Old Mill Toronto
Maryam and Stevan’s beautiful Muslim wedding took place at the Old Mill Toronto. Sitting parallel with Humber River, Old Mill Toronto is a victorian style wedding venue full of British country charm. The ivy-covered stone wall offers a romantic backdrop for any bridal portraits. And a beautiful wedding garden is only a stone path away.
I first met up with the bride at a local salon where she had her hair and makeup professionally done. While most couples remain separated during this time, these two remained together the whole time. Stevan sat on a waiting room couch with the family and they chatted all morning. Her dress was a very understated off-shoulder gown but she had so much fun moving around in it.
They had a private couples portrait session at Alexander Muir Gardens on this gorgeous summer day. It’s always a good thing when I get a couple who loves having their pictures taken. They provide more than ample time to get a huge variety of options. I get to play with every pose and shooting site that pops into my head. It literally means that I can keep shooting as much as I want until someone screams uncle.
They had their Muslim ceremony, or aghd, in one of the private rooms at the Old Mill Toronto. Just as in western weddings, in this portion, the bride and groom situated themselves in front of their guests. This is where they exchange vows and sign the marriage contract. In front of them is the sofreyé aghd, a table containing several highly symbolic items. The groom was facing the guests with a mirror and candlesticks faced towards him. He could see his reflection in the mirror, representing eternity. The candlesticks were lit before the ceremony begins.
Then, the bride walks into the ceremony wearing a veil. She follows someone burning a special incense to ward off the evil eye. Once she has a seat, she lifts her veil, and the groom’s first image of her is in the mirror before him. The bride and groom sit beneath a canopy held up by the bride’s bridal party. This canopy signifies the bride and groom combined under the same umbrella or roof.
The officiants read verses from the Quran, and saying a few things about marriage. At this point in the ceremony, the officiant asks for the consent of the bride and groom. The groom consents firsts immediately saying ‘balé’, or yes. However when he asks the bride, her goal is to make the guests, and especially the groom, a bit nervous by making them wait for an answer. So when she finally does say ‘balé’, the guests go into an uproar of excitement.
Now it’s time for the honey exchange. The groom dipped his little finger into the jar of honey and fed it to the bride. She then did the same for him. This symbolizes that they will feed each other sweetness throughout their lives together. Finally, the groom was free to kiss his new bride. As they walked down the aisle, the family showered them with coins, flower petals, and confetti eggs. The rest of the evening was filled with group dancing with the family to celebrate.