What happens when you take a rustic farm wedding and add a little Middle Eastern infusion? Sit tight m’dears, because you’re about to find out. Think Southern elegance with oh-so-sutble cultural nods woven in along the way. Beehive Events designed the florals, Jen Fariello snapped the pretty, and there’s even more to swoon sitting pretty right here.
From the Bride… My husband, Ammar, and I were both medical interns, he in Oral and Facial surgery, and I in Obstetrics and Gynecology, in June of 2010 when we first met. We both worked intense hours in the hospital, and thought that it would be absolutely impossible to meet anyone special given those circumstances. However, one late Friday night we crossed paths while working in the Emergency Room. There was an immediate chemistry and after that, it was all history. The only major hurdle was that I was a blonde American, and Ammar was from a long line of Middle Eastern ancestors – would they accept me and my family, and would my family, in turn, accept Ammar and his family into their lives?
Amazingly, it all went swellingly well. We were engaged several months later in Charlottesville, Virginia at Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. Ammar proposed on the front lawn of Monticello after a fresh snowfall, and it was absolutely magical. We have a mutual love for the Charlottesville area as we both attended the University of Virginia as undergraduates, and we return frequently to enjoy hiking in the Blue Ridge mountains, touring cideries and wineries, and attending college football games with family. We drove back to nearby Richmond, Virginia, where we were now Chief Residents in our respective fields, and immediately started planning our Charlottesville wedding.
We love the outdoors and Virginia history, and wanted a wedding venue that would showcase both of these. We toured many of the area’s wineries and cideries and ultimately fell in love with the beautiful Castle Hill Cider, which is situated on the Castle Hill Plantation in Keswick, Virginia. We loved the rustic feel of the venue, and it’s simple and beautiful setting beneath the Blue Ridge mountains. Our wedding took place in July, and we wanted our colors, pewter, rose, and soft coral, to be subtle and beautiful, not taking away from the beauty of the natural surroundings and fitting well with our vintage, rustic/chic style.
It was very important for us to incorporate both of our cultures in the wedding. We had a traditional Arabic ceremony on Friday night, just before our rehearsal dinner where we sat at an Arabic sofrah table, adorned with items that represented wishes for a happy, healthy, loving marriage and life together. We feasted over a traditional Middle Eastern dinner while a musician played live music with an oud. After dinner, the women enjoyed a traditional henna ceremony. Our wedding at Castle Hill Cider was more classically American, though we wrote our own wedding ceremony and vows, incorporating readings from both the Bible and the Qur’an as well as poetry that was sentimental to both of us. We were married under the shade of the linden trees, where hanging vases of fresh flowers blew gently in the Summer breeze. The cocktail hour took place in the linden grove, and then the guests proceeded into the barn.
After dinner and some dancing, a belly dancer appeared and performed a sword dance as well as traditional dance. Wedding cake was served along side an assortment of Middle Eastern pastries. We gave guests traditional packages of Jordan almonds, packaged in parcels of seven pieces to represent good luck for the newly married couple. We finished off the evening with a traditional Arabic dabke dance and a sparkler exit – we drove off in white 1940 Packard limousine and had a beautiful ride through the Virginia countryside with the windows rolled down and the sweet smell of blooming honeysuckle blowing through our hair. The night would not have been complete without kissing Thomas Jefferson’s statue at the University of Virginia Rotunda.
Photography: Jen Fariello Photography | Floral Design: Beehive Events | Videography: Kirby Martin | Hair: Lucas Shaffer | Catering: Sandy Motley | Event Planning: The Event Company | Invitations: Paper On The Avenue | Cake: Cakes By Rachel | Wedding Dress: Ines DiSanto | Bridesmaids Dresses: Lula Kate From Bella Bridesmaids | Headband + Bracelet: BHLDN