Marina and Christian’s classic luxurious wedding has tradition and modern twists!
While the couple wanted their big day to embrace tradition and have an overall timeless appeal, they also wanted to have some fun and incorporate current trends.
To bring this vision to life, they had a meaningful Coptic Crowning Ceremony in a gorgeous Orthodox Church in New Port Richey, Florida, followed by a fun-filled reception at the Vinoy Renaissance with arabic music and dancing!
Read more about Marina and Christian’s love story and their classic luxurious wedding below!
- Bride & Groom: Marina Eshak & Christian Sobky
- Occupations: Marina is a Speech Pathologist and Christian is an Emergency Medicine physician
- Wedding Date: January 12th, 2020
- Wedding Location(s): Ceremony – St Verena Coptic Orthodox Church, New Port Richey FL; Reception – The Vinoy Renaissance, St Petersburg FL
- Gifts for the Bridesmaids and Groomsmen… Bridesmaids were given a personal note, shirt dress for getting ready, personalized spa slippers, Kate Spade oval drop earrings to wear, necessities for the day (including bottled water, Pedialyte, hand sanitizer, and Advil) all in a monogramed tote bag. Groomsmen received a personal note, hot towel shaves from a local barber, embroidered handkerchiefs, engraved collar stays, and Harry Potter themed socks.
- Gifts for one another… Marina gave Christian Louboutin tuxedo shoes and tickets to Harry Potter studio tour in London. Christian gave her 12 days of wedding gifts leading up to the big day, including an icon of Archangel Raphael, a tennis bracelet and scrapbook.
- Ceremony entrance song… Processional Hymns (Epouro and Shere ne Maria)
- First dance song… Die A Happy Man by Thomas Rhett
How they met…
Marina and Christian first met through very persistent mutual friends.
While on a trip to Israel and Greece, their mutual friends each met Marina and Christian separately. They knew they had to find a way to bring these two together! Marina was on the Israel half and Christian was on the Greece half, but despite the distance, their friends began planning how to get their unsuspecting friends to meet.
The couple recalls: “After 8 months of unsuccessfully trying to get us to talk, they half tricked us into a group hangout while Marina was in Tampa. The “big group” was 4 people including us, and the rest is history…”.
Christian decided to surprise Marina with an intimate proposal surrounded by her friends and family.
Initially thinking she was just getting brunch with the girls, Marina had no idea Christian was in town. When her girlfriends suddenly left the table for a group “bathroom break,” a staff member handed Marina a laptop with a video of all her family and friends reading Bible verses and special messages to her. Marina then headed upstairs to the rooftop of the restaurant. She met her siblings on the way up where she had the chance to change. Then, following a trail of rose petals, she found Christian waiting to propose! It was a beautiful life changing moment they will never forget!
Watch their beautiful rooftop proposal unfold here.
In terms of their wedding style, the couple wanted to have a classic luxurious wedding with modern elements. They agreed that “[they] both wanted the look to be timeless so when [they] looked back on the photos from the day [they’d] still appreciate [their] attire.”
Marina’s dress shopping experience was like a dream. Shopping with her mom, sister, and mother in law, she wasn’t surprised to find “the dress” on her first day shopping!
She remembers, fondly: “I knew I wanted something modern but timeless. I loved the two in one style because it was versatile; the overskirt gave elegance for the ceremony but when I removed it after the reception entrance, I was still able to dance all night.”
For Christian, the wedding shopping experience was smooth and effortless. He knew he wanted to keep his look classic for the ceremony and fun for the reception.
He says, “I liked the idea of a classic tux but also with some unique aspects, shawl lapel and peaked bow tie with cummerbund.” To add some flare, he later changed into a luxurious blue tux jacket for the reception!
To incorporate elements of their faith and culture, Marina and Christian had a traditional Coptic Crowning Ceremony. The following are some of their favorite moments!
- Entrance: Marina’s father started the ceremony by handing her to Christian at the Church’s entrance through the priest. This symbolizes “him getting her from Christ.” Then they walked down the aisle together, showing “they are knowingly and willingly entering this covenant together in front of the congregation as witnesses to their union.” Marina stood on Christian’s right side, symbolizing Psalm 45:9, which states: “At your right-hand stands the queen.”
- Chasabule: Marina and Christian were then adorned with capes. These are seen as royal and priestly garments. They also signify their status as the “king and queen of their new Church home as well as sharing in the spiritual responsibility of leading their [own] home.”
- The couple were anointed with oil, which is symbolic “of the work of the Holy Spirit.”
- Crowns were placed on the bride and groom, further showing their union and authority in their new roles together. The crowns also represent their roles as “crowns” for each other, as Proverbs 12:4 suggest: “an excellent wife is the crown of her husband.”
- As part of the “Commands” portion of the ceremony, the couple did not exchange vows. Instead, the clergy “read the roles and expectations of a husband and a wife” to the couple. This part serves as a “public statement before the congregation as witnesses” and is a reminder to the couple of their expectations for one another in their marriage.
Marina and Christian took a much more traditional Western approach for their reception with lots of Arabic music and dancing! They also paid tribute to the Egyptian revolution by playing the classic song and passing out Egyptian flags for their guests while it played.
Couple’s favorite memory…
“It would be difficult to pinpoint just one moment as the “best” memory from our wedding. We were so blessed to be able to celebrate our union surrounded by all of our family and friends and cherish every moment of that day.”
Advice for other engaged couples…
“Enjoy every part of the engagement process. While planning for the big day in the future, remember to continue dating each other and focus on the present and cherish those moments.”
- Photographer: Rafal Ostrowski
- Dress designer: Ysa Makino @ysamakino, Dimitra’s Bridal Couture @dimitrasbridalcouture
- Shoes: Valentino @maisonvalentino
- Hair piece: Bridal Styles Boutique @bridalstylesboutique
- Tennis bracelet: Mavilo wholesalers @mavilo_wholesalers
- Wedding bands and engagement ring: Mavilo wholesalers @mavilo_wholesalers
- Tux: The Black Tux @theblacktux
- Reception tuxedo jacket: Studio Suits @studiosuits
- Shoes: Christian Louboutin @louboutinworld
- Bridesmaid Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids @bellabridesmaids
- Groomsmen Tux: The Black Tux @theblacktux
- Bride and groom’s hashtag: #SobkyToMyHeart
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