Last June I had the pleasure of witnessing Jennifer & Jeffrey say “I Do” in front of 200 of their closest friends and family members in The Horseshoe Garden. Jennifer & Jeffrey had a traditional Persian wedding, which included a beautiful sofreh table created by Teraneh Ajdar of Elegant Sofreh Design.
The Sofreh table is the main focus of a traditional Persian ceremony and includes many symbolic items which represent the couple and their future, such as:
- A Mirror “Aayeneh” (representing light) and Candelabras “shamdoon” (representing the bride and groom and brightness in their future), which are placed on either side of the mirror. The mirror and two candelabras are symbols of light and fire, two very important elements in the Zoroastrian culture. As the bride is seated beside the bridegroom, the mirror ensures that the first thing the bridegroom sees is the reflection of his wife-to-be.
- Bread “Noon-e Sangak” symbolizes prosperity for the feasts and for the couple’s life thereafter. Sometimes a special blessing is written on the bread, usually with either saffron or cinnamon. A separate platter of this flat bread, feta cheese and fresh herbs are sometimes presented to guests after the ceremony, bringing the new couple happiness and prosperity.
- Decorated Eggs and Shelled Nuts, which symbolize fertility.
- Pomegranates and/or Apples, which symbolize a joyous future. These fruits are considered heavenly and represent the divine creation of mankind.
- Rose Water “Gol-e Mohammadi” is placed to perfume the air.
- Crystallized Sugar “Nabaat” to sweeten life for the newlyweds.
- A Brazier “Manghal” holding hot coal and sprinkled with wild rue “Espand” is an essential element. Wild rue is used in many Zoroastrian ceremonies, rituals and purification rites. It is believed to keep the evil eye away and ensure good health.
- Gold coins also represent wealth and prosperity.
- A scarf made of silk or fine fabric to be held over the bride and bridegroom’s head throughout the ceremony by various happily married female relatives, most of which are close family members of the bride.
- Two sugar cones “Kalleh Ghand” made out of hardened sugar to be used during the ceremony. These sugar cones are grinded together above the bride and bridegroom’s head (over the scarf) throughout the ceremony to shower them in sugar, symbolizing sweetness and happiness.
- A cup of honey to sweeten life. While still seated at the Sofreh, after the couple is married they each dip one pinky finger in the cup of honey and feed their mate.
- A needle and seven strands of colored thread to figuratively sew up the mother-in-law’s lips from speaking unpleasant words to the bride! The shawl that is held above the couple’s head throughout the ceremony is sewed in one corner by the needle and threads.
- A prayer carpet/kit is placed in the center of Sofreh-ye Aghd to remind the couple of importance of prayer both at blissful times and times of hardship. This prayer kit would include a prayer rosary or a cross & Holy Bible or a small rug “Sajjaadeh” and a strand of prayer beads “Tasbih,” often provided by the family as gift.
- A copy of the couple’s Holy Book is placed on the spread. This book could be any holy book of your choice. The book symbolizes God’s blessing for the couple. Traditionally “Avesta,” the ancient Zoroastrian holy book, was used by the majority of Iranians. Some couples use a poetry book such as “Hafiz” collection of love poems to be read during the ceremony.
In addition to the sofreh table, an assortment of sweets and pastries are to be shared with the guests after the ceremony.
Jennifer & Jeffrey’s wedding had such a beautiful and elaborate setup, which made for a special and very memorable evening. “Mobarak” to Jennifer & Jeffrey!
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