Kristin Kirkjan and Chris Rogers became Mr. and Mrs. Rogers on November 12, 2016. But their story began long before. The happy couple had been a happy couple for over 10 years. (Looking at Kristin, you’d think that 10 years ago, she must’ve been 7 years old, but we assure you, she’s a legal adult. She’s just that beautiful.) Nowadays, Kristin works for a news station and Chris is an investor.
Our story with Kristin and Chris also began many months before the big day. Jen hosted Kristin and her mom, Tammy, for a consultation, and soon thereafter we embarked upon the planning process together. The Kirkjan family is Armenian through and through, and Tammy was very involved in the planning process. This was to be a traditional Armenian wedding, no doubt about it. We had never photographed an Armenian wedding before, and we were so excited to learn about the customs, to explore new locations and photographic challenges, and to be welcomed along for the festivities.
Not only was the Kirkjan family deeply rooted in the Armenian church, but we arrived at the Saint Garabed Armenian Apostolic Church of the Desert in Rancho Mirage, CA to discover their name was on the building! That’s right—next door to the beautiful little cathedral was Kirkjan Family Hall. Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity as its official religion all the way back in 301AD, and we wouldn’t be surprised if the Kirkjan family could trace their lineage to that origin. The ceremony, of course, took place in the cathedral, but it was a fun twist to look next door and be reminded of how much this place must mean to this family.
All that timeless wonder gave way to an intimate and heartfelt ceremony, full of tradition. One of Luke’s favorite moments of the day was in the foyer of the cathedral watching Kristin and her dad, George, preparing to take the short walk down the aisle to her long happily ever after. She turned to her father and said “Daddy, tell me a joke. You have to make me laugh!” He was too overcome by the moment, and by his daughter’s feminine beauty to think of anything clever at the time, but the brief levity was all that was needed before the doors opened and she stepped in to meet her groom. They were crowned in the Armenian tradition, shared the cup and the priest’s blessing, and when they emerged, their glow was no less than that of a newly-coronated king and queen.
But what royal coronation would be complete without a feast? We headed to the Renaissance Indian Wells Resort & Spa in Indian Wells, CA, for a great big party! The intimate 30-person ceremony was a striking contrast to the grand and jovial, but sophisticated reception, filled with over 250 friends and family. Despite its elegant grandeur, the reception was not lacking in tradition either. When Kristin and Chris entered the reception, they stomped on a decorated plate, smashing it in accordance with the custom for dispelling evil spirits. They made sure to visit each and every one of their guests, and it’s a wonder they still had energy afterwards to dance the night away. But dance they did! And the dancing included several traditional Armenian dances—one for everybody in a circle around the bride and groom, one for the women in a circle around the dance floor, and one for the men in a circle around a bottle of whiskey. We loved how eventful it was, and it made photographing a real joy!
We often recommend that couples choose options for their weddings that aren’t bound by tradition. We advise things like a ‘first look’ (in which the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony), or skipping the cake cutting in favor of more unusual dessert options that don’t involve awkward face-stuffing photos. But Kristin and Chris’s wedding proves that you don’t have to abandon tradition to still have a day full of elegance, fun, comfort, and rich meaning.
The important thing is to make choices for your wedding that reflect you, your family, and your values. Kristin and Chris did, and we couldn’t be happier for them!
Wedding Vendors ||
Ceremony Venue: Saint Garabed Armenian Apostolic Church of the Desert
Reception Venue: Renaissance Indian Wells Resort & Spa
Hair & Makeup: Self & Friend
Photographer: Jennifer Yount Photography
Flowers: LA Flower Market
Catering: Renaissance Indian Wells Resort & Spa
DJ: DJ Rex