Yesmeen & Majdi's South Bend (Blue Heron) Wedding!

    About six years and one month ago Yesmeen and Majdi were married on July 3rd, 2011 here in South Bend, Indiana! I (Jenny) was living in Columbus, Ohio at the time (during the 3 years working in Columbus, Ohio after 4 years near Cincinnati at Miami of Ohio gaining my undergrad degrees). When Yesmeen inquired about her wedding date, it happened to align perfectly with my already planned 10 hour round-trip back to see family in South Bend that weekend! Yesmeen and I went to high school together at the start of the 2000s and we always got along well, so I was excited to partake as photographer for their big day!

     Yesmeen and Majdi had a Muslim wedding at the Blue Heron in South Bend, Indiana: the country club where my sister just had her wedding a mere 4 days ago-! We thought it appropriate this week that we'd do a flashback to their wedding today to celebrating Yesmeen & Majdi's (belated) 6 Year Anniversary! *An aside: Yesmeen's father just passed away 2 weeks after her wedding anniversary, so we wanted to respectfully wait a bit to have their throwback wedding blog post. 

     Islam is the second largest religion in the world trailing a bit behind Christianity for amount of followers. Though many Christian wedding ceremonies can be a full hour or more, the Islamic wedding itself traditionally is not quite a religious ceremony, rather is essentially signing the marriage license. For Yesmeen and Majdi's wedding I didn't capture this portion, though I have for other Muslim weddings. This is called the "Nikah" and includes at least 2 witnesses and the contract being signed by the groom & bride (or sometimes the bride's father instead). 

    For Yesmeen & Majdi I captured the "walima" / the wedding reception. Yesmeen (Palestinian in heritage) was dressed in a traditional white wedding gown and in general it was very similar to any other wedding reception except that it was a dry event, there were hijabs, and the dancing was completely non-stop ! Oh, and they had a "live feed" of the reception so that their family in Jordan (where some of Majdi's family is) could watch along! The reception started with some portraits of Yesmeen & Majdi alone together outside of the Blue Heron before they entered the reception. Once in the reception, family gathered in a circle around Yesmeen and Majdi and the two had their first dance! Yesmeen's sisters were dressed in matching red and gold dresses (traditional colors for a Muslim wedding) which were beautiful. After the first dance, everyone started dancing as well until it was time for dinner. After dinner were some formal photos with family (and some of Yesmeen's work friends) before cake cutting! Some men went out to the lobby for one of the daily prayers (maghrib I believe?) and then it was time for more dancing!

     In the Palestinian/ Arabic tradition the dancing started with the genders separated. The men started things off with a traditional dabke wedding dance done in a circle of men. The men all held hands and danced in a very lively fashion. They threw Majdi up on their shoulders, others were thrown in the air, and it got wild! When the men had danced their feet off, it was time for the women to dance next! The women also created a circle and danced very hard. It seemed like no matter how long they danced, everyone still had more energy for hours more of dancing!

     After dancing for hours, cake was served and people enjoyed a little break. Yesmeen was then gifted much gold jewelry that her family then put on her immediately. It was beautiful seeing her all decked out in the layers of jewelry. After this emotional ceremonial tradition, open dance started up again and everyone danced together into the night! It seemed that the majority of the six or more hours that I was there that everyone danced and danced with more stamina than any wedding I've seen to date! 

     The entire evening was beautiful and a nice change from the traditionally Christian weddings that we often photograph. A huge belated congratulations to Yesmeen and Majdi on your SIX years of marriage! And congratulations on raising some adorable little girls! We hope to meet them someday!

     Coming up next week is another flashback wedding as we edit three more recent weddings' worth of photos and design/ send off beautiful physical wedding albums and keepsake boxes filled with beautifully printed photos to our clients. It's been amazing to participate in so many amazing weddings this summer and we're only a bit over halfway through with weddings for the season! We're really looking forward to more weddings this end of summer and mid-fall, so be on the lookout for some very unique weddings to lead us all the way into November! Thanks so much for checking in and have a beautiful summer weekend!