Tamanna and Nick wanted a wedding that ressembles them : minimalist, classy, and… Them!
Tamanna’s parent are from Afghanistan. They organized a first religious ceremony on Friday, one day before the official date of their wedding. This was a private gathering with family membres only. This was so important for the bride and the groom because their parents would meet for the first time.
They rented a penthouse in the Navy yard neighborhood, which had the best view on the Capitol building from the rooftop!
The bride's sister introduce the ceremony
For this very special afghan ceremony, the sister of the bride introduced them to their family to start one-hour-long prayers and readings.
During the ceremony, the bride and the groom listened their Imam for a big part of the event. That is when I try to work on details to capture the little things that not everyone can see.
Nikah in the Afghan wedding ceremony
Tamanna’s family looked for an Imam who was close to their thinking. His speech was powerful as he was explaining the meaning of love to the newly wed: mutual respect and kindness.
This is a religious Islamic marriage ceremony
It is traditionally held in private with the gathering of the couple's immediate family and is led by an Islamic clergy, the mullah. In Afghan weddings, the bride and groom are traditionally kept in separate rooms. The bride is represented in the Nikah by her father or a close male relative which was not the case here. Let’s say they did a much more progressive ceremony! The Nikah traditionally is negotiated before the mullah between the groom and bride's representative. Once the groom has accepted the terms of the marriage, the mullah then comes before the bride and asks three times if she accepts the marriage. Once the bride accepts, they are pronounced husband and wife.
Exchange of rings
Tamanna and Nick decided to exchange their rings twice because it was an important moment to them. It was a perfect not traditionnal thing to do in a traditionnal ceremony!
First wedding done!
This was the first part of their wedding, starting with the afghan tradition before the next day with a non religious ceremony at Eastern Market.
The mother of the groom hugs her son
On your wedding day, these kind of images are important. Hugs and kissing, basically any signs of love, feel like a huge part of the small moments that makes this day different from others!
Bride and groom portrait
I took Tamanna and Nick outside of the penthouse. For a December wedding, the weather was fairly good. We stand outside for 10 minutes to do the groom and bride portrait, with the capitol as a background.
Their wedding at Eastern market
The following day, we started with the first look at Union Station. Unfortunately, it was rainy all day. Instead of doing our portrait session in front of the Capitol like we originally planned, we decided to go at the National Gallery of Art, the groom’s favorite museum in the Nation’s capital.
First look at Union Station
We planned barely anything. We just told Nick : “go wait at the train station, facing North”. When we arrived, he was there, waiting for the love of his life to touch his shoulder, so he could finally see her in her beautiful dress.
Bride and groom portrait at the National gallery of art
We decided to go to the museum by the Capitol, which was close by their venue on Eastern Market.
After two hours of portraits, we went to the venue: the very historical Eastern Market Building! Everything was set up by the team once we arrived there thanks to the professionalism of the wedding planner Karla Calle from Bee Inspired.
Once all the guests sat down, the ceremony started. It was lead by one of their dear friend. The ceremony was well thought and again, reflected their passions and who they want to be as a couple : fun and nerdy!
Wedding ceremony at Eastern Market in Washington DC
Did you know you could get married where you go shopping on Saturdays? Neither did I and it was a pleasant surprise and an amazing space!
The bride's brother-in-law reading
Tamanna asked her brother-in-law to read an extract of Harry Potter. They love the Harry Potter books and wanted to hear something meaningful from one of their favorite tale!
Ceremony in a market in Washington D.C.
During the ceremony, their best friend told their family the story of how they met, how they fell in love, and how they will be happy together for the rest of their lives.
After their own ceremony, the second part of the afghan ceremony took place one hour after this. We had time to take family formals and more bride and groom portraits!
Once everyone got sited, the afghan tradition started.
Henna tradition in the Afghan culture
Historically, little incisions were cut into the bride and groom's palms so that they could be joined in blood. As time progressed it was replaced with henna. At this moment a girl dressed in traditional Afghan clothes would come through the door with a silver tray with candles and an assortment of fresh flowers with little containers of henna dancing and twirling all the way to the bride and groom. The mother of the groom would place a teaspoon full of henna onto the bride's palm and cover it with a triangular cloth made of fine and shiny fabric. The bride's mother would place the henna on the pinkie finger of the groom and likewise cover it with the fabric.
Then, they spent three hours on the dancefloor with the excellent and award-winning DJ Kelton Higgins.
Attan : another afghan wedding tradition
Attan is the national dance of Afghanistan and the traditional dance among the Pashtuns. It is a circular dance, performed at the end of ceremony.
Although in modern Afghan weddings, Attan is performed only once, it is traditionally performed twice (at start of the wedding and at its end) and sometimes even more, especially among Pashtuns.