When the Rain Doesn't Matter
After weeks of perfect weather the wedding day was cool, rainy, and windy. It didn't dampen the happiness, love, and spirit of Irem and Arron's wedding day. I will always remember the smiles and laughter that seemed to make everyone forget all about the weather that day.
To begin, I made my way to the home of the bride's brother, Omer. There her family was to gather, and she was going to finalize her preparations for the day. Irem, the bride, whose family is from Turkey, had explained to me that they'd be performing the traditional "Gelin Alma." This is a "fetching of the bride" ceremony in which she's brought from the home of her family, to the home of the groom's family. For this ceremony she was going to go from her brother's, to the site of their ceremony at Monona Terrace.
While she prepared upstairs with help from her bride's maids, mother and aunts, the groom waited below. I have to say, Arron seemed to be very relaxed. If he was nervous it wasn't readily apparent. His family and groom's men surrounded him and mingled with her family. Though there were language barriers between some folks, everyone was happy. The sense of anticipation for the coming ceremony was tangible.
With a final rallying boost from her girl friends Irem was ready. As she descended the stairs her brother presented her with the "Maidenhood Belt." This is a red ribbon placed around a bride's waist. As her aunt gave the belt to Omer earlier, I noted the henna on the backs of her hand. I wondered if the bride had enjoyed the traditional henna celebration with her family and friends the night before.
Leaving Her Home
Her father then gave an emotional farewell to her as she was preparing to leave her family household. I honestly felt touched, and as a father to a little girl of my own, I find empathy with the fathers more and more. After a moving moment with her, it was time for a touch of levity.
The brother of the groom, Jason, had to appease the "Gatekeeper." In this case it was Merve, the bride's little sister. She wasn't going to allow the groom's family to take her beloved sister so easily! Jason handled himself well, and offered appropriate gifts and dowry to her family. The wedding would continue!
A Truly Joyous Day
One of my favorite segments of a wedding day is that short period right before the nuptials. With the ceremony about to commence there are so many different emotions happening all around me. I could feel how excited and eager both these charming people were.
I've seen many ceremonies, but this one stood out to me. For one, their officiant, Kim Grimmer, was a close friend of Irem. He was able to interject a truly personal touch in how he conducted their wedding. This caused me to note the other outstanding aspect of their wedding day, which were all the smiles and laughter. The warmth of affection outweighed the damp, cool weather. While all weddings are joyous occasions, this one seemed to be especially so. I really don't feel the need to elaborate any more than that. I believe the series of photos taken really show what I saw, and felt, coming from this ceremony.
A Beautiful Night
Aside from not being able to really spend time doing portraits outside on the terrace overlooking the lake due to the rain, the rest of the evening was magical. The newly formed family, and their friends dined, danced, laughed in celebration of the Irem and Arron's union, and to their happiness.