How they met: Jason had been running with a group called Fleet Feet for the past three years, when one day he found himself drawn to a new runner in the group. After practice, looking and smelling like a complete mess, Jason walked over to Alena and introduced himself. Upon noticing her distinct accent (Alena is from Belarus), he causally made it be known that he knows the national anthem of the former Soviet Union. Alena was intrigued and requested an impromptu performance, which Jason nailed. (In his own mind, at any rate). Still, it was good enough for him to win her phone number...the rest is history.
The proposal was on Christmas Day. Naturally, the day was full of traveling around, meeting family, eating, exchanging gifts, and all of the other festive actions that surround the day. Wanting to enjoy a bit of peace, we elected to wait until the end of the day and give each other gifts when we would be able to sit down, relax, and fully appreciate the moment. We were still at Jason's mom’s house around mid-afternoon, and Jason asked Alena to relax while he ran a couple of errands. She was puzzled by the nature of these errands…
He went to her house, spread rose petals all over the bedroom, broke out the champagne glasses, set up some music, put the last of the gifts under the tree, and set up his guitar.
After preparing everything, he brought Alena back home. We drank the champagne, and had a wonderful time opening gifts. After all the presents were unwrapped, Jason explained that he had one last gift, but it wasn’t exactly something that could be wrapped…It was a song he wrote for her, called “Hearts and Arrows.” (The title came from the name of the cut of the diamond that he was about to give her…she had already seen the diamond a few weeks earlier at the store, and the jeweler explained that the stone was perfectly cut: hearts and arrows). So, Alena relaxed on the couch while he was sitting beside the guitar case on the floor, singing to her about how much she means to him, and about the brightness of their future. When the song was finished, He began the process of putting the guitar back into the case...the ring was hidden inside of the case, so as he opened the case, he pulled out the ring, and asked Alena to marry him.
About their Wedding day:
Our wedding was made unique because it was ours. One of Jason's best friends is a pastor from Pennsylvania, and he made the trip to NC to officiate. Much more impressive journeys were made by Alena's family (Belarus) and Maid of Honor(Canada). The beer was all home-brewed and provided by one of their mutual friends from the running group in which they met: Brian Monroe. We had a bit of "The Giving Tree" theme happening, which went well with their story and the fact that Jason is a children's librarian. A lot of planning went into these details, but perhaps one of the most unique aspects of the wedding was completely unscripted: as Alena's father walked her down the aisle with her arm in his her heel got caught in a gap between the boards on the stage and came off. Her father gently reached down and helped her put her shoe back on for the last time before giving her away, just as he had so many times when she was a little baby girl. At the end of the ceremony, as Jason and Alena locked hands and began their first walk down the aisle as husband and wife, her shoe got stuck and fell off again. Her shoe had become the baton being handed from the father to the new husband, and this time, it was Jason who (in Prince Charming/Cinderella fashion) slipped the shoe onto Alena's foot.
The best thing about the wedding day was when we gave one another our vows. We did it in a bit of a non-traditional back-and-forth style where Alena would say a promise, and then Jason would return a promise, and so forth...in the middle of the vows, a breeze came through and leaves began falling all around us. It was a beautiful moment. This was also Elly's favorite part... besides the epic sunset of course!
Alena: I promise Jason: I promise Alena: to never take you for granted. Jason: to put you first Alena: to encourage you and always be on your side. Jason: to always strive to be a better man Alena: not to make fun of you when you watch Rocky IV at 5 o’clock in the morning. Jason: that I will one day beat you in a race. Alena: to take care of you and let you take care of me. Jason: to stand beside you and lift you up Alena: To run with you Jason: to run with you
Alena: To respect you and remind you how special and talented you are Jason: to honor you as my best friend and wife Alena: To dance with you in the kitchen just because we feel like it Jason: to hold you always when we stumble in life's crazy ballet Alena: To be more patient and understanding Jason: to be your rock when we face challenges
Alena: to share your success and your failures so we could grow stronger together Jason: I promise to change and let you change, and when the day is through, and we face life's sunset: that no matter how much we change, that somewhere inside of me will always be the man I am tonight. And I am the man who loves you. Alena: I promise to love you Jason: I promise to love you
Ceremony and Reception Location: Medaloni Cellars Caterers: Mise En Place Downtown Wedding Planner: Karen Neitz Cake: Pattycakes and Alena's mom Photography: Elly's Photography Flowers: Ordered from Ecuador Gown: BHLDN Shoes: Kate Spade Tuxedos: Vera Wang Engagement Ring: Towne's Wedding Rings: Jared's Hairstylist for Wedding: Ego Hour - Chelsea Make-up for Wedding: Bobbi Brown Professional Artist - Alyssa Vidal Invitations/Stationary: Etsy Music: A and A Entertainment Clergy: Brad Walters Bridal Registry: Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn Rentals: Hauser