A Jubilant Orthodox Christian Wedding


With margaritas and tacos afterward

Erin & Nick

One sentence sum-up of the wedding vibe: Joyful Orthodox Christian ceremony followed by a jubilant margarita- and taco-fueled party.

Soundtrack for reading: “Love Love Love (Let You Go)” by Andy Grammer

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Other Cool Stuff We Should Know About

Nick and I got to know each other over the course of several months in the hospital while he was recovering from a serious accident. Our wedding day was a wonderful celebration not only of us but of life and the loved ones who supported him during that time.

We were married in an Eastern Orthodox morning ceremony at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Russian Hill in San Francisco—hence the crowns! When we arrived at the church, we discovered that Archbishop Benjamin of the Diocese of San Francisco and the West was not only attending the wedding, but would officiate! We were greatly honored.

After an emotional ceremony, we had lunch and champagne in the church hall and then everyone left to spend the “afternoon gap” on their own before the evening reception. Nick and I picked up roast beef sandwiches from our favorite deli and caught a quick nap. It was the perfect way to process the gravity of the morning and rest up before celebrating.

That night, we threw a party at the Potrero Hill Neighborhood House complete with a taco bar, pies, and make-your-own margarita centerpieces (an idea that was born when I told Nick we could use limes as an alternative to flowers and he innocently asked, “Why, so people can make margaritas?”). We wanted the reception to feel like a big house party where people could move around, eat and drink when they wanted, and be comfortable.

Both the traditional ceremony and informal reception were perfectly “us” and our friends and family (and the clergy) were with us every step of the way. Our wedding was meaningful, comfortable, and fun—the best party I’ve ever attended.

Favorite Thing About The Wedding

Walking up the cathedral stairs with my dad as church bells rang. Squeezing Nick’s hand throughout the entire ceremony. Hugging my new niece and nephew for the first time as their aunt. The moment I realized my sister’s toast was a rap.


The Info:

Photographer: Vivian Chen | Location: San Francisco, CA | Venue: Holy Trinity Cathedral and Potrero Hill Neighborhood House | Erin’s Dress: Vintage | Erin’s Shoes: Mom’s wedding shoes from 1980 | Nick’s Suit: Custom | Hair and Makeup: Rebecca Taff | Lunch Caterer: Munchboxx | Dinner Caterer: Medina’s Catering | Pies: Chile Pies | Flamenco Guitar: Ryan Garcia | Decorations: Galvan Floral | Day-of Coordinator: Alex Barranco at Dreams on a Dime

Staff Picks

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  • Natalie

    THAT DRESS! Wow. The dress is incredible. And your hair! You look so pretty. This is a gorgeously happy wedding.

    • Erin B.

      Woot! Thank you. :) I love that dress so much and keep trying to find reasons to wear it again!

  • Nope.

    THAT DRESS.

    • vegankitchendiaries

      YEP!

      • Erin B.

        Thank you! You would not believe some of the flak I got from strangers about not wearing a “wedding” dress. When I took it to Nordstrom to find a bra to wear with it, the woman helping me said, “Well…it’s not an UGLY dress…”

        I know you also wore sparkly gold (I lurk around these parts), and your dress is totally awesome as well. :)

        • vegankitchendiaries

          When I took it to Nordstrom to find a bra to wear with it, the woman helping me said, “Well…it’s not an UGLY dress…”

          WHUT! Oh my God, I would CUT someone.

          Your dress is HOT.

        • up_at_Dawn

          Your dress is amazing!

          The woman helping you probably just wanted to sell you a second dress…:/

          • Erin B.

            Hehe, for sure. The bra she tried to sell me actually cost more than the dress!

        • Whaaaaaa?

          Of COURSE it’s not an ugly dress. It’s beautiful. That lady needs her eyes checked. Gah.

        • Laura C

          People are crazy. I spent the entire post forcing myself not to just scroll straight down to see where you got the dress, because it was the first thing that caught my eye.

          • Erin B.

            Aw, thanks. I got it from La Rosa Vintage in the Haight, which has since shut down. But I recommend eBay store vintagealamodesf for a similar type of collection.

        • Ames

          I have been stalking a dress with a similar look to yours and I haven’t been sure whether it would suit a slightly more formal venue, but your church is very formal and you ROCKED that dress (it is so gorgeous). Also, now I am sad that it is too late in the planning process to have a taco bar with DIY margarita centerpieces because that was a brilliant idea.

          • Erin B.

            Oooh, do it! Do you have a photo? I’d love to see. I was worried about that too, but it wasn’t an issue at all.

        • Valerie Day

          I wore a non-wedding dress and actually got the best help and love from Nordstrom. I did in the end spend more on a corset than I did on the dress. They were more confused by a girl marrying another girl than by a pink dress. :-)

          • Erin B.

            That sounds awesome. Non-wedding dresses as wedding dresses are kind of the best!

    • BEAUTIFUL.

  • scw

    make your own margarita centerpieces! amazing!

    • Erin B.

      I highly recommend it. And bonus: there’s nothing to clean up at the end of the night because everything is already gone!

  • tell us more about this rap toast…

    • vegankitchendiaries

      i no rite?

    • Erin B.

      My sister totally surprised everyone when she busted this out as her speech:

      “He’s just not that into
      you. If he says he was in the hospital, it’s never true.

      That’s what Erin told me
      when I first heard about Nick. They’d gone out before and they clicked, but the
      timing wasn’t right so they let some time tick, tick,

      but there was talk that
      there might be something more, something worth sneaking contraband up to his
      hospital floor.

      Something worth
      transforming take out and conversation into a solid foundation and something to
      fight for.

      Because when you shared
      rooftop chocolates and champagne, those are the moments that’ll help you
      maintain

      when life isn’t so sweet,
      in the moments when you both encounter defeat, like when you came home to the
      garage to find a man from the street you had to beat,

      but you need to remember
      your type of love saves first kisses for exactly one year from the day you
      meet.

      That’s when I knew it was
      real, before Erin came to me and said, “Ohhh, so this is how it’s supposed
      to feel.”

      I watched as your growing
      love helped you to heal and as you placed each other over your hearts like a
      seal.

      I knew long ago that you
      would exchange rings. It’s my job to know these things because I hear when my
      sister’s heart sings.

      And you two are creating a
      beautiful song as you find your cadence and key.

      It is an honor to stand in
      the presence of your melody. Nick, we welcome you to the family.

      I’m overjoyed to share in
      your love and the life you’ve begun together.

      I love you both, here’s to
      forever.

      • River

        GAH OMG thank you for sharing this SAH-WEET rhyme. Damn, your sister’s good.

      • kcaudad

        tears… amazing sister speech!

      • Viv

        Aaahhh! Erin! Reading this again brought tears to my eyes (and I was there for the real thing!) Love love loved your wedding. Seriously, you and Nick (and your families) are just such great people. So much warmth, love and laughter. Thanks for letting me be a part of it! :)

        • Erin B.

          Thanks Viv! Me too…I can never read this without losing it all over again. We’re so glad you photographed our wedding. :)

      • Lindsay Rae

        OMG This is incredible!!!!

      • Jennifer

        Ahhh. This is ah-mazing. I cried and I don’t even know either of you! wow. What a way with words!

  • C_Gold

    What a beautiful wedding! I love your dress and shoes! And your sister’s toast was a RAP? We must know more about this. :)

    • Erin B.

      Thank you! My sister crushed it and brought the house down. Lyrics are in a different comment thread.

  • I love how you were able to combine the traditional with your own personality and flare. I love tacos and margaritas! That sounds like a great party. And I love that you can wear your dress again. So great!

    • Erin B.

      Thanks Rachel! We had a great time.

  • Lisa

    Awesomely gorgeous wedding – from beginning to end.

    • Erin B.

      Thank you Lisa! Since you’re already here – I really love your style and blog.

      • Lisa

        Thank you very much!

  • Amy March

    You guys are featuring a how to guide on DIY margarita centerpieces this afternoon right? Because I need that at all my dinner parties.

    • Erin B.

      Do it. Pro tip: use Meyer lemons which are in season right now. They’re even better than the original.

    • Viv

      Hi Amy! You can see a full picture of the awesome DIY margarita centerpieces on my IG (@vivianchenweddings) feed today:
      https://instagram.com/vivianchenweddings/p/0GR0pYBBwh/

      BEST IDEA EVER!

      • Sara

        Omg I love every single thing about this

  • Lisa

    Your dress!!! And the crowns!! Such a beautiful wedding.

    • Erin B.

      Thank you! The crowns were pretty awesome. :)

  • This just makes me very happy! I loved working with this amazing couple and it was a pleasure to get to be a part of their special day celebrating their marriage with their loved ones. Vivian has captured the most amazing moments of the occasion.

    • Erin B.

      Hi Alex! We loved working with you. APW, if anyone needs a day of coordinator in the Bay Area, Alex is the bomb. Plus, he’s sort of a margarita centerpiece expert. :)

      • The margarita stations were a total success! Thanks again Erin for letting me be part of your wedding :)

  • Please tell me, how does one take a nap between their wedding ceremony and reception and keep their hair looking so beautiful?

    • I was thinking the same thing! She must have magic powers.

      • Erin B.

        Loooooooots of hairspray! And a satin pillowcase.

    • Lindsay Rae

      Hahaha that was my first thought exactly!

  • Charley

    I love everything about this, but how has nobody yet mentioned the CAKE? THAT CAKE LOOKS AMAZING. Also super love that you wore your Mom’s wedding shoes!

    • Erin B.

      You know what’s funny about the cake? We have no idea where it came from – we only ordered pies. But somehow when it came time to cut the pies, the cake was there front and center. Magic I guess!

  • John Smith

    When I read your story, I feel that’s called true love.
    God bless you guys and all the best for your future. You & your hubby looked great together in your wedding ceremony.
    You didn’t share your wedding invitations, these are also the most important part of the wedding. Please share your wedding card with us. Here are also some designs of Christian wedding cards. I hope you will love these.

  • Melinda Davis

    Lovely photos, events, apparels and smiles!

    Domestic cleaning Belmont

  • Dian Xiao

    What street is the hilly picture (first one) taken on?

    • Erin B.

      Sorry Dian, I just saw this. It’s on Potrero Hill, at DeHaro St. and Southern Heights Ave.

      • Dian Xiao

        I knew the vantage point was familiar! I’m at 18th and Rhode Island

  • Super post
    thanks a bunch…