The ‘triazine’ methodology for the synthesis of functionalized bipyridine ligands proved to be a convenient method for the preparation of luminescent Eu(III) complexes. The approach allows flexible construction of chromophore and coordination sphere with control of photophysical properties. Europium(III) complexes [Eu1]–[Eu5] prepared in this way exhibit intense long-life metal-centered luminescence in aqueous media. The aromatic substituent in the position 5 of bipyridine has a significant influence on luminescence parameters and is used to introduce functionality for bioconjugation. The complexes [Eu4] and [Eu5] bearing primary amine groups are ready-to-go luminescent ‘tags’ for peptide labeling.