Monday, March 11, 2013

Cheri & Mike's Italy & U.S. Wedding ~ September 2012!

As we share the story of Mike and Cheri's wedding that took place this past September 2012 over two celebrations in two different countries, we can't help but be semi-biased in this being one of our favorite clients from the past year as the bride's family and mine have been best friends for over well 20 years! To give you a little background on what led to the wedding day, Cheri and Mike met a few years ago at one of Mike's gyms and it was as if fate had brought them together given how much they had in common. To begin with, they share the same birthday, they are each individually passionate health and fitness experts (Mike owns two local gyms in the greater Seattle area and Cheri is a nutritionist and now helps run the gym with Mike), both of their fathers are in the insurance industry and each of their mothers are red heads who spent many years breeding dogs. 

Now you ask what brought them to Italy for their wedding ceremony? Years ago, Mike's grandparents had been married in a tiny little church on a hillside in the remote village of Raiano, Italy, located about two hours east of Rome. This town also happens to be where Mike's father was born and has spoken fondly of throughout the years. With a sense of adventure and a yearning to see where Mike's family was from, Mike and Cheri started planning their destination wedding! Being it a small town, communication could be difficult but with the help of a friend who had frequently visited Italy and Mike's relatives who lived in Raiano, Italy Cherie and Mike made their way to Italy to celebrate their love this past September!

September 9, 2012 ~ Raiano, Italy

On September 9, 2012 a few of their closest friends and family who had traveled from the U.S. along with a number of relatives still living in Raiano, Italy, Mike and Cheri headed to that tiny little church in Italy! While Pink Blossom Events wasn't able to be on hand for their Italian Ceremony we were working away on final details for their U.S. Reception that would take place a few weeks later. Thank you to technology though, we were able to touch base with Sonja of Simply Sonja Photography who was abroad capturing the details!
Waking up the morning of their wedding, Cheri and Mike couldn't help but soak in the beauty of their surroundings. The weather was perfect that day with just a slight breeze floating through the warm September day. 
In Italy, it is tradition for the father of the bride to walk the bride from her home (or in this case hotel) through town while the family follows behind until they reach the church. As Cheri took the hand of her father it was hard to believe she was on her way to the Church after so many months of planning. 
In a small town such as Raiano words gets around fast that a wedding will soon be taking place! As Cheri and Mike soon discovered that will lead to the entire town eventually joining the streets in celebration! Even the local newspaper got wind of an American couple who had traveled so far to get married in Raiano and made a point to feature their wedding. The Mayor of the city even made a short speech as part of the marriage vows. 
With the Priest performing the ceremony in Italian, the bride and groom had a family friend interpret the ceremony into English to ensure everyone could follow along. As shown the photo above (bottom right), as Cheri & Mike were saying their vows, a single white dove flew into the church and perched itself in the corner, where it remained until the end of the ceremony. As the newlyweds left the church, white rice was thrown into the air and they were finally able to share their first kiss as this is not allowed during a traditional Italian wedding.
After hugs and congratulations had gone around, photos were taken in and around the church as Cheri and Mike chose to not see each other before the ceremony. 

 As family and friends made their way to the dinner location, Cheri and Mike drove about five miles to another picturesque town where they finished their photos before joining the evening celebrating with great food and wine in the company of their closest friends and family.
With a full heart the newlyweds spent the first week of their honeymoon traveling with their families to Rome, Cinque Terre, Venice and Florence before jetting off on another week down the Almalfi Coastline by themselves.

