I am fortunate to photograph weddings all over London, but not many venues have the variety of styles and cultures that I witness with 1 Great George Street weddings. Ida and Maziyar are Iranian, and their fabulous day featured ceremonies and customs I felt privileged to document.
It was an early start with Ida at the colossal Daniel Galvin hair salon in Mayfair, before jumping into a cab and scooting back to 1 Great George Street for make up. My associate on this occasion was the excellent Krish, and her day started with Maz and the assembly of the Sofreh-ye Aghd, a special table laid with beautiful and symbolic items, including a basket of decorated eggs and a basket of almonds and walnuts to symbolise fertility; a basket of pomegranates for a joyous future; a cup of rose water from special Persian roses to perfume the air; and a bowl of crystallized sugar to sweeten life for the newly wedded couple. Immediately after the couple are married, the bride and groom each dip one little finger into a cup of honey and feed it to one another.
The Aghd ceremony was conducted by the Iranian Cultural Ambassador, with Ida and Maz’ closest family and friends in attendance, and was both joyous and moving, with laughter and tears.
We had a short gap to run and take a few photographs in Parliament Square, before getting back for the next part of the day’s celebrations, and the arrival of the other guests. The civil ceremony was conducted by the Westminster Registry Office and one of the nicest registrars I know, smiling and engaging with everyone brilliantly.
A busy day! All this was followed by the cultural Aghd, this time with everyone present, and an emotional speech by Ida’s father, Alireza, which heralded many tears. After many hugs and hand shakes, Ida and Maz were up for a few more portraits, this time in the galleries under the domed roof of 1 Great George Street, before the traditional gathering of everyone under the rotunda for a final huge group shot.
The wedding breakfast followed, and a spectacular ceremonial cake dance preceding the cutting of a huge Croque en Bouche. Ziba, the dancer had endless energy, and danced again for the couple before they themselves took to the floor for their own first dance, this time with a masked ball theme. The evening’s partying was underway, and my job was done. A truly amazing day, and an honour to share it with Ida and Maziyar.