Christy Boardman always knew she would get married in the church where her parents were married. That is exactly what happened on May 13, 2017 when Christy wed Andy Kuklisnki at the Holy Trinity - Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church, becoming the 3rd generation of Boardmans to exchange vows at the historic church. Christy followed in the footsteps of her parents and grandparents, as well as her brother and other extended family members.
The couple poses for portaits out in front of the church.
Christy and Andy embrace following the exchanging of vows.
Christy wanted her wedding to be "classic and elegant," so when it came to choosing a color pallette she knew white, green, and gold would make a beautiful statement against the backdrop of deep reds and golden hues of the cathedral. Heidi Elnora of Heidi Elnora Atelier designed the classic tea-length bridal gown Christy wore for her big day. The shoes were designed by London designer Harriet Wilde. Rather than assign matching gowns to her bridesmaids, she told them to buy a dress of their choice in the color gold.
The bride twirls in her custom Heidi Elnora gown and custom Harriet Wilde wedding shoes.
The bride walks up the steps of the historic Greek Orthodox church.
Christy poses with her bridesmaids in their gold dresses.
The bride and her mother sat down with Dorothy and decided on white peonies as the statement flower for the wedding. White peony bouquets. White peony table arrangements. White peony pew markers. White flowers everywhere. The couple decided to use olive branch as the greenery to symbolize the peace and unity of joining the two families - the Greek Boardmans and the Italian Kuklinskis.
Dorothy's team designed a white peony bridal bouquet with accents of olive branch greenery.
The bridesmaids carried miniature versions of the white peony bridal bouquet.
The olive branch blended in beautifully with the white peonies.
The groom and groomsmen wore olive branch boutonnieres.
The bride poses with her family.
The groom poses with his family.
For those unfamiliar with the Holy Trinity - Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church, it is a building rich with history in Birmingham's Southside district. Locals know it for the stunning architecture and location of Birmingham's popular cultural festival, the Greek Festival. The breathtaking colors and detailed imagery makes for a stunning wedding venue for the city's Greek community. The highlight of the ceremony is The Crowning of Stefana. The wedding crowns, known as Stefana, are placed on the bride and groom's heads. During The Crowning, the priest makes the sign of the cross of the groom's forehead and joins the couple "in the name of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit." Then the Koumbaro, also known as the best man, exchanges the Stefana between the head of the couple three times.
The historic church stands tall in the Southside district of Birmingham.
The priests stand at the front of the church waiting for the ceremony to begin.
The church was decorated with large arrangements consisting of white hydrangea, white roses, white lilies, and white peonies.
The wedding crowns, known as Stefana, are joined by a white ribbon blessed by the priest.
The Priest blesses the couple.
The church was packed with hundreds of the couple's friends and family members.
The bride and groom share their first kiss as husband and wife.
White peonies and olive branch decorate the stand for the guest book.
When it came time to plan for the reception, Dorothy had the idea of keeping it in the church and flipping the fellowship hall into a reception venue. Christy's dad was on board and the planning began. By draping the entrance to the area in fabric, the ambience was softened and lended a romantic and festive atmosphere. The table arrangements consisted of white peonies, white hydrangea, white roses, white lilies, and olive branches placed in gold candelabras and gold urns. The cake, designed by Louise's Cakes, was decorated with olive branch and had a keepsake ceramic bride and groom on top that was also featured as the bride's grandparent's wedding in 1957. The food was a delicious variety prepared by chef Tasos Touloupis of Ted's Restaurant. The wine was flowing all night as the guests enjoyed a selection of reds and whites from a winery in Washington state.
The draping was accented ba large garden of white flowers and greenery.
The tall gold candlabras add a touch of grandeur to the arrangements.
The large gold urns filled with white flowers were scattered amongst the candlabras.
Candlelight filled the room as part of the table decor.
The food included a delicious variety of dishes prepared by Chef Tasos.
Olive branches decorated the outer layers of the cake made by Louise's Cakes.
The antique cake topper was used by the bride's grandparents in 1957.
The happy couple cuts the cake.
Everyone celebrated the happy couple with dinner and dancing to music played by the Emerald City Band. One special detail that Christy was unaware of were the keepsake cups that her mother cooked up as a surprise with Tasos. Guests decked themselves out in glowstick necklaces to add to the festive atmosphere. Instead of a groom's cake, the groom had one request - to serve their guests hot dogs and hamburgers from Sam's Super Sandwiches.
The couple dances in front of friends and family.
The bride shares a special dance with her father.
The guests enjoyed traditional Greek dancing with the bride and groom.
The specialty cups were an idea executed by Cathy, the mother-of-the-bride, and Tasos Touloupis, the caterer.
Guests danced the night away as they wore neon glowstick party necklaces.
When it came time for the toasts, the bride's father stood up and delivered a special toast to the happy couple, with references to the popular blockbuster "My Big Fat Greek Wedding." He has graciously provided us with a copy of the toast which is written in full below.
"Cathy and I welcome you to this reception. Susan, John, Cathy and I thank you for coming to the wedding of our children, Christy and Andy.
John and Susan, Andy is a wonderful person. I have often heard the name “Andy Kuklinski” at our house. The name is melodic and easy to remember, but I did not know he had been at every house where we lived. Andy, now we will give you a key to the house, since you have the key to Christy’s heart.
John, Susan, Jen, Alex, and Megan, we welcome you to the Boardman family.
Andy, you have just experienced your first “Big Fat Greek Wedding” and true to the movie, I want to give you something which will help your medical practice - - Windex.
But unlike the movie, please no one break plates on the floor and dance, because this is a new floor.
Christy, you have always been one for numbers, so let me give you some numbers. You are the sixth marriage in this family on that spot in the Cathedral, pretty good for a 110 year old church. You are the fourth generation married there, and you are the third Christina.
You are the 13th generation of Boardmans to live in the United States, having first arrived in 1638.
You are the 14th generation since a Seymour sat on the throne of England, Edward VI, the son of Jane Seymour.
It has been 17 years since your grandfather made the stained glass windows installed in the chapel below us.
It has been 20 score years since your relative Francis Cooke signed the Mayflower Compact, bobbing on the Mayflower in Massachusetts Bay in 1620.
It has been 100 years since your grandfather Anast arrived in Fairfield and opened his restaurant. It has been 9 decades since his restaurant was so successful he was able to donate the church bell hanging in this building.
And it has been 241 years, this July 4, since your relative James Wilson signed the Declaration of Independence.
And one last number - - infinity. Now, Ioanna, you will tell me infinity is not a number. But it is a true measure.
Christy and Andy, may your love for each other be infinite; may your joy be unlimited; may your marriage be eternal! To the Bride and Groom!"
The father of the bride holds up a bottle of windex during his toast.
As the night drew to a close, the guests lined the sidewalks to bid farewell to the newlyweds. All in all, you could say it was Christy and Andy's Big Fat Greek Wedding. Congratulations to the lovely couple!
Guests lined the stairs and sidewalk to cheer for the couple as they left the church.
Christy and Andy pose for the camera one last time.
We would like to extend a special thank you to Beth Hontzas of Beth Hontzas Photography for providing us with copies of pictures from the wedding. We would also like to thank the other wedding vendors for helping make this celebration possible.
Photographer - Beth Hontzas Photography
Dress - Heidi Elnora Atelier
Shoes - Harriet Wilde
Cake - Louise's Cakes N Things
Catering - Tasos Touloupis of Ted's Restaurant
Makeup - Courtney White
Music - Emerald Empire Band
Farewell Food - Sam's Super Sandwiches