If you think planning a wedding is stressful, then imagine planning a wedding where none of the guests even know you are engaged, let alone getting married! Zohreen and Rishi thought that having a surprise wedding would be simpler and more fun, but let's just say only one of those turned out to be true! Guests were invited to the wonderfully eccentric Paramour Estate in Silver Lake to witness an elaborate proposal planned by Rishi. Instead, they were welcomed by the bride and groom revealing the surprise from the mansion's balcony just an hour before their wedding ceremony.
To add an extra layer of anxiety, the only people who were in the know ahead of time - the two sets of parents - did not know that Zohreen had convinced a very special guest to officiate: Reza Aslan. Oh and a third surprise? Rishi's brother decided to propose to his girlfriend at the reception and with the bride and groom's blessing (they were all for more surprises!), he shocked everyone when he got down on one knee (she said yes!).
Despite all the surprises, there was another theme very much at the heart of this whole celebration: the fact that this union was more than two individuals coming together, it was two faiths, two cultures, two families from different backgrounds. Rishi is Indian Jain and Zohreen Pakistani Muslim so the love and acceptance of both families was not lost on anyone who was present. Reza drew from his personal life as a partner in an interfaith marriage as well as his professional life as a world-renowned religious scholar to officiate the ceremony with the perfect blend of honest, sweet, and funny while paying tribute to both of their backgrounds. But it is Rishi's testament of love during his vows that stood out to me as one of the most beautiful I have heard in my 10 years as a wedding photographer. Rishi's voice broke as he declared: "I will always be a part of your community. I will always fight for your community to make sure that your community is safe." These words meant everything. To acknowledge the struggles of Zohreen's Muslim community and to vow to stand by it is the ultimate declaration of love as far as I am concerned.
We could not have been more thrilled to have been entrusted with not only the task of capturing this truly awesome event, but with all the secrets and surprises that came along with it. Zohreen and Rishi, thank you for choosing us!
And a special Thank You to photographer Adam Kealing, who flew in from Austin to help us cover this wedding!