Stephen Karasek and Jasmine Nassri’s love story started with a napkin.
They met at a bar on a warm summer night in 2015. After an evening of karaoke and good conversation, Jasmine went home with Stephen’s number on a cocktail napkin and a promise to call him.
Almost a year later, Stephen proposed during a dance lesson at Queen City Ballroom. The final song of the night was playing, and Jasmine was getting tired.
“My toe started cramping, so I was hoping the song would finish soon,” she says, laughing. When the music suddenly stopped, Stephen got down on one knee and pulled a ring out of his pocket.
“It was the most romantic and shocking moment,” Jasmine says. “I had no idea it was coming.”
Their next challenge: planning the wedding. Because Stephen, 35, is Catholic and Jasmine, 30, is Muslim, they decided to have two ceremonies.
“It was important for us to celebrate both of our beliefs and backgrounds,” says Stephen. While getting married in a church was essential to him, it was just as important to both of them to honor Jasmine’s culture.
The couple had a traditional Catholic ceremony with mass on May 13, 2017—exactly one year after their engagement—followed by a Persian wedding ceremony (called an Aghd) at the Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte. They decorated the venue with pieces from Jasmine’s home country of Iran, including decorative eggs, a silver mirror, candelabra, and the Quran Bible and Hafez books.
One Persian tradition involves the officiant asking the bride three times if she wants to marry the groom. The guests then respond with entertaining answers.
“They say ‘Oh she’s gone picking flowers’ or ‘she’s gone to get honey,’” says Jasmine. “It’s supposed to show the groom that she’s not easy to catch.” But of course, she said,
After the vows, the married females of the families grind sugar combs and hold a fabric over the heads of the bride and groom in hopes that they pass along their secrets of marriage to the newlyweds.
Today, Stephen works at Aerotek and Jasmine owns her own eCommerce business selling rugs. She had the cocktail napkin with Stephen’s number on it framed at the wedding, and it still hangs in her office to this day.
Engagement ring, wedding bands: Diamonds Direct
Tuxedos: Paul Simon
Rehearsal dinner: Fahrenheit
Wedding venue: St. Ann’s Catholic Church / Reception venue: Urban Garden at The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte / Catering, cake, wedding night hotel: The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte / Flowers: Lux Florals / Hair, makeup: Sabrina Simpson of Be Pretty / Gown: Nitsa’s / Gown designer: Romona Keveza / Veil: Hayden Olivia / Veil designer: Modern Trousseau / Headpiece: NY Bride & Groom / Bride’s shoes: Neiman Marcus / Shoe designer: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaid dresses: BHLDN / Tuxedo designer: SamuelSohn / Invitations: Sealed / Cinematography: Sara Mathis Productions / Music, entertainment: Michael Rowe for the ceremony; Right to Party Band for the reception, booked through East Coast Entertainment / Rental providers: Carolina’s Luxury Event Rentals and Eye Dialogue (reception lighting) / Transportation: trolley and shuttles / Engagement ring designer: C. Gonshor / Clergy: Fr. Timothy Reid / Bridal registry: Crate & Barrel and Pottery Barn / Specialty favors/gifts: Swiss Chocolate