San Diego Featured Wedding: Darline + Norman's Traditional Chaldean Wedding

Darline and Norman have a fun meet cute. The two originally met for the first time some years ago in the bridal party of a friends’ wedding.  And while the meeting was memorable, it’s because they were butting heads the whole time! It wasn’t until being in another friends’ wedding six years later that they started to get to know each other and begin a friendship. That friendship, of course, blossomed into such a strong love between them that Norman proposed in San Francisco for Darline's birthday last year! The two agreed that keeping their Chaldean culture alive during the wedding was of the most importance. The couple can be seen wearing ceremonial crowns at the ceremony which represents Christ and the Church-and representing their equality in their relationship. According to Chaldean traditions, you must have one to preserve the other. Many other cultural elements can be seen throughout the night, but a Chaldean wedding would look and feel familiar to most Westerners as its traditions are Christian based. A few cultural traditions like the Yalekhta, a piece of thin, transparent, square fabric richly decorated with different little beads or the addition a decorated cane, used by the person leading a dance honor their heritage and their family. And a grand entrance starts with traditional music and people cheering. The rest of the couples enter one couple at a time and finally the bride and groom enter as the cheering gets louder and the dancing continues until they reach their table. Any wedding that starts with this much vibrant energy is bound to be a special and very memorable day of love and family for all! Congrats to Darline and Norman!  For more insight into this exciting and revered culture and their history scroll down...

Photographer: Paul Douda Photography// Dress Designer: Berta Bridal// DJ: DJ HeartAttak// Cake Designer: Dream Fountain Catering// Makeup Artist: Flora Wade//Band: Haddad Entertainment// Floral Designer: Le Reve Flower// Dress Store: Lovella Bridal//Reception Venue and Caterer: Manchester Grand Hyatt// Hair Stylist: Sandra Hallak Hairstyling// Cinema and Video: Studio Kasha// Transportation: Talia First Class Limousines,INC.// Bridesmaid Dresses: The Dressing Room// Tuxedo and Mens Attire: The Gentlemens Tux Club// Shoes: Valentino// Lighting: World Audio Services

Chaldeans are the indigenous people of Iraq who speak a form of Aramaic and are Eastern Rite Catholic. They mainly resided in Northern Iraq as mountain dwellers and farmers, in villages dating back over two thousand years. Historically, Chaldeans are from the Arab World but are not Arabs. 

It's estimated that over 300,000 Chaldeans/Assyrians reside throughout the United States, particularly in Arizona, California, Illinois and other states. The community is known for caring for their own, especially the influx of refugees who have fled Iraq in the face of religious persecution, and feels a deep kinship to these victims of war and helps them in many ways through the Chaldean Community Foundation.

Like many ethnic groups, Chaldeans began immigrating to the US in the 1920s in search of better economic, religious and political freedom and opportunities. While some were lured by Henry Ford’s famous $5-a-day working wage, in true Chaldean fashion entrepreneurial endeavors quickly took hold – particularly mom and pop food markets. Today, 61% of Chaldean households own one business and 39% own two or more. Chaldeans enjoy large, close-knit families. They are bound by their faith and unique culture.

Chaldeans differ from the majority of Iraqi in three major aspects: first, they are Christian rather than Muslim; second, their ancestral language is Aramaic rather than Arabic; and third, most prefer to identify themselves as Chaldeans rather than Arabs or Iraqis. Information courtesy Chaldean Community Foundation.

Flawless Wedding Day Backdrop Provided by ... Hornblower Events!

Chances are, whether you live in or have just visited San Diego, you've been on a Hornblower Harbor Cruise. Be it a tour of the bay, a dining cruise offered for brunch or dinner, or a wedding with downtown San Diego as the backdrop. They have something for everyone, and the weddings with Hornblower are nothing short of spectacular. To start the process, Hornblower provides a wedding planner to make that special day go that much smoother. These experts will be able to help make the event exactly how you envisioned at the price you hoped it would be. When browsing the Weddings section on their site, you will see they offer special prices for certain seasonal dates. They also provide enhancements, such as a DJ or custom florals that match your wedding style, to make your day that much more special. Christy and Scott Duncan chose to say their vows onboard the Hornblower, and it was breathtaking. See for yourself below! 

