Vintage Wedding: Anca & Onder, 1984

Later this week we’re going to talk about the APW 2011 Survey results, but suffice to say, you guys were all about the return of the Vintage Weddings Feature, and we were all about bringing it back. There is something so affirming about seeing weddings from a generation or two ago, and realizing, “EFF! I’m the one being traditional, not the wedding industry!” These posts make me feel such kinship with people who got married when I was just a toddler. Today’s wedding is reader Ashley’s parents (fun fact: Ashley and my husband went to Law School together, apparently! There was this subset of women in law school who secretly knew David as Meg-who-writes-APW’s-husband. Ha.) It reminds me of this Golden Gate Park wedding graduate post, and reminds me that we’re all way more alike than we are different, no matter what our ages. Now, I bring you Ashley:

I’m so excited that the vintage wedding feature is making a come-back!  I’ve always adored hearing stories from my parents’ wedding day, and when I was planning my own wedding, those stories and pictures took on even more meaning for me.  So naturally, I am psyched to now get the chance to share their story with you and the APW community!  Without further ado, here is the story of Anca and Onder and their totally ’80s San Francisco wedding:

My parents were married in Golden Gate Park on a 95-degree day in July of 1984.  Given the fact that the weather forecast for San Francisco in July is usually a stubborn foggy-with-a-high-of-55, no one thought this outlandish heat was in the realm of possibility. (My mom had even borrowed a fur stole from a friend for the day!)  And to make matters worse (or in my opinion, possibly better), no one thought to buy any beverages other than champagne, leaving the unexpectedly sweaty guests no choice but to hydrate with bubbly!  Now that, my friends, is the secret to an awesome wedding.

My parents dated for three years before they got married, and the story of their stroll to the altar is both fatefully romantic and refreshingly practical.  Both my parents immigrated to the U.S. in the 70s from different places – my mom from Romania and my dad from Turkey – and they met in economics class at UC Berkeley.  One date later, they realized that my mom lived in the exact same apartment building in San Francisco that my dad had lived in the year before.  One semester later, they had both dropped out of the business program after their romance proved to be too distracting for their studies.  Three years later, my mom laid down the law, and told my dad that it was about time they got married.  He responded, “how ‘bout next week”?

Two months later, my parents got married in the Shakespeare Garden (which cost them a whopping $160 to rent), and had a reception at my grandparents’ house where they danced and opened presents.  My grandmother made dozens and dozens of cheese pies and dolmas (she’s Greek) and constructed a three-layer cake (she’s also awesome).  The maid of honor wrapped candy almonds in little bags for favors and put together the bouquets of lavender roses. My grandfather picked out a floofy off-the-shoulders ‘80s wedding dress for my mom, a guest was appointed photographer, and my parents said vows.

My mom says her favorite part of the day was when she first saw all of her friends and family, and my dad, waiting in the garden for her to walk down the aisle.  My dad says his favorite part was dancing at the reception [insert my mom’s eye roll here].  (I wish I had been there to see him break it down!)  My favorite part (if I have a right to have one, considering I was not even invited) is hearing them talk about their favorite parts.  It’s such a joy for me to look through all the young-and-in-love pictures from their wedding day, and such an inspiration to see their relationship now, 27 years later.

The first picture in this post is my absolute favorite from my parents’ wedding.  (While I do not endorse smoking, I do endorse being this happy on your wedding day—even if that means you smoke a cigarette).  I also threw in a picture from my own wedding just so I could share the fact that my father wore the same suit he wore on his wedding day to my wedding last September!!!  So incredible!

Last picture by Leonel Medrano and Iris Bai, family friends and photography students. The photographers who shot the other pictures have been lost to the sands of time.

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  • Oh. This is just as good (if not better) as I thought it would be when I was one of the many who requested more vintage on APW. So wonderful! They were a beautiful couple then and they are, if possible, even more beautiful now.

    Ashley, when you say your favorite part is hearing them talk about their favorite parts, it reminds me of those scenes in When Harry Met Sally when all the couples talk about how they met. Love it.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • That was a totally 80’s wedding and also totally awesome. Love it.

  • Jo

    hurrah! Lovely and a good reminder that the practical is great.

  • Is it scary to anyone else that the 80s is vintage?!?! When did that happen?!? It’s almost as if time is . . . moving . . .

    • meg

      Don’t be silly, 1980’s isn’t vintage, that’s just what we call this series about our parents weddings. And yeah, many of the parents of APW readers did get married in the 80’s. We’re a youngish bunch.

      • marbella

        vin·tage (vntj)
        2. Characterized by excellence, maturity, and enduring appeal; classic.

        I think we can safely say, it’s a vintage wedding. :) Thanks for sharing Ashley! Love that your dad is still rocking his suit!

        • yeah I always thought vintage = around 30+ years old. not sure if it really has a definite number, but I think early 80s is officially vintage now. and YES it’s weird and scary.

          • See! Around 30ish years!! Like furniture or jewelry! Crazy!

    • Class of 1980

      “Is it scary to anyone else that the 80s is vintage?!?!”


      And I also can’t believe I used to wear white stockings in the 1980s, but so did Princess Di. It seemed to make sense at the time – flesh-toned stockings became boring all of a sudden.


  • Best thing to read first thing Monday morning. So sweet and I love that first picture.

  • Paranoid Libra

    i loved reading this. Also love your mom’s dress, grandpa didn’t do too bad with that pick. And your dress is also fantastic.

    My parents never really talked much about their wedding. I just know that they have a beautiful painted portrait of the 2 of them and my dad wore platforms (ya think they got married in the 70’s?) so my mom went out and bought even taller shoes cuz she didn’t want to feel short.

