take about twenty minutes. The couple would probably have two options. Either the reception will continue at the same venue as the ceremony; Alternatively, the couple together with their guests would proceed to another location for the reception or dinner. This could be a traditional wedding hall/reception venue or perhaps a rented ballroom or reputed restaurant perhaps in a five-star hotel.
Malta is graced with many beautiful wedding venues. One can mention a some of these such as Giardini Lambrosa, Palazzo Parisio, Castello De Baroni, The Phoenicia Hotel, The Seabank Tourist Complex, Xara Lodge, Olive Gardens, Palazzo Promotorio, Torre Paulina, The Limestone Heritage, Casino Maltese, Castello Zamitello, Villa Mdina, The Malta Hilton, Golden Sands Hotel, Villa Blanche, Ta’ Frenc in Gozo and many many more. At this point in time, a typical wedding in Malta could host around 300 guests, could be more could also be less.
Another type of wedding, that we must also mention once again falls under the civil wedding category. Occasionally, we do come across limited small weddings where the only members are the couple themselves, just on their own. It is not the first time that we, as photographers are requested to be their witness during their ceremony! In this situation, following the short ceremony at the registry in Valletta, the photographer would normally have an ‘abundance’ of time to work on a set of artistic photos particularly the poses, at one of the public locations such as the Upper Barracca in good old Valletta. These are some of the main reasons why the number of destination weddings in Malta rocketed during the past two decades!
‘Destination Weddings’ in Malta are closely supported by efficient air travel services provided by a variety of low-cost airlines that are part of the Malta International Airport network.
PLACES TO VISIT WHILE IN MALTA FOR YOUR ‘DESTINATION WEDDING’…
There is so much to see!
Malta wedding statistics 2018 https://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2019-02-05/local-news/Number-of-Church-marriages-in-2018-down-to-low-of-1-192-6736203211
US Embassy in Malta – Visa Photos
Transport Malta: https://www.transport.gov.mt/
British Embassy in Malta – Digital Photo requirements: https://www.gov.uk/photos-for-passports