Our Multi-Cultural Non-traditional Wedding PICS and VIDEO 3/31/17

Our Multi-Cultural, Semi Non-Traditional Wedding SEE PICS and VIDEO link BELOW

It all started 6 months before the wedding, we decided as a family, we would officially have a wedding at home in DC. We initially were going to go to the JOP to save money but figured we’d have a celebration with our family since we aren’t home too often. We decided grandparents since they were getting older. From the start, we knew we wanted total control of our wedding in terms of what was recited in the ceremony. We planned by drawing out layouts, picking our colors and selecting a theme. The entire  wedding was amazing and the energy was so beautiful despite us being in China on separate time-zones and everything being on such short notice. All final decisions were made including table cloth, silverware, finding the white dress with family, getting it altered and everything right when we touched down to the US from China. It all happened a week and a half before the wedding; even the wedding coordinator 1 week and a half in advance. We were blessed everything went so smoothly!

Alethea finding her white dress with her family.
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Picking out fabric for the groomsmen suits in a factory in China with our tailor.

We wanted a Great Gatsby or Paris theme, something royal, elegant, yet simple. We love the movie and we got engaged in Paris so we wanted to incorporate that. Our colors were white, black and gold. So I decided to get a gold dress because it’s a royal color, brings good fortune and looks great on me! Also, we do not consider ourselves religious, more spiritual than religious. Therefore, we didn’t want any mention of our “father or jesus”. Our ceremony was tailored for us and we asked our friend Todd to do the ceremony because we felt he had the right energy and would know how we wanted it. Luckily for us he accepted and signed up online to be an ordained minister! Yes, your friend can become a minister online and marry you! Best of all, most of the people we hired were our peers, friends and black-owned businesses.

The Unique Ceremony

For the ceremony we wanted something sacred to really mean something to us. We are world travelers, so we wanted many cultures intertwined in our special day. We are also very connected to nature and oneness so we wanted to include that as well. We planned on having the ceremony in a circular more communal and intense feel. It was in a semi circle with us in the middle and family and friends surrounding us. It was so amazing seeing all the people you love surrounding you. The ceremony started with the lighting of sage and blessing the space and removing all negative energies from the space and cleansing the space. Todd did an amazing job with this by including all of the things we wanted. My dad walked me in in his non-traditional wear and mom met halfway to walk to down the aisle. I thought it was important to have both of my parents because they are equally special to me and provided a great life for me. I also didn’t want to be given away like property. That’s just how I felt. To start the ceremony, we poured libations for our ancestors and people who couldn’t physically be there and Yanni’s cousin Evan played a small hand drum throughout this time as well. We could definitely feel their presence, not in a scary way but a joyous, happy way.We had a call and response where everyone responded to his words with “let it be so”as he poured the water into the bowl. It was simply amazing. Yan and I prepared  our own vows and he explained a bit about us and our journey together. We then concluded with quotes and readings from passages that speaks about being connected as one with god each-other and nature, feeling the need to always give back to our community. We concluded with exchanging the rings, walking through the curtain to new beginnings, tying our wrists with soft linen to symbolize our union and commitment and jumping the broom. It was so full of energy and positive vibes. It was everything we wanted and started the celebration off extremely well. For the reception we had most of the traditional things but not all too cheesy. I recommend a dollar dance, we did that, it was fun. Our first dance was a slow song then we switched it in the middle to a upbeat reggae song “Trumpets” by Sean Paul, it was so much fun.

Yanni & Alethea-All photos-kaleiddoscope.com-450
Tied the knot with our hands to represent unity and commitment and partnership through all the complexities of life. We decided to go with a linen cloth for it to be soft when we tie it and the color was to add some liveliness to the ritual. Jumping the broom (our african culture).

Our Rituals

These rituals are from African Rituals but we made up the curtain tradition and made it fit to our needs and wants.

