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A Persian Wedding in the Sonoran Desert

In April, I witnessed a family’s Persian wedding customs . . . immediately following the American style wedding I co-created with the Bride and Groom. We celebrated with these two ceremonies at the scenic Quail Creek Country Club in Green Valley, Arizona. Being the ceremony enthusiast I am, you might guess I was pretty over the moon about this! And you are correct.

First I must plainly say wow! There is some raise-the-roof NOISE generated by folks during the Persian ceremony and I LOVED IT. I want to figure out more alternatives to couples for bringing their guests the chance to get on their feet and enjoy themselves with their whole beings.

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I’ll set my enthusiasm into some context with this statement: I think guest participation is VITAL to an uplifting ceremony experience. (I’ll try not to digress, though.)

The music, the singing and chanting, the clapping, the wedding party entrance with sheer exuberance . . . if that’s not enough then get ready for the symbolism. There is a whole array to feast upon. I got a tour of the altar from the Bride’s Mom, who assembled it with love. She positively beamed in her floor length sparkling dress as she explained everything to me. I’ll attempt a recap in a very brief way here.

As you can see in the photo, the Bride and Groom sit facing the altar and all the goodies upon it during the ceremony. The important women relatives and bridal party rub together fabric covered sugar cones and sprinkle this on the couple’s heads, to bring them sweetness and happiness.

The couple faces into a large mirror so they can see how well they are surrounded with love and enjoy the images of light reflected by the candles, to symbolically light their way into the future. Once the Bride removes her veil, this image is ritually ‘the first time the Groom sees his Bride’. Obviously, there exists deeper symbolism than I can begin to fully explain. Here are a few highlights:

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Fertility: Represented in the bejeweled eggs, golden walnuts and greens.

Joyous Future: Represented by the apples, the connection to Divine.

Wealth: Represented by the jewels.

Sustenance: Represented by the flat bread and the milk.

Lighting way into Future: Represented in the candlelight, near the mirror.

Sweetness in Life: Although you can’t see it here, there was a glass vessel full of honey, into which the Bride and Groom both dipped their pinky fingers and put into each other’s mouths. (This caused a big joyous uproar amongst the guests!)

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My favorite part of this whole experience happened when the man who led this portion of the ceremony came up to me SO excitedly after the ‘American’ ceremony and before the part he led and said, “I totally enjoyed your ceremony. You said everything I will say in Farsi during this version of a wedding. You see? It is all the same, isn’t? For it is only about LOVE!”

Thank you, Kevin and Nassim. I loved being a part of your very special celebration.

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