Wedding photographer Jonas Peterson has shot brides and grooms in all sorts of beautiful places around the world, but he says this recent wedding in Kenya might be the most spectacular of the bunch.
"I didn’t know Africa would touch me so deeply," the Melbourne-based photographer wrote on his blog. "It sung to me in a way I didn’t know possible, found new chords and played on strings I didn’t know I had inside me."
Credit: Jonas Peterson
In late September, Nina -- a wildlife photographer and senior marketing advisor to wild cat conservation organization Panthera -- and her fiancé Sebastian tied the knot in national wildlife reserve Maasai Mara in front of their closest friends and family.
"The bride of the Maasai normally wear a lot of jewelry, and the necklace, called enkarewa, is especially important," the bride told The Huffington Post in an email. "When I first told my closest friend in the Maasai community about our wedding, he came back to me with a necklace and bracelets as a special gift made for me by his family. The stick carried by Sebastian was also a gift from the local Maasai community."
Credit: Jonas Peterson
Over the last several years, Nina has spent many months in Maasai Mara following a pride of lions for a project about the world's last wild lions.
"During this time, I have become very close friends and almost family with the Maasai, who have welcomed me into their lives," she told HuffPost Weddings. "Because we were planning to hold our ceremony on the land of the Maasai, it was very important to us to incorporate some of the traditions of the Maasai culture into the ceremony...After the announcement [of husband and wife], a traditional Maasai song and dance followed according to tradition."
According to the bride, the two cultures and nature merged "in the perfect moment and the best day of our lives." We'll allow the gorgeous photos below to do the talking.
In a blog post published on Once Wed on Monday, the bride detailed the many ways Mother Nature "was with [them] every moment of the wedding":
Approaching the ceremony site in our safari Land Rover, the clouds were building up to an unusually dramatic storm, yet on the other side of the horizon, the sky was perfectly blue and the sun was shining. As we walked down the aisle the white rose petals at the center of the ceremony had attracted a number of white butterflies that circled around us on the ground...At the end of the ceremony the sky was almost black. As we were walking back down the aisle and the Maasai started singing and jumping, a herd of wildebeest stormed across the savannah and the wind started blowing...Just as we got into our car, the sky opened and huge raindrops started falling. The groom wondered (as did some guests) whether the love of his life had made a deal with Mother Nature.
For more incredible photos from the big day, check out the slideshow below:
UPDATE: This piece has been updated to include more information from the bride about the wedding.