I had the honor of photographing my first Zoroastrian wedding this summer at Swan-e-set Bay Golf Resort in Pitt Meadows, which is about a forty-five minute drive from Vancouver. I had only heard of Zoroastrism once before in an ancient history lesson, but never thought I would actually have a chance to witness it’s customs first hand. Zoroastrianism is a ancient religion based in Persia (area of modern-day Iran). Zoroastrian peoples are spread across the globe in a number of different communities, but most well known in parts of Iran and India. Swan-e-set offered the perfect setting for Felice + Cyrus’ wedding because of the splendour of the outdoors, and the fact that most Zoroastrian wedding ceremonies and receptions are held in the same place. Swan-e-set was the perfect grand venue to host all their guests and to provide a beautiful country setting for their summer wedding celebration. The Swan-e-set ballroom feels bright and vast. It has high ceilings and large west-facing windows that let in a lot of light in the afternoon and early evening. Guests can watch the sunset from their seats during the evening wedding reception and can enjoy outside time on the resort’s upstairs patio. This is a beautiful venue for that grand classic wedding in the country – It’s very much worth the drive. Zoroastrian wedding ceremonies begin with the bride walking with her family towards the altar, which is usually an elevated stage in front of attending guests. The groom follows, and they are hidden from each other by a curtain. Coconuts are used to bless the couple and to rid any evil that may be around them. Other symbols include the use of an egg to rid evil, and rice is thrown through-out the ceremony as benedictions. The family of the bride and groom stood around the couple as the priest conducted the ceremony, once in Farsi and once more in Hindi for their Iranian and Indian guests, respectively. White seems to be a prominent colour at Zoroastrian weddings. The groom wears it, the bride wears it, the priests wear it, and even the curtain that initially separates the bride and groom is white. There was a spool of string that was wrapped around the couple at the beginning and when the curtain was dropped, the whomever throw rice at the other person would have control of the household. Felice took advantage of the ritual, while Cyrus didn’t flinch an inch.
After the Zoroastrian wedding ceremony, Felice and Cyrus took a little time to change to their western wedding attire and we took wedding photos at a few different outdoor locations at Swan-e-set Golf Resort. We stayed nearby the club house due to time restrictions, but at Swan-e-set, that’s not really a problem. Some of the best locations for photos are nearby the main clubhouse. Once the reception began, there was a lot of partying. It started with a dancing grand entrance and didn’t stop until late that evening. Everyone seemed relaxed and open to having a great time. The evening dancing was amazing and they even set up a DIY photo booth for guests to have their photos taken.
Want to learn more about Zoroastrian weddings? The Heritage Institute offers a good lesson in Zoroastrian traditions, although some Zoroastrian families have different modifications that incorporate western and family customs. If you’re having a Zoroastrian wedding and looking for a Vancouver wedding photographer, send me and email and let’s talk about photography!