Welcome to Real Wedding Spotlight, where we feature our favorite nuptials that have happened in real life.
A House Party-Inspired Wedding in California
How did you two meet?
Anastasia: We met at our alma mater, Brown University, where Eric and I played on the same intramural softball team during our senior year. We went out on a couple of dates but lost touch when I got a job in New York and Eric moved to Brazil on a Fulbright scholarship. At our five-year reunion, I waved to Eric from across the lawn. We rekindled our friendship and then began dating.
Eric: About ten months into our relationship I told her sisters that I was going to propose and I asked her mom and dad for permission. So, on Christmas Eve we went for a walk at a park near our house in Los Angeles. We were just in exercise clothes walking around the lake, and we stopped on the far side and sat down on a bench. That’s when I gave her a scrapbook I had been carrying in my backpack. The scrapbook was about how we met and some fun times we had together, and on the last page was a question mark. That’s when I did the whole down-on-on-knee thing and asked her to marry me. It was funny because there were other people walking around the lake so, at that point, they saw what was happening and they stopped to watch. Once Annie said yes they all applauded. That was pretty fun.
Anastasia: Now we are now preparing to return to Brown for our 10-year reunion as a married couple.
What was the vision for your wedding?
Anastasia: We wanted it to be a really personal, intimate even with just our close friends and family, so we were married in Eric’s next door neighbor’s lush backyard and held the reception at his family’s beautiful home.
Eric: We had our wedding reception at the house where I grew up. My family has lived there since I was about three years old. It’s a beautiful place with a nice yard where I used to play, so it was really special have it there. We wanted our wedding to feel like a great, grown-up house party.
What were some personal touches you added?
Anastasia: My mom is from Panama, so she surprised us by bringing in these Panamanian dancers to perform right before dinner was served. That was really beautiful. My Dad is from Trinidad, where hot sauce is very important, so he and Eric made hot sauce together, then we bottled it and put our pictures on it. The theme for the night was “homies forever,” so we put that on the label. That was really special.
What was your favorite part of wedding planning?
Eric: We had a year and a half to plan the wedding, but at the time Annie was in business school and I was in medical school, so we really needed every minute!
Anastasia: I think my favorite part of wedding planning was getting to spend time with my mother, my sisters and my new mother-in-law. All the meetings and phone calls allowed us all to get to know each other better. Our families are now so close.
Eric: I liked that we incorporated a lot of do-it-yourself elements and that kind of craftiness was really my favorite. We made the hot sauce and the chuppah and Annie and I also made this beautiful outdoor marquee sign that said “homies forever.” I really love craft and do-it-yourself things, and we had a lot of opportunity to do that.
What was your favorite wedding moment?
Anastasia: For me it was our first dance. Our song was “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and we had Eric’s brother and my two sister’s sing it to us. All three of them are very, very talented singers, and that was really special. Even now when I hear the song I start tearing up.
Eric: Right after the ceremony, Annie and I had a few minutes just to ourselves in this back area. We were both really giddy from the ceremony and were excited for the fun night ahead. It was just a great moment to kind of process everything right as it was happening.
How did you approach your registry?
Anastasia: I really took the reigns on that. We were both really short on time, so we did our entire registry online. I couldn’t believe the plethora of options! I like cooking, and I’ve always wanted a collection of LeCreuset and All-Clad products. I was able to register easily online and then go back later to add little things, like a lamp, when I thought of it.
What’s one thing you registered for that you use all the time now?
Anastasia: I’ve always loved Le Creuset…
Eric: She is the queen of Le Creuset!
Anastasia: But I really love their grill pan. I absolutely love it. We use it to make everything—veggies, fish, meat, grilled cheese. It’s my favorite pan and we use it nearly everyday.
Anything you wish you’d registered for, but didn’t?
Anastasia: I wish we had registered for flatware. We didn’t think of it because we already had some flatware, but it isn’t the nicest and it ended up not matching the new plates that we got. That’s where the gift cards come in!
What’s registry-related advice do you have for other couples?
Anastasia: Don’t hold back! We were gifted everything that we wanted. We were utterly amazed by the generosity. We were able to recommend a range of products with a wide price range so that people felt like they had options.
Eric: My advice is to defer to the wife!
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