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Alejandra & Danish — Washington DC wedding photography

Brace yourselves: This is going to be a loooooong blog post.

I recently had the pleasure of photographing the two-day wedding celebration of one of my most wonderful and dearest friends. Ale and I first met in the summer of 1997 at the University of Maryland’s planning meeting for everyone studying abroad that following semester in Florence, Italy. The organizers suggested that students choose people to live with at that gathering, since most everyone would be finding their own apartments in Italy. While bunches of shrieking girls ran around the room hugging their friends, three less hysterical strangers and I gravitated toward each other. That’s how Ale and I became friends. She, our good friend Ghi and I (and another woman who we didn’t keep in touch with after the semester ended) shared a magnificent apartment — we called it a quasi-palazzo — just off the Piazza della Republica and just around the corner from Il Duomo in bella Firenze. It was a fantastic four months. And Ale and I have been amiche ever since!

So it was with great joy — and almost as much giddiness as those crazy girls running around the room at the Florence planning meeting — that I offered to photograph her nuptials to Danish. They are wonderful for each other. Both tall and willowy, they make for a striking couple. And in terms of personality, they couldn’t be a better match. As intense and stress-prone as Ale can be, her beau is equal parts mellow and soothing. When nerves and worries threatened to give Ale one of her terrible stomachaches on the way to the courthouse the morning of their wedding, Danish suggested they exchange their own personal vows — just the two of them — right there in the metro car. How sweet is that?

And their wedding? Talk about an international affair. Ale is originally from Colombia, Danish from Pakistan. Friends flew in from California and Bogota. The bride’s sister — unable to make the trip — listened in on the ceremony via cell phone from Trinidad & Tobago. And the groom’s relatives received text message updates and mobile phone photos in Pakistan, where it seemed the whole family passed the phone around to share their good wishes with the couple.

Anyways, let’s get to the photos.

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We all laughed as we had to pass the custody and paternity testing offices on the way to the marriage bureau. But this sign was the funniest.

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The ceremony room is decorated with these, um, let’s say kitschy silk flower arches. But seriously, could these two look any happier?

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Ale’s sister listens in from afar as the couple exchanges vows.

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I love these next two of my friend.

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An emotional mom…

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And they’re married!

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Sharing the excitement immediately with Vero in Trinidad.

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Leaving the courthouse with a grand flourish…

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Some fun, quick portraits with the couple’s friends who attended the ceremony. I even handed off my camera and jumped in the last one.

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And then we handed off my camera to some stranger for a big group shot!

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By now, Ale was hot. And hungry. And didn’t want to be bothered with any more photos. I reminded her that we didn’t have any of her and her new husband alone. Thankfully, she agreed to a few more. Because I love this series of the two of them — their smiles, the looks they exchange. What a beautiful couple….

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And they’re off to enjoy a romantic lunch as husband and wife…

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The next day, a much larger group of friends and family gathered at Ale’s parents’ beautiful home in Bethesda to celebrate Ale & Danish’s marriage. There was music and live performances by the bride and her friends and the groom’s friends. There was food from Latin America and Pakistan. There were toasts and tears, poems and cigars and lots and lots of laughter. In other words, the perfect celebration. Here, the groom and his friends arrive in a traditional processional. One of Danish’s close friends made the men’s shawls herself, coordinating the colors to match Ale’s dress. They were beautiful.

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“The groom is here. The groom is here!” Ale shouted when Danish arrived.

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I forgot to mention: The guest list included some of the most darling children I’ve ever seen. I could have photographed this sweet little boy all day long.

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Vero drops in on the party from Trinidad via Skype. Ale’s mom marched the laptop around the house so she could say hello to all the guests. So fun! And so 21st Century.  : )

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Later, the bride and her friends and the groom’s friends offered dueling performances. The girls reenacted the audition scene from the very end of Flashdance. In a so-funny-it-almost-seemed-planned accident, there was a glitch with the music —  just like there was in the movie. Not missing a beat, Cristina begged her audience for a second chance — just like Jennifer Beals does in the movie with the audition board!

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The little girls wanted to get in on the fun, too.

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And then it was time for the groom’s friends’ performance.

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Some toasts and tributes…

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Some bubbles…

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A song or two…

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And lots and lots of fun…

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Ale & Danish, I couldn’t be any happier for the two of you. It was a pleasure to celebrate your wedding with you and an honor to document it through my photography. I wish you a lifetime of love and happiness!

xo,

Jen

Comments

  1. Kristin

    Wow! The happiness is overflowing in these photos. I especially love the Flashdance pics and the one where Ale is saying “the groom is here!” Congrats to the beautiful couple. Great pics, Jen.

    Reply
  2. Ghi

    Great Job Jen! You captured the moments perfectly =)

    Reply
  3. cidell

    That was beautiful! I find your blog an absolute pleasure to read.

    Reply
  4. Leo

    Baseball players who get a hit once every three times at bat go to the Hall of Fame.

    I don’t know where photographers who hit a home run every time go, but you are destined to find out!

    Reply
  5. Pingback: Published: Ale & Danish on United With Love «

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