Real Wedding | Rachel + Shant

I love weddings that embrace and celebrate a couple’s heritage. It makes the celebration so much more personal and intimate. From the meaningful church ceremony, to the bold colors Rachel chose for flowers and reception décor, this California wedding was an elegant mix of old word tradition and modern style.

Rachel + Shant | July 18, 2010 | San Diego, California

The ceremony

Our marriage was a very spiritual and traditional Armenian ceremony in which the bride and groom go through many unifying experiences together. The exchange of rings is a visible sign of the pledge or vow to become one, tasting of the wine is a common sharing in all of life’s experiences, crowning of the bride and groom is the acknowledgment of a new “King” and “Queen,” touching of the foreheads is a symbol of becoming one in mind, joining of the right hands is becoming one in a physical sense and holding the cross over the couple’s head is the spiritual aspect of the union.

The reception

Together we were both born to rich cultural backgrounds from which we wanted to draw upon for our reception – Armenian, Mediterranean, Native American & African. Our wedding venue was a private Spanish villa filled with artistry & old-world charm, with Andalusian patios opening to a rose garden. When we entered the reception for the first time we had on large ostrich feather headdresses that had been in the family for generations. My husband was born & raised in Zimbabwe and his parents had worn these headdresses at one time, so we entered wearing these and dancing to playful, upbeat African music that his family grew up listening to over the years.

We wanted to pair & balance the following styles to represent aspects of our personalities & beliefs: modern & old-world, elaborate & earthy, formal & bohemian, bright bougainvillea colors & earth tones. We wanted our reception to be a romantic and intimate event that would celebrate love, earthly delights, and playful spirits – like us!

How Rachel’s wedding dress made her feel

I felt incredible in my dress. I was looking for a dress that would be at once a traditionalist style with a vision of individual, unique flair. I actually heard the, “aaaahhhhhh,” when I entered the ceremony and walked down the aisle. This dress can be described as ethereal, exquisite and romantic.

Why Rachel decided to sell her wedding gown

Someone deserves to wear this gorgeous gown again… and for a fraction of the cost. I feel like it’s a waste to box up and store away such a beautiful gown when it could make another bride feel amazing on her special day.

Rachel’s dress: Kenneth Pool, Mezmorized / Photography: TLS Images