Can one be modern & still keep & follow traditions? It sure was possible for Siham & Charbel. This Lebanese man & his Algerian bride have gathered with family & friends to celebrate their love, June 10th 2012. This couple recently got married in a very traditional Algerian way. What makes a traditional Algerian wedding so different?
As a person who loves learning & who seeks to continuously expand her knowledge, here was an amazing opportunity for me to truly experience & discover the Algerian beliefs/culture regarding weddings. Being a wedding photographer/videographer is not only about saving the moments, but also about living the moments, their moments & making sure it’s even more beautiful. My strong interest & curiosity in regards to traditions & beliefs motivated me to ask some questions along the day or along the process. I was very well approached & greeted by her family members who gladly answered me with a smile. It made me appreciate the culture & also assisted me in directing my search of images. Differently said, by knowing about the Algerian values, beliefs & by understanding why every step or every single detail is important, it allowed my artistic mind to be guided. Therefore, during the day, as I was learning more about the meaning behind things, this recent knowledge caused my eyes & hands to react & capture with a different sense. I succeeded at placing myself in their shoes, really feeling & adapting to the Algerian traditions.
Learning through my beautiful adventure… (because photography takes you beyond)
Everything started on June 9th 2012, one day prior to the wedding. My camera & I assisted to the Henna moment, moment in which close family members & friends gathered to see Siham & Charbel have henna applied on their hands by Siham’s grandmother (tradition similar to Indian culture). The henna was a “red/brown circular” type of henna. Later on, other family members & friends who were invited to Siham’s house also had a little session of henna. Although I was asked whether or not I was interested to have a touch of this traditional henna on my hand, my role of holding the camera prevented me from agreeing (although I would’ve loved to).
Algerian brides wishing to celebrate their weddings in a very traditional way will have to consider changing their dresses several times during the evening. Advantage or inconvenient? Although Siham would probably lean to saying its an inconvenient, I personally think it’s a gorgeous opportunity. Let’s keep in mind that Siham’s answer may be more accurate considering that she lived the experience whereas my opinion on this is solely based on my positive perspective. I personally think that it’s beautiful to have to see yourself in different dresses on the same day. But these are words originating from my “in love with change” mind. Talking about dresses, the 2nd one which Siham had to wear was more traditional than the others. Here is a picture:
Intrigued about the meaning or value behind this traditional & luxurious dress, I asked her aunt about the symbolic importance. She replied: “This dress is to symbolize kingdom, to represent the bride as a princess. In fact, back in the days, this is how princesses would dress. Thus, our traditions require that we treat our brides as princesses.” Impressive isn’t it! It is important to note that Algerians are not the only ones to have such traditions. Many others, such as the indian culture, have similar beliefs as well.
The reason for which most of this post was focused on Siham is explained by the fact that the role of men (Charbel), was not of any significant difference when compared to the more typical weddings.
In conclusion, traditional versus modern is not the most important question to ask oneself. Rather, it is the mere celebration of two people in love that matters & that regardless of any potential limitations! I could have elaborated on so many other things or elements of this event but doing so would result in me writing an entire book! A rich & worthwhile experience! Congratulations to Siham & Charbel. Wishing you happiness & beautiful memories for a lifetime. It was a pleasure living & saving those moments for you!