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This Wedding Was a Perfect Blending Of Cultures

Let me preface by saying this isn’t your average Midwest wedding. In fact, it’s so much better. Senushi and Ryan managed to blend their Buddhist and Catholic backgrounds into one cohesive, deeply meaningful celebration that brought two families from across the world together. A big thanks to Jen Dillender and 3 Strands Film for bringing the day to life on our pages.


“I am Sri Lankan, Kiwi, Australian, American Buddhist

and Ryan is Irish American Catholic—we weren’t only

blending families, we were also blending cultures.

-The Bride



“It was great to involve both sides of the family in each

other’s religious and cultural traditions.

-The Bride




From the Bride…My name is Senushi O’Sullivan. Yup, I think my married name adequately describes our union. Ours was a non-conventional story from the very beginning. Ryan and I met on, as children of the 90’s this was something we thought we’d never do ourselves but we couldn’t be more grateful that we did. We spent our savings traveling the world for two months and realized that at both our best and worst, life was always sweeter with one another. The best night and surprise of my life is when Ryan proposed. Then, I started medical school in Kansas City and Ryan started dental school 350 miles away, and we logged many miles and listened to many audiobooks for the next 4 years living apart.

It also meant a 4 year engagement. Four years of pouring over gauzy wedding film photography, paper thin beaded dresses that cost as much as a semester of medical school, and drooling over venues that were originally built for actual royalty. Our union wouldn’t be a traditional Midwestern wedding. I am Sri Lankan, Kiwi, Australian, American Buddhist and Ryan is Irish American Catholic—we weren’t only blending families, we were also blending cultures. Despite all my gushing over the gorgeous wedding blogs and publications, my wonderment wasn’t immune to the absence of minority brides or couples who didn’t also moonlight as catalogue models. Our reception was not in Napa Valley or hosted in a distant relative’s castle.

The first part of our mixed cultural wedding was the Catholic ceremony at the beautiful Holy Family Cathedral. I learned a great deal about the Catholic traditions leading up to the wedding, and it was a joy to attend pre-canna because Father O’Brien counseled us. He also married us, and my Buddhist family members became big fans of Father O’Brien as well.

Hosting a Sri Lankan wedding ceremony in the Midwest was a unique challenge. There are very few people with the very particular knowledge to be a Sri Lankan wedding Celebrant. A family member from Arizona suggested a gentleman in Chicago who performed Sri Lankan weddings, and so we asked him to officiate ours. A friend of Ryan’s family actually built the traditional Sri Lankan platform called a Poruwa, and EverSomething built and decorated the traditional arch component of the Poruwa.

In front of our diverse wedding guests, we exchanged vows in the Sri Lankan tradition—feeding each other “kiri bath” or coconut milk rice, Ryan hilariously attempting to fasten my grandmother’s gold necklace around my neck, my father tying our pinky fingers together with gold thread, and finally my uncle helping us down from the platform as a newly married couple. We then bowed down to both sets of parents and gave them presents. Ryan’s cousin, Cooper, practiced chopping open many coconuts with an axe the night before because he was chosen to perform this task as my Uncle helped us step off of the Poruwa.

It was great to involve both sides of the family in each other’s religious and cultural traditions. We then lit a traditional Sri Lankan oil lamp, which signifies the illumination of our new life together. For the food, KEO restaurant made some of my mum’s Sri Lankan recipes as well as some of their best selling Thai, Vietnamese, and Malaysian dishes.

For the reception space, Taylor and her EverSomething team transformed the add-on multipurpose room of the otherwise stunning 1920s Tulsa Garden Center mansion with swathes of sheer ivory fabric, tapered candles, and Taylor’s beautiful flowers. As with any wedding, there were unexpected hiccups but Hannah Ekblad of Frosted Field Events always found a solution and made sure the day went on as if everything was perfect. Despite the Oklahoma heat, the two ceremonies, and the huge bridal party, Hannah was the absolute sweetest and best coordinator a bride could ever hope to work with.

Although most of Ryan’s family lives in Oklahoma and Kansas, most of mine lives in Australia and Sri Lanka. We were so touched by the fact that people flew from so far to be with us in Tulsa. My 11-year old cousin, Kiara, from Australia surprised us all with her performance of “A Thousand Years,” which she had practiced for months and rehearsed with the band right before the reception started. LostWax was our amazing band, and the dancing started with their very first song.

No one wanted the party to end when they inevitably had to wrap up. Before the last hour of dancing, I changed into a red saree. In Sri Lankan culture, the bride changes into a red going away saree. It was the first saree I had ever worn and was worried it would constrict me from dancing, but I found a way!

Asking Jen Dillender to be our photographer was the best decision we made during the planning process. I agonized over choosing from all the film photographers I fan-girled so hard for. Jen was one of the kindest and most fun artists I met with, and her images are a testament to her raw talent. Even though the wedding is over, I’m still such a big fan of her work and of who she is.

