Today I have the wedding of Shervin and Jeremy, they got married at Omni Houston Galleria Hotel on 22nd April 2017. Jeremy is originally from St. Louis, MO and Shervin Taheran is originally from Houston, TX. Jeremy is from a predominantly Catholic family and Shervin is from a mixed-religion – Islam and nondenominational Iranian family.
They met in undergrad at Southern Methodist University. As they were both Political Science and Middle East study dual majors, it meant they shared a lot of classes together. Over time, Jeremy and Shervin’s relationship transformed from classmates to best friends and eventually a married couple. Over to the couple to tell us about their big day.
The proposal was on January 22, 2016 in Washington DC, which was the first day of the snow storm Jonas. Jeremy had picked out the ring a week before and the jeweler told him that if he could make it to their store before the storm hit, the ring was his. After rushing across DC to pick up the ring, he came home to find Shervin home sick with a cold!
Knowing his (or it turns out his soon-to-be mother-in-law) can’t keep a secret, he lured Shervin out into the early snow fall at the local Meridian Hill Park, which was largely deserted. After thinking their friends were in place to snap pictures, Jeremy proposed and Shervin immediately grabbed the ring and then said yes. Little did we know that our friends had only then arrived to the park and it was a total stranger snapping our official proposal pictures. Luckily, with the help of our friends, we recreated the monumental moment before the snow got too thick.
Our theme was “Subtle” enchanted forest, meaning lots of greenery, white flowers, and warm candlelight. Colors included Purple, Gold, Green and white.
Food and catering
Food was a plated meal from the Omni’s menu, where guests could select from either filet minion with a jalapeno marinade, chicken breast with a citrus vinaigrette sauce. Sides included spinach orzo and grilled broccolini. Drinks provided were wine and beer, with beer being a selection of St. Arnold’s (a local Houston brewery) that we both enjoy.
Music was provided by DJ Karmron, an Iranian DJ that had worked with many Iranian weddings, including cross-cultural ones.
The bridesmaids wore eggplant-purple Alfred Angelo floor length dresses. The grooms outfit was a Calvin Klein black tux with matching pants along with Frenchcuff tuxedo button up shirt.
Accessories included a Black bowtie and Holy See insignia cufflinks given as a gift to Jeremy from one of the groomsmen. Shoes were Johnston & Murphy patent leather shoes. The groomsmen wore charcoal Vera Wang tuxes along with black and silver paisley ties as selected by Jeremy and Shervin.
Ceremonies and traditions
The ceremony was an hour long, with half of the ceremony presented in a traditional Western-Christian style and the other half presented in a traditional Iranian-ceremony.
For the Christian Ceremony, the officiant was Jeremy’s Uncle Keith, who provided over the sharing of the vows and the exchanging of rings. Also included in this ceremony was a unity candle lighting. Using candles originally lit at the beginning of the processional by both mothers, Shervin and Jeremy lit their own candle together, signifying the joining of their families. Roses were also given by Jeremy and Shverin to their new mother-in-law’s, again signifying the joining of the two families in a heavily Catholic tradition. Both the lighting of the candles and the rose ceremony were the perfect transitions into the Iranian ceremony.
For the Iranian Ceremony, the officiant was the same gentlemen, Mehdi Abadi, that had officiated Shervin’s parents’ wedding. The central portion of the wedding was the Sofreh Aghd, which use dates back to ancient Iranian traditions. Coming from the word sofreh, which is Persian for tablecloth in, it consists of a rug or tablecloth covered in various elements and objects that symbolize themes related to the marriage as well as important items belonging to the couple.
For instance, on our Sofreh Aghd, we had a large mirror and candlesticks, brought over from Iran by Shervin’s grandmother. The mirror symbolizes the reflection necessary for a successful marriage while the candlesticks represents the bright future in front of the happy couple. Other important objects included noone sangak, a special bread that represents propensity, a basket of decorated eggs which symbolizes fertility, and a bowl of crystalized sugar, which represents the sweetness of marriage.
Some of the objects close to us included in the Sofre was a jewelry box and tea glass holding honey, which was used later in the ceremony, both of which belonged to Jeremy’s late grandmothers and the 500+ page illustrated Shahnameh, an ancient epic poem written about the Iranian kings of old.
Moving from the Sofre, another tradition was inviting happily married women from both families to come forward and hold over the couple a silk sheet while they take turns grinding sugar canes over the couple’s heads, again hoping to sweeten the marriage. Finally, as a sign of joining the families, both parents provide gifts to the bride and groom. The groom also provides a gift to the bride. At the end of the ceremony, Shervin ended it by successfully extinguishing the candles on the sofreh with her shoes.
Favourite part of the day
Favorite part of the day for the groom was finally seeing Shervin in her wedding dress and the amazing work that her family had done in arranging the sofreh.
Shervin’s favorite part was seeing everyone she knew from parts of hers and Jeremy’s life all coming together to celebrate our wedding.
Easiest part of the wedding planning
Selecting the photographer, Taylor Lange. She is a childhood friend of Shervin’s and was one of the first people she called after the proposal. It was a no brainer to have such a close friend be a part of such an important day in both our lives.
Is it harder to plan a wedding when the couples are from different faiths/culture etc
Harder in the sense that you are balancing the needs and wants of two very different families from very different backgrounds. Fortunately, our wedding coordinator was experienced in cross-cultural ceremonies and her guidance was invaluable. Jeremy and Shervin also were in constant communication to avoid situations where things may be lost in translation between the families.
Advice to give to other multicultural couples
Be the cultural translators and have each other’s backs. One thing that we noticed is when our parents talked to each directly, they may either misunderstand each other suggestions or be too polite to suggest against something. This required us to stand in and be in a position where we could explain to each other parents what we wanted. We also communicated with each other what were the non-negotiables were on both sides of the ceremony.
By knowing that beforehand, we could better communicate with our parents directly and have each other’s backs in case an disagreement came up later. Also, talk to people if possible who have experienced that type of cross-cultural wedding. They can be friends, families or vendors. You don’t have to take everyone’s advice, but by talking to people, you will get a better idea of what you want or what you don’t want.
Wix – It was a free service that allowed us to do some great things, such as lay out photos, describe some of the traditions that would be on display at the wedding, and even some important words to know in Persian!
Photographer: Taylor Elizabeth Photography
Second Photographer: Rachelle Rawlings
Florist and Décor: Plant-n-Petals
Coordinator: Events by Sarah, LLC
DJ: DJ Kamran Nikahd
Lighting: Stage Directions
Bride’s Shoes: YSL
Donated Flowers (Post-Reception): Floranthropy
Hair and Make up: Southern & Adorn
Ceremony Musicians: Avalon Music
Venue: Omni Houston Hotel
Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas0