Bride: Erika Rawlins- Public School Teacher

Groom:  Chino Gressel- Public School Teacher

Wedding Date: 07/13/2013

Ceremony and Reception:  Hotel Shattuck Plaza, Berkeley, California

Photography: Miki Vargas 

The bride on their special day: 

The theme for our wedding ceremony was “simple elegance”. We already had an idea about the colors we wanted, black, ivory, silver and a splash of apple green and “bling."  

Living in the San Francisco Bay Area we were challenged with finding a location that was affordable and that represented us, and fit our colors. We had planned 18 months in advance, so there wasn’t a lot of pressure. As we went about our days, shopping or browsing we found items that we felt were perfect touches for the wedding. For example, we found lanterns we loved, candles, a small antique suitcase that read, “love, laugh, dance” where we thought guests could drop cards for us, and even little bags of crystals for our “bling."

We were really looking for a party atmosphere, so we chose cocktail tables, instead of big tables. We wanted people to be able to move around and visit with each other as well. Our flowers were very simple. We wanted to accent the hotel not overpower it. We think we did a pretty good job!

Our Wedding Style

When Flor proposed, I had no idea we would ever get married in the literal sense of the word. I suddenly panicked and realized that I needed a wedding dress. I went with my Matron of Honor to go look at dresses, I only took one friend since I had heard about the horror stories of trying on dresses. I was nervous of course because, I was afraid that nothing would fit. After trying on about six dresses, the assistant asked me what I wanted my dress to say. I told her, “ I want people to gasp and then cry.” She said she had the perfect dress. I tried it on walked out the common area and my matron of honor started crying. I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about until I looked in the mirror. And that was it! That was the dress.

Flor, knew she wanted a well fitted suit. She was able to find great place that got her fitted for a suit in a short amount of time. We tried to get a custom made suit for her but there were issues with the suit arriving in time. We went to Men's Warehouse, where they were able to fit her in an incredible Joseph Aboud suit. She looked amazing.

Our Incorporation of Culture

For us, food was very important. Since I love to cook, we had to represent both of our cultural backgrounds via food. We had a Caribbean station that had, jerk chicken, a white fish with a mango salsa, plantains, beans and rice. Our other station was southern food, we had fried chicken, BBQ ribs, coleslaw and mac and cheese.

We incorporated the jumping of the broom, at the time we planned our ceremony, Prop 8 was still being debated the country was waiting for a ruling from the Supreme Court. We figured out of respect to our culture and our historical background that jumping the broom would be a wonderful tribute to both.

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