Before The Wedding: The Bride Shares Her Thoughts
Elizabeth Charlez and Rahja Porter are making their wedding special by adding personal touches to everything from the ceremony, food and flowers to the dress and rings.
Speaking a few days beforehand, Elizabeth, 34, who works as an assistant at a law firm and her husband-to-be, Rahja, 24, a financial administrator for a broker, were looking forward to the ceremony in their place of worship, the Candlewood Church in Omaha, Nebraska, followed by a backyard-style wedding kindly hosted at his home by their pastor, Pastor Rory Whitney, and his family.
Elizabeth described the week before their wedding during Memorial Day weekend as ‘crazy’.
She said: I thought I would feel a lot more relaxed, because I tried to plan so much beforehand, and all that planning did have its purpose. But it is crazy and you can’t expect anything else, with guests who decide not to come, checking the weather - there’s always something. I’ve re-done the seating plan five times or more.
Elizabeth and Rahja have planned a wedding full of personal elements. Elizabeth didn’t want to go for a white wedding dress, for example, but chose a unique and detailed dress for the ceremony, with blush undertones and a layer of silver and golden beads and sequins. Later, she will change into a shorter pink and sparkly dress. The couple have arranged a decorated school bus to transport guests from the church. The backyard-style wedding will have Hispanic touches, with a taco truck for the catering and cacti among the candles on the tables. The cake topper, made to look like the bride and groom in their wedding finery, is in Mexican ‘Day of the Dead’ style.
The part of the day Elizabeth is most looking forward to is the music. The couple have booked a DJ, but Elizabeth let him know their favorite tracks, starting with 50s love songs by Aretha Franklin and Frank Sinatra, moving on to lower key music during the cocktail and dinner hour, and finishing with music to dance to later in the evening. Their first dance will be to ‘This Must Be The Place’ by Talking Heads.
The couple’s daughter, Akilah, aged two, will be the flower girl along with two young cousins, but otherwise the wedding for 75 will be child-free. Elizabeth said: “We are trying to keep it a good time for the parents.”
Elizabeth has taken the lead in planning the wedding, with a ‘huge help’ from their pastor’s daughter and her bridesmaid Lydia, since Rahja’s romantic proposal back in October 2021. Rahja proposed on a snowy mountainside while the couple was on vacation in Colorado, producing a rose gold vintage style ring from LovBe, the Adelaide Princess Engagement Ring.
Elizabeth said: I had said I liked rose gold, but my significant other designed it. My wedding band is also rose gold, and his ring is black with rose gold, with our wedding date and an intimate quote engraved inside: ‘With you by my side, I enjoy the passing of time’.
Rose gold is a theme throughout, including the wedding lasso element in their ceremony, when the pastor will bind their hands together with a rose gold rosary.
Before the big day, Elizabeth is most concerned about the personal vows within the traditional ceremony. She said: My personality is more playful, but the vows can’t all be funny. I will be outside my comfort zone and vulnerable.
Elizabeth and Rahja have known each other for four years, after meeting through her mother, and getting married is an important commitment to their relationship.
Elizabeth said: We have created a family as it is now, but I hope there will be a different feeling after the wedding. We didn’t have stable backgrounds and relationships are easy to leave. With a marriage you have to stay and work through your problems, facing difficulties sooner rather than letting them simmer, so our kids will have a different upbringing from ourselves.”
Elizabeth’s advice for future brides? Take the honeymoon straight after the wedding.
Elizabeth said: I thought it would be too much all at once, but after a busy week and the wedding itself I now get why it’s important to prioritize time for yourself and the groom.
The couple intend on planning their honeymoon once they are married and have asked friends and family wishing to give them wedding presents to contribute to a honeymoon fund. Elizabeth said: “We need to make sure we do the honeymoon quite soon.”
For now, with the marriage imminent, Elizabeth hopes that the wedding will be unique, and that everyone has a good time, and we have a good time, and we get to embrace every moment.