Inside Weddings - - Inside - Fe­bru­ary 25, 2016 Shelby Town­ship, Michi­gan | Pho­tographed by Wilson Sarkis Pho­tog­ra­phy & Cin­e­matog­ra­phy

Fe­bru­ary 25, 2017 Shelby Town­ship, Michi­gan

Pho­tographed by Wilson Sarkis Pho­tog­ra­phy & Cin­e­matog­ra­phy

Kristina Bocci and Driton Tomaj first locked eyes at Kristina’s place of busi­ness – the stu­dio of her fash­ion­de­signer mother, Ka­te­rina Bocci. “My cousin and his wife had been clients of Ka­te­rina and they had the idea to in­tro­duce us. I’d learned her fa­vorite color in ad­vance, so I brought her a sin­gle pur­ple rose,” ex­plains Driton. “It felt as if the mol­e­cules in the room changed when we met.” Nat­u­rally, the two quickly be­gan a ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ship. When the groom-to-be de­cided he wanted to ask his girl­friend to marry him, he en­listed his sis­ter as a di­ver­sion. “I was sup­posed to be meet­ing her for brunch, but she called me and told me she was at the park,” Kristina re­calls. “I pulled up and got out of the car to look for her when Driton came out from be­hind a tree with red roses.” She knew what was hap­pen­ing im­me­di­ately, and hap­pily ac­cepted his pro­posal.

Through­out their nine-month en­gage­ment, the pair spent a lot of time long dis­tance due to dif­fer­ent job lo­ca­tions. “He was very in­volved, even though he was in New York and I was in Michi­gan,” says the bride of her fi­ancé’s ef­fort to call or video chat dur­ing wed­ding ap­point­ments. For­tu­nately, Kristina knew she could heav­ily rely on her mother and sis­ter. “They were my right-hand peo­ple,” she con­firms of the bond­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. One thing was abun­dantly clear: the event dé­cor would re­volve around the fa­vorite hue of the bride. “Ev­ery­thing was planned around the color pur­ple,” Kristina af­firms. At the start of their spe­cial day, the bride donned a re­gal ball gown with flo­ral de­tail­ing, but changed into a more fit­ted and glam­orous mer­maid en­sem­ble later in the evening.

Both par­ents ac­com­pa­nied Kristina down the aisle of the Al­ba­nian church in which the pair hosted their vow ex­change. “It wouldn’t have been fair to just have my dad es­cort me – my mom had a huge part in my up­bring­ing,” she ex­plains. Adds Driton, “The cer­e­mony, and hav­ing all of my clos­est fam­ily and friends there, was very im­por­tant to me.” Fol­low­ing their “I dos,” 500 rev­el­ers were ready for the cel­e­bra­tion to be­gin.

Per Al­ba­nian cus­tom, “I walked into the re­cep­tion with my blusher on and my brother-in-law un­veiled me,” Kristina says – an act that led into a line dance around the ball­room. Lilac-col­ored up­light­ing sur­rounded guests as they found their seats at ta­blescapes fea­tur­ing a va­ri­ety of tow­er­ing cen­ter­pieces. Every ar­range­ment com­ple­mented the color scheme, but each dis­played a set of unique el­e­ments, in­clud­ing struc­tured ves­sels, sus­pended geo­met­ric shapes, eclec­tic can­dles, and vi­brant blooms with green­ery ac­cents. The same con­fig­u­ra­tion of ver­dure and flo­rals could be found flank­ing the en­trance to the space, arch­ing over the sweet­heart ta­ble, and sur­round­ing the five-layer cake show­cas­ing a pop­corn tex­ture, edi­ble pearls, and a cas­cad­ing laven­der de­sign.

Most of the songs of the evening were kept to tra­di­tional cul­tural tunes, but the groom di­vulges that about “15% of the mu­sic was from the Rat Pack.” The clas­sic melodies gave way to the shared fa­vorite mo­ment of the bride and groom: the first dance. “It felt like it was just her and me – it was very in­ti­mate,” Driton muses. Adds Kristina, “I played the mem­ory in my head for the next few days on re­peat.” Upon re­flec­tion, the groom knows that the sup­port sys­tem around him and his new wife made the day pos­si­ble. “En­joy every sec­ond of your wed­ding – and thank ev­ery­one be­fore and after it’s all done,” he ad­vises.

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