Eda & Sam

A beautiful blend of their Albanian and South Indian backgrounds, Sam and Enklejda (Eida) wedding came straight from the heart. In fact, it was their caring natures that brought them

together—they met while tending to patients recovering from open heart surgery!

Just after they got engaged, Eida’s impulse was to honor their commitment to one another by

planting a seed and nurturing its growth. Well, life got in the way, but as they began searching

for a venue, they went to visit Smith Farm Gardens. There, Peggy, the owner, handed Eida a

packet of wildflower seeds and told her to plant them as a gift from the family. It was a sign

that Smith Family Gardens was the perfect spot they should wed.

Amidst the farm’s flowers and greenery, these two exchanged vows in a ceremony that

incorporated their loved ones and honored their faith in God. Their brother-in-law, who is a

pastor, officiated and their parents participated in the unity candle lighting, while their oldest

friends stood beside them wearing traditional Indian attire.

During the reception, guests sat family style under the stars and enjoyed Albanian and South

Indian dishes. Eida slipped out of her elegant, simple gown and Sam his suit, then reemerged

wearing traditional Indian clothing to dance the night away draped in varmala, or Indian flower


How did you two meet? What were your first impressions of one another?

“Sam and I met while both helping take care of patients undergoing open heart surgery. Our

bond started to grow as we related on common everyday work experiences over a simple cup

of coffee. What drew me to Sam was how comfortable he was in his own skin. Sam is always

himself. He doesn’t try to pretend to be someone he isn’t to gain the opinion of others. It

wasn’t until a work Christmas party when I got to see this in full action. I watched and laughed

as Sam hit the dance floor and then came back, wrapped Christmas lights around me, and

pulled me to the dance floor in front of all our peers. Being shy, this was way out of my comfort

zone, but it was also exactly what I needed.

Over the years, Sam and I traveled to many places and discovered we shared many of the same

interests. However, no matter where we have been, Sam has always felt like home. After we

got engaged, we decided we wanted to get married somewhere that also gave us a feeling of

home. The day after we got engaged, I had the urge to plant a seed and nurture it to grow in

honor of our new commitment to one other. Life grew busy, and I never got to it.

On a cold

January day, we went to visit Smith Farm Gardens. When we met Peggy, she handed me a

packet of wildflower seeds and told me to “plant these” as a gift from the family. This was our sign that Smith Farm Gardens was going to be the place where we would get married, and it

truly felt like home to us on our wedding day.“

Any special ways you incorporated your family or family history into your wedding day?

“Our extended families do not live in the United States, and could not attend our wedding, so it

was important to us to honor Sam’s South Indian background and my Albanian heritage as well

as our faith in God.

During the ceremony, our oldest friends stood beside us wearing gold-toned Indian attire while

we were joined together by our loving brother-in-law who is a pastor. As part of the ceremony,

we lit a unity candle, which symbolizes the bringing together of two souls as one before God.

Our parents joined us for the candle-lighting, and our siblings to read scripture about what it

means to love and be united in marriage.

I’ll never forget my dad walking me down to Sam as the violinists played “Can’t Help Falling in

Love” by Elvis Presley—a song we once sang together on a beach in Hawaii as Sam played the

ukulele. The confidence and peace I felt in that moment when I saw my husband for the first time waiting for me at our altar in the garden is something I’ll always cherish.

We wore traditional Indian clothing during the reception while the scent of biryani to the

sweet-tasting homemade baklava, Albanian and South Indian cultures flavored the air.“