Traditional Catholic Ceremony + Romantic, Tented At-Home Reception

Shara and Ross

Photographed by: Robert Evans Studios & lauren b. photographyLocation: Chaska, Minnesota, United States

Shara Abdoo and Ross Hoffman came into each other’s lives at a charity auction for the Children’s Cancer Research Fund. Shara and Ross’ sister were volunteering, while Ross was one of the attendees. However, it wasn’t until a following function that they were formerly introduced – and both felt a connection. “After the event, my aunt said Ross couldn’t keep his eyes off of me,” says Shara. Though, their whirlwind romance didn’t commence until six months later, they were joyously engaged in less than a year.

Shara started the big day off right by sipping Champagne and savoring French pastries with her family and bridesmaids. The traditional Catholic ceremony was held in a Romanesque church that is more than 100 years old. The couple surprised the groom’s mother by having the choir of The Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis sing during the service. The processional included bridesmaids in off-white, empire waist frocks. Shara wore a sublime strapless, Alençon lace gown by Monique Lhuillier. She accessorized her ensemble with a chapel-length veil and her late grandmother’s gold diamond bracelet. Ross donned a black tuxedo and ivory tie.

“Once we got engaged [we knew] we wanted to have the reception on our property,” says Shara. “We had just bought our new home a week before [Ross proposed].” So, a magnificent air-conditioned tent structure with glass walls, a clear arched ceiling, LED dance floor, and covered outdoor terrace was constructed in the couple’s front lawn fringed by verdant trees.

Guests and the newlyweds entered the space to the sound of tapping raindrops from the passing showers of the afternoon and, as if on cinematic cue, a rainbow could be seen through the ceiling. Contemporary circular chandeliers with glass globes that looked like floating bubbles were suspended overhead. Shara and Ross selected a classic palette of white, cream, and gold for the aesthetic of the celebration – from the high and low floral designs in tall mercury-glass vases and French tins to the linens. The head table also featured a cascading hydrangea arrangement. Place settings were anchored by elegant Monique Lhuillier china with pastel blue rims, and delicate white vanilla dots lent a dash of color.

“The reception was a true reflection of our personalities. We love to entertain and have a good time with friends and family,” explains the bride. “As [the dinner] was held at our home, we wanted it to be an extension of how we prefer to host: with lots of great food and wine.” This was evident in the cornucopia of seasonal and organic fare favored and tailored by Shara and Ross. Passed hors d’oeuvres during the cocktail hour included crispy arancini, spaghetti and meatballs, and caprese skewers, while the tantalizing six-course dinner offered an entrée choice of 60-day dry-aged prime beef with artichoke potato gratin or galantine chicken stuffed with spinach and mushrooms, and truffled risotto cake.

Since Shara is part Lebanese, Ross surprised her with a performance by a Lebanese dance troupe as guests dined. In keeping with her cultural traditions, they also cut the cake with a sword. Described as a “phenomenal five-tier work of art” by the bride, the confection was embellished with a quilted pattern, leafy sugar vines and roses, and the couple’s crested monogram. Shara and Ross credit their wedding planners for working with their vendors to capture the celebration they envisioned.

Eternally grateful for a cause that’s dear to Shara and Ross, which fatefully brought them together, “We made a donation to the Children’s Cancer Research Fund, the charity we met through, on behalf of our wedding guests,” says the bride.

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