  • If I’d known that this is what vintage weddings meant, I would have requested it on the survey! I’m so glad that so many other APWers had my back ;)

    Loved this so much – the dress, the champagne, and the joy in the photos.

    I don’t think my Grandma would understand why I’d like to tell the story of her wedding to my Grandfather to the internet, but I have to share my favourite part: her dress had a huge hoop skirt … that didn’t fit through the door of the tiny military chapel. She had to get out of her hoops in the car, bring them through the door, and then somehow get back into them in a postage-stamp sized vestibule. I like this because no matter how carefully (or carelessly) you plan there will ALWAYS be something you forget to think about.

  • mmm…dreamy. I love the way they are looking at each other in the third picture. Like they are in on some secret the rest of them don’t know about (which, obviously, they are). Great post!

  • Love it!

  • I already love this vintage series so much! I’m so happy your parents are happily married & still fondly talking about their wedding day 27 years later . . . that is priceless! The story & the photos are so sweet.

  • Emily

    I can’t believe it! I love reading through APW and this story was perfectly charming… and then I get down to the bottom of the post and recognize Ashley from undergrad! What a small world and an incredible community.

    Ashley, your mom and dad’s story is so wonderful. Thanks for sharing with all of us, and I LOVE your wedding dress. A few of us from undergrad were talking back in the fall about how beautiful it is with the flowers painted on – GORGEOUS!

    • AKP

      Hi there! It really IS such a small world! And thank you for the dress compliments!

  • Ooh, so excited for more of these! As someone whose family doesn’t have many examples of long-lasting marriages (my parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents are lliterally all divorced, some more than three times), this is extra awesome to read. There’s something deeply reassuring about seeing wedding photos of a couple that has lasted so long.

    • Cortney

      This. A million times this. My mom and dad have both been married 3+ times, so seeing these long lasting marriages is entirely comforting.

  • Amy*

    I really appreciate the perspecitve that time can give. Things that go “wrong” (like unexpected changes in the weather) just become part of the beauty of your personal wedding story.*

    • Yes, that’s the case for my family too! My parents got married in blistering heat and no air conditioning to be had, but it was to be expected as it was August in PA. My mom’s family from Northern California basically wilted.

  • Ashely you are an awsome lady!
    I am the proud “matron of honor”at your mom’s wedding: it was a ‘vintage wedding with a twist”
    I signed the marriage certificate on (literaly) the back of the officiating person, because of a lack of tables. My 4 month old daughter was sleeping in her baby stroller in the shade of the trees, unaware of the event. She totally co-operated by not making any noises.
    It was a beautiful day and I am happy that 27 years later I participated in the event of your wedding with my daughter who now was fully aware and engaged in your happy event.
    Friendship is a precious comodity nowadays and maybe that is the only thing that is VINTAGE.
    Love , Marica

  • Ahhhh this is fabulous! I love that one was submitted/posted so quickly. Major props to Meg and the APW crew for making things happen. You ladies are awesome.

    I’m going home to PA this weekend and we have a night planned with Mom, Dad and all the adult kids to get together and hear our parent’s story! I’m hoping I can get time with my Grandmother to hear about her and Granddad’s.

    Thanks for inspiring family sharing!

    • meg


  • Shannon

    Awwwww! This post made me feel all melty in the heart area… especially because it reminded me of my parents’ wedding, and how much I used to love looking at their wedding photo album when I was a kid. It also made me realize that I guess I’m a little older than a lot of the women hanging about here on APW, but it doesn’t feel that way – just to prove Meg’s point about how we’re all more the same than we are different, something I try to remind myself of often and in all contexts.

    My parents had a 60’s wedding… now this shows my age! They were a mere 21 and 22 when they got married, after having been “high school sweethearts” since they were 16 and 17. I never realized how unusual their story is until I was much older. They still love each other tons, and I’m so fortunate to have such a wonderful marriage example in my immediate family! I love seeing them strolling down the main street of our little town (yes, I still live near them…) holding hands and laughing about some little thing after over 40 years of marriage. My sweetie and I will be getting awfully close to 40 years of age before we even begin our first year of marriage, but I can only hope that our leap of faith will be as fruitful and fulfilling as their marriage has been. They always say that “old love” is way better than “young love,” so maybe we all have the best yet to come!

    Thanks for this lovely post Ashley! It really warmed my heart.

    • meg

      Well, my parents married ten years before this wedding, so it’s not just you ;)

  • I love vintage weddings!!!! Now that I’m married I can honestly admit to them being my favorite part of APW.

    The best part of this story is the no-choice-but-to-hydrate-with-bubbly part. fabulous!

    • ok not my FAVORITE favorite part (because I like the nitty-gritty-talking-about-stuff stuff too)

  • Sara

    Does anyone else really, really want to see more photos of Ashley’s dress? I love the color on the front!

    • meg

      I’ve seen another photo, and it’s crazy awesome. She needs to write a grad post already!!!!

    • AKP

      Aw, thanks for the dress compliments! The dress is made by Atelier Aimee, but I bought it at the Glamour Closet (discount place in SF). It was the very first dress I tried on!

      There are a few more pictures of the dress from a post on the Lovely bridal shop blog here:

  • Ashley–I can’t tell if I love your parents more then or now. At both times in their lives, happy, obviously in love and so stylish! Thanks for including your wedding picture too. Fun to see how families start small, grow large and morph into a whole nother family. Thanks to you and your awesome ‘rents!

  • AKP

    Hi everyone! Ashley here – I’ve been traveling all day, but just had a chance to read through all the comments and it made me so happy! I’m so glad you all enjoyed my parents’ story, and they were so excited to see it all written up and put together with their pictures! So cute!

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  • I think vintage is any thing om the past

  • Great. I am glad that I found your blog.

  • Alexandra

    So awesome.