On their one-year anniversary, Christopher Elie Khater sent Kimberly Bianca Gray, who goes by her middle name, on a scavenger hunt – “each location serving as a small reminder of all the fun times we had shared together,” describes Chris. “Being that our anniversary also happened to share the date with Easter, I left both a rose and an Easter egg with a riddle inside that not only described what memory we shared there, but that would also lead Bianca to the next location.” 

The last riddle led them to the beach, which is one of Bianca’s favorite places. “I had scheduled a surprise photo shoot in order to celebrate our anniversary [but] the surprises didn’t stop there,” Chris describes. In the middle of the photo shoot, he got down on one knee and proposed. “Distracted by the excitement of the scavenger hunt, Bianca failed to notice that the first letter of each clue spelled out ‘MARRY ME’ – something we both still laugh about,” he smiles. 

The couple worked closely with the mother of the bride and their wedding planner to organize a dream wedding day in North Carolina, the bride’s home state and where Chris and Bianca were respectively working and attending medical school at the time. “Both Chris and I have family from all around the country, so there was no perfect central location… We were very fortunate so many friends and family were willing to travel to make the day even more special,” Bianca adds. 

As faith is a large part of their lives, they chose to exchange vows in a church. “We wanted to start our marriage off with God and the church’s blessing,” the bride shares. While they had a traditional Catholic ceremony, the service was personalized to include elements important to the couple. Not only did they present flowers to the Virgin Mary, but they took part in a lasso unity ceremony and a local tribe leader also performed a Native American blessing, to honor the bride’s roots, including smudging, hand-fasting, and blanket and basket-presenting ceremonies. 

“While we wanted these pieces of our story incorporated, we aimed to do so in subtle ways that maintained the elegance of the evening.”

After the “I dos,” guests made their way to a nearby country club for the reception. “We loved the large ballroom and massive windows all throughout, as we have always loved as much natural light as possible in a room,” notes the bride, adding that they strived to bring the outdoors in. Thus, the setting was transformed with plentiful greenery including 15-foot-tall trees around the perimeter and tree-like images projected on the ceiling, as well as a palette of white, gold, and light blue. “We wanted a refined and sophisticated, yet inviting, wedding,” Bianca shares. 

Since the bride “envisioned an airy and gardenesque wedding,” the floral design was incredibly important to the overall design. Lush blooms and verdure decorated all areas of the ballroom, and centerpieces highlighted elevated arrangements on rectangular tables and oversized tree-inspired arrangements atop round tables. “While the florals were mostly white, there were delicate accents of light blue blooms to infuse some color into the room,” notes the bride. 

The motifs used throughout the design also celebrated their ancestry, as well as their interests. A tall seating chart displayed acrylic soccer jerseys escorting guests to their seats to honor their shared love for the sport, cedar trees from the Lebanese national flag were incorporated into the seating chart, invitation suite, and décor, and dogwood tree blossoms were used as an ode to the state flower of North Carolina. “While we wanted these pieces of our story incorporated, we aimed to do so in subtle ways that maintained the elegance of the evening,” describes Bianca. 

At the beginning of the reception, the newlyweds entered with a zaffa dance group for the traditional Lebanese entrance to honor Chris’ family background. “It was an amazing memory,” confirms the bride. “Our guests had so much fun with this as well, as dabke is something that is very inclusive and guests are encouraged to get up and participate!” The couple also cut their towering wedding cake with a large sword, another Middle Eastern tradition. 

Multiple outfit changes for the bride and groom, late-night snacks including sliders, fried-chicken sandwiches, and a French-fry station with an array of toppings and sauces, and plenty of revelry kept all of their attendees happy, engaged, and celebrating all night long. Most of all, the couple loved sharing their Native American and Lebanese traditions with their friends and family members, all of whom come from various backgrounds. “It is always beautiful to see people from many places and cultures coming together,” smiles the bride.