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)


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Natalie! That is so sweet of you!

  2. These are lovely! Congratulations on your big day!
    - Amanda Shuman | www.carrylovedesigns.com/blog

    1. Thanks so much for the sweet words, Amanda!!

  3. Congrats on your special day! You look gorgeous! What a beautiful wedding!

    1. Thank you, Alonda!! I am biased of course, but I agree that it was a beautiful wedding! I had heart eyes the whole day!

  4. Such a beautiful wedding! I love that you were able to incorporate both of your traditions

    1. Thank you, Annie! It was very important to both of us, so I am glad we worked at it and it came out a perfect blend of us two!


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Elle Alice