We were lost in a sea of photographers. As Raya made her way down the aisle, it appeared as though every guest in attendance had their video camera, phone or iPad out to capture the bride greeting her groom for the first time that day. I was surrounded by guests crowding the end of the aisle. I glanced over my left shoulder at Sam making sure he had a clear view of Raya walking towards him. In all my years of photographing weddings, I had never seen anything quite like this before. As the ceremony began in the 19th century St. Raphael’s Cathedral – beautifully adorned with stained-glass, I looked around to the family and friends who came to celebrate Ray and Sam’s union. It was apparent how truly happy and excited each of them were for this joyous occasion. In the homily, Father Toale spoke of the new beginnings that the Easter season represents and how it was much the same as the new beginning of Raya and Sam’s life here in America. Sam and Raya had immigrated to the United States from Syria after having finished their college education. Two beautiful people who were born half a world away meeting by chance one evening in Chicago.
After the ceremony Marc had the chance to strike up a conversation with a family member who explained how he was live streaming the ceremony to family back in Syria. It was a beautiful thing to see so many friends and family wanting to share this happy celebration with others halfway across the world. There were so many touches from the day that Raya beautifully wove together to celebrate their middle eastern heritage. When I arrived the morning of the wedding, Raya told me her veil was hand embroidered and came all the way from Syria. It was simply one of the most beautiful veils I have ever seenRaya’s and. As the ceremony ended, Raya was adorned with beautiful gold jewelry. There were also many delicious middle eastern food delicacies made and shared by Raya and Sam’s mothers to accompany the celebratory meal.
Raya and Sam entered the reception with a traditional Zaffet – drums and dancing. The festive celebration extended into the evening with some of the most fun dancing and excitement. It was easy to get swept away with all the fun as guests joined hands and danced away the night.
This wedding was the perfect way to start off our 2018 wedding season. Raya and Sam are beautiful people inside and out and we are so excited to share some of our favorite moments from their day.
A special thanks to all the vendors who made Raya & Sam’s day beautiful.
Ceremony: Cathedral of St. Raphael
Officiant: Rev. Msgr. Thomas Toale
Reception Venue: Grand River Center
Bridal Dress Shop: Vera’s House of Bridals
Groomsmen Tuxes: Men’s Warehouse
Tux Designer: Calvin Klein
Hair: Hair by Marina
Makeup: Makeup by Paulina
Florist: Hy-Vee Asbury
Entertainment: DJ Yousef
Bakery: Candle Ready Cakes
Decor/Rentals: Inside Decor Rental Inc