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Samira & Jesse Married | Gotham Hall, New York City Wedding

Samira and Jesse were married at Gotham Hall, the magnificent Classical Revival building at the intersection of Broadway and W. 36th Street in Midtown Manhattan. The grandeur of the building was complemented by a spectacular design and dramatic lighting. There is a sense of romance of entering a turn of the century ball, all of which serves as an unmistakable reminder that this is a unique and special celebration. The old inscriptions on the granite wall which beckon  passersby to invest for their future (since this was once the home of the Greenwich Savings Bank) suggests the metaphor that when entering this building to be married, that is exactly what one is still doing- making their single most important investment in each other.

The wedding was splendidly planned by Christine Godsey at Engaging Affairs. I cannot tell you how pleasurable it is to work with someone so experienced and meticulous. Christine was very sensitive not only to the needs of the Samira and Jesse, but to the vendors and particularly this photographer. That is very important- as a well run wedding really sets the stage for beautiful photography. You can read more about the way she planned Samira and Jesse’s wedding at this link:

Samira got ready at the Trump SoHo Hotel, at that charming intersection of Tribecca and the West Village, which affords breathtaking views of NYC from the windows. It really inspired me to use the skyline with the elements of the setting; the shoes, the rings. I love it when the elements all come together cohesively.

Since Samira and Jesse didn’t see each other before, it gave me a lot of time to take their individual portraits separately. I took Samira to Tribeca- and I think the urban, edgy feel was a nice contrast to the lavish Gotham Hall. It really matched my contemporary style of photography. Samira, in her stunning Vera Wang dress, gave it the feel of a fashion shoot.

This was an Afghani ceremony in which the bride and groom take their rightful place at the throne as though they are a King and Queen. The Bride and groom are then covered under a very decorated shawl. Traditionally, the groom will look at his Brides face in a mirror and will read a prayer from the Holy Quran. Historically, this would have been the first moment the bride and groom would have seen each-other in an arranged marriage. The shawl is lifted and the bride and groom feed each other “Maaleda” as the guests applaud. I was also mesmerized as always by the deep spiritual meaning of the Kheena ceremony, when a red colored dye is place on their hands. The rest of the evening was filled with Afghani music and dancing. The family and guests created a  huge circle and danced round and round in a circle to the beat of an ever increasing rhythm. There is such an energy to cultural weddings, and it is such a pleasure as a photographer; to be immersed in the joy and celebration and be inspired by all the fascinating visual elements.

Samira and Jesse rode off, immediately after the wedding, down the bleary late night lights of Broadway and to their honeymoon. I hope to surprise them with some photos while they are still away.

Update, I just received this beautiful and touching message from Samira when she saw the photos:

“Hi Shira – We just got back from our honeymoon a couple of hours ago and the first thing I did was run to the computer to see the pics from the wedding. We can’t stop looking at them! These pictures are so unbelievably AMAZING!!!!! You are a true artist!!!! I can’t wait to see the rest of the pictures. Love your work sooooo very much!!!! Thanks again for everything! You and your team are the BEST!”

Thank you so much Samira! :) You really touched my heart and put a huge smile on my face. I am soooooo glad the photos make you happy. :) It really means so much to me to receive such warm appreciation! It can be a lot of hard work – so the compliments and appreciation always keep me going strong.

Vendor List
Events Consultant: Engaging Affairs
Venue: Gotham Hall
Dress: Vera Wang
Draping: Dazian Fabric
Videography: I Do Films
Catering & Cake: Thomas Preti
A/V: ESP New York
Musicians: Vali Entertainment
Invitations: 2u Collection
Lighting: Jeff Ledford, Bentley Meeker
Florist: Golf Srithamrong, Tantawan Bloom
Hair & Makeup: Maria Licari
Limo: NYC Royal Limo
Bridal Hotel Room: Trump SoHo
Groom’s Hotel Room: Radisson Martinique

Here are a few more of the venue, I couldn’t resist posting them all. Gotham Hall is just unbelievable!

I also wanted to share these two wonderful videos from Samira’s wedding posted by Golf, the flower designer, of Tantawan Bloom on his blog:

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