San Diego's Own Horton Plaza Park Now Hosting Local Outdoor Weddings

Your dreams can now finally become a reality. The historic Horton Plaza Park is now available to rent for weddings!

Located in the heart of downtown San Diego, Horton Plaza would be the perfect spot for a multitude of reasons. For one, it's close proximity to countless hotels for out-of-town guests is beyond perfect. You and/or your guests can simply walk to the hotel after the festivities are over and not think twice about it. Another big reason we love the idea of the Horton Plaza is its location in relation to other entertainment options. Once the wedding is over, the party doesn't have to stop! With 16 city blocks of more than 60 bars and nightclubs to choose from, you are never left wandering, "What should we do now?" And finally, we love the customizable options that are provided. Whether you think the lush garden lawn is more "you" or the more modern cityscape is what your heart desires, Horton Plaza can accommodate whatever it may be. Don't take our word for it! Check out this exciting and unique San Diego wedding venue for yourself! 

Wedding Vendor Credits:

Wedding Photographer: Willmus Weddings

Event Lighting: Brilliant Event Lighting

Wedding Florals: Huntress Florals

This Week's Wedding Crush Wednesday Showcases a Quintessential San Diego Wedding

This week, we are featuring the quintessential luxury San Diego wedding! Chris and Marisa Mendivil celebrated their marriage in all the places we love in San Diego, California! From an engagement shoot in San Diego's famous Balboa Park [check!], wedding ceremony at the Immaculata [check!!] all the way through to their gorgeous wedding reception at the incredible US GRANT HOTEL, what we love most about this couple's wedding is their location choices. Marisa is a graduate from the University of San Diego, so the couple wanted to have their ceremony at the Immaculata Church on campus with its breathtaking ceiling and grandeur. Next on the night's agenda was the formal wedding reception in the US GRANT HOTEL's dreamy Crystal Room - a space that has to be seen to be believed! This Victorian era hotel, full of San Diego history and love, just experienced a multi million dollar refurbishing face lift and has never looked better! We invite you to see for yourself!

Photographer: MKL IMAGES// Venue: US GRANT HOTEL // Florals: Adorations Botanical Artistry// Bridesmaid Dresses: Enzoani Bridal// Tuxedo and Men's Attire: Friar Tux// Bridal Gown: Here Comes the Bride

A chic and fresh 'Coastal Glam' bridal styled shoot shows off the drama of bridal gown designer Haley Paige

A rooftop scene overlooking America’s finest city combined with the chic beach styling plus bridal gown Designer Hayley Paige's contemporary style, and that gorgeous Afghan dog model, makes for an awesome 'modern coastal glam' bridal styled shoot by Photographers Heather and Skip Middleton of Shadowcatcher Imagery.

The Renaissance San Diego Hotel [a new and exciting Marriott property] located in the middle of the Gaslamp district of San Diego provided a picture perfect bold and dramatic locale for this fun shoot. The models had a lot of fun inside this trendy hotel and AKC Champion Afghan show dog Bo was the star of the shoot!

When Skip, Heather and Kendra  from Shadowcatcher Imagery collaborated with Diana from At Your Side Planning to style this dramatic and one-of-a-kind shoot they pulled out all the stops. The jaw dropping bridal gowns by Hayley Paige from The White Flower Boutique brought the perfect architectural drama to this venue and shoot. The reception room was grand with a welcome champagne table, message in a bottle guest book, sea shells delicately placed throughout and the most gorgeous sweetheart table ever styled. Everything was designed with a coastal element and The Renaissance Hotel's posh style was the perfect backdrop for all this coastal glam style!

Photography:  Shadowcatcher Imagery

Venue: Renaissance Hotel San Diego

Planning & Design: At Your Side Planning

Print: Harken Press

Floral:  Designworks Florals

Gown Designer: Hayley Paige

Dress: The White Flower

Accessories: Sandra Nicole Designs

Hair/Makeup:  Brenda Espinoza

Linens: A Perfect Table

Rentals: Enticing Tables

Assistant to Photographers: Kendra Koenig

Bride Model: Brooke Proctor

Flower Girl Model:  Stelly McClain

Dog: AKC Champion Afghan 'Bo'- Mark & Lori Stephen