A Multicultural Family Affair: Elise and Sergio’s Wedding
Elise Lang met her husband, Sergio Chwoschtschinsky, in 2012 while living in Louisiana. Three years later, they wed in an intimate civil ceremony but also wanted a religious mass and a celebration that included friends and family from around the globe. In September 2015, they hosted a wedding weekend at East Lynn Farm featuring cultures from Botswana to Venezuela to Louisiana.
How did the two of you meet?
We met in Baton Rouge while I was doing a fellowship with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I had been living in a house with four roommates for the past year and a half. When one of my roommates moved out, Sergio moved in. One night, when I came home from work, he cooked me a delicious dinner and we talked for hours. This became a nightly ritual and within two weeks, we were dating. He’s been cooking for me ever since!
What inspired you the most when designing your wedding?
We really just wanted to have a good time. We were already [legally] married, so our goal was to have a religious ceremony (we both grew up Catholic) and then celebrate with family and friends, including around 40 guests from outside of the U.S. Sergio grew up in Venezuela, so we wanted to incorporate Latin America and other cultures.
How did you infuse culture into your celebration?
I often travel to Africa for work. While on a trip to Botswana, I bought some colorful cloths and we used them as the table covers for our reception. They were my favorite colors, green and orange, in traditional patterns.
There is a Latin American tradition to have an hora loca (crazy hour) during weddings. We decided to hold a 2-hour hora loca. Starting around 9pm threw glow sticks, foam hats, feather masks, and boas, into the dancing crowd. We also used vendors from Venezuela, including our caterer.
Finally, we gave our guests a jar of Louisiana Cajun spices to take home with them as a party favor. It was nice to add a touch from each end of our lives—from my work in Africa, to his home in Venezuela to our meeting in Louisiana.
What made you decide to have your wedding at East Lynn Farm?
I knew I wanted to celebrate at a place with a laid-back country atmosphere, and ideally in a barn. We also knew we would have several people traveling from far away and we wanted to find a venue that would allow us to spend as much time with them as possible. In visiting East Lynn Farm, I completely fell in love with the garden and barn; it’s absolutely gorgeous there.
When we found out that you could rent East Lynn Farm for the entire weekend, we were sold!
I also appreciated the flexibility that East Lynn Farm offers to choose your own vendors, or even handle aspects of the wedding yourself. For example, on the Friday afternoon before the wedding, my bridesmaids and I picked flowers from East Lynn Farm’s gardens and made them into bouquets, boutonnieres, and centerpieces. For the centerpieces, we put the flowers in a mason jars, along with sea glass, which I’ve collected since childhood. They looked beautiful, and I loved that we could add our own individual touches to the flowers – not one bouquet or center piece was alike.
What was your favorite part of the day?
It was so nice to have everyone we love in one place! One highlight for me was the maid of honor and best man speeches. I also enjoyed dancing the night away, and making the rounds to dance and chat with everyone, some who I hadn’t seen in ages. It was very special having Sergio’s friends from Venezuela there with us. We don’t get to visit often and this was the first time in many, many years that the group of friends was together.
We also enjoyed the months leading up to the wedding. I love wine, and I wanted to pick just the right wines for the wedding. A few months before the wedding, we invited friends over to our house for tastings. We whittled down a long list of wine to two reds and two whites that we loved–a 2014 Maipe Malbec from Argentina, a 2013 Coppola Shiraz from California, a 2014 Meiomi California Chardonnay and a 2013 Rueda Herederos del Marqués de Riscal from Spain.
What advice do you have for other couples getting married?
I’d tell them to try to enjoy the moment and not worry so much about the details. The important part of a wedding is having the people you care about there to celebrate with you. If you’re having a good time, so will your guests!
What Vendors did you use to make the day special?
Our wonderful caterer, Hernan Hurtado and his company, Hemibry Catering, prepared some fabulous Venezuelan specialties including arepas, tequeños and fried plantains.
We had a blast with our amazing photographers from Al Agua, whose CEO and founder, Priscilla Torres, is a close friend of Sergio.
We hired Rebecca Chase with Icing on the Cake Events to help us organize the week before the wedding and set up on the day of. It was key to have her there, so that I didn’t have to worry about a thing when I woke up that Saturday morning. When we came back to the farm after our ceremony at the church, everything was perfect!