Wedding in Abu Dhabi
It is well known that Oil flows so freely in Abu Dhabi, but this treasure was all about a different type of wealth. This wealth is ever lasting, real and unique to two people, this wealth is love. Afia and I met through a mutual friend several months ago at an event in Dubai. After talking about life, moments, good things, bad things and everything in between, she mentioned that she was getting married. Naturally I asked about her big day and we spoke a lot about the value of an image, a moment, capture in it’s natural sense and story telling. I knew from there that Afia would be my perfect client because she agreed on everything I was talking about. Several months later and after a wedding in Dubai, we drove straight to Abu Dhabi with my second shooter and best friend Yiannis Alefantou to start the experience. Once we arrived, we touched base with Afia and Hassan and went for dinner. This was the first time I met with Hassan, what a great guy. I have memories of the restaurant we had dinner and drinks in, the laughing, jokes, Arab and Greek jokes and lots or sharing, all of which was fun. It’s these moments I will carry with me my whole life. Afia and Hassan are Iraqi and over dinner they explained to me the style of wedding they would have. I was told that there would be 500 guests…wow!
Afia is so relaxed and Hassan also, so there was no worries for me about getting close to them, especially with that amount of guests. In the middle east, they have weddings much later in the day as we do in the west, due to the heat. This is normal for me as I shoot so many wedding in the Mediterranean. The preparations were full of fun and moments with family and special amazing friends who come all the way from the USA. If there is life and people, I am there. Story telling is much easier when there is a story and people involved. Hassan’s friends and family helped prepare the way for him and Afia had her amazing American friends to lighten the atmosphere in her hotel suite. I am sure they will cherish these moments for ever. It’s those little things like laughing, door bells ringing every two minuets and people full of anxiety that makes these special moments. Hassan made his way to the reception hall to get ready for Afia’ reveal. As she arrived, Hassan was introduced to the wedding guests with an amazing showcase of drumming and original Iraqi tradition…. I can still hear the drumming when I play back the images. It is this story and energy that makes this wedding. The night was full of dance floor madness and people making shapes which made for a fun session. When I look back at this story, I get the smell of the Arabic perfume I could smell all night and the Iraqi drumming creating that suspense, so I hope you can engage with the images and feel what I saw.