If you saw their chic engagement session, you’d know what to expect from this posh Bukharian Jewish wedding.
Here they are, Ilana and Igor again, this impossibly young, sweet, and beautiful couple in love! I photographed their fashionable engagement session at the Old Westbury Gardens and could hardly wait to see what their Bukharian Jewish wedding would bring. Knowing their cosmopolitan style and, possibly not the least, having Igor’s brother gorgeous Jewish-Moroccan wedding to match, I expected something stunning. They surely thrilled!
The preparations took place at an elegant Hotel 50 Bowery. Lara worked with the groom. As I walked in the bridal suite, couldn’t tell if Ilana was ready or not yet—she’s that type of ladies who are naturally beautiful! Turned out, she didn’t put makeup yet so I captured the magic of Drita Pali (makeup) and Senada Ceka (hair) in action. Then I saw the couture wedding gown by Mikael D… Impeccable craftsmanship and an extraordinary object to photograph, especially on such a beauty. This Bukharian Jewish wedding day was getting better and better.
The couple arranged for the hotel’s rooftop access to have their first look with the massive Manhattan background. Igor donned a Hugo Boss tux from Victor Talbots and posed for his mini-session there. He gifted his fiance Venus et Fleur, a Parisian-inspired trunk filled with Eternity® Roses that last a year. On our way down to the lobby we spotted that neon sign that you see on the cover.
Moonlight Limo took our couple to the Central Park near the Alice in Wonderland statue. I posed them on the 5th Avenue and, in the daring traditions of Zorz Studios, did it along with (slow) traffic. Fun by the statue, bubbles, pond, and finally the ice cream truck concluded our photo walk. We headed to the venue.
Because we started the day early, and the ceremony wasn’t until 6 PM, our newlyweds gave themselves a little break before the formal family photos. For that break, Ilana arranged for a table right in the yet-empty ballroom where she sat all of us and had lunch with us. It’s just a little cute detail showing their kindness and consideration. Later during the reception things got so busy that we couldn’t even think about the meal but one guest, whose wedding I photographed 10 years ago, invited us to their table. Thank you, Radion!
Many Bukharian Jewish live in Queens (Forest Hills) and that’s where one of their luxurious popular venues, Da Mikele Illagio, is located. Bukharian Jews are a Jewish ethno-religious group of Central Asia which historically spoke Bukhori, a Tajik dialect of the Persian language. Their name comes from the former Central Asian Emirate of Bukhara north of Afghanistan, which once had a sizable Jewish community. After the Russification of Soviet Tajikistan, most modern Bukharans speak Russian as their everyday language.
A Bukharian Jewish wedding is unique in its character. The religious ceremony by Rabbi Gutmacher was traditionally gender-segregated. The reception brought an overload of food (check the couple feeding traditional plov to their guests!), ancient culture, dances (with guests wearing chapans, large coats embroidered in metallic threaded flowers), and distinguishable Bukharian music (I always hear it in Russian with a distinct accent and vocal rhythm). Most of the music was contemporary Western and Russian, however, with a hot influx of Italian and Spanish iconic songs, all performed by DJ Gio entertainment group in a sexy glorious way.
Eva Madeleina of Towers of Flowers mastered the astonishing decor and flower arrangements. And of course, coordinating a big fat Bukharian Jewish wedding is a feat. A massive dedication and experience of Jackie Budansky of Couture Creations NYC did it perfectly.
I am flying away tomorrow for a week vacation in Moldova. I hardly managed to write this blog and could have written better, considering the beauty and scale of this Bukharian Jewish wedding. Forgive me, guys. At least I prepared all images that I planned. Thank you for the delight of working with your families! Let your love grow, glow, and flourish!
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