From the outfits to the backdrops, this couple’s New York City elopement is the bees knees. A.k.a wildly GORG. It’s a tale of a beautiful bridge, a stunning cityscape and intimate “I Do’s” captured by Alicia Swedenborg. And if the gallery is any indication, this couple has portraits that will shine bright for a lifetime. See them all right here.
From The Bride…Shaant and I met on August 13th of 2008, his 24th birthday! Despite the fact that Shaant had met my entire family and I was very close with his, we had never met each other (2 years prior I was visiting his family in the US for a 5 week trip, while he was in Armenia, so we had missed each other). I used to see his father almost every day for a cup of coffee or dinner at his restaurant during my summers in Armenia. So, naturally, I was very quickly introduced to Shaant when he came to visit that summer. Even though at first Shaant thought I was yet another one of his dad’s acquaintances that he would meet and then forget, it didn’t take very long for us to start enjoying each other’s company (especially since I was a math major and he was a math teacher). We went to a party one night within 10 days of meeting each other, and a guest asked Shaant if he loved me. With a straight face, Shaant replied “Of course I love her, she’s my wife”. It became an on running joke that we were married for the rest of the trip and the year (again, we hadn’t even started dating yet!). Shaant left Armenia in a couple weeks, and we wrote to each other occasionally over Facebook.
That same summer I had received my green card and had to travel to the USA that December. After a little pleading from Shaant (who probably already liked me by then), he convinced me to come up from Washington DC to visit him in NY for the weekend. That weekend in NYC was amazing, and I fell in love with the city. We went (and ate) everywhere! But, at the top of the Great Lawn in Central Park, even though everything was covered with snow, that is when I knew I had to move to New York. This is why, a little over 4 years later, he proposed in that very same spot!
That magical weekend finished, and I went back to England where I was studying. Now, Shaant and I were talking much more frequently. He convinced me to meet in Berlin that February where his sister (who is my friend) was studying. I only told her I was coming, so Shaant showing up surprised her nearly to death! We explored the city and treated it like a European winter wonderland. We drank beer by the liter, had snowball fights, saw museums, and played hide and seek in memorials. In the cathedral in Berlin, Shaant even took me to the altar and had his sister officiate our fake wedding! All the while, we still weren’t dating. In Berlin, he confessed that he liked me, but I wasn’t ready yet, so I only responded with “let’s go make a snowman.” He must have been quite depressed and a little confused, but at least he got to make his first ever snowman. He drank too much that night, and I helped nurse him back to health and even slept next to him to make sure he didn’t get too sick. That must have made him even more confused! It was an unusual adventure for a couple that wasn’t a couple yet!
After we left Berlin and returned to our respective countries, I realized that I also liked Shaant. The chatting online continued and moved in that direction. It was not hard to convince him to buy tickets to come with me on my Easter vacation from London to Yerevan. So, on April 9th, he flew to London. I met him at the airport, we ran together and spun and kissed. It was better than the movies! We started dating on that day, went to Yerevan, surprised our dads with the news (and Shaant wasn’t even supposed to be there!), had a fantastic week, and then returned to our lives apart. Now, I HAD to move to New York. Thankfully, I had already applied to Columbia University for my master’s degree, and within a few weeks I got in! Fate was on our side!
I visited New York in June of that year, and reminded myself how much I loved the city and how much we loved spending time there together. I finally moved there in early September, ended our long distance relationship, began school at Columbia, found an apartment near Shaant’s, and we had a great year! New York is almost the third member of our relationship.
The primary theme of our relationship has been travel (well, besides for food). Most of the time, it was voluntary and a lot of fun. However, the job I got after graduating Columbia sent me away a lot. I went to Spain for a few months alone, and even when I came back, I had to go to Boston basically for all weekdays. Shaant visited me when he could, and my time in New York became even more precious, but it was a strain. While that was definitely difficult, we each had a lot of time off that we used to travel. We have gone, with family and alone, all over the world. From Costa Rica to Italy, we have traveled and seen some great sights (15 countries in 5 years)!
Eventually, the distance from New York to Boston drained on us, so Shaant moved up to Boston with me for a year. We continued our theme of eating and traveling, and now we got to annoy everyone with comments like “Boston is great, but it’s nothing compared to New York.” We had a great year in Boston, and traveled the most of any year, but we decided that now was the time to try and start working towards our dream of opening a restaurant. So, we both left our jobs and started packing for Armenia to help Shaant’s dad expand his successful Armenian restaurant back to the United States. In the meantime, on June 1st of 2013, Shaant took me again to that spot at the top of the Great Lawn, got down on one knee, and then got up again to hug me when I started crying. He asked, “so is that a yes?” and I said, “but you haven’t proposed yet!” Obviously, once he did propose, I said yes!
Now we live in Armenia, engaged for this August 9th (although some people know we are secretly married…). The wedding is going to be one Armenia will remember for years to come. Plane loads of foreigners are coming to go to one of Armenia’s first ever outdoor weddings! The wedding planning, like the relationship itself, is sometimes hard, sometimes unpredictable, but we know it’s always going to be awesome!
We went to city hall on April 9th, 2014, on our 5 year anniversary (and exactly 4 months before the big day). Only very close friends and family know, which made it even more special. And we celebrated at Eleven Madison Park that same evening, with an unforgettable 14 course meal!
Photography: Alicia Swedenborg | Bride's Shoes: Aldo Carvella | Groom's Attire: Armani Collezioni | Venue: New York, New York | Bride's Attire: H&M | Bride's Jewelry: H&M | Bride's Skirt: Topshop | Groom's Bowtie: Tommy Hilfiger | Groom's Shirt: Brooks Brothers | Groom's Shoes: Aldo