Saturday, August 18, 2012

My Wedding, July 15, 2012

It finally happened - I got married to my wife Suzanne a month ago.  Here are the professional photos, all courtesy of Michael James Photography in San Jose.

The site of our wedding, St. Lawrence Orthodox Church, in Felton, CA.

 My suit hangs inside the church.

 Time to get stylized.

 Fortunately, my landlord is also a pretty snazzy hairdresser.

 In typical weddings in America, the bride and groom don't see each other until the bride walks down the aisle.  Orthodox weddings are different, in that the bride and groom enter the church together.  However, to retain some of the surprise, my bride kept her dress hidden from me until just before the service.  Her father is walking her behind the church where I wait with my eyes closed.

 As you can imagine, I am blown away.

 I feel underdressed next to her. :-)

Bah, no matter.  :-)

 My best man, Markos.

 My brother and groomsman, Andrew.

 My groomsman / college-and-post-college roommate / best friend, Adrian.

 My groomsman / brother from another mother, Nathan.

 We wait to enter the church.  The service was going to begin at 3pm sharp whether we were ready or not!

 Don't worry, the church wasn't empty at that moment; this was taken about two hours prior.  Note that the limited seating is due to the Orthodox custom of standing during worship / services.

 An icon of the marriage at Cana, where Jesus turned water into wine and blessed marriage.

 My mother-in-law waits with our usher, Chris.

 The priests and deacons come out to retrieve us and bring us into the sanctuary.

 This photo and the one that follow are out of chronological order, but in any case Fr. Thaddaeus is smiling at me, his spiritual / prodigal son.

 Suz and I make our grand entrance.

 Our wedding party seemingly takes up half the interior.

 Deacon Nathaniel, Fr. Thaddaeus, and Fr. Luke begin the service.

 I listen intently; I am way more nervous than I appear.

 The rings are placed against our foreheads, in an Orthodox custom that differs dramatically from other Christian denominations.

 I laugh placing the ring on her (right) finger, because I have to jam it on.  Orthodox Christians put wedding rings on their right hands during weddings; out and about, it's up to personal discretion, since America obviously is a left hand culture when it comes to rings.

 Fr. Luke, seen here, painted the vast majority of the icons in the church, including all of the ones on the iconostasis (seen in the background).

 My grandfather zooms in.

 We get ready for the crowning, when we will be officially married.

 Great photo, Mike and crew.

 Fr. Thaddaeus, about to do the crowning.

 The crowning begins.

 My part complete, it is Suzanne's turn.

 The final moment before we are officially hitched in the eyes of God.

 Englishman Paul reads the epistle.

 We stand throughout the service holding our candles, even during the sermon.  By the way, we're officially married at this point (there isn't a "I now pronounce you..." part).

 My groomsmen stand at attention as well.

 My grandparents and parents are in the front row.

 Suzanne's family is on the other side of the church.

 Following the sermon, we drink from the common chalice of wine.

 These are our first steps as husband and wife, around the table.  It's actually quite tricky.

 Markos and his girlfriend, Suzanne's maid of honor Megan, follow us around the table.  They are both Orthodox as well.

 Almost done!  I love the look on Suzanne's face.

 Hi everybody! (Hi Dr. Nick! - sorry couldn't resist)

 Muchas smoochas.

 The wedding party and our honorary flower girl.

 All smiles.

 I'm officially off the market now, but it's nice to pretend... just kidding.

 One.... two....


 My mother-in-law.

 My brother-in-law.

 The two families together.

 My family.

 My grandparents.

 Last but not least, the clergy (Deacon Nathaniel, Fr. Luke, Fr. Thaddaeus, and Deacon Lazarus).

 Our reception was held at Highlands Park in nearby Ben Lomond.

 All credit to my aunt / wedding planner Lisa for finding this.

 Our wedding cake was done by Sugar Butter Flour in Sunnyvale.

 Our reception was somewhat New Orleans-themed, hence the fleur de lys.  

 We also had a groomscake, which I designed based off a sign I had seen on Bourbon Street.

 Pralines, straight from New Orleans.

 Abita Strawberry beer, a New Orleans delight.

Our catering was done by Bloom Catering; if you are in the South Bay and planning a wedding, look no further.  Every single guest ranted and raved about the food.  My groomsman Adrian, who could put Joey Chestnut to shame in terms of quantity of food, went back at least six times.  He wouldn't have done that if he didn't like it, trust me.  He has select taste.  Thanks again to Dallas Lee for the ridiculously good spread, done in New Orleans style.

 Our musicians were Ten String Dream, featuring Suzanne's friend Mathias on violin.  Highly recommended.

 I hit the dance floor with Nathan's daughter.

The tables were nicely done up by my aunt and her many helpers.

 My face disappeared in this shot.

 I love the look on our guest's face.

 My godfather Brian rocks out.

 Our usher Chris and his wife Elena.

 Nathan's family.

 My cousin Kyle, our grandmother, and my uncle Mike.

 My extended family.

 Time for evening portraiture.

 My college roommate Bopamo.

 Time to head inside; a conga line was started to do just that.

I'm a dork, but you already knew that.

 Markos gives a toast.

 Megan reads an awesome and hilarious poem that she wrote.

 Time for the cake cutting, which almost didn't happen because we couldn't find the knife!

 Om nom nom...

 Seriously good cake.  $600 for that cake, if you're planning a wedding.  Worth every penny.

 We were both nervous about our first dance, even though we had practiced prior to our big day at Cheryl Burke Studio in Mountain View.  

 I think we did ok.

 At least I got the twirly-thing done.

 Our song was "Make You Feel My Love" by Adele (originally Bob Dylan).

 Time for the father / daughter dance.  They rocked it to the tune of "My Girl."

 Last but not least, it was time for the mother / son dance.  We had an ace up our sleeve, namely, Led Zeppelin's "Black Dog."

 "Hey hey mama, said the way you move..."

 "Gonna make you sweat, gonna make you groove..."

 These two (Suzanne's former housemate and his girlfriend) got engaged a week after our wedding.

 Garter time.

 I made a not-so-subtle toss towards my best man.

 Bouquet toss time.

 Great shot, Mike and crew.

 The winners, including the recently engaged bouquet catcher.

 One more dance... since the stress was off.

 The SF State Posse and Associates.


 All in good fun...

 Megan hooked us up with the "Just Married" writing on our car.

Simply put, it was the best day of our lives.

Coming up = honeymoon in Indonesia.  Stay tuned.