September 29, 2012 ~ Granite Falls, WA Reception

 After marrying in Italy on September 9th, Cheri and Mike chose The Cabin at Mt. Pilchuck for their U.S. Reception to celebrate their recent Italian nuptials with all of their friends and family. Pink Blossom Events worked with Mike and Cheri to ensure they could relax and enjoy their U.S. wedding reception in true Italian form! Set outside along the South Fork Stillaguamish River, guests were seated at long family style tables as course, after course was served in between toasts and images of Italy! Simply Sonja Photography was among the group capturing this celebration as well! 
While only one of Cheri's sisters and a lifelong childhood friends could attend the Italy wedding, four other girlfriends joined the bridal party as they supported Cheri at the U.S. reception. With a picturesque backdrop, Cheri and her bridesmaids were photographed around The Cabin at Mount Pilchuck. Since guests coming in no time and they wanted to make a grand entrance, Mike whisked Cheri down the Mountain Loop Highway in a vintage Cadillac courtesy of the owner of The Cabin at Mount Pilchuck. 
With the late summer sun shinning through the trees, guests arrived early that afternoon at The Cabin at Mount Pilchuck in anticipation of seeing the Newlyweds fresh off their Italian wedding and honeymoon!
With a few final pictures shot along the banks of the South Fork Stillaguamish River, friends and family gathered at the entrance to the venue as Cheri and Mike entered to a cloud of bubbles and cheers! 
Wanting their guests to experience a full Italian feast, Mike and Cheri welcomed friends and family and thanked all of the those who had worked countless hours getting ready for this day. From the four course meal that was soon to be served to the flower arrangements on each table, family and friends had been a part of what would be a night to remember! 
Sitting down at long reception tables guests were greeted with the first course which included an antipasto platter and fresh bread. While conversations started and the wine was poured (each table featured bottles of red and white wine featuring their engagement photos) guests took notice of the numerous references to Italy. Placed amongst the white linens and wood folding chairs adorned with orange chair ties, each table featured table numbers that were named after the Italian cities that Cheri and Mike had visited and favor bags filled with Jordan Almonds from Italy.  
With the first pair of toasts coming soon, the DJ asked guests to fill their wine glasses that had been personalized with each guests name. A perfect favor to remember this day for years to come!
The Bride's sister and the Groom's best man toasted to the newlyweds and helped relive stories from their Italian wedding.
With tables cleared of antipasto platters, the next course, a mixed green salad, was served! 
Ensuring plenty of time to enjoy the meal, guests lingered through each course soaking up the last warm rays of  the late summer we had this 2012. While enjoying the meals many guests noted that you could almost see the leaves change around them that night as the weather had made sure to stick around one last night for this party as fall was soon to arrive! With salad plates being cleared, the buffet opened and guests were dismissed table by table to dish up on homemade lasagna (Mike's family Italian recipe), fresh roasted vegetables and homemade meatballs. While guests waited in line, photos of each guests were taken.
With the sun falling behind the mountains, a slide show highlighting images and video footage of Mike and Cheri's Italian wedding was played while the third course was enjoyed! As tables were being cleared and champagne passed, oh and not to miss the next course of Italian cookies and fruit that were brought out, guests took in the beauty around and even enjoyed a ride on the swinging bench overlooking the river!
With stomachs full of fine Italian cuisine and the personalized wine glasses filled with champagne, it was time for the Father of the Groom and Father of the Bride to say a few words. 
The cutting of the cake signaled the start of the late night celebrations and dancing!
Cheri and Mike hit the dance floor first to the sounds Mambo Italian and then to every one's surprise the music faded into Disney's "A Whole New World." 
After the Father-Daughter and Mother-Son dance, Mike's parents stole the show as they were the last couple standing for the Anniversary Dance!
A bonfire, smore's and surprise fireworks by the owner of the venue ended the night! While most wedding receptions last only four hours (or five with the ceremony) a good portion of Cheri and Mike's guests were still celebrating nearly eight hours after they arrived at three that afternoon. We must say, you know how to throw a great wedding! 
With a labor of love from family and friends who helped pull the day together, Mike and Cheri were surrounded by true Amore! Pink Blossom Events wishes you a lifetime of love, laughter and living your happily ever after!

Italian Wedding- Raiano, Italy
US Reception - The Cabin at Mount Pilchuck 
US Wedding Planner - Pink Blossom Events
Italy & US Photographer - Simply Sonja Photography
US DJ - Kris Simonsen
Food, Dessert, Hair & Makeup and Flowers (US Reception) - Friends & Family

Thank you, thank you for making our reception absolutely incredible! Everyone had so much fun and I didn’t have to worry about a thing...thank you for making it all work! Cheri & Mike


Sonja said...

Bree Ann, you did an amazing job with the wedding! I was so blessed to have worked with such an amazing couple and an extremely talented wedding coordinator (YOU!). You did such an accurate job describing all of the details (even in Italy) - your blog was a complete delight to read! I hope we have many more weddings to share together. xo, Sonja (Simply Sonja Photography).

Anonymous said...

Bree Ann, you did an amazing job with the wedding! I was so blessed to have worked with such an amazing couple and an extremely talented wedding coordinator (YOU!). You did such an accurate job describing all of the details (even in Italy) - your blog was a complete delight to read! I hope we have many more weddings to share together. xo, Sonja (Simply Sonja Photography).

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Kathy G said...

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