Friday, April 8, 2011

Real Wedding: Neada + Brian

Hi there!

I've got a super special treat for y'all today. Eric's beautiful and lovely cousin, Neada, married the man of her dreams, Brian, last August in Washington DC. You might remember their adorable engagement photos? Yep, thought so. I've got all the goods to dish out to you about their big day, plus a little Persian Wedding Ceremony 101 for those not familiar with the traditions...

Neada and Brian covered a lot of bases in terms of marriage traditions. It began with a beautiful Catholic ceremony at Epiphany Catholic Church in Georgetown.

The bride wore Melissa Sweet lace gown and stunning (and sparkly!) Jimmy Choo peep-toes. I have shoe envy!

Brian and his groomsmen wore traditional formal tuxes with lily boutonnieres.

After the first ceremony, guests headed to the Four Seasons Hotel while the bridal party took pictures in the park.

 After the cocktail hour, guests gathered at the Four Seasons for the Persian wedding ceremony, called the aghd sofreh. The ceremony portion is the aghd and the "spread" is the sofreh. Like most modern Iranian traditions do, the Persian ceremony has roots in Zoroastrian beliefs of the significance of nature and harvest, and literally places the bride and groom in the middle of these symbols. Each item on the sofreh has great significance and is there to play a particular role in sending the couple into their marriage.

Customs vary, but the most traditional items in the sofreh are a mirror (to bring light & brightness to their future), candelabras (to symbolize fire & energy), fruits (for a joyous future), sweets (to sweeten their life together), bread (prosperity for feasts throughout their life), a prayer rug, gold coins (for wealth and prosperity), fine silk (to symbolize family and tradition), eggs (to encourage fertility) and a Qur'an.

The sofreh  is traditionally prepared by the women in the bride's family. Neada's mother, with the help of other family members, worked tirelessly to create this stunning spread:

As mentioned before, traditions vary, but here is a helpful "cheat sheet" I found in my research about the sofreh:

via {here}

 Amazing, right? So much time and love went into this sofreh.

Brian and Neada were seated in front of the spread and the ceremony was beautiful!

In true tradition, Neada's bridesmaids held the ghand cloth (usually made of lace or silk) over the couple throughout the ceremony. The women switched off  for this duty, as the ceremony can take some time and arms become weary.

The women and cousins in the family take turns churning the kalleh ghand (crystallized sugar) over the couple to bring sweetness and happiness to their lives. They also take turns sewing thread through the ghand cloth to "seal the lips of nay-sayers."

Then the couple is to feed honey to one another to seal in the "sweetness" of their life together. After the Persian ceremony, the reception party began in the grand ballroom...

The centerpieces were gorgeous, the music was fun and a great time was had by all! All of the reception flowers were done by Gala Events of Rockville, Maryland.

This red velvet masterpiece of a cake was created by the pastry chefs at the Four Seasons Hotel

In DC fashion, each table was named after an American president.

Are they not the cutest?

And just when you thought they had rounded all of the bases, a little hora action was thrown in to honor Brian's mother who is Jewish. Such a melting-pot of a wedding, right? I love it!

It was a beautiful day for a beautiful couple. I was so honored to have been a guest to witness the love between these two and their gracious families.

I hope you enjoyed this one as much as I did! It was so chock-full of traditions and love. BIG BIG THANK YOU to Neada and Brian for providing the images, taken by Ralph Alswang Photography!

What is your favorite cultural tradition at weddings? Sound off in the comments because yours truly wants to know :)

Have a great weekend y'all!



  1. The shot with the fist pumping groom = my favorite!

    The first dance is by far the biggest tradition that I adore. (last photo is perfect)

    Lovely, truly lovely.

  2. I love cultural traditions and hope even in America they live on forever. Beautiful couple and wedding. <3


  3. That table in the Persian ceremony is exquisite - everything is so ornate! Thx for sharing.

  4. I love the sophre table is absolutely gorgeous. I cannot believe how much work went into putting it all together. And I love the huge babies breath centerpieces - so elegant!

  5. i love persian wedding traditions!! and that ring? sorry, but it distracted me from the rest of the post, gorgeous :)

    happy friday love!

  6. Love everything about this wedding! Total Perfection!!


  7. What a gorgeous, classic wedding (and that cheat sheet is genius)! Have a wonderful weekend, darling!

  8. You gave me a little lesson with this gorgeous post. I love learning about other cultures. I'm Catholic and it's so easy to forget that religion and culture can create a beautiful celebration. Sometimes my clients are so hung up on the religion aspect that they forget to honor their culture, too. This was just perfect. Have an amazing weekend love!

  9. So gorgeous! That cake is stunning! I also love the touches of good fortune for the couple with the the sofreh. Thanks for sharing this beautiful multi-cultural wedding!

  10. Oh my goodness what a fabulous post, Katherine. It's so awesome to learn about other cultures and I find it so fascinating how intricate and unique each culture celebrates love and new unions between people. Thank you for sharing such a gorgeous day with us :) xo

  11. Wow that cake is amazing!!! Love Persian weddings- they're always so involved! :)

  12. Neada + Brian’s wedding was so impressive. The venue is amazing and I loved gold inspired d├ęcor a lot. White plus gold is my favorite theme and this is why had used this scheme for our cute indoor family reception party that held at one of the best wedding venues Los Angeles.


I appreciate all comments and love to hear from readers. Thank you for leaving a message and for visiting Flower & Honey! xoxo, Kat