Talin Sarkissian and Raffi Chamoun technically met online through an Armenian dating website. However, the two didn’t realize their compatibility until meeting in person when Raffi came to Charlotte from Maryland to DJ a formal event at Talin’s church. After they met, they became good friends and started a long-distance relationship before Raffi popped the question a year later. To propose, Raffi created a special “Talin, will you marry me?” label for her favorite bottle of wine, presented over dinner at the Palm, the site of their first date. This Lebanese-Armenian couple followed many traditions, including a ceremony that accompanies an engagement. A small church ceremony and reception, along with the blessing of rings, followed their announcement before the planning process began. After a year of preparations, one of the most memorable moments of the wedding came before the ceremony even began. As is Lebanese tradition, friends and family gathered at both the groom’s and bride’s houses for a party that includes dancing. After Talin finished getting ready, she was told she had a Skype call from family members and friends in Lebanon who were unable to come to the wedding. When she went to greet them, she saw that every single one was dressed up, ready to celebrate with her in spirit. “There were so many wonderful things about that day, but seeing my family like that was something I never expected and will never forget.” After the tears from that call subsided, the group made their way to the church, and in a twist on the classic tradition – in which everyone in the bride’s side honks their horns to announce her arrival to the church – her limo driver was kind enough to honk loudly, to fulfill the custom without disturbing the whole neighborhood. Between the ceremony and reception, Talin included a special assortment of Middle Eastern specialties called mezze after the cocktail hour. The evening event was hosted by Providence Country Club, which made Talin feel comfortable leaving the catering and other planning in their hands, while still keeping the details unique. Instead of numbering the tables, each was identified by a city significant to the couple, including places they’ve traveled and their honeymoon destinations: Paris and Beirut. One of the highlights of the reception was the cake, which featured a winding road leading up to the model bride and groom in a car, representing the road they’d taken to their marriage and the start of their new life together. Talin and Raffi were insistent on one exciting Lebanese-Armenian ritual: cutting the cake with a medieval sword. That portion of the wedding, along with the rest of the day, was documented with the artful work of Tommy McCart Photography, represented by photographer Kristyn Oborne. Aside from the joy of getting married, the couple was grateful to have so many family members, spread across the globe, in one place. Talin’s godmother, Raffi’s godmother, and the maid of honor, called a “godmother” in their culture, were all able to take a photo together. “If we had to pick the one thing that meant the most,” says Talin, “it was the kindness of our families who traveled so far to share our special day.”
Kristyn Oborne of Tommy McCart Photography
Providence Country Club
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