not just a wedding, but a true cultural experience

Sagal and Ismail’s story represents what I love most about the richness of this country: a place where people from diverse backgrounds and cultures come together, bringing the best of who they are to enrich and strengthen our communities. We jumped on the opportunity to spend time photographing this Somali-American couple, whose wedding experience extended over a period of two days. While I’ve known Sagal for years (Sagal and my daughter have been best friends since the first grade), this was our first opportunity to meet Ismail.

This was a day brimming full of rich Somali culture and tradition. I had the breathtaking honor of being able to witness some truly tender moments between mother and daughter, as the bride’s mom spent time adorning her daughter with gold jewelry and a colorful traditional dress called a shaash, in preparation for a ritual called shaash saar, during which several older women gift her with colorful scarves. Later the same evening, she would emerge with her new husband, wearing a second dress called hido iyo dacaan. 

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