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Real Wedding | Hélène & Christopher

Bride: Hélène Seita
Groom: Christopher Sterbling
Wedding gown style: 12709
Wedding date: September 8, 2012
Boutique purchased: Vera Wang Boston
Location: Château de La Ferté Saint-Aubin, Private estate
Photographer:  Marion Heurteboust

First things first, where did you meet your husband?  How did you know he was the one?

Chris and I are both engineers by education and as such, we met in our Differential Equations class at Virginia Tech. We had spent two desperate years not knowing each other at school, and this was all about to change. Chris started courting me during one of our group assignments, and soon enough, complex multivariable equations turned into hour-long and heartfelt conversations. I fell for his charm; he liked my French accent. While we dated for several years in college, our relationship was tested by the prospect of graduating and going separate ways to follow our individual careers. Despite the odds, we decided to make it work, and it was in that moment that I knew that Chris would not just be my college sweetheart; he would be my best friend for life. 

How did he propose? Tell us the story!

While celebrating Christmas at my family’s country house in France, Chris decided to pop the question in my native language. Gathering his best beginner French-level skills, Chris made a simple grammatical mistake and turned the question “Will you marry me?” into the loveliest mandate I have ever heard: “You will marry me.” I happily obliged with a “Oui!” 

Once the wedding plans started, what made you decide on a Vera Wang gown?

When I saw myself wearing the Kate Hudson dress for the first time, everything fell into place. I had tried dozens of gowns, multitudes of brands and styles from Paris to Boston, yet nothing seemed to fit my vision as well as that Vera Wang gown. 

How did you accessorize to make your wedding day unique?

The combined softness and opulence of the Kate Hudson gown meant that I would keep my accessories simple and understated. I wanted the dress to shine. I picked my great-grand-mother’s “Toi et Moi” style engagement ring along with drop pearl earrings to match the flow and airiness of the dress. On that warm late summer day, I also chose “Jardin sur le Nil” by Hermès for its fresh, citrusy, and feminine scent.

What was the inspiration or theme for your wedding?

I grew up tending to several enormous Hydrangeas bushes at our country house; some bushes had been planted decades ago for my grandparents’ wedding, others were transplants from family members’ and friends’ gardens. They all had a unique presence and a personal connection to the people I love. The soft colors and plush look of the flowers inspired me both for the palette and the atmosphere I wanted for our big day.

Did you stay true to the Old English wedding rhyme: Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. If so, what were yours?

I remember trying to figure that out on the big day, but didn’t know the saying by heart so I think I missed a few! My great-grandmother’s ring was something old, my earrings were something new, my shoes were something blue, but I don’t think I had that something borrowed!

What tips do you have for new brides picking out their wedding dress?

Follow your instincts. Chances are you will look gorgeous no matter what wedding gown you try on. The trick is to find the one dress that feels like a second skin: a dress that represents your spirit, complements your vision of the wedding, and that you don’t just like, but LOVE. 

What was your favorite part of the day? And, are there any other anecdotes you would like to share?

I cannot pick a single moment of the day, it was all so perfect. I would probably say that the start of the night was my favorite part, when I got to dance with the two men of my life: my father and my husband.  If there is one anecdote I can share however, it is that I actually took a 30 min nap on my wedding day because I had barely slept the night before (nerves!).  This was a counterintuitive, yet great idea.  Instead of being tired and overwhelmed, I was recharged and refreshed, ready to enjoy every second of the wonderful day ahead.

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