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Photography: Jen Dillender Photography | Cinematography: 3 Strands Film | Event Planning: Frosted Fields Events | Floral Design: Ever Something | Wedding Dress: Essense of Australia | Cake: Cakes by Liza | Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas | Ceremony Venue: Holy Family Cathedral | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Yoo | Catering: Keo Restaurant | Makeup: Drea Carreno | Hair: Faccia Bella | Band: Lost Wax | Groomsmen's Attire: Suitsupply | Film Processing: PhotoVision Prints | Flower Girl Dresses: MonbebeLagos | Handlettered Chalkboards: Prairie Letter Shop | Invitations + Program Design: Surangani Jayaratne (Bride's Mother) | Sri Lankan Ceremony/Reception Venue: The Tulsa Garden Center

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Classic Tulsa Wedding Infused with Art Deco Details

When the wedding vision is based around the Bride’s beautiful blush pink Lazaro ballgown wedding dress, you know you’re in for a treat. From the blush peonies and peach garden roses in the Bride’s beautiful bouquet to the art deco design details carried throughout the reception, this Tulsa wedding, captured by Amanda Watson Photography, is so perfect, not even a tornado warning could spoil it. See all the pretty in The Vault!

From Emerson Events & DesignNatalie and I met in November 2014, after her photographer, Amanda Watson sent her my way to discuss planning and floral design. When that first meeting ended and she gave me a big hug, I knew her and I would have lots of fun planning!

Most of the creative vision was based around Natalie’s amazing Lazaro gown, and the beautiful art deco elements of the reception venue. Though they live in Oklahoma City, where Brandon works for Oklahoma City Thunder, Natalie and Brandon chose to get married in Tulsa, where she
is from.

They chose the beautiful historic Harwelden Mansion to have the ceremony. To create a laid back vibe, we had a pre-ceremony happy hour. The guests sipped on champagne, snacked on spring rolls from the couple’s favorite Thai restaurant in Tulsa, and viewed the gorgeous venue. The couple exchanged vows in front of the Harwelden Mansion’s doors under a chuppah adorned with flowers. As a nod to Natalie’s father, who had passed, she walked down the aisle to ‘Here Comes the Sun’ by the Beatles, one of his favorite songs. Natalie’s bouquet featured peonies, garden roses and ranunculus to accent her gown. A brooch that belonged to her grandmother was also pinned to the wrap.

After the ceremony, the guests hopped on shuttle buses to 624 Kitchen where they enjoyed Moscow Mules, while they waited on the newlyweds to arrive. The reception decor was kept sleek and simple, to not take away from the amazing original deco elements it has. The flower arrangements were a mix of tall black vases with hydrangeas, pale pink roses and some cascading foliage. The other half of the tables had a low lush compote arrangement with anemones, pale pink blooms and foliage. Brandon and Natalie made their entrance and danced to the classic Etta James, At Last. Everyone enjoyed a wonderful tapas style dinner, drinks and music handpicked by the couple.

Near the end of the reception, I got word that we were under a severe storm watch, and it was heading right towards Tulsa. Just about the time the couple were supposed to make their grand exit, the tornado sirens began to go off and the remaining guests, vendors and staff were all escorted to the basement stairwell until it passed. Thankfully, no tornadoes came through! We did have a torrential downpour of rain that caused some flooding, but Natalie and Brandon were still the happiest they could have ever been! It’s not an eventful wedding in Oklahoma unless you have severe weather. Nonetheless, Mother Nature was on our side that day and the Barnett’s had their beautiful outdoor ceremony and a fun reception with all of their family and friends in attendance.

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Photography: Amanda Watson Photography | Floral + Event Design: Emerson Events | Wedding Dress: JLM Couture, Inc | Cake: Anne Keller Cakes | Invitations: Good Measure Creative | Ceremony Venue: Harwelden Mansion | Reception Venue: 624 Kitchen | Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids' Dresses: David's Bridal | Makeup: Stunning By Starla | Transportation: Galaxy Limo | Bridal Boutique: Stardust Celebrations | Photo Booth: Botbooth | Rentals: Party Pro Rentals

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Travel Themed Outdoor Engagement

I adore a good love story, and this one reads like a rom-com brought to life. After locking eyes these two lovebirds began a long distance romance that traversed the globe. Incorporating their love for travel this e-sesh wows with a stunning backdrop and a vintage plane to boot, and Bcreative Tulsa was there to capture every spark. Let their whirlwind romance carry you away here.

From Bcreative TulsaDave and Loree have far from the traditional love story – instead it feels like something of a rom-com come to life. Loree, a Tulsa native, worked at a software company in Boston, MA when she met Dave, a Dublin native, working at the same company’s Ireland office. Like something out of a movie, they first met while Dave was over for training and Loree walked into the room. Cue the romantic music: but when their eyes locked – both felt an instant electricity. 

After a few dates in Boston, countless conversations, and a surprise Tiffany necklace for Loree’s birthday – their feelings for each other were not only becoming undeniable, but their futures were becoming intertwined. They traversed the globe back and forth to be with one another in the months following – and on a particular vacation to Italy in the Spring, Dave proposed and Loree happily accepted. They spent the week traveling around Rome and seeing the sights, happily in love, before returning home and celebrating with their families. 

Because Dave and Loree’s relationship has been so based on travel – and they happened to have access to a vintage plane – they decided to do a travel-themed engagement shoot. Giving tribute to their traveling lifestyle was a great reflection of their history, and a great foreshadowing onto their adventures to come as well. Their wedding will be at Tulsa Garden Center in December of this year – in which they will welcome guests from all over the US and Ireland. They are looking forward to combining their families and cultures into an exciting new adventure, and celebrating their first Christmas together as a new couple. 

Photography: Bcreative Tulsa