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Photo provided by Aperture Photography.

The Big Day: Justin and Sophia

For Justin and Sophia, the big day marked not just a blending of families, but a blending of cultures as well, so they set to infuse their celebration with touches of cultural significance From the Chinese banquet provided by Sunflower Chinese Restaurant at the rehearsal dinner to the arak (the traditional alcoholic beverage of Lebanon) and food from Lavash Cafe at the reception, Justin and Sophia, the children of immigrants, were able to support local, immigrant-owned businesses as a part of their wedding celebration.

Other special touches included table decorations of olive branches and the gardenias in Sophia’s wedding bouquet, both a tribute to the flora of Sophia’s grandparents’ gardens at their home in Lebanon. The
poetry of Lebanese-American poet Khalil Gibran also became an intimate cultural touch during the ceremony.

  • Food: Lavash Cafe
  • Apparel: bhldn.com /pursuityourself.com
  • Booze: Couple sourced their own bar
  • Officiant: Childhood friend
  • Standout Vendor: Tracie Zodie, blisseventco.com
  • Budget:$50,000

The big day in six words:

Family. Cultural Pride. Love. Precious. Unforgettable.

Who was someone who made your big day run smoothly?

Our wedding planner, Tracie Zodie from Bliss Events and our photographers Hristina and Paul from Aperture Photography, made our day run smoothly. Tracie worked tirelessly to ensure that each phase of the day went according to plan and Hristina and Paul perfectly captured each moment not just as beautiful photographs, but as the cherished memories that they will always be to us.

Any standout stories from that day, or something that you’d do over every time if given the chance?

We often relive those moments when we took our “first look” photos. That feeling of giddy excitement mixed with the love we have had for one another all these years made seeing each other in a private moment before the ceremony an unforgettable experience. We also danced our first dance to the song “Do You Realize” by the Flaming Lips and on the last reprise of the chorus, we asked everyone who knew the words to sing along. We finished our first dance with all our friends singing the words: “Let them know you realize that life goes fast, it’s hard to make the good things last, you realize the sun don’t go down, it’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round.” We tear up everytime we talk about it! This was the first song Justin ever sang to me in high school when we first became friends, talking into the wee hours of the morning on the telephone. It was a perfect moment to dance to it—two adults in love after over a decade of friendship, surrounded by our lifelong friends and our family singing along.

Did anything go comically wrong, or was there anything you wish you had skipped?

Justin really wanted our wedding day to be 8/18/18 as the number “8” is a lucky number in Chinese culture. Despite me, his mom and his sisters urging him to reconsider for fear of rain and heat, he stood by his choice. And what do you know, it rained the whole week leading up to the ceremony! Luckily, on our wedding day it only sprinkled. But our reception was in an outdoor tent and, needless to say from all the rain, it was incredibly muddy out there. Our friends and family were unphased, and we all ended up tearing up the dance floor getting down and funky in the mud! Our DJ Adam Scoppa was incredible!

Was there anything you did or had that made the big day easier?

We are so grateful for our planner and our family and friends for making sure that every detail was paid its due attention!

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