Crystal Fountain Event Venue
Crystal Fountain Banquet Hall was the perfect venue for this couple to house a supersized fusion wedding merging Chinese and Greek culture. Talk about to large family-oriented cultural backgrounds merging to create one hell of a party. With fusion weddings many couples like to tone the customs down. These two embraced them to the full extent. Their Chinese tea ceremony was very intimate, but their Greek Orthodox Ceremony at St Panteleimon Greek Orthodox Church was massive. Their reception at Crystal Fountain was filled with activities including a dragon performance, table toasts, and a pig dance. Surprisingly, their portrait session at Galluci Winery was incredibly windy for a spring wedding. However, kudos to the hairstylist who worked on the bride because her look did not budge.
Greek Orthodox Wedding
St Panteleimon Greek Orthodox Church was a very impressive church to work out of. I very rarely go shoot natural lighting in a church, but this one was made for it. The procession is a little different than Western weddings. Typically, the groom waits for the bride at the front of the church with her bouquet and they walk down the aisle together. However, since the bride was of a different background, she opted to walk down with her father. Following that, they exchange rings at the beginning of the ceremony. The priest blesses both rings before placing them on the third finger of their right hands. Next, the wedding sponsor swaps the rings between the bride and groom to symbolize their future connection.
The bride and groom are each given one white candle to hold for the remainder of the ceremony. When they light these candles, it signals the Sacrament of Marriage. The crowns symbolize the couple’s marriage as a blessing from God. Similar to the rings, they swap crowns between the bride and groom three times as well. The significance behind performing these rituals three times is the holy trinity. So the couple sips wine three times, and walk around the altar three times. Making circles around the wedding altar is a symbol of infinity and the couple’s eternity together. Finally, the officiant removes the Stefana crowns and says a prayer for the newly married couple.
If there is a first kiss, it’s often quick and unannounced. In fact, the highlight was after the ceremony when everyone attending the ceremony joined the couple for a “My Big Fat Greek and Chinese Wedding” style group photo.
Chinese Tea Ceremony
They had both their Chinese tea ceremony and reception at Crystal Fountain. Their beautiful cocktail hour space in the lobby had gorgeous soft lighting for the ceremony. The tea ceremony begins for the groom’s family, followed by the bride’s family. It is an ancient ceremony to honour your elders. As always, these traditions differ from family to family. And even more so when it comes to a fusion wedding like this. As a rule, the tea serves in order of hierarchy. So starting with grandparents. Then parents, aunties/uncles, elder siblings, and finally cousins. The tea set is often a gift. If the bride has a dowry, they will include a tea set for the ceremony. The tea is usually infused with lotus seeds or even red dates to symbolize fertility. The bridal party will usually help with pouring the tea and cleaning cups during the ceremony.
Traditionally, the couple serves tea whilst kneeling down, but some modern families prefer to bow instead. Either way shows respect to your elders. Following the tea ceremony, gifts are given to the bride and groom. They can usually be red envelopes containing money. They can also consist of jewelry handed down from mother-in-law and female relatives to the bride. For this wedding, the groom’s parents provided him with his grandfather’s bracelet. It was a deeply sentimental gift that brought him to tears.
The second shooter was Azita Ziaei.
Theron Henry of Powerpack Images captured the video for this wedding.