Jan 28, 2016

G + E Wedding : Reception

This week, I am sharing photos from our October wedding in the Pacific NW. (Getting Ready + First Look HERE; Pre-Ceremony Photos HERE; Ceremony HERE).

After the ceremony, we had forty-five minutes for guests to enjoy hors d'ouerves while Greg and I had photos taken of just us two by our photographers (in the Pre-Ceremony Photos post above). We also signed our marriage licenses during this time. It was nice to have a few minutes to ourselves before the reception and to soak it all in.
Once we got to the ballroom (conveniently located across the street from the chapel), we were greeted by our guests, my brother's father-in-law said a prayer for the food, and the buffet was opened. We had our plates already filled with food by our coordinator, so we sat and enjoyed the reception while filling our hungry bellies. It was great to sit down and scan the room, soaking in the reality that we were finally married and surrounded my loved ones. 

The menu was completely gluten-free (other than the bread that was served in baskets for guests), which was very important to us due to food sensitivities. The food was so good! The buffet options included herb-roasted fingerling potatoes with caramelized onions, wild field green salad (with pears, gorgonzola, red onions, candied pecans, balsamic vinaigrette. YUM!!!!), seasonal oven-roasted veggies, seared NW chicken breast with roasted shallot jus, and grilled tenderloin (with garlic, lemon, parsley). My family brought sarmale, stuffed cabbage rolls (a Romanian classic dish for weddings). I am practically salivating while I type this… The cooks did a great job and the food was delicious without being too heavy or making us feel gross afterwards. Four thumbs up from us two! 

 Our backdrop that was used for the ceremony was transported to the ballroom by my brothers. Dalia's Fine Design did a phenomenal job on the overall design! 
Our overal theme was rustic elegance. I wanted to incorporate a few things that personalized the decor. I love drinking tea, so I bought tea cups (and a friend bought me a few too!) from Goodwill and succulents were placed in them. Table cards were hand-made with Bible verses about love and placed on each table. Wooden cookies were decorated with a dainty doilies. We re-used the flowers that decorated the chapel aisle for our centerpieces, which saved money and still looked absolutely beautiful! 
I bought a huge W from a craft store as well as sage green paint and had a friend pain several coats.
Throughout the whole reception, we had live music. One of Greg's best friends played amazing classical guitar selections, followed by worship music played by my brother Sam. A few guests joined him later in the reception, which was not planned, but super awesome! 
Another unplanned part was when one of my parents' longtime friends came to our table and asked if she can present my mom with a gift. We agreed and she got the mic and said sweet words about my mom and presented her with a quilt she made for my mom. It was a very sweet way to honor my mom.
My aunt Emma made our beautiful cake. The top tier was gluten-free, which made it possible for Greg to enjoy his wedding cake! My mother-in-law made the beautiful bunting for the top of the cake that said Mr & Mrs.
We had a slideshow that I made and it showed photos of us growing up, followed by photos of us together.
Our photographers grabbed us towards the end of the reception and said they had a great photo idea. As you can see below, they are pure geniuses. I LOVE this photo!!

So, there you have it … our wedding! We loved it all and wish the day could have lasted longer because it seemed to go by pretty quick once the reception started. But, overall, we felt we were able to catch moments to selah, pause and praise, during the day. We had little stress the whole day due in large part to my dependable wedding coordinator, Jenn. She made sure everything ran smoothly and that we weren't disturbed with questions and concerns from the venue or vendors. She rocked it and we were so thankful!  

Photography by Vio Regus Photography
Floral design by Dalia's Floral Design
Wedding Coordination by Jenn Pacurar
Venue: Abernethy Center (Ballroom)

Jan 27, 2016

G + E Wedding : The Ceremony

This week, I am sharing my favorite photos from our October wedding in Portland, Or. 
(Getting Ready & First Look HERE and Pre-Ceremony Photos HERE)

Our wedding was a marriage (pun intended) of Romanian and American Christian wedding traditions. There were a few Romanian traditions that were important for my parents that we incorporate and a few that I myself also wanted to include. But it was very important to me to make sure it was not too Romanian that Greg felt like a guest at his own wedding. It took a lot of communication between us two about what traditions were most important to us and what they signified to us. In the end, it was not a Romanian or an American-style wedding, it was Our Wedding: A Ro-merican Wedding :)

