Violet and Romel’s San Francisco wedding is nothing short of spectacular. It’s a wedding fit for royals—complete with a cathedral ceremony and a grand reception at San Francisco City Hall. The bride definitely rivaled any princess in her dramatic Inbal Dror gown (that train!) and Blooming Bouquet dressed reception venue with more florals that we could have dreamt up. We’re also loving the way the couple beautifully wove their Assyrian and American traditions. Lucky for us, the always amazing Blueberry Photography was on hand to capture all of the breathtaking moments of this one-of-a-kind wedding. Enjoy!
What made the wedding special and unique?
Our families were born and raised in the Middle East and, as Assyrians, we come from an ancient culture, rich with a multitude of beautiful traditions. However, Romel and I were raised in America. What made our wedding unique was our ability to maintain many of those traditions, while carrying some of the more American traditions that we grew up with into our wedding as well. One example is the long-standing Assyrian tradition of having the bride escorted out of her parents’ home to the church by the groom and his family. This signifies that the bride is leaving her family to join another. Although an important tradition in all Assyrian weddings, we grew up with the American superstition that it is bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding. Since I didn’t want my groom to see me before the ceremony, we compromised by having his family come to my parents’ home, but having him meet me at the altar.
Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!
I always knew I wanted a gown by Israeli designer Inbal Dror. I would spend hours gazing at her couture gowns online and, when Romel popped the question, I finally had a reason to! I had decided on the dress, but had to find a bridal shop that carried it. Unfortunately, none of the shops that carried Inbal gowns had a sample of the particular one I had selected. The Panache Bridal Shop in Beverly Hills informed me that their shop in Santa Barbara had an upcoming Inbal Dror trunk show so I called to inquire as to whether the dress I wanted would be there. The sales associate told me that they would have many Inbal samples that day, but not the one I was calling about. Three weeks later (and the day before the trunk show), I received a call from Panache Bridal Santa Barbara, notifying me that the dress had surprisingly arrived with the other Inbal samples! I was so excited and shocked that they had even remembered me that I knew it was fate. The next day, I took the first of four trips to Santa Barbara. Eight months later, I finally brought my dress home (Inbal’s need to be ordered months in advance because the dresses are made to fit). Some would argue that one would have to be mad to take that many road trips for a dress, but those trips are some of my best memories. My mom, grandmother, and I would take the trip down to Santa Barbara for my dress appointment, after which we would grab lunch, have some wine, and shop. That quality time really kept me grounded during the otherwise stressful process of planning a large wedding.
What were some touches added to make it personal?
I have a Tiffany’s necklace with a cross and a few other religious charms I’ve collected over the years (e.g., a cross charm from Rome, a charm of St. Mary from my favorite local church, etc.). I wear this necklace almost every single day. It’s been with me for years through everything from the first day I met Romel, to the day he proposed; from law school to the bar exam. I absolutely couldn’t walk down the aisle without it, so my mom dropped it in a tiny mesh bag and pinned it to the left side of my dress, right next to my heart.
What was the most memorable part of the day?
The ceremony in general, and when we exchanged our vows in particular. Since we were married in a Catholic church, we were able to create our own mass by selecting Bible verses and psalms that we could relate to, or that meant something to us. Even though we opted for the traditional vows, at the moment we exchanged them, we both knew we were bound together through a holy sacrament. It felt amazing to know that our love for each other was so strong, that we were willing to stand before God and declare it. The exchange of vows was also memorable as it ended on the funny note of my husband’s fingers being so swollen from the mild heat that I couldn’t fit his wedding band onto his finger!
Tell us how you met and became engaged.
We met in a small bar in Los Gatos through a mutual friend. We were instantly drawn to each other. We were together for seven years when Romel proposed aboard a ship in the San Francisco Bay. It was my birthday, as well as Independence Day weekend. We decided on a dinner cruise in San Francisco to celebrate. After dinner, we walked out to the deck to watch the fireworks. As soon as the fireworks begun, I turned to kiss him and saw him down on one knee with an open box in his hand. We like to joke that my husband gave up his independence on Independence Day!
Photography: Blueberry Photography // Flowers & Decor: Blooming Bouquet // Videography: Extreme Vision Films // Music: Linda George // Hair: The Secret Brush // Makeup: Makeup By Sharona // Bride’s Dress: Inbal Dror // Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka // Groom’s Suit & Shoes: Hugo Boss // Catering & Rentals: Premier Catering & Events // Lighting: Everything Audio Visual // Wedding Favors: Godiva // Wedding Cake: The Cakery // Limo Service: El Paseo Limousine // Ceremony Venue: Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph // Photo Session Venue: Shakespeare Garden in Golden Gate Park // Reception Venue: San Francisco City Hall // Bride & Groom Suites: Hotel Valencia Santana Row
photography @blueberry__photography // hair @thesecretbrush // makeup @makeupbysharona // music @thelindageorge // bride and groom suites @hotelvalenciarw