Elena and George
|Elena and George
||High School Sweethearts
Elena Caicedo and George Tsamkiranis became best friends in high school. Remembering the day they first met, George says: “I thought she was a shy, quite beautiful girl.”
“One of my first thoughts,” recalls Elena, “was that he had the most amazing eyes I had ever seen.”
After they had been together for a while, George proposed marriage to Elena while they were visiting Granville Island. They stood at the water’s edge with violin music playing in the background.
“He pulled out a small box and professed his sincere, genuine love for me,” says Elena. ‘yes’.”
Planning the Wedding
The couple decided to marry in the warmer months so they would have enough time to plan the wedding. Since they both come from cultures that love to party, they wanted their wedding to be elegant yet fun.
“We wanted our dinner guests to enjoy delicious food and good company and then have a great time dancing to our different variety of cultural music,” says Elena.
The couple launched into wedding celebrations with a small engagement dinner in October by inviting their immediate family to a Greek restaurant in Langley.
“The food was great, and the entertainment was fun—they had dancers and a live band,” says Elena. “We all got to learn the Greek dances we would do at the wedding reception. Then, in January, we had a larger engagement party with all our friends. We rented a hall in Burnaby and had different music and dance performances.”
The wedding took place on May 13, 2006, at 1 pm at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses on Short Street in Burnaby. The couple chose the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses as they worship there and considered it a great privilege to be able to marry there.
Afterward they went to Deer Lake for photographs. The wedding dinner and reception were held at the Aston Pacific Inn in White Rock at 6:30 pm.
“We chose the Aston Pacific because of its tropical feel and look,” says Elena. “It is so beautiful inside and they did a great job decorating the space. But the best part about it is the room has a great area for dancing, which we used to do traditional Greek and Latin dances.”
“Everyone loves to dance the Greek and Latin dances because they are so fun and sure get a party going,” says Elena.
Spanish with a Greek Touch
“We tried to incorporate different aspects of our cultures and personalities into the wedding, from the décor and music to food and clothes.”
“With Elena’s Spanish background—her parents were born in Colombia—we wanted to give our wedding a Spanish influence,” Elena says. “So my sister who happens to live in Spain brought home fans that my bridesmaids used to decorate their bouquets.”
They also used bigger light golden fans around the reception and ceremony to carry through on the Spanish flavor and to keep with the gold and wine red color theme.
The couple further extended the Spanish theme of the wedding with a 16-day honeymoon vacation to the Rui Yucatan (they stayed at two different Rui resorts in Playacar in Playa Del Carmen) Resort in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.
“We decided to go there because I love it so much. In fact, we both love hot tropical weather, and because I speak Spanish, I could understand everything,” says Elena. “We made such a great choice that we both enjoyed our honeymoon very much and were so sad to have to leave.”
Now that these high school sweethearts are married, they have an even closer friendship.
“We can plan our future in a way that wasn’t possible before,” says Elena. “For a marriage to succeed, the couple has to share the same faith, morals, and values. Shared values draw us even closer together and help us love one another.”
Planning Is Important
The couple put so much time and energy into planning their wedding that they credit the success of the event to the extra care they took while planning.
Their advice to other brides and grooms: “Just relax and take your time to plan the wedding. But make sure you have enough time for planning, especially if your wedding date is in the summer. You might need to book your hall, hotel or restaurant many months in advance, especially if it is a popular place.”
Attend numerous wedding shows, read a lot of wedding magazines and do research on the Internet. Make endless lists so you can keep track of the budget.
“Most important,” advises Elena, “don’t do all the planning alone. Get your friends and family to pitch in and give you a hand. Our families were great during the planning.”