Real Wedding: Mark & Rahwa Host a Classic Affair at the Sentinel Hotel

We love the way this wedding combines modern elegance with classic style. Even the brides gown has a very traditional lace pattern but incorporates modern design. We’ll let Rahwa describe her wedding, since she does it better than we ever could. Don’t miss her gorgeous bouquet!!

beautiful african american bride on wedding day

Mark & Rahwa

July 20, 2019 

The Sentinel Hotel

Portland, Oregon 

african american bride bridal party

“I have actually never been into the idea of a wedding. Seemed like too much fuss for one day! But, once I got started, I was in. I'm a planner by nature and Type A . I wanted it all to feel very romantic but chic, vintage but also elegant. On top of that, we also incorporated both of our cultures- mine being Ethiopian and his Egyptian. We did that mostly through music. We also had a 2 day wedding which is the norm in Ethiopia, with the first being more Western and the second day being traditional Ethiopian.” 

bridal gown hanging from window
wedding shoes
black bride getting dressed
black bride getting dressed
african american bride bridal party
wedding ceremony design in church
ring bearer
flower girls
bride going down the aisle
african american bride in church wedding ceremony

“I absolutely love flowers, wood, and greenery and that played a huge part in both our ceremony and reception. We hired a local florist and she really worked with my vision and came up with the perfect arrangements. Our church was very wood heavy so the white floral hoop with underlying greenery was perfect. It was also used behind the head table as a green contrast to the white pillars. I think that was my favorite. I also really loved the garland on the head table and my bouquet. I've actually planted it in my backyard because I can't bear to part with it. In Ethiopia, women will hold up flowers/greenery to greet the bride and groom on their entrance and throughout the night to signify their presence in a space so they definitely play an important and focal role.”

beautiful veil on black bride
husband lifting brides veil
bride and groom leaving the ceremony

“My brother even helped to officiate the wedding ceremony because he's studying to become a pastor. My favorite part of the wedding was probably the exchange of our vows. We didn't personalize it because we're emotional wrecks but still...It was an is an indescribable feeling and I knew in that moment that I'd made the right decision in marrying Mark.”

bride and groom after the wedding
entire wedding party outside of church

“Well, I LOVE lace. I think it is the epitome of elegance and sexiness. So being that I wanted to be both, it was all I searched for. I found the right dress like 15 dresses in and I knew right away when I put it on. I also knew I wanted a long 2-tier lace veil and I took a bit of a risk by purchasing it online but it ended up being perfect and saving me hundreds of dollars. For my bridesmaids, I knew what color I wanted so I allowed them to choose the style as I wanted it to be comfortable and a little eclectic. With them wearing mauve and myself wearing ivory with a touch of sand, it was very romantic. I actually was surprised how much I loved ivory/sand combo and that was only because the lace detail didn't pop as much in one color. I love lace so much I didn't wear a white dress at all. Crazy!”

bride and groom getting out of limo
bride and groom with forest backdrop
black bride laughing
black couple in rose garden on wedding day
beautiful bouquet
sweet moment african american bride and groom
black bride and groom in rose garden
back of beautiful lace dress
couple walking away

“He proposed on our 2 year anniversary. I would  be lying if I said I didn't have a clue. I sort of felt it happening but he threw me off by waiting until very late in the night and also by telling me to look out on the water. I then thought he was going to propose via a sign or something elaborate. Instead, I turned around and he was on one knee. So, really, it was a distraction. I was surprised but super happy. I knew I wanted to marry him straight away so we planned on getting married the following summer and that's what we did.” 

beautiful couple
reception decor
floral detail in wedding reception

“The style was very romantic/vintage/elegant so lots of lace, floral arrangements, greenery and color wherever I could put it. My dress was lace so that was a connecting theme to the reception as I added lace overlays to all the tables. We didn't have a specific color, rather a palette of pale nudes, with the main one being mauve. For contrast, we also added a chocolate pop in the florals and wood by way of the chairs. It wasn't DIY but it was definitely an assortment of vendors from Amazon to Hobby Lobby to Etsy.” 

first dance
bride and groom cut the cake
bride and groom make an entrance
bride and groom in sunglasses

When asked what advice she would give on love and marriage, Rahwa said: “Breathe. Make lists. Give yourself credit for what you've accomplished. Do sweat the details. Be vocal about what you want and what you expect. And always love each other.”

We 100% agree with that advice. Wishing you a lifetime of happiness Mark and Rahwa.


Dress Store: Charlottes Weddings and More || Ceremony Venue: First Presbyterian Church || Reception Venue: The Sentinel Hotel || Photographer: Indigo West