  1. Lighting Sage (Native American ritual)

-We light sage in our home often when we have many people there or had bad energy in our home or if there’s a new season,etc. This comes from the Native American culture to cleanse and scare away the bad spirits. Kind of like what the Chinese and other asians do when they light incense. For our ceremony, our minister lit sage before everyone entered and cleansed the space by walked around the room and saying “I am cleansing this environment of all negative energies”. Man, I tell you it really worked, everyone came to us and said they loved that. Everyone was happy. My mom even told me, I think everyone was high because they were so happy. Lol Great energy! I highly recommend it. We got our sage on amazon and it came with three sticks of sage with a pretty seashell bowl to hold it.

  1. Libation Ceremony

– Honor our ancestors and elderly asking them to pass down their wisdom upon us. Pouring water into a bowl is symbolism of this as you call out to ancestors and those who could not be with us on the day. Todd read poems and literature from around the world to honor them.

  1. Curtain (our own thing)

-Walking beyond the hanging curtain to symbolize a new life as a newly committed couple for life. Always standing by each other.

  1. Tying the Knot

-Using a peach linen cloth means immortality in Chinese culture. We thought we’d incorporate this culture into our wedding being as though we live there. Tying our wrists together symbolizes a new commitment to each other. No matter what, we will have each other’s back. When one is down, the other will help to bring them up and vice versa. This bond shouldn’t be broken no matter what. We used soft linen so it would feel good around our wrists, not harsh. The cloth represents our marriage.

  1. Jumping the Broom

-This was an African tradition to symbolize sweeping away the problems. All the problems have been swept away. The slaves used this as a formal way before everyone to marry since legally slaves could not marry. Ours was decorated beautifully my Yanni’s mother with our colors along with a colorful dashiki.

Bridal Party Clothing

I wore the white dress in the ceremony for the grandparents I couldn’t say no when I saw my grandma minnie saw me in the dress it was everything. So I compromised and wore my initial gold wedding dress for the reception. Everyone loved it. Both dresses were stunning. I bought the gold wedding dress custom-made in China. Yanni and his groomsmen took a chance and got their suits tailor-made in China from our tailor there by mere measurements and pictures. The guy is a beast! Yanni wore a beautiful head wrap with the red, green and gold to represent the rastafarian colors.  Everything worked out so well! No one knew until the day of the wedding if it would fit or not so it better have fit or we would have had mixed-match suits. The ladies bought their dresses on Amazon after we had a huge mixup with sizing with the factories in China. Luckily we found one that fit all of them well and they only had to get minimal, if any alterations.

Here is a peek into our wedding in case you missed it. We wanted things a bit different which didn’t fit well with the thoughts of some our family but we did it and everyone loved it ! Shoutout to our parents for gifting us and making our day special we love you so much! To our friends and family for blessing us with your presence and for all of the gifts, thank you.

Check out some of the pictures below and link to video here!


Bride Gold sequin dress-Tanya’s Bridal in China Extremely altered by Luke (in China)

Groom’s head wrap-Ethiopian wrap from Ethiopia

Tux-Our custom suit designer in China-Luke


Makeup artist-Porsche http://www.prettybyporsche.com

Location- Newton White Mansion in Mitchellville, MD

Flowers- Petals Ribbons and Beyond Black-owned business based in DC Sara Lucas

Cake- Bake Cures

Minister-Todd Clarke todd@thedcplace.com

Photographer-David Matthews http://www.kaleiddoscope.com

Videographer- Leonard Franklin

Bride jewelry- Grandma Minnie’s closet

DJ Rok- 240-462-6843 / lildj5086@gmail.com


If you have any other questions about any of this, please feel free to reach out to us by email siceyourlife@gmail.com or comment below.





2 comments on “Our Multi-Cultural Non-traditional Wedding PICS and VIDEO 3/31/17

  1. Your wedding ceremony was really unique and so beautiful! Sending my love to you both.

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