A sweet story accompanied by such lovely images in today’s Joyful Maravilla Gardens COVID elopement. With cultural differences & the pandemic this couple had many things to navigate but nevertheless they succeeded & a beautiful marriage has been born! We are able to witness this union as a beautiful garden ceremony that has a very graceful feel with simple joy & offers a sense of peace that you can see in the images.
“Fawzi and I met while working together on a week of nights and ultimately delivered a baby together. I matched in California for residency, and we started our journey of long-distance (which we are still doing — currently approaching year 6 of long distance). Despite differences in culture (he’s from Beirut, I’m from Louisiana), differences in ethnicities (he’s Arab, I’m Japanese/Cajun), differences in religion (he’s Muslim, I’m Christian), I think we realized that we were more alike than different, that despite our labels, who we are is made of the same thing. There aren’t words for what Fawzi did so that we could arrive where were on our wedding day. Our families mean everything to us, and after years of investment, we finally arrived at a place of full support by all the people that mean the most to us.
His mom flew from Beirut to meet my family. They asked my dad for permission to marry me. He proposed to me while I was in scrubs. He said it made sense. He fell in love with me in scrubs, so it only felt right.
After getting engaged, we went to Beirut to plan the wedding. I met the whole extended family and just fell in love with all of them. In October 2019, the Lebanese Revolution started as well as its subsequent economic free fall. We debated daily about canceling the wedding given uncertainty about safety but ultimately decided to move forward. Two days after significant security threats and civil unrest, my parents and my sister and her husband flew with us to Beirut. We spent a glorious, perfect week in Beirut in January 2020. We had our katb kitab (“the writing of the book” — the Muslim religious ceremony). We cried. We all cried, and I felt the presence of my God that I have always known at my Muslim ceremony. The sheikh mentioned how in the story of Adam and Eve in Islam, Adam and Eve were cast out of Heaven and separated into different parts of the Earth, so that they had to search for each other to find one another again. My mom cried on the way to the wedding the following day, saying that it was like our story. My mother-in-law planned our perfect Lebanese wedding. It was beautiful and special and filled with so much love. Our two families truly became one. We came back, looking forward to the two families being together again in April 2020 for our US wedding. Unfortunately, as we all know, the pandemic began, and we chose to postpone our wedding to October. What a strange way to start a marