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Bilingual wedding ceremony at Laurel Creek Manor

Loved ones flew in from around the world to participate in Melissa and Pedro's wedding on Aug. 10, 2014. Melissa’s dad’s family hails from Colombia, while Pedro’s family lives in Puerto Rico. In a bilingual — Spanish and English — ceremony and reception, everyone celebrated the couple’s union at Laurel Creek Manor in Sumner.

Spanish and English invitations, ceremony and more

The first indication to guests that the wedding would be bilingual was the couple’s wedding invitation, which was written in both languages. At the wedding, chalkboard signs in both languages directed guests. Pedro’s cousin, a Presbyterian minister from Puerto Rico, led the ceremony in Spanish and English. At the reception, family members prayed and made announcements in both languages.

Wedding honors Spanish language and Christian faith

“We wanted a bicultural ceremony to honor our Latin backgrounds,” explains Melissa. “We wanted to include the Spanish language and traditions in our ceremony, as it is a huge part of where we come from and who we are as a couple.”

Describing how they planned their wedding, Melissa says, “First and foremost, our faith in God is very important to us as a couple, and we wanted our ceremony to reflect that. We wanted to honor God with a religious ceremony in front of our family and friends.”

Family photos and memories on display

The rustic-romantic wedding featured many details personally chosen by the couple. “We wanted all the details of our wedding to speak to our guests about our love and our relationship,” said Melissa. To that end, they lined the ceremony aisle with framed photos from their childhoods, symbolizing their growth and the way it led them to each other. A second symbolic element was the cards directing guests to their reception tables. Each table was named for a city and featured a photo of the couple in that city.

The couple met through Match.com while living Los Angeles. They were engaged for 15 months because a lot of family members would be traveling from around the world to attend their wedding and they wanted to marry in the summertime. “We wanted to give people ample time to plan ahead to be able to attend,” says Melissa.

Salsa dancing and other Latin flavors showcased

Melissa and Pedro selected Latin and American dance music for the reception, because they love to dance. “One of my favorite memories is our first dance,” says Melissa. “It was very special, and when our parents cut in, we broke out in a salsa dance and surprised our guests. I have many memories of dancing salsa with my dad. He taught me everything I know about how to dance a salsa, so it meant a lot to me to share that dance with him on my wedding day.”

Another nod to the couple’s Latin heritage was a dessert table filled with packaged and freshly made desserts from their family’s countries.

The wedding colors of peach, gray and accents of gold were carried throughout the décor, apparel and flowers.

Melissa appreciated having the ceremony and reception at one location. “It is a stunning outdoor location, and the grounds are very well manicured. All we had to do was add our own personal and special touches, and it was perfect.”

“Seeing all the people whom we love gathered from all around the world in one place was pretty amazing,” summarizes Melissa.

The couple’s wedding date commemorated the wedding day of Melissa’s late grandparents, Richard and Dorothy: August 10, 1949. It would have been their 65th wedding anniversary.

Melissa and Pedro make their home in Portland, Oregon, where Melissa is a high school teacher and Pedro is an engineer.

VENUE: Laurel Creek Manor
CATERER: Act 3 Catering
CUPCAKES: Pinkabella
FLORIST: Geneva Diane Designs

Editor's note: Melissa was the cover model for South Sound Wedding & Event magazine in 2008.

Click on a photo to enlarge.

Published on April 25, 2016.

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