Lovely Aaisha, the bride-to-be contacted me though my website, following a recommendation from her friend, whose cousin, Aina’s, mehndi celebrations, I’d happened to photograph a couple of years before. Aaisha wrote me a lovely e-mail about how she’d checkout out my Facebook page (well stalked – her words!) and really loved my detail shots. Of course, I was thinking, who is this woman, I love her already! A couple of e-mails back and forth later and Aisha and Mohammed booked me for their small, intimate nikkah (Islamic wedding ceremony) at Central Mosque Rochdale.
By e-mail, Aaisha explained, that the majority of the photography coverage required would be of the congratulations after the ceremony and a bride and groom portrait session. Together, we worked out the best time to do the shoot, by putting together a rough time line in advance.
Aaisha already had a clear idea of where she wanted the bride and groom photoshoot to take place, at Broadfield Park, a short car journey from the reception location. Special thanks to her brother, Bilal, who kindly drove us all to the park and jumped in to assist me by kicking the odd twig out of my shot and holding my lens 🙂
My approach to the bride and groom portraits is always to aim for a look that is as natural as possible. I have found that the best way for me to achieve this is to direct couples to do a particular movement rather than pose. To start with, this might be asking the couple to simply walk whilst holding hands. I am ready with my camera to shoot through the movement so the poses don’t look so static and “posed”. Of course this is easier, when you have the luxury of having the space to move which is why I don’t like photoshoots in bridal suites where there isn’t usually space to move or any natural light.
We took a little walk around the park and I photographed from a distance, occasionally shouting out the odd direction. I’ve found that this is the best approach, even with the shyest of couples. On a side note, how beautiful is Aaisha’s mehndi! She found Sobia Bashir a local henna artist on good old, Facebook
The shoot took place, not long after the nikkah ceremony had finished. Aaisha had made her entrance into the reception hall, led by her parents. Her guests were sat waiting, and her groom, Mohammed stood at the stage area at the top of the hall waiting in anticipation. As Aaisha and her parents, walked up the hall towards the stage, there was a funny moment when Aaisha’s Dad told Mohmamed to come down off the stage and come and get his wife. The couple took a few pictures with their immediate families on the stage before leaving for the shoot in the park. The guests meanwhile were served there meal.
The shoot lasted less then an hour and the bride and groom were back in time to have their meal and dessert much to Aaisha’s joy. Like me, eating is always at the forefront of my mind haha.. All in all, it was a beautiful afternoon and a pleasure to meet Aaisha and Mohammed’s families and photograph their first moments together as husband and wife. I wish them the very best.
Wedding location: Central Mosque Rochdale
Bride and groom portrait location: Broadfield Park
Henna by Sobia Bashir
Photography by Tanya Weekes
Check out these Muslim weddings that I have shot in the past: