27th Oct 2014

Plamena & Atilla


The Proposal

In the summer of 2013, Atilla and I planned a trip to Europe to visit our homelands and meet our extended families. We spent two weeks in Turkey and two weeks in Bulgaria: sightseeing, visiting historical lands and monuments, learning about each others culture, and spending precious time with our families. We left Chicago on June 17, and after eleven long hours we arrived in magnificent Istanbul. We spent two full days exploring Istanbul, and on Friday morning we flew out to Cappadocia, a historical region in Central Anatolia. Cappadocia was a remarkable city to see. It's rocky landscape was honeycombed with networks of ancient underground settlements and outstanding examples of Byzantine art. Ancient volcanic eruptions blanketed this region with thick ash, which solidified into a soft rock tens of meters thick. The region's fairy tale landscape consisted of cones, pillars, pinnacles, mushrooms, and chimneys, which stretch as far as 130 feet (40 meters) into the sky.

Our first day in Cappadocia was nothing less than amazing. We stayed at the Ottoman Cave Suites, which was a unique hotel made up of natural local stone, making it feel like a real cave. We explored the city of G'reme, went horseback riding through the incredible landscape of cones and pillars, enjoyed some local folklore music, and had great Turkish cuisine.

The following morning we were scheduled for a hot air balloon ride at 6:00 am.  I have a great fear of heights, so I was terrified when Atilla told me that he had booked it a couple of weeks before we left for Europe. However, I knew that this was a once in a lifetime experience that I was so fortunate to get the chance to experience, especially with Atilla. The transportation came and picked us up from our hotel at 4:50am, and we were off to our adventure. We drove to an empty field, a couple of miles away from the city, where 72 hot air balloons were getting ready to take off.  We hopped in the balloon with three other couples from all over the world. The view was magnificent!

Atilla had informed the crew of his plan, and as soon as we hit the highest point, they gave him the signal. Since I was so scared, I told him not to talk to me until I had gotten used to the height. He waited for some time to pass so I could relax a little. Once we got back to the highest point again, he knew it was time. When he got the okay from the crew once more, he got down on one knee, 1,000 meters above ground, and as the sun was rising, he asked me to marry him. With tears in my eyes I said "yes" and we began to celebrate the most amazing day in our lives. The crew had a bottle of champagne that we enjoyed while surrounded by the most romantic view I had ever seen. We spent the rest of the day exploring the beautiful region that became the starting point of our life together.

Shop Till You Drop

After countless weekends of going to different bridal stores and countless hours of trying on dress after dress, one fateful night after work, I went to Macy's Bridal in downtown Chicago with one of my bridesmaids. As soon as the consultant came into the room with the Augusta Jones dress, I could tell it was exactly what I was looking for. I wanted an elegant, classic, and romantic wedding dress. I had always imagined having some lace on my dress, and the lace on this one was flawless. It also had subtle beading all over it, which could only be seen up close or when the light hit it. It was impeccably structured, fitting me just perfectly. Just like meeting the love of my life, as soon as I put the dress on, I knew I could stop looking and that I found the one.

A Perfect Day

The entire day was like a dream. Around 7AM, the hair and make-up stylists arrived and my bridesmaids trickled in over the course of the morning. We enjoyed mimosas and talked while we got ready for the big day. We wanted to take pictures prior to the wedding, so we planned on meeting the men at a memorial fountain midway between our parents' houses, however, we were running about an hour late. That did not matter, because as soon as I saw Atilla, all of my anxiety and stress disappeared. He was standing in front the fountain, with a blindfold on, waiting for me. He looked so handsome, smiling at me. I took the blindfold off and as soon as he saw me, his eyes lit up. We took a couple of seconds to look at each other, and really embrace the moment. We had both written letters to one another. I tried to read mine to Atilla, but was overcome with emotions and tears began rolling down my cheeks as soon as I read the first line. Atilla graciously took the letter from my hands and read it silently to spare my tears. He then read his letter to me right afterwards. That was one of the most beautiful and special parts of the day.

After the first look, the whole wedding party headed to downtown Chicago to take some pictures. We had a great time, and by 4:30PM we jumped in the party bus to Vernon Hills for the ceremony and reception. The venue we chose was the Cuneo Mansion and Gardens. It is an incredibly beautiful mansion immersed in 75 acres of lakes, fountains and botanical gardens. Our ceremony took place in the formal garden, which had these amazing columns that took place of the aisle. I walked down the aisle with both of my parents next to me, as the electric violinist played "A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri. I was the most poignant and absolutely perfect moment of my life.

After the ceremony, our guests were able to enjoy cocktails and hors d'oeurves on the terrace outside of the pavilion, while listening to the electric violinist play beautifully. Our reception passed by in a flash of laughter, good food, and lots of dancing, and before we knew it was over.

Words of Wisdom

Make sure to take a couple of minutes to yourself when you wake up in the morning the day of, and really take in that this is your wedding day. Try to enjoy all of the little moments and details throughout the day, because it will be over before you know it. Also, take some time and go into the reception hall before everyone else, just you and your fiancé, and look at all of the hard work you have accomplished. Most importantly, don't stress over the little things or anything that might go wrong. Enjoy the day no matter what happens, and remember that at the end of the day, the thing that matters the most is that you are marrying the love of your life!

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