Zainab wasn’t sure about doing first look photos. She said Ilyas already knew what she looked like. She ended up opting to do one because we had time, and as Ilyas turned and around and lifted her veil, both of their smiles became some of the widest I’ve ever seen and segued into a sweet hug. It wasn’t a classic gasp or cry, it wasn’t a huge reaction; I don’t know how to describe it other than that it just felt…right. Of course Ilyas was overtaken by how beautiful Zainab looked–it would be impossible to do otherwise–but it was soft and familiar. It was the first time I saw them together, and through the course of the day, this steady, soft, and familiar love came through.
It all started with food. Zainab made some gelatin-free rice krispie treats to bring to Ramadan after fasting and it seems like after tasting them, Ilyas was hooked. Speaking of food: food and drink were such a celebratory (and yummy) part of their wedding day! From the sweet sorrel tea greeting guests for the ceremony at MyMoon, to ceremoniously drinking the sugar and spice water prepared for them by their family and friends to signify their relationship, to delicious butter chicken and rice pudding at the reception, it felt wonderfully traditional and comforting and matched the vibe of the group of people surrounding them.
Ilyas and Zainab’s friends and family felt as one; they steadily radiated ease and love for them the entire day. It was as if in a heartbeat any one of them would catch them if they were falling and raise them up again. Perhaps one of the most touching examples of this was their friend holding up Ilyas’ mom on FaceTime from Kazakhstan so she could be a part of the wedding day. Other highlights from the day included Ilyas & his best man grabbing pancakes at Boro Hotel before the first look, the reveal of Ilyas’ pet name “Sunflower” bestowed upon him by Zainab’s friends, everyone getting down on the dance floor to “Electric Slide”, and Zainab’s friends asking for a Real Housewives-esque photoshoot on the stairway at Joya Hall!
Zainab & Ilyas, I loved getting to spend the day with you and your wonderful friends and family. You two are so meant to be and I’m so happy for you and lucky that I got to capture your love!!
PS Rebecca, Natalie, Joanna and the towel incident…#neverforget
Second Photographer: Ambe J
MUA: Makeup by Shams
Officiant: Honeybreak Officiants
Bridal Henna: Promyshennacavern
DJ: Ben Boylan
Cake: A Simple Cake
Reception Catering: Joya Hall
White Dress: Vagabond Bridal
Reception Dress: Sitara
Wedding Planner: Days Desk