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Dec 31, 2023
Zack and I were blessed to be asked to photograph Patrick and Lucille’s three day wedding weekend! On Friday, we met them at George’s by the Cove for their rehersal dinner, and on Saturday we spent their wedding day at Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church and The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. However, we were surprised to discover that our favorite day was actually on Sunday when we attended their Eritrean luncheon.
The luncheon took place at Yard and Sea in Pacific Beach and was decorated with the lovely flowers from the wedding the day before. Mackenzie from Flower Bee Floristry did such a spectacular job that it would have been a shame to not display these blooms one more time! On the tables were bottles of Eritrean wine and beer with Patrick and Lucille’s photos on them. I was not suprised that yet again, this amazing couple added personal touches to their event. They had done such a wonderful job of this at their wedding the day before (check out that blog post!).
Although the venue was lovely and the flowers were stunning, it was the people who made this luncheon truly spectacular. We had met many of Patrick and Lucille’s family and friends on Friday and Saturday, but since we were so focused on on the two of them and on capturing each part of their wedding, we didn’t have time to slow down and actually have many conversations. At the luncheon we were treated to encounters with some of the most loving, generous, warm, kind people we have ever met.
Lucille’s mother is from Eritrea, which is just below Egypt, in the northeastern part of Africa. What a blessing that most of her family now lives in the United States and was able to celebrate her daughter’s wedding with her. As family after family arrived to honor Patrick and Lucille’s marriage, we were so moved by the way they met each other and by the tenderness that they exibited, especially to their elders. The women greeted each other by ululating and kissing each other on each cheek three times. This beautiful sound is hard to describe but it was very moving.
The women were just as beautiful on the outside as they were on the inside! They were each clothed in stunning traditional dresses called zurias and the shaw/scarf that they wore is called a netela. Each woman wore a white dress embroidered in unique designs. I tried to capture as many of these designs as possible and show them here in this blog. They were also adorned with beautful gold jewelry, usually in a circular form. Truly stunning.
When the bride and groom entered the luncheon, they were escorted in by Stefanos and Adhanom, special relatives doning traditional swords. These men represented warriors who, along with their village would have protected the bride, regardless of her marriage into another family/tribe/village. Patrick and Lucille were welcomed into the luncheon with the awelo, a song sung out of respect for the families of the bride and groom. The professional band and the families called out to their ancestors on each side, with family members beating drums and dancing the the beat of the music.
As they moved through the venue, the guests followed them and eventually they moved around slowly in a circle to the rhythm of the music by moving their feet and shoulders. The circle grew tighter and tighter with them in the center. I had such a hard time photographing this because we were so tightly bound together and because I could not hold back the tears that were streaming down my face! I was so moved by this beautiful display of community, love, and support. One of the most touching ceremonies I have ever seen!
We ended our time with this amazing community by eating together. This was yet another moment for this family to display their generosity to us. Both Father Tesfa and several family members were kind enough to explain to us what we were being served and how the food was made. In this situation and in numerous other moments, we felt welcomed by this community of truly lovely people. This was an event we will never forget…and the food was spectacular! Thank you so much Patrick and Lucille for giving us the blessing of being a part of your wedding and meeting your family and friends. We will never forget them.
Traditional Eritrean wine and beer adorned with Patrick and Lucille’s image was placed on the tables next to Flower Bee Floristry’s lovely blooms. Lucille’s mother, Tziggy was dressed in a beautiful zuria, along with her female family members. Each woman had a unique design on her dress. They were STUNNING!
Yard and Sea in located in Pacific Beach, not far from the shoreline. It is very unassuming from the street, but when you enter the facility it is really wonderful! Jason, the owner has create a lovely space for all sorts of events.
Krista and her team from Paper Jewels Events organized all three days of this amazing weekend estravaganza! She never disappoints! Lucille’s relatives treated us to a wonderful feast, which began with the special “tortillas” as we in San Diego who relate them to. These injera have a spongy texture which is perfect for soaking up the delicious food that is served over them.
As mentioned earlier…When the bride and groom entered the luncheon, they were escorted in by Stefanos and Adhanom, special relatives doning traditional swords. These men represented warriors who, along with their village would have protected the bride, regardless of her marriage into another family/tribe/village. Patrick and Lucille were welcomed into the luncheon with the awelo, a song sung out of respect for the families of the bride and groom. The professional band and the families called out to their ancestors on each side, with family members beating drums and dancing the the beat of the music.
Eritreans use this injera and the break to soak up the delicious food which is served on top of it or next to it. They also served samosas and a variety of vegetables, lentils and meat such as beef and lamb. Amazing…and spicy! At least to me!
Nicole Reyes photography is based
in san diego, Ca