It's easy to see that Maryam and Jason are completely happy and content with each other, delirious to be reciting their wedding vows on this glorious sunny day, knowing they are commiting to the one person they promise to love above all others for the rest of their lives.
And as we pull the lens of the camera back just a little, we can see more clearly a few more reasons they are feeling so happy and joyful today. They were wed in a meadow in Yosemite, with only their parents, me and the photographer in attendance. Talk about a wedding that really fits YOU, your relationship and what you hold most dear. Maryam and Jason hailed from the midwest. After reading a book entitled "World's Most Spiritual Places", they decided to visit one of those places -- Big Sur, which is where Jason decided to propose. It was only natural that in planning their wedding, they allowed the location and the ceremony to reflect their love of nature, their values and their spiritual nature; and Yosemite was an obvious and first choice.
Particular attention was paid as I wrote their ceremony, to honoring and reflecting Iranian born Maryam's background and culture. Quotes from Hafiz and Rumi were sprinkled into the narrative of their love story.
We ended the ceremony with a champagne ritual where they shared a glass of champagne, which was a nod to their first date. Following that were two traditional Persian rituals to ensure that the marriage begins with sweetness: honey tasting (with honey from Jason's bees) and the grinding of two sugar cones (ghand).
It was breathtaking to deliver their ceremony under the grandeur of the waterfall and majestic peaks of Yosemite and so very meaningful to add so much of THEM to the ceremony. Their parents were sweet and the entire ceremony had a most intimate and loving feel to it.
I of course found my own spiritual pleasure in doing some hiking in the days before and after Maryam & Jason's ceremony, refecting on the wise words of John Muir:
Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul
Thank you Maryam and Jason for allowing me to celebrate with you, for inviting me into your precious lives and letting me tell your story. I hope you always remember the words of Hafiz "I caught the happy virus last night when I was out singing beneath the stars. It is remarkably contagious - so kiss me".
All Photographs courtesy of Patrick Pike and used with permission. Thank you Patrick!