Daniel and Helai’s wedding celebration was intimate and sweet. It was held at the Carmel Mountain Ranch Country Club with about fifty of their family members and closest friends. I didn’t find this out until I arrived, but technically Daniel and Helai were already married. A few days prior, they went to a mosque and received the blessing to get married, so the day I was there to photograph was more of a wedding reception to commemorate their marriage with those they hold dear.

It was a hot and sunny and beautiful day. Daniel and Helai were some of the most pleasant people I have ever worked with. Their kindness and consideration was heart warming and they were so lovely together in front of the camera. Photographing a traditional Muslim wedding was a new and fascinating experience for me. Thanks to Daniel and Helai and a few family members I talked with throughout the day, I was able to learn much about their religious and cultural traditions. 

One of the most moving parts of the day was when Helai said goodbye to her family. After tying a green ribbon around her waist for good luck, Helai’s father embraced her as they said goodbye. One by one Helai did this with her mother and seven siblings. Laughs were shared and tears were shed. Of course she would see them again, but for Helai this was the moment she was leaving the family she was raised with to begin her own. Joyful and sad, it was a powerful display of the strong bond and love of family.

Thank you Daniel and Helai for inviting me to spend time with you and photograph the day when your life together began. I cherish the opportunity and hope you are able to relive the day over and over again through your photos.