At the urging of her mother, Marika Krissman attended a social function at Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Los Angeles. As a proud member of the church, Marika had been to many events over the years and was not expecting anything out of the ordinary from this particular one. Fortunately, she was met with a surprise, and his name was Kyri Tsircou. He was immediately taken with her, and after an evening of talking together, Kyri admits, “I knew she was the woman with whom I wanted to spend my life.”

Three years to the day of their meeting, Kyri asked Marika to marry him in a storybook proposal set on a beach in Santa Barbara. The couple began planning its equally enchanted wedding. Kyri and Marika soon found themselves together again at the setting of their first meeting. Saint Sophia’s held many special memories for the couple, the most significant being that Marika’s parents were also married there. Since Marika’s father passed away when she was quite young, holding her marriage within the cathedral’s walls was a loving tribute to his legacy.

Tradition, romance and the embrace of family were the underlying themes of the lavish and detailed affair that Marika and Kyri planned hand in hand with Marika’s mother. Experienced in the ways of event planning, she provided valuable advice as well as loving support as the bride’s best friend and role model.

Almost 300 guests attended the celebration that began with a Greek Orthodox ceremony steeped in 2,000-year-old traditions. Enveloped in both her parents’ love by a veil custom-made from her mother’s alencon lace wedding gown, Marika walked the grand aisle strewn with rose petals. She and Kyri absorbed the poignancy of each religious act, such as wearing the ceremonial crowns which united them with a ribbon and circling the altar three times as a symbol of their first steps as husband and wife. Just before the newlyweds were presented to their audience, Kyri and Marika’s parents blessed their marriage in Cypriot tradition—they kissed both them and their traditional crowns.

With rooms bursting with Marika’s favorite color scheme—fuchsia, lavender and burgundy—a dazzling reception was carried out with an over-abundance of roses. This motif was first introduced by handpainted roses on the wedding invitation and ceremony program and perpetuated by seven roses added to Marika’s gown to honor her seven bridesmaids. Coordinating roses were added to each bridesmaid’s dress, a rose was carved into the martini-dispensing ice sculpture and even the outline of a rose was projected onto the dance floor.

As guests arrived, a Greek band set the vibrant mood while guests dined on a selection of both American and Greek specialties, such as the 750 pieces of spanikopita (spinach and feta cheese pie) that Marika’s mother prepared for days before the wedding. Kyri’s mother made the traditional koufeta (sugar-coated almonds) that were used during the ceremony to symbolize abundance and fertility. These goodies were also given to wedding guests in heart-shaped Lenox boxes as favors.

Guests dined on a wedding feast at tables covered in over 100 silver frames displaying cherished photographs of the couple and its loved ones. During breaks in the band’s regular entertainment, Greek music summoned family members to the dance floor and, in addition to the couple’s rose-covered wedding cake, a groom’s cake made of tiered baklava (a traditional Greek dessert) was enjoyed.

As an artist, Marika paid extreme attention to every detail involved in her wedding so that the overall creative picture would be one of beauty and strong sentiment. Overwhelmed at times, she credits her husband with providing unconditional support of her dreams throughout the process. For Kyri, such encouragement came naturally and during their reception, he toasted his wife’s talents and devotion. “Along with all of our guests, I am reveling in your creation of a perfect evening and an unforgettable, incredibly beautiful and personal wedding.”