From Korea to California: Erin and Luke's Story

After tying the knot in front of Erin’s family and friends in Korea, Erin and Luke Durain enjoyed their first year of married life, during which they planned a second wedding ceremony for their loved ones in America. On July 18th, 2019, the newlyweds, together with friends and family, gathered at the historic Orcutt Ranch in Los Angeles, as Erin and Luke vowed their lifelong commitment to one another.

The Procession

As Erin prepared to stun the guests and groom in her wedding gown, Luke put the finishing touches on the reception area and directed guests to the outdoor wedding area. 

Greetings abounded as longtime friends became reacquainted and strangers introduced themselves to one another. Then the wedding party began its procession. 

In addition to the traditional bride’s maid and groomsmen, Erin and Luke also introduced “groom’s-women” to the ceremony. While Erin’s bridesmaids styled in flowy lavender dresses, Luke’s groomswomen wore buttery yellow gowns, complementing Luke’s cheerful bowtie and suspenders.

Then it was Erin’s turn to make her memorable journey down the aisle. The guests rose to their feet in anticipation as the bride made her way to her beloved. Elegant and radiant, Erin dazzled in a floor-length ensemble with a sweetheart neckline, delicate lace sleeves and bodice. Atop her head, she wore an embroidered gauze veil attached to a beautifully-crafted tiara. She styled her long locks in simple curls, embracing a lovely, natural hairstyle, as befitting her verdant surroundings.

Erin joined Luke before the altar, a simple archway interwoven with white floral arrangements, as the officiant began the ceremony. First, he described the famous “study date” that lasted thirteen hours and led to Luke and Erin’s first official date. Then, he reflected on the Durains’ strengths as a couple, describing their ability to love each other, while also leaving space for individual growth. Moreover, he noted, Erin and Luke recognize that “Love shared is not diminished.” Rather than falling into the trap of excluding others in their relationship, the two willingly continue to cultivate friendships outside of the partnership.

The Promises

The officiant, after making his introductory remarks, invited the bride and groom to proclaim their covenant before God, with the vows they had written. Luke and Erin each mingled poetry with concrete examples in their promises to one another.

Luke described Erin as “the woman of [his] dreams,” and went on to identify tangible ways in which he would model Christ’s love in their married life. Luke promised to “rely on God to give love,” and to love Erin delicately, like a flower. He stated that he would not “use his imperfections as an excuse for hurting [her].” Luke also committed himself to love and value Erin, for all of her– not just because of her lovely appearance. (“By the way,” he remarked in a tender aside, “you are very beautiful.”)

In her soft, sweet voice, Erin opened her heart to Luke in the presence of the guests. She told about her life before meeting Luke, about the ways that painful parts of her past threatened to quench her hope of a healthy, loving relationship. But, she explained, things changed when she met Luke. She felt at peace, and even hopeful, about sharing herself with another person. Incredibly, she found that reality “was far better than any of [her] dreams combined.” Erin committed to “see through the lens of the Creator,” and “walk with [Luke] from winter to spring.” Powerfully, she concluded with a promise to “choose love over fear each and every day.”

The two concluded their vows with promises of exclusivity and choice—from that day forth. After their kiss as (American) husband and wife, Luke and Erin boogied down the aisle hand-in-hand, beneath showers 0f rose petals.

Following the ceremony, the guests meandered over to the reception area while the joyful couple hurried away to take wedding photos.

The Tacos

Attendees were invited to sign the guestbook and enjoy appetizers as they awaited the return of the bride and groom. Anticipation grew (as did the mouthwatering scent of the wedding feast: endless tacos with a scrumptious array of toppings) as the guests made their way to the reception area. 

The guests feasted on tacos and company as the bride and groom made their way around the tables, extending heartfelt greetings to their family and friends. Then they slipped away for more photographs with the bridal party, before returning a bit later for their “official” entrance.

The Toasts

Lydia emceed the evening’s festivities, welcoming Erin and Luke as husband and wife. As the dregs of daylight slipped away, friends and family raised glasses of sparkling cider in honor of the bride and groom.

On the groom’s side, toasts resounded with gratitude, ruminating on the joy that Erin brings to Luke’s life. As the groom’s older sister noted, his characteristic smile has only grown since he met Erin. Similarly, Erin’s younger sister, Michelle, thanked Luke. “Now I don’t worry anymore,” she said. “You are the perfect match for Erin.”

Warm memories flowed throughout the toasts, from the story of how Sara met Erin at a Deck the Haven event, to how Luke slipped into Erin’s circle at Fuller Theological. Lydia, with heartwarming humor, told about how she helped Erin tie her shoes, the first time they met. “Now,” Lydia said, “she has somebody in her life to tie her shoes for her.”

Luke, following-up Lydia’s remarks, wittily identified himself as “the shoe tie-er.” He went on to thank the Choi family and the Durain family, as well as the local friends of the bride and groom (“the California family”). Then Luke’s uncle rose to honor Luke’s mother, who single-handedly raised her six children! Although she was unable to attend the ceremony, she is an amazing mom who raised Luke to be the wonderful young man that he is. 

In the midst of the toasts, dessert was served. Guests could choose between red velvet and chocolate cupcakes, as well as berry-topped vanilla wedding cake. 

The Tango

Then it was time for the time-honored “first dance.” Under the warm moonlight, Erin and Luke spun, twirled and swayed to Sinatra’s crooning of “The Way You Look Tonight.” To the onlooker, the dance appeared perfectly choreographed—each step and lift perfectly timed and executed. For Erin and Luke, the motions were fluid improvisation: a metaphor, perhaps, of their relationship, which Erin describes as “a dance that leans into the dark and negative spaces of our stories, as well as stepping back out into a space of hope together.”

As the music played, the guests joined the newlyweds on the dance floor, grooving to hits like “What Makes You Beautiful,” by One Direction, and “Treasure,” by Bruno Mars. As the sweet evening melted to an end, Luke and Erin bid their adieus to their “California family,” preparing to set off for a new life together in Chicago. 

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