By: Margarita Shafiro – 

Victor was born in Athens, Greece (his mother is Russian who grew up in
Philadelphia, PA and his father is Greek). He moved to the U.S. when he was
four years of age. He grew up in Philadelphia, PA.

Margarita was born in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine. She grew up in a town on the
Black Sea called Novorossyisk, Russia. She came to the U.S. to go to school
6 years ago, when she was 21 years of age.

How We Met:

Margarita (Maggie) was working on her Master’s degree in Psychology at Wake
Forest University, when she saw a Russian department in the same building
psychology was in. She decided to stop by and see if they have Russian
books. The secretary in the department asked Maggie if she was interested in
tutoring a two-year old little girl in Russian. Apparently, Mimi’s parents
(little girl’s name) called the Russian department that day asking if they
could recommend a student who would tutor their daughter in Russian. Maggie
started seeing Mimi every week and really got attached to a little girl.
Mimi’s parents were Victor’s aunt and uncle, Val and Karen Apple. On one of
the visits they told Maggie about their nephew who speaks Russian (although
he is third generation). Both Victor and Maggie told other people that they
were not looking to date someone Russian. Maggie dated a Russian guy before,
and did not really enjoy it. Victor heard too many times from his grandparents
that he should only marry a Russian girl. Regardless of their misconceptions,
they started talking on the phone. Surprisingly, they really enjoyed talking
to each other. Finally, Victor drove up to North Carolina from Florida, where
he was working, to meet her. After driving around for an hour trying to find
her apartment (Maggie really does not like to follow or give directions), he
showed up on her doorway with two boxes of chocolates: one was for her and the
bigger one was for Maggie’s mother. Needless to say, they hit it off

Your Courtship:

If we were to describe our courtship in several words, the words that we
would pick would be care for each other, love, deep interest in each other
and a lot of laughter. Both of us have a great sense of humor. We dated for
three years before we got engaged.

The Engagement:

Victor proposed on June 18th, which was Maggie’s birthday. She really
did not expect it. It was during the week, and they went out to a very nice
restaurant, and then he kept on insisting that he wants to show her a
beautiful place. She was quite resistant and could not understand why they
would not do it on the weekend. Especially, since she had to go to
university the next day and he had to go to work. Victor refused to go home
and kept on driving up a serpentine road as the city of Portland appeared
more distant and less precise in the sunset light. When they came to a place
of destination, Maggie found herself in a park on a top of the hill, which
overlooked the city-the view was breathtaking. Victor gave her a box, which
was bigger than a ring size jewelry box, and asked Maggie to open it. She
opened it, and although the moonlight did not make it easy, she saw a
beautiful glass rose. She thought that it was a wonderful and thoughtful idea,
but she still could not completely understand why she had to be on top of the
hill, almost past the sunset… as she was thinking it she realized that
there was a beautiful ring attached to the flower of the rose. Victor got on
his knee and asked Maggie if she would marry him. She wanted to say “YES!”
but before she had an opportunity, he put the ring on her finger.

The Wedding:

City: Since Victor did not really liked Philadelphia, PA, and Maggie did not
have a particular place in the U.S. that would qualify as home, they decided
to pick a memorable location. The first summer Maggie was in the U.S., she
went with her sister and her family to Charleston, SC. Maggie felt in love
with this charming city. Later, Victor’s aunt and uncle who introduced us
together bought a place on Seabrook island, and we were often invited to
come and visit. On one of the visits, we decided for sure that we would like
to get married in Charleston.

Guests: Our wedding had a truly unique international flavor with guests
coming from all over the country and even other countries. Most of Victor’s
family traveled from Philadelphia, PA. Maggie’s mother, sister, nephew as
well as her father’s side of the family traveled from Boston, MA. Maggie’s
grandmother who will be 80 years old this year traveled all the way from
Israel. The rest of our family and friends came from Winston-Salem and
Charlotte, NC; Portland, OR; Dallas & Houston, Texas; Auburn, Alabama;
Germany and Switzerland. Most of the family came one week before the wedding
to finish last minute preparations and enjoy each other’s company on a
Seabrook Island, SC.

Ceremony: Both of us are Russian Orthodox. Since there was not Russian
Orthodox church in Charleston, we decided to get married in the Holy Trinity
Greek Orthodox Church, because Russian Orthodox religion came from the Greek
Church, so the ceremony is very similar for these two religions. In
addition, we really liked Father John Panagioutou and we felt it would be
an honor to be married by him. The ceremony was held at 3:30PM. It was a
gorgeous ceremony full of rich symbolism. For instance, we had wreaths that
were connected to manifest the Unity of the couple. We had to drink wine
from the common cup to show that we want to share everything in our
future life together. The ceremony lasted 40 minutes, and it was followed by
the reception at 5PM.

The Reception:

Victor’s uncle and aunt suggested Mills house as a place for the reception.
Interestingly, on her first visit to Charleston in 1997, Maggie really adored
the architecture of a beautiful pink building, and she had her picture taken in
front of it. This building happened to be Mills House. So, it was
definitely a special choice for the reception. The reception took place in
the Planters Suite (second floor of Mills House) with its great balcony and
view of downtown. Guests really enjoyed the opportunity of being inside and
out. The reception was very special-filled with warm toasts coming from
Victor and Maggie as well as the guests.

Our wonderful band (Bradford Station Band) played almost non-stop. Prior to
the wedding, the band manager was surprised that we wanted them to
play for 5 hours. However, during the wedding, they realized that probably 5
hours was a minimum, and guests wanted to continue dancing even after 10PM.


Victor has a Masters degree in Metallurgical Engineering from Penn State. He
is currently working for ATI Allvac in Monroe, NC where he is a researcher
developing Titanium alloys for aerospace, automotive and biomedical
Margarita received her Masters degree in Experimental Psychology from Wake
Forest University. She is now on the way of obtaining her doctorate degree
in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Portland State University. She
is currently working on her dissertation.

By: Margarita Shafiro