13 March 2007

Sally & Paul Lebanese Wedding

Sally and Paul will forever hold my affection and prayers in an extra special way. I had the blessing of introducing these two beautiful spirits to one another (along with the help of Paul's friend Vasileios). It makes me deeply happy knowing that it was my photography that first drew their hearts together. Of course the real credit is God's who orchestrated their miraculous story.

Last July I visited dear friends (the Mamalakis family who introduced me to my husband) in Boston before covering a destination wedding in Vermont. During dinner with friends Nektarios and Vesileios (Greek names!), I first learned of Paul Kassab: half Lebanese, half Greek, doctor, single and known for his warm personality and deserving character. A plan was developed for me to subtly meet and photograph Paul at Nektarios' going away (back to Greece) party. This way I'd have information and photos for my girlfriend Sally (an extraordinary woman, editor, and writer), whom we believed could be the perfect match for Paul. Sally was vacationing and visiting family in her homeland of Lebanon when the July War began. (You can read some of her war experiences in her article that appeared in the Seattle Times.) As Sally was waiting to be evacuated from Lebanon, I was meeting her future husband!

Seven months later, I photographed their wedding. Sally and Paul are genuine soul mates. Their love and gratitude overflowed on their wedding day with tears of joy and so much expression.

The Lebanese are wonderfully passionate! Sally and Paul (with the help of the truly talented coordinator Melissa Bryan) planned a wedding rich with meaning and traditions from their faith and culture. The ceremony was celebrated in three languages and chanted in Arabic. You can learn more about the Orthodox wedding service on Sally and Paul's Web site. As a gift to their family and guests, Sally and Paul surprised everyone by entering the reception to the traditional ceremonial hail, a "zaffeh," performed by a Lebanese dance troupe complete with drums, tambourines and lots of color!

Lastly, I have to share a sentiment of Sally's father delivered during his toast. He explained how it had been his dream to walk his daughter down the aisle on her wedding day. And having experienced it, he announced that he felt sorry for fathers who have only sons. I loved that! Sally requested the beautiful Lebanese song (translated by her father) that accompanies their SLIDESHOW. She heard it during the war and wondered if she would ever find the kind of love in the song. Yes, Mrs. Kassab!

Congratulations Sally and Paul!


Blogger Bill Farhat said...

I must say that you must be an angel along with Vasileos to have come as a mediator in the life of Paul and Sally. Angels are regular human beings come into our lives to guide us into better things, we feel Gods hands in this Holy Matrimony because we could never have found a more suitable person in the life of our daughter than the one Sally chose. We thank you for the wonderful photos and found out you have another talent:"writing"! What you wrote has touched my soul, its beautiful, heavenly and wonderful!

12:17 PM  
Blogger Todd Kim said...

wow.. the slide show, pictures and music... amazing work susie! im inspired!

12:01 AM  
Anonymous Presvytera Pat Tsagalakis said...

Just incredible images of Sally & Paul's wedding. Everything you shoot comes to life in such a glorious and beautiful way. Susie, you are an exquisite artist!

What joy to photograph a couple who's union was orchestrated by God but you were the first violinist!

Presvytera Pat

1:11 PM  
Blogger ron said...

Susie...this is so beautiful! The slide show is enchanting...awesome!

8:37 AM  
Anonymous Sally said...

After having seen all your photos, and not just the ones that you posted on this breathtaking slideshow, I now know why it was so difficult to choose which ones to include. You simply don’t take a bad picture! Every emotion, every movement, you captured. Every time we look at our photos, we laugh, we cry, we smile…you documented a day in our history that we’ll never forget. Thank you.

Thank you for introducing me to Paul. I still remember you shooting those photos and, at times, barely being able to hold back your tears. Yes, photojournalism is your job, but it’s a job you do with your entire heart and soul.

And the photos show that.

Love, Sally the bride

P.S. I have been FLOODED with emails from friends and family about the photos. They all say something along the lines of “I’ve NEVER seen such beautiful wedding pictures!” A few friends even called me in tears after they viewed them. People I barely know said they got goose bumps. Each photo oozes love, and joy, and the excitement of that day. We will cherish them forever.

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely breathtaking photographs! Wish you were in Sydney, so I could have you photograph my wedding day.

4:57 PM  
Blogger Susie Hamidi said...

What a beautiful comment. Thank you for visiting. Is this Sydney, Australia? I love it there! I lived in Brisbane for two years and so wish I could return to your great country for a visit. I DO photograph destination weddings. :)


7:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Susie,

I wanted to congratulate you on these amazing pictures. I felt so touched by both the pictures and the love you were able to portrayed...I'm speechless...My husband and I are both Lebanese and will be having our Catholic wedding next year in Lebanon...perhaps is a destination you would consider if time allows.

Let me know if wedding destinations is still on your agenda...in the meantime, Merci for these amazing pictures of love and life!

Allah Maake.

11:05 PM  
Blogger Susie Hamidi said...

Dear Paula,

Thank you for your beautiful comment! Congratulations on your upcoming wedding. I would LOVE to photograph your wedding in Lebanon! Have you set a date? Please contact me through my Web site or directly at weddings@susiehamidi.com.

P.S. My first name is also Paula. And, my husband's name is Paul.



11:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
I've been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

Thumbs up, and keep it going!

Christian, iwspo.net

4:08 PM  

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