While the wedding party was downstairs doing some last-minute prep for the ceremony (like flossing, haha), a strings duet was playing some of my favorite classical pieces. 
The two gals, Ashley and Olivia from Perennial Bloom, played an assortment of classical songs that Greg and I had pre-selected from their wedding music repertoire for the thirty-minute prelude as guests found their seats. Selections included favorites by Bach: Sheep May Safely Graze,  Air,   Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, as well as my favorite song  to play with my violin as a middle-schooler, Entrance of the Queen of Sheba (by Handel), and a few hymns we loved (Amazing Grace and Be Still My Soul). I wish I could have heard them because they sounded so great during rehearsals!
As guests arrived, they were greeted by our wedding coordinator (and my close friend), Jenn. She guided them towards the guestbook table, where we had white wooden letters spelling out 'Mr & Mrs' for guests to write a message on. One of my sisters-in-law prepared these as well as the flag bunting for the table. I made the children's coloring books using templates found online (and doodling glasses on myself and curly hair and a goatee for Greg). I had DIY parties the week before the wedding with a few friends and cousins who helped me paint various decorations sage green and fold the ceremony programs that I created. They were a huge help and I loved how everything came together because of Jenn and her awesome team of gals who set it all up! 
My other sister-in-law drew the welcome greeting onto glass. I saw something similar on Pinterest and she made it happen! 
Our wedding flowers were designed by Dalia from Dalia's Fine Designs. She did a phenomenal job of combining various flowers to create a masterpiece! She used a variety of roses, included spray roses and garden roses, in various shades of blush, peach, and peach. She added succulents, white lisianthus, and eucalyptus to compliment the roses. I wanted a rustic elegant feel, so I bought lace and superglued it to mason jars. The flowers used for the aisles were then transported to the ballroom after the ceremony to decorate the tables. We saved quite a bit of money on flowers this way and I loved how it all came together! 

The chapel was part of the Abernethy Center (they have the chapel, two gardens, and the ballroom). It was absolutely beautiful and fit the rustic elegance theme we were going for. It only seated around 290 guests, so we had to limit our guest count to fit. I grew up in Portland and knew a lot of people through our Romanian church in addition to making my own friends and community in Seattle and Vancouver, so it was hard to limit the guest list and I felt really bad I couldn't invite more people, but we really wanted to go for a "smaller" wedding (300 is considered a pretty medium-sized guest count for Romanian weddings, if you can believe that!), and felt this venue was perfect for us, so we had to make the appropriate changes to our guest list. 

At 4:35, we were ready to start. The strings duo started the processional with Canon in D (by Pachelbel) as Greg walked in. The groomsmen and bridesmaids walked in, followed by our parents, the flower girls and the ring-bearers (who got nervous, so they bolted down the aisle). One (Greg's nephew) had a sign that read "Uncle Greg" and my nephew had "here comes your bride".
The moment the doors opened and I saw Greg at the front of the chapel, my heart nearly exploded with love for him. I tried to keep the tears from cascading down my face and ruining my makeup. It was a truly special moment I will always remember as I walked down the aisle towards the man who would become my husband. Ashley and Olivia beautifully arranged a song that I had wanted to walk down the aisle since I was a teenager, Lucia Micarelli's To Love You More, a strings variation of Celine Dion's song by the same title (I grew up listening to Celine Dion). I would tear up every time I listened to that song, wondering if I would ever walk down the aisle one day, so you can bet tears were flowing for that reason too!
My dad "gave me away" to Greg, we kneeled on the stage beside our seats and said a short prayer of thanks (a Romanian tradition I wanted to incorporate), followed by an opening greeting by one of our officiants (the pastor of the Romanian church I grew up in Portland) and my dad opened the ceremony with prayer (another Romanian tradition: father of the bride or groom open and/or close the ceremony with prayer). 

Traditional Romanian weddings can last a very long time. In Romania, they last all day. In America, they are typically a few hours long, with the ceremony averaging around two hours. Traditional American weddings usually average anywhere from fifteen to forty-five minutes, so we compromised at a goal of one hour for the ceremony. This meant we were very intentional with every part of the ceremony since time was limited. We had two officiants, one representing each of us (Greg's friend and pastor of college and singles ministries at our church, Wayside Chapel, in San Antonio flew to Portland with his wife). They each had a ten minute message of encouragement. We also had a few musical selections during the ceremony. Music is a big part of Greg and my life and we wanted two specific songs to be included in the ceremony. Two of my friends, sisters from California who write their own praise and worship music, Stefanie and Sabrina Berci, led us in a song of praise to God for His deep love with one of my favorite hymns,  How Deep The Father's Love For Us. Then my pastor, Vasile Cinpean, gave an encouraging message on serving God, serving each other, and serving others. 
Afterwards, my brothers and cousins played another of Greg and my favorite hymns, Great Is Thy Faithfulness with their brass instruments. Stefanie and Sabrina then sang a song they had written, Your Artistry about how God is an awesome artist who paints beautiful canvases in our lives.
  Pastor Michael Loudermilk then gave a message on the gospel and how it can be reflected in our marriage. He also made it very personal by sharing some things Greg and I loved and respected about our parents so they could be honored during our special day. He also shared what we each had privately told him were our favorite characteristics about each other and our favorite memories with each other. It was a perfect way to share some of our love story with our guests and brought more happy tears to this bride's face!
Once he was finished, it was time to exchange vows. We opted for traditional American vows, a prayer of blessing while we are kneeling (a Romanian tradition), giving of the rings (not commonly done with Romanians, but we wanted to do), pronouncement of marriage, and the kiss!
After being pronounced husband and wife, Greg's best friend closed the ceremony in prayer, and then we happily exited the chapel with the brass bad playing Mendelssohn's Wedding March from the balcony (something I dreamed of as a little girl for my future wedding!)
 Once out in the hall, we rang the (heavy!) wedding bells to make it even more official: WE ARE MARRIED! 

Stay tuned for photos from our wedding reception in the next few days!


Photography by Vio Photography
Flowers by Dalia's Fine Design
Wedding Coordination: Jenn Pacurar
Venue: Abernethy Center (Chapel)

Jan 26, 2016

G + E Wedding : Pre-Ceremony Photos

Yesterday, I shared photos of my handsome groom and I getting ready for the Big Day and our First Look (HERE). Today, I'd like to share my favorite photos of the wedding party, family, and us two.

Our wedding was at 4:30pm, so we had time to take photos with the wedding party prior to the ceremony. We figured our wedding party (and us two!) would be exhausted after the wedding, so we opted for photos to be done prior to the ceremony. We started off at Chrystal Springs Rhododendron Garden and Reed College, both in the Eastmoreland neighborhood of southeast Portland.  Our photographers, Vio Regus Photography,  were phenomenal the whole day. We are incredibly happy with the quality of our photos as well as their ability to capture a lot of the candid moments from the day! And the gorgeous flowers were done by Dalia's Fine Design. I loved how they all turned out! More on them in a future post!

Our wedding was in Oregon, and one of my favorite things about fall in the Pacific Northwest is the colorful trees and bushes. We knew we had to take advantage of the gorgeous autumn foliage and this garden was a childhood favorite with our family, so it had sentimental value. My siblings and I endearingly called it the Duck Pond because of the ducks and swans that floated on the ponds in the garden.
 Reed College is across the street from the garden and as a child, I used to daydream of going to this college that appeared to regal to me. I love the combo of the autumn colors and the red brick of the college!
Afterwards, we headed to our wedding venue, Abernethy Center, and took family photos in front of the chapel and in the Veiled Garden.

 My family
 Greg's family. We missed a lot of his extended family from Texas, but felt so blessed that his immediate family and his dad's siblings (and one of Greg's cousins) could make it!
 Greg's parents
My parents (above) and our adorable flower girls (below)
While hors d'oeuvres were being served to our guests, we had photos of us taken around the gorgeous wedding venue. It was so special to have a few minutes after the ceremony to let it soak in… We were now officially husband and wife!

The sun was setting right before we headed across the street from the chapel to the ballroom for the reception to start. I love how they turned out!

I am excited to continue the story with photos from our ceremony, coming soon!