A Beautiful Iranian Wedding Ceremony in Long Beach

By the time Ghazal Ghaysar and Payam Doostzadeh tied the knot, the pair had been together for nearly 15 years. You read that right—they first met as young teenagers! “Our cousins were best friends, so we met through them,” says Ghazal. “We were immediately drawn to one another and started dating shortly after. Fast forward to July 3, 2016, when Payam and Ghazal were on a trip to Big Sur, one of their favorite destinations to visit. As they wandered a flower-covered hill overlooking the ocean and Pixby Bridge, Payam got down on one knee‚ and Ghazal said yes!

The couple gave themselves over a year to plan their wedding, setting the date for November 4th, 2017. “We wanted to really enjoy the process, and keep it pretty mellow,” says Ghazal of the 16-month engagement. They selected Ebell Long Beach, a Spanish-Revival building built as a women’s club in 1924, as the setting for their celebration and invited 184 guests to join them. “We both come from big families, so while it was definitely a larger guest list than we’d intended to have, neither of us would change a thing,” says the bride. The venue’s historic aesthetic didn't need much decorating, making it easy for Ghazal and Payam to dress up the space just enough while still letting the innate details shine. They hosted a traditional Iranian ceremony, followed by a modern reception that was right at home in Long Beach. Photographer Faith Wright of Winsome and Wright captured the carefully selected details of this simple celebration, so keep reading for more!

The invitation embraced the evening’s simplicity, with geometric shapes hinting at the Art Deco venue and pops of white and emerald green tying perfectly into the couple’s palette.

Payam and his groomsmen arrived in Cali style, pulling up to Ebell Long Beach in a striking blue convertible.

The groom donned a classic tux from Suit Supply, pairing it with a soft bowtie and a textured boutonniere. The littlest flower girl wore a cozy white jacket over her dress.

Ghazal went high-fashion with her bridal ensemble, pairing a lace Yolan Cris gown with dramatic cut-outs and a pair of emerald Aquazzura boots. “I tried on so many dresses and nothing felt like me, until I slipped into this one,” she says. “My mother’s reaction helped too!”

She asked her bridesmaids to choose their own emerald green dresses, ranging from short and lacy to long, wrapped silhouettes.

Payam and Ghazal took a moment before the ceremony to take it all in and exchange gifts.

The couple wed in a traditional Iranian ceremony, which included a sofreh aghd (a spread of symbolic items) set on Lucite tables with palm accents. The older flower girls led the way down the aisle in white dresses and crowns of greenery.

The ceremony included honored rituals featuring coins to represent prosperity, candles to symbolize energy and clarity, and a sugar cloth and cones, Happily married women in the family are invited to rub cones of sugar over a lace fabric held above the couple’s head to "shower them with sweetness."

Payam and Ghazal wrapped the ceremony up with personal vows they wrote to one another. “That was absolutely one of the most special moments,” says the bride.

Inside the venue, tables were draped in white linens and topped with tall vases holding vibrant palm leaves. No one missed flowers with such striking displays throughout the room!

Payam’s band, Young the Giant, took to the stage to play a few songs before toasts were made, then the couple took to the dance floor to John Legend’s “Each Day Gets Better” for their first dance.

Looking back, the bride has this advice: “Don’t be afraid to keep things simple,” she says. “All that matters is the love you share with your partner!”

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