When my long time friend and former co-worker contacted me about photographing his sister’s Persian wedding, I was thrilled at the opportunity to document their ceremony. Never having photographed this type of wedding before, I knew I had better do some research to make sure I didn’t miss one single important detail. I love learning about how cultures different from mine celebrate their special occasions! Let me show you some of my favorites from the formals we did at Gaillardia before I get started with the ceremony…
Now on to the ceremony! Azin and Greg were married in a traditional Persian ceremony at her parents beautiful home in Oklahoma City. They live in California so meeting with them before the actual wedding was impossible. But luckily I received many details before hand so I came prepared! When I met them, I just knew it was going to be a great day! They are both so lovely and such a sweet couple. I truly enjoyed working with them and meeting all of their family. I was so impressed by the love and joy shared in this tradition. Here are a few shots of Azin getting ready.
During the ceremony formally called “Aghd”, an elaborate spread, called a Sofreh, is set on the floor in front of the couple and is adorned with lavish sweets and ornaments, each symbolizing a different meaning and blessing for the couple.
Here is a short explanation of some of the symbolism surrounding the Sofreh.
- The Koran symbolizes God’s blessing for the couple
- One large mirror – light and brightness for the future
- Two candelabras – the sun’s fire and energy
- Spice tray – to guard against the evil eye
- Flatbread – prosperity for the feasts and couple’s life
- Decorated eggs, almonds, and hazelnuts – fertility
- Apples and pomegranates – love and health
- Crystallized sugar – to sweeten life for the newly-weds
- Gold coins – wealth and prosperity
- Termeh –traditional Persian cloth that symbolizes family and tradition
- Wild Rue – keeps the evil eye away and brings health
- Ghand cloth – a shawl that is held over the bride and groom by happily married female relatives
- Two large sugar cones – ground together above the bride and groom over the shawl above their heads to shower them with sweetness
- Honey – immediately after being married, the bride and groom will dip their pinkies into the honey and feed it to each symbolizing sweetness in their new life together
At this point, the bride and groom are seated facing the mirror. The officiant arrives and reads the vows and a few lines about the institution of marriage. After a few blessings, the bride is asked first, in Persian tradition, if she accepts the grooms hand in marriage. The bride traditionally plays coy and makes her groom wait before she answers right away. Then she says yes on the third try, and the groom is asked if he will say yes to the question. They are announced husband and wife. Honey is presented to them and they dip their fingers to ensure a sweet and happy life together.
During the service, female members of the bride’s family hold over the couple’s head a white silky Ghand cloth. Two pieces of crystallized sugar called Kalleh Ghand shaped like cones are rubbed together, showering the couple with white powder. This symbolic act is meant to sweeten the couple’s life. After this, the couple is literally showered with gifts from each member of the family, usually in the form of jewely and money. Azin and Greg are very blessed!
Friends and family flew in from California, and from around the world, to celebrate with this beautiful couple. The reception, held at Gaillardia Country Club, is called Jashn-e Aroosi, and is a celebration of feasting, music, and a lot of dancing. And when I say a lot, I do mean a LOT of dancing! Persians take the saying “dance till dawn” seriously!
The floral arrangements, provided by Howard Brothers Florist, were absolutely outstanding.
Beautiful cake by La Baguette Bistro…
Had to include a shot of me and my friend Ashkan, the bride’s brother!
One of my favorite parts of the night was the knife dance, traditionally called the Raghseh Chagoo. This is where the groom has to convince a member of the bride’s family to give him the knife to cut the cake. Set to music, this playful dance was between Azin’s sister-in-law, mother and even her young cousin took part! They steal the cake cutting knife and the couple tries to retrieve it. Greg tried to use money but that didn’t seem to work! Eventually the knife was returned and the cake was served, and the dancing resumed! It was very entertaining.
Now… remember that dancing I told you about…
Congratulations to you both, Azin and Greg! Thanks for letting me be a part of your special day!
CEREMONY: private residence in OKC
RECEPTION: Gaillardia Country Club
BRIDAL GOWN: Maggie Sottero Mia, San Francisco, CA
HAIR/MAKE-UP: Maryam Rezaie
BRIDE CAKE/GROOM CAKE: LaBaguette Bistro
MUSIC/ENTERTAINMENT: Pejman Rasekh
FLORAL: Howard Brothers Florist - Gaillardia; Negar Karimi – home
VIDEOGRAPHY: Randy Poff of Digital Video Productions
Very special thanks to my friend Sherri of Creative Sight Photography for assisting me with this wedding! You ROCK girl!
Until next time!
Be a Blessing,