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Growing up in Sweden, Negin and Chris lived in the same neighborhood, went to the same primary and middle schools, and even dated in fifth grade—although, like most preadolescent couples, they barely spoke. More than a decade later, they bumped into each other at a club, started reminiscing about their childhood, and hit it off ... again.
After several years together, the couple was watching a feel-good movie called To Rome with Love when Negin declared that she hoped to visit Rome someday. Chris kept this in mind and surprised her with plane tickets to the Italian city for her 30th birthday. Once on their weekend excursion, the duo explored for hours while Chris secretly searched for the perfect location to pop the question. Finally, when they stopped walking to rest their aching legs and feet, he kneeled down and proposed to a surprised Negin, who responded with joyous tears and a definitive “yes.”
And so, eight years after they began dating, Negin and Chris wed on August 15, 2014, at the Fredriksborg Hotel and Restaurant in Värmdö, a municipality in the archipelago in Stockholm, Sweden. The bride and groom planned the entire boho-chic celebration, which featured a vintage look and earthy color palette, and rang in their marriage with 92 guests.
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Negin and Chris searched for a relaxed wedding venue with a conservatory, a slightly bohemian feel, and a waterfront setting, but every location fell short of their wish list. Finally, after several months of looking, the couple discovered Fredriksborg Hotel and Restaurant in Värmdö and realized the beautiful locale fit their vision. They snatched up the site for their big day and held the Persian ceremony inside the greenhouse and the Swedish service outside.
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The Stationery Suite
The bride and groom designed the stationery themselves; Negin created the layout and Chris (who is called “Cribbe” in Spanish) made the invitation text. Recycled brown paper introduced the bohemian theme of the wedding and made the suite feel warm, welcoming, and natural. To cater to the bride’s Persian family and the groom’s Chilean relatives, the items were printed in Persian, Spanish, and Swedish. The invitations also included a timeline of the couple’s love story, which ended where the wedding started. “We wanted the guests to celebrate this step into something new with us,” says the bride.
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Negin started hunting for a long-sleeved lace gown with a vintage-boho look early in the wedding planning process, but she didn’t have much luck in Stockholm. She had consulted a Swedish designer to make a custom ensemble for her, but during a dress fitting two weeks prior to the wedding, realized that the material and fabric of the gown didn’t match her vision and she would feel uncomfortable in it. Instead, she figured she would wear her H&M reception gown to the ceremony.
With one week to spare, Negin made a last-ditch visit to a shop in her hometown, where she finally said yes to a lace dress with batwing sleeves by Swedish designer By Malina (she ended up buying the sample!). “This is probably the worst scenario ever for most brides, but it ended up pretty good,” she says. “I recommend everybody have a backup dress because you never know. But now I have a good story to tell!” She accessorized with Prada shoes bought on Ebay.
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Negin wore a flower crown of English roses, carnations, berries, and wheat.
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Chris bought Negin an emerald-cut, antique-looking engagement ring from the same local shop where he later bought his own white-gold ring. RosadosBox made Negin’s wedding band—the baguette and milgrain diamonds appeared charmingly “mismatched” with her engagement ring.
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When Negin went shopping with her florists, relatives Simin Moradi and Farshad Feiz, she didn’t have any particular blooms in mind but instead pointed out flowers that captured the desired feeling of her wedding. Simin and Farshad then arranged English roses, carnations, berries, wheat, and other elements into a chic, relaxed bouquet.
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Negin’s close friends served as bridesmaids and were told to pick a dress of their choice in “powdery colors” or gray.
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All bridesmaids wore crowns of orange hypericum berries.
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Chris’s best friend and his brother served as groomsmen.
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The couple shared an emotional first look one hour before the ceremony, which Chris credits as one of the most memorable parts of the day. He waited by the water for Negin as she approached from behind and tapped on his shoulder, and then he turned around to see his blushing and smiling bride. After a few heartfelt moments, photographer Alicia Swedenborg took the first set of wedding portraits.
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Day-Of Paper Goods
The programs, printed on recycled brown paper like the invitations, gave a trilingual timeline schedule of the day. Guests also received confetti to sprinkle on the couple during the recessional; Negin conceived the idea of the “Make It Rain Confetti” sign that topped the bags, and then enlisted SepiaSmiles to make the cute detail. Tissues were on hand for emotional moments during the ceremony, and the resourceful bride found the idea for the accompanying “For Happy Tears” poster online.
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Since the bride is Persian, the groom is from Chile, and both live in Sweden, the couple had two different ceremonies: a Swedish one and a Persian one. First was the secular Swedish service held outside. Negin and Chris entered unaccompanied on two separate walkways that eventually merged into one path. They met in the middle and continued to walk down the aisle together, hand in hand, as a band played a jazzy version of “Everywhere” by Fleetwood Mac.
The officiant, Helena Valentin, communicated the couple’s values regarding the reality of life and love. As for vows, Helena read letters that Chris and Negin wrote; each described the positive and negative aspects of the other and explained why they wanted to get married. “The purpose was that a marriage contains it all, both positive and negative experiences, and to be aware of each other’s good and bad sides. To love and work with the good and the bad,” says Negin. The pair’s mothers served as witnesses and closed the ceremony by signing the marriage certificate.
The service took place under a wooden arch that the bride’s father built the night before. However, in the hour leading to the wedding, windy weather caused the entire thing to collapse. “The staff had to build up everything the best they could fast, and that’s why the backdrop is a bit askew,” says Negin. “But I actually didn’t notice it was leaning a bit until I saw the pictures after the wedding because I was busy having a blast!”
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The Persian Ceremony
After the Swedish ceremony, the couple continued with the Persian service in the conservatory with Negin’s mother as the officiant. The bride and groom sat down at a big table in front of a “Sofreh Aghd” (wedding spread), which is a tradition in Iranian weddings. Many items symbolic of a married life are placed on the table in various bowls and dishes. A mirror and two candles—important representations of light and fire in the ancient Zoroastrian culture—represented the bride, the groom, and the brightness of their future.
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Sofreh Aghd Symbols
Among the other items used in the “Sofreh Aghd,” walnuts and eggs stood as a symbol of fertility, pomegranates called for a joyous future, and bread signified fundamental life-sustaining food.
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Coins placed in a bowl represented fortune and prosperity.
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Sealing the Deal
To wish the couple a “sweet” life together, female relatives held a veil over their heads and ground sugar cones onto it. Then Negin and Chris each dipped a pinky finger in a cup of honey and stuck it in the other’s mouth. “This gesture symbolizes the start of our life together with sweetness and love,” says Negin.
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Cookies, which also personify sweetness, were shared with guests after the ritual.
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Cocktails in the Garden
During cocktail hour in the garden, guests were served canapés, caramelized popcorn made by one of the bridesmaids, Bellinis, and signature cocktails: an apple martini for the bride and a caipirinha for the groom. As a personal touch, Negin attached paper flags inscribed with the couple’s name and wedding date to wooden stir sticks. Among the guests were Chris’s father and grandmother, who traveled from Chile for the wedding.
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The Guest Book
The personalized guestbook from CraftyPiePress also featured the couple’s names and wedding date. Since Negin and Chris walked down the aisle to “Everywhere” by Fleetwood Mac, they had lyrics from the song (“I wanna be with you everywhere”) etched in the side. Lines from their first dance song, “If I Used to Love You” by Daniel Lemma, are etched on the back cover: “If I used to love you baby, ain’t nothing like I’m, I’m loving you now.”
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The reception was held in a tent with long tables, wooden chairs, simple brown runners, and neutral-colored dinnerware. Guests dined on asparagus soup and fillet of beef with potato cakes. Later in the evening, burgers were grilled as a “much appreciated” midnight snack.
Negin and Chris also surprised guests with three rounds of shots during the dinner; right before each shot, the DJ played a Mexican song called “El Mariachi Loco.”
“After the first shot, the guests knew what was coming when the song played the second and third time,” says Negin. “It was a great way to get people in fiesta mode!” Chris agrees that the rounds of shots made a fun, relaxed atmosphere and prevented the dinner from becoming “stiff.”
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Señor and Señora
Negin and Chris used the words “señor” and “señora” in their invitations as a shout-out to the groom’s Chilean heritage, so they incorporated the Spanish lingo onto the backs of their wedding chairs as well.
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Vases of wild-looking flowers, which were the same blooms featured in Negin’s bouquet and crown, served as centerpieces.
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A sign on each table outlined the rules to an “Instagram scavenger hunt”—guests had to capture and upload images of love, laughter, a selfie, a group selfie, the bride and groom, and more. Although Negin and Chris don’t remember who won the game, they said they enjoyed looking through the pictures after the celebration.
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Negin’s parents, her brother, her friends, and Chris gave speeches directed at her, while Chris’s mom, brother, and friends gave him speeches. The bride said that all of the toasts were so personal and emotional that she got teary-eyed.
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The bridesmaids invented a fun game for wedding guests to see how well they knew the couple—each table worked as a team to answer questions, and held up a cutout of Negin’s head or Chris’s head as the answer. For example, one question was, “Who cleans the house more often?” Every table held up the cutout of Negin’s head, but Chris was actually the right answer.
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Dancing with Knives
As a Persian wedding tradition, female relatives “steal” the cake knife and dance with it while the bride and groom “earn” it back, usually by offering the women money, in order to cut their cake. Negin’s aunt, Claudia, participated in the knife dance after dinner.
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A dessert table offered various small Persian cakes and Swedish candies.
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A Change of Clothes
A year or two before her wedding, Negin spotted a long-sleeved lace H&M Conscious Exclusive off-white dress and fell in love. She kept the dress in the back of her mind, and after she got engaged, she knew she wanted to wear it at her reception. The only problem was that the dress was discontinued in the years since she first saw it, and Negin couldn’t find it anywhere online. Finally, after lots of searching, she came across the same gown on Ebay—still adorned with price tags and in her perfect size.
The bride changed into the number after dinner, before the first dance and a sunset photo session near the water. Negin says she notices a big difference between her preceremony and postceremony portraits, specifically “the tension and nervous emotions before and the happiness and relief after.”
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