Belqis and David
Today’s wedding had me at the emerald green gown, then I read the story – Belqis, the bride, honoured her culture by wearing green, the colour of prosperity. I love the way the couple integrated what they loved (herbs and high tea!) into the choosing of their venues. It all came together in the most beautiful day that literally glowed.
Belqis tells their story. “David and I were born countries apart from each other, David in a quiet and peaceful New Zealand and Bel in the turmoil of war in Afghanistan and in the vibrant culture of India. They met as adults in architecture school and fell in love in the emptiness of the Australian desert, whilst on an expedition for university.”
Milena Dekic of I Love Wednesdays captured today’s images and my gosh- the ones of the setting golden sun setting are my favourites, but the beautiful, candid ceremony shots really got me too.
Belqis wore an emerald green wedding gown. She explains “I honoured both cultural traditions by wearing two dresses. Green is a colour that symbolizes prosperity and before the introduction of the modern white dresses in Afghanistan, brides wore green and I honoured that with my green dress (besides the fact that it has always been one of my favourite colours). And the white dress honoured my new life and its traditions.”
Wearing green added an unexpected twist to the bride’s arrival. Belqis remembers “I arrived 40 minutes early to the ceremony and for the fear of being seen by the guests beforehand, Len, my sister, George our lovely driver, decided to drive around for a while and wherever we stopped for a photo, we were treated with excited squeals and congratulations. Because I was wearing a green dress, a few people confused me for a bridesmaid and commented on how lovely both my sister and I looked.”
Belqis and David chose Herb Garden, Botanic Gardens for their wedding ceremony. “David and I are lovers of nature and had always wanted an outdoor wedding. We have always been in love with the smaller details in nature as well as the aesthetic and medicinal properties of flowers and herbs. So it was only appropriate to choose the Herb Garden as our ceremony setting. Its intimate setting and fragrant presence provided the perfect set-up.”
Belqis remarks, “I walked down to Erik Satie’s Gnossienne No.1. It is my favourite piece of music; it is both melancholic and peaceful and perfectly accompanied my tears and joy. Then we were at the ceremony and I couldn’t control the emotions, teared rolled down my cheeks when we both looked at each other. We had both come a long way in our lives.”
Belqis remembers, “The most special moment for both of us was standing in the beautiful rotunda, surrounded by a garden and the smiling faces of everyone we love. I made a conscious effort of catching every single person’s gaze and silently let them know that I was grateful for their presence.”
Belqis and David were very conscientious in their wedding plans, which added to the incredible intensity of their day that I sense from the photographs. Belqis recalls, “The readings that were read by our sisters. The readings were blessings and were read from works of our two favourite writers; Arundhati Roy and Michael Ondaatje.”
Belqis recalls, “We loved our photographer! Apart from being an unofficial bridesmaid on the day and attending to my bridal woes, she also introduced us to our gorgeous celebrant Robyn Pattison, who turned our ceremony into an intimate and emotional retelling of our lives and love story. The ceremony was a very intimate and emotional event and those fleeting private moments have been captured delightfully. Each and every expression present that day is evident in Len’s beautiful photographs.”
Of their photographer, Belqis says, “I came across Len (I love Wednesdays) almost by accident when researching photographers. Once we had a look at her website, we were certain that she would be perfect to capture the atmosphere of our wedding. And then we met her for dinner and over love of dumplings and other quirks we fell in love with her. On more professional note, she is incredibly talented and skilled and manages to capture not just the fleeting image of a moment but also its ambient qualities; light, colour, movement and depth.”
For the reception, Belqis changed into a handmade white gown. She explains ” I wore two dresses, a green one to the ceremony and a white one to the reception. Both the dresses were designed with the help of my sister, Hawa and made delicately and lovingly over several days by my mum.”
Belqis and David chose Tea Rooms, Queen Victoria Building for their wedding reception. Belqis notes, “As proud tea connoisseurs and architects, the decision regarding the Tea Room was rather easy. We have frequented the Tea Room for high tea and the venue seemed to be the perfect backdrop to our celebration.”
Belqis remembers, “The wedding was about two distinct cultures but it was also about two people who are no different to one another. The wedding was a celebration and affirmation of our collective lives and experiences. The reception was an affair of colour, laughter and some seriously crazy dancing. It was just so delightful to watch the guests dance to some Afghan music and vica versa. The dance floor was the most fun place that night in the whole of Sydney and the photos show.”
Fort the first dance, things didn’t go quite as planned. Belqis recalls, “This was a hilarious incident. We were both adamant not to have a first dance and had communicated this to our DJ as well. So when the dancing started the DJ invited everyone to follow us to the dance floor. Of course, everyone mistakenly thought that it was our first dance, so no one joined us. Just the two of us ended up dancing, rather awkwardly, to Lionel Richie’s ‘All night long’.
It is now a favourite song of ours, reminding us of that fun yet awkward moment.”
Congratulations Belqis and David! Thank you so much for sharing your story with us today! Thank you also to Milena Dekic of I Love Wednesdays for sharing today’s wedding.