To Have And To Hold (Rezgar & Zara)




Weddings are probably the most exciting occasion that we can consider among the many special events. Let me share the recent wedding that I have attended on the 4th of January this year in Helsinki. Being an acquaintance to the bride, I was approached personally with her warm invitation and at the same time asking me if I could be the photographer at their wedding banquet. Having heard what she just said really humbled me. The invitation was honorable but to be their photographer, I felt a bit unsure if I can do it. I had been photographing on many different occasions for my news publication, stories and blogs but a wedding is completely different, so I have to give it a thought. After a day, I finally confirmed, yes!

The day has arrived and I drove almost two hours from Tampere city to the capital city, Helsinki. The pictorial started at Hotel Kämp, where the couple has checked in. Hotel Kämp is a historical hotel in Helsinki, Finland and considered the most luxurious hotel in the country and a member of Leading Hotels of the World. The hotel, originally built in 1887 by Carl Kämp, was designed by Theodor Höijer. I can only guess that the couple has chosen the place because they like to keep a beautiful memory of the most important moment of their union in life. Considering that they have chosen a historic place with a touch of classic and romantic architectural designs and to add its elegance was indeed a perfect choice for the couple. Many couples said "I do" in serious style. From intimate elopements to formal affairs that cover every tradition, which a couple can get inspired by stunning wedding venues, unique decor details, fashion choices, and personalized celebrations. But this one has something different from the usual weddings I have attended. First of all is the couple comes from a Kurdish background, so it's quite a challenge for me to be documenting something very new to my experience.

Photographing wedding details is one of those tasks that can consume quite a bit of time if you don’t have a solid approach to shooting them. But I'm glad that this couple is so warm and friendly that it made everything light and easy photographing every detail needed without being tensed. I have met the bride, Zara through the Finnish-Kurdish Federation. Having known her for not so long but she has such a humble and sweet soul. That persuaded me to take her proposal as their photographer. Aside from me, there was a professional lady videographer shooting every detail that she preferred. I assumed that the day will be filled with excitement and longer than usual as I was informed beforehand about the setup and all the specific details needed to be shoot.

From the Kämp Hotel to the Helsinki Cathedral square, we walked down the wide-open space of the boulevard with a temperature of 6-degree Celsius associated with winter winds. Seeing the couple stepped out from the car without any coat to warm their body but just a white shawl for the bride amazed me. I must say that the love, the excitement, and happiness they both feel for each other is enough to warm themselves. As we climbed the stairway up to the Cathedral, I can't help but admire the couple. Zara walk with grace carrying her stunning beauty. As I focused the camera lens closer to them, I can hear the sweet talks and even noticed their gentle exchange looks to each other. A sign that eventually starts sharing experiences with each other as a partner. It's making a vow that throughout their life together, they will experience a great deal of happy and sad moments. An expression of assurance that everything they go through together as a couple they will be there for each other. Their history is “written” on their faces, on their emotional state and their body gestures.

For three hours that we've been shooting together, I didn't notice any sign of tiredness from the couple until we got back to the car heading to the venue of the celebration. We stopped at a certain place where we have to pick up the wedding cakes as Zara explained on our way. To my surprise, I said without hesitation that she should stay inside the car and we will take care of the cake. She replied, okay but then she opened the front door of the car instead and went ahead with the husband after her. The videographer and I rushed to follow as well. At the baker's apartment, there were four boxes of cakes that are to be arranged in layers at the venue. We carried each one of the boxes to the small elevator. I guess no one among us wants to be separated so we just agreed to all go together. We squeezed ourselves like sardines while protecting each cake. That was the time I needed to take a photo of our beautiful and incredible bride who was in a sitting position, with her hands raised up above her head holding the box of cake. It really impressed me to see her at that particular moment. It's a pity that there's no way we can take a photo of us as we can't even move but just laugh. It humbled me to see "the bride" so down to earth enjoying her little funny adventure with us. I must admit that it's the most interesting scenario that I will look back to cherish. The fact that Zara has many good friends, adorable family and love ones who are willing to do this stuff for her, she volunteered to pick-up the cakes instead. She didn't want to bother her guests and that's something admirable about her.

Once more, Congratulations, Zara and Rezgar! I'm so blessed and honored to be one of the witnesses of your matrimonial celebration.  There's a lot of warm words and tenderness felt with each one on the night of your wedding banquet. Thank you for making us part of a very special event in your life. May the bind of your marriage and may the circle of our friendship be unbroken. Every single moment spent with you made us smile and the laughter we had will resonate over time. There will be storms and rugged roads along the way but you have each other now. I'm so proud of you both. May you always look back to where you started. Walk down memory lane to remind you that despite the differences and similarities, the best thing to do is keep falling in love with each other over and over again.

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