America is a mix of nations, cultures, traditions, and tastes. For instance, in Texas, there is a young couple who’ve tied a knot recently. The groom is Assyrian and the bride is American-Lebanese. So, can you imagine this wedding? All three cultures combined and tangled to make a perfect wedding ceremony and wedding party for all the guests. Different wedding traditions were used by the bride and groom to honor their roots and to shape their future. Let’s learn more details.
Here’s our beautiful couple. Sargon is the groom and Rachael is the bride.
“Faith has always been a part of my family's life. We're Assyrians, very small Christian minority from Iraq”, says Sargon, the groom.
Assyrians are an ethnic group indigenous to the Middle East.
“Because my mom married a Lebanese man, there was never really any question that when I marry a middle-eastern man, of course, we're gonna include that into our wedding”, says Rachael, the bride.
26 hours till “I do”
“When we were growing up in Iraq, Christianity and being an Assyrian was part of our identity”, says Khana, groom’s mother.
“We were Christian in a dominant Muslim world. So we were a minority in our society by religion. Today we do it here [in Texas, US] because it's our faith”, says Donald, groom’s father.
“I try to incorporate as much as I can. They have to live in America so they have to adapt to their country so they'd be a good asset to their community and their families”, adds Khana, groom’s mother.
24 hours till “I do”
“So, when I was younger, we would always have Leb fests, and the entire neighborhood would be invited over. My mom and grandmother would cook Lebanese food and we would listen to music. It was part of my culture growing up”, recalls Rachael, the bride.
“Tradition provides foundation and grounding”, says Virginia, bride’s mother.
“You take the traditions that you shared when you were younger and then mold them into something that's uniquely yours”, says Ray, bride’s father.
“Incorporating our heritage and our background into our wedding was really, really important”, adds Sargon, the groom.
“Every week, I'd get a new Wikipedia article from my mother about some Assyrian tradition that we should include, like bridal dress or… it was just everything”, laughs Rachael, the bride.
“I learned new traditions I didn't know we had, thanks to her mom. So that was unique”, says Sargon, the groom.
4 hours till “I do”
Kleela – Assyrian ritual ribbon
“In our church, when you get married they have two ribbons – one’s red, one’s white – that represent the union. They tie them onto the arms of the couple. My parents took their ribbon and they cut it into four: one for them, one for me, and one for each of my brothers. And if you look at the boutonniere that I'm wearing, you'll see a red and white ribbon wrapped around it, and that's the same ribbon that was used when my parents got married, and when I was baptized, and, probably, when my brothers were baptized. You don't know they're there but those are a part of our family and our tradition, and we wanted to make sure that those were on us while we took our step together”, narrates Sargon, the groom.
1 hour till “I do”
“At our wedding, you're going to see lots of nods to the Mediterranean. We will have fresh herbs in all of our arrangements. You'll see lots of lemons, olive branches – wherever we can include them”, says Rachael, the bride.
“We have crosses that have been handed down over time. One of them is from our parish where my parents were married, so I always keep that near me”, says Sargon, the groom.
0 hours till “I do”
“I've never seen it so glorious: flowers and the arrangement in the setting… It was spectacular”, says Ray, bride’s father.
“You’re locked arms with this person and you're on this path together”, shares Sargon, the groom.
“It's not always gonna be so happy. It's the tough times as well. But it really is that partnership that makes you loyal to the end”, says Rachael, the bride.
I now present to you all Mr. and Mrs. Daniel. You may kiss the bride.
“You'll see this traditional Assyrian entrance. Everybody's dancing and they have these colored noisy handkerchiefs”, narrates Sargon, the groom.
Yalekhta – colorful scarves
“These scarves are called “yalekhta”. They're really very decorative, and everybody waves them when they dance. It’s just so colorful, and we enjoy using them and dancing with them”, say Khana and Donald, groom’s parents.
“I particularly loved all our non-Assyrian friends out there trying to learn our dances. And it was awesome”, shares Sargon, the groom.
“We did things that were honorable to our family members”, adds Rachael, the bride.
“What was fun is figuring out how much it's for family and how much it's for the couple. And I think, so long as you're truly mindful of that, there's no wrong answer. I think it felt most authentic to us – the way that we wanted that to come together for our wedding”, says Sargon, the groom.