Before tying the (American) knot at their wedding ceremony on Saturday, Carrie and Ali invited friends and family to witness a traditional Persian wedding ceremony the night before at the Duke Mansion. Nestled in the Nisbet Rose Garden was the decorated spread on a large table called “Sofreh-ye Aghd”. Traditionally this is set on the floor facing east, in the direction of the sunrise (light), which it was. When the bride and groom are facing the head of the Sofreh-ye Aghd, they are “facing the light”. Traditionally, the spread is made of a luxurious fabric and includes items with specific meanings. The Mirror (of fate) and two candelabras (representing the bride and groom and the brightness of their future) are two very important elements in the Zoroastrican culture. A tray of seven multicolored herbs and spices is to guard the couple and their lives together. A specially baked and decorated flatbread symbolizes prosperity for the couple’s life. A basket of decorated eggs and also almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts in the shell symbolize fertility. A basket of fruits symbolize a joyous future. A cup of rose water extracted from special Persian roses “Gol-e Mohammadi” perfumes the air. A bowl made out of crystallized sugar is to sweeten the life for the newly wed. The bowl of gold coins represents wealth and prosperity. The cup of honey is to sweeten life. A needle with seven strands of colored thread is the figuratively sew up the mother-in-law’s lips from speaking unpleasant words to the bride! Finally, a copy of the Holy Book is placed on the spread, this symbolizes God’s blessing for the couple.
During the ceremony, one of my personal favorite moments was when a scarf made out of silk was held over Carrie and Ali. Traditionally, various happily married women from the family will take turns holding it, which they did. Ali’s grandmother and aunt took turns grinding two sugar cones about the bride and groom to “shower them with sweetness and happiness”… it was a very joyous moment and many laughs were shared with everyone.
Here are a few of my favorite moments from their celebration. To see Ali and Carrie’s wedding at the Charlotte City Club the following day, click here.