Talene and Alex stuck to their Armenian roots for their September 30, 2017 wedding, exchanging rings and donning crowns at Sts. Vartanantz Church before dancing the night away at their Hillside Country Club reception.
How did you two meet?
We were born, raised and lived in Cranston until we got married and moved to Providence! Our story is a little different than other people: we knew each other since we were five years old and met in Saturday classes of Mourad Armenian School at our church, Sts. Vartanantz. We were friends growing up through the Armenian School and among the other youth organizations in our church, the AYF and HMEM. We went to Cranston High School West together, parted ways for college, and reconnected afterwards.
How did you get engaged?
We were together for two and a half a years before Alex proposed. He told me to keep a certain Saturday open in September because he had a “surprise date” planned for us. He picked me up and we drove to Point Judith Lighthouse in Narragansett. He had hired photographers for a “photo shoot” as the surprise date. They were posing us for a photo where I was facing away from Alex. When I turned around, he was down on one knee with the ring! I was truly surprised. He had also hired a violinist who came out after he proposed to play for us while we danced and took more pictures!
What were your favorite and least favorite parts of planning?
We both weren’t really stressed when it came to wedding planning, which was great, so we didn’t have a least favorite part. Some of our favorite parts of were deciding on entertainment and going to the food tasting at Hillside. We also loved planning our honeymoon to Greece!
We didn’t really have a wedding theme in mind. Talene wanted a simple, yet elegant, look for everything. That’s why mostly everything was ivory in color, with hints of gold and blush throughout.
How did you come across Lauren for your photographer?
Lauren actually had shot some weddings of people we knew, so Talene looked her up online and called her to see if she was available for our day. Besides loving her work, she was really easy to talk to and made us very comfortable with hiring her. After talking to her for the first time, it felt like we had known her for years. We would highly recommend her to anyone looking for a photographer!
What drew you to your venue?
We loved everything about Hillside! We loved that there was an outdoor patio with views of the golf course that we could use for cocktail hour. The inside had beautiful chandeliers and hardwood floors. The food was delicious and the staff was friendly and very accommodating!
It looks like you exchanged letters on the morning of your wedding, would you recommend other couples do the same?
We did! We exchange cards for birthdays, anniversaries and holidays so we thought we should do the same for our wedding day. They weren’t hard to write at all but we knew reading them the day of would be emotional. We do recommend other couples do the same! It was a great way to wind down for a few minutes during the getting ready process, calm our nerves, and reminder each other how truly lucky and blessed we are to have each other.
I’m not as familiar with Armenian wedding traditions, can you tell me a bit about them?
There are so many Armenian wedding traditions! One is that the day of the wedding, after the bridal party is done getting ready, all of the bride’s family and friends gather at the bride’s house to start celebrating the big day by dancing and escorting the bride to the limousine. The same is done at the groom’s house with his immediate family and friends. Another tradition is that the brother (or male relative) slips money into the soles of the bride’s shoe and is also the one to place them on her feet. Another is that during the church ceremony, the bride and groom wear a crown. This signifies glory and honor. The bride and groom become the king and queen of their own home, where they must bring wisdom, justice, and integrity to themselves and their family-to-be.
Tell me about the arch you walked under.
The poles were held up by the Providence Homenetmen scouts (the organization we were a part of during our youth that we mentioned earlier). It’s a sign of congratulations and good wishes for the bride and groom and their future together. It’s also a sign of respect since we had committed and served so many years as leaders of the organization.
What was your first dance song?
Haley Reinhart’s cover of Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”
Tell me more about the money dance – it looked like so much fun!
There’s no specific dance where money is thrown, but it usually happens right after the band or DJ welcomes the couple into the venue for the first time as husband and wife. The bride and groom start dancing, the guests gather and dance around them, and then they throw money as a sign of well wishes, luck and financial prosperity. Both our favorite moments from this day was actually this first dance. All of our guests were on the dance floor cheering and dancing with us! It was a moment we both will never forget.
Do you have any advice for recently engaged couples?
Enjoy the wedding planning process! Stay organized and get to work early because the day sneaks up on you quickly. Once you do get to your special day, enjoy every moment because the day itself goes by so quickly! Remember that everyone is there to celebrate you, so sing as loud as you can, dance as long as your feet hold up, and take it all in. You will have these memories forever so celebrate and make it the best night of your life.
Ceremony: Sts. Vartanantz Church // Reception & Catering: Hillside Country Club // Additional Photos: Roger Williams Temple to Music // Hair & Makeup: MakeMeUp by Christina Kaian // Bride’s Dress: Rosa Clara, Estee Bridal // Veil: Estee Bridal // Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Wishing Well Bridal // Shoes: Badgley Mischka // Bride’s Engagement Ring & Wedding Band: Tiffany & Co. // Groom’s Wedding Band: Hannoush Jewelers // Bride’s Jewelry: Baxter’s Jewelry // Groom’s & Groomsmen’s Suits: Carl Anthony Tuxedos // Cake: Decadent Designs by Jean // Flowers: Karen from Sweet Pea Designs // Officiant: Father Kapriel Nazarian // Reception Music: Elie Berberian & Band; DJ Rams // Videographer: Mike Picard Motion Pictures // Favors: “Mint to Be” Mints by BabyEssentialsByMel // Transportation: Rockstar Limo