Chauncey Hotel and Conference Center Wedding
For Kristina and Andrew, family and tradition run deep. Every part of their day had influence by family and traditions of their heritage. The church where they got married saw several other members of Kristina’s family married inside those walls. The Korovai, a traditional braided bread adorned with symbols of wheat stalks, herbs, nuts, flowers, and more, was crafted by Andrew’s sister (who had never baked one before) and presented proudly to the couple by their parents at the beginning of the reception. The groomsmen had traditional embroidered shirts, and there were dozens of other little details throughout the day.
Kristina and Andrew (or Dre as Kristina calls him) had their wedding all in one location at The Chauncey Inn in Princeton, New Jersey. Looking out the window of the Laurie House where they each got ready, you see the wide grassy area with a pond and yard games strewn about next to a giant open-air tent. The empty white tent would be transformed with vibrant lights, colorful flowers, and heart-pounding music.
The first of two powerful moments that stuck with me happened at the church. The ring ceremony at a Belarusian Orthodox Church is the first thing that happens during the mass. It takes place in the church’s vestibule before the couple processes in. After exchanging rings, everyone processed in except for Kristina and Andrew. As the music began, they looked at each other, locking hands, and for that moment, they might as well have been the only two people in that church. They only had eyes for each other.
After the Korovai ceremony, at the beginning of the reception, toasts by the couple’s parents, maid of honor, and best man, left not a dry eye in the house. What I heard in the toasts was how the couple was made for each other. Once they met, their friends saw a noticeable difference in each of them.
As the end of the night approached, the second moment that stuck with me was the entire tent cleared for Kristina and Andrew to have a private last dance. Where hours earlier, surrounded by their family and friends at their ceremony, they now took an intimate emotional moment to get lost with each other. The moment overtook Andrew as he looked at Kristina; tears welled in his eyes. As they danced together in an emptied tent, everything else faded away. It was still except for a quiet breeze and the final song they danced to. A sweet ending to a joyous day.