Alexia and Max are wise souls. They know this wedding ceremony doesn’t mark the start of their life together – they’ve already begun that journey beautifully – but it is the start of a new chapter in their love story. They understood there’s something profound and meaningful about making commitments to each other publicly before the people who have been SO supportive and excited about their relationship.
Alexia and Max grew up with different cultural backgrounds. Alexia is of Persian descent and Max is Jewish. At first glance the two are quite different, but on closer look it’s clear that both are very family and community-centred. For their wedding ceremony we wanted to connect their families by demonstrating that Persian and Jewish wedding traditions have many similarities in intention and practice.
For instance, they have chosen to be married under a Jewish wedding canopy called a Chuppah. Later you will see the Persian version of a wedding canopy. The Chuppah is symbolic of shelter, sanctity, and peace. It is the house of promises, the home of hope. Its four poles correspond to the four directions – north, south, east, and west – just as enduring love expands beyond any boundaries. The sides are open, showing us that Alexia and Max welcome family and friendship into their life and their home. Certainly, that is a common theme in both Jewish and Persian marriages.
They also took part in a visual feast known as a ‘sofreh’. The sofreh is a Persian tradition that dates back over twenty-five hundred years. Literally it means ‘the marriage spread.’ It is beautiful to behold and rich in symbolism. Every wedding sofreh is different because each family adds their own personal touches in the selection and arrangement of the symbolic items, which I will explain in a moment.
Alexia’s mother designed and created the couple’s beautiful Sofreh. Her mother, sisters, and bridesmaids also held a silken canopy over the couple’s heads. Like the Chuppah, this canopy was open on all sides and symbolized that Alexia and Max will forever live under one roof. The ladies rubbed loaves of crystallized sugar over their heads to shower Alexia and Max with sweetness as they prepared their hearts for their vows and for all the years of their marriage. This is a traditional Persian wedding custom. So beautiful. And SWEET!
After the love story (a feature of all my ceremonies) came the vows. Zowie. Max made even me cry. I love this photo of Alexia and I wiping our tears. Max is looking at us as if to say, “NOW what am I supposed to do?” Or maybe, “I don’t get women!” heehee.
This was a wonderful wedding in true interfaith, intercultural, and intertraditional intent. I felt so at honoured to serve Max and Alexia and their families in this meaningful way.
Celebrant Michele Davidson