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Rita Youanis & Hanibal Taryorn

November 2, 2013

Rita Youanis & Hanibal Taryorn

Hanibal Taryorn asked Rita Youanis to marry him while on a gondola ride in Berkeley.

POSTED March 28, 2013 2:08 p.m.

Rita Youanis and Hanibal Taryorn did not know that they were destined to be together when they first met through mutual friends at Skewers Kabob House on July 5, 2007. In fact, Rita and Hanibal had a less than successful first encounter. It was the day after the fourth of July, and the array of fireworks the evening before could not ignite a spark between the two.

“He was sun burned from spending the day at the lake. I kind of blew him off and was rude to him [when] he introduced himself to me,” Rita admitted.

But as fate would have it, Hanibal and Rita crossed paths again the next day in downtown Modesto.

 “It must have been destiny,” Rita said about their second encounter. Rita rarely went out on weekends, but was persuaded by her friend in joining her for a night out. Hanibal was granted a second chance. This time, Rita was swept off her feet.

“I don’t remember how it happened, but we danced all night and he held my hand. It was an unforgettable summer night. ”

Though Hanibal and Rita were unable to exchange numbers at the time, they were able to utilize the Internet to their advantage and exchange information. They’ve been dating ever since, and will mark their sixth anniversary on July 5; the day they met.


The proposal

Hanibal had something special in mind for his proposal. The couple attended “Skates on the Bay” in Berkeley last year; a romantic waterfront dining area, where they indulged in wild Alaskan sockeye salmon grilled with Bing cherry sauce and roasted baby vegetables. Rita suspected a proposal, due to the scenic view and exceptional meal, but was promised nothing.

Instead, the ever charming Hanibal had Rita close her eyes until they reached their next destination for dessert. When Rita opened her eyes, she saw that Hanibal had led her to a gondola on the bay, with candles, champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. The rower, from Italy, sang Italian songs, while onlookers marveled at Hanibal’s efforts.

“I was beyond ecstatic,” said Rita. “I was speechless. In the middle of the bay on the gondola ride, I remember it was sunset. He was sitting next to me and he started to tell how he loved me very much. He then kneeled before me and asked me to marry him. I was in tears of joy. I wish I could relive that day over and over again.”

Shortly after the proposal, Rita and Hanibal marked Nov. 2, 2013 as their wedding day.


An elegantly enchanted wedding

The wedding Rita and Hannibal have planned will be both elegant and enchanting. The color theme is Tiffany blue with a touch of silver and ivory to incorporate a tastefully modern fairytale appearance.

The groom will be wearing a Vera Wang black and white suit with a black bow tie, while the groomsmen sport grey suits and tiffany blue slim ties to compliment the silver decorations. The bridesmaids will be featured in tiffany blue gowns to match.

Rita has visited Bianca’s Bridal and has already tried on a few designs that she loves.

“Their service was amazing, the staff was very kind and helpful. I have found the perfect dress yet but I’m getting closer! I particularly liked the tight dress fit,” said Rita.

The bride will be adorned in a Maggie Sotterro dress, incorporating beads and lace in a mermaid fashion with a handmade floral accent ruffled skirt tulle, and corsage closed with Swarovski crystals.

The ceremony is to take place at Turlock Covenant Church with Pastor Bob Horton from Calvary Chapel Modesto, and will feature an American traditional ceremony, including a vow exchange between the bride and groom.

The reception will be held at the Assyrian American Civic Club in Turlock, and was chosen due to the large guest list, which comprises roughly 600 participants. Originally the couple wanted to have their reception in Monterey, but found that it was much more rewarding to spend money on their guests instead of venue.

“If anyone wants to go to our wedding, then I want to have them there,” said Rita.

The wedding venue will be decorated with linen, flowers, and chandeliers for a romantic, sleek and modern appearance thanks to Raymon and Marta Pourmand of Design by Fabric. Their efforts in selecting the best tableware and decorations will truly reflect the enchanted theme.

As for the wedding cake, Rita and Hanibal opted for one that suited a princely statue with rich taste. Their inspiration was based on recent celebrity weddings. The cake will be multi-tiered, and incorporate vintage couture. Their latest ideas have included a Bella rose cake with white chocolate mousse filling and ivory vanilla butter cream frosting; a French vanilla cake with white chocolate mousse filling and ivory vanilla butter cream frosting; or a chocolate almond cake with mini chocolate chips and chocolate Bavarian cream filling with ivory vanilla butter cream frosting.

To capture the moment, photographer Scot Woodman will be present throughout the ceremony. Woodman had previously worked with Rita and Hanibal when he did their engagement photo shoot session in Half Moon Bay. Rita and Hanibal shone brightly in the photographs as the camera captured their love.

Though photographs depict a thousand words, there is nothing quite like watching a movie of the future unfold. Ator and Anita Nisan of Extreme Vision Films will also be part of ceremony and provide a cinematographic view of the ceremony, decorations, and guests all while light, loving music plays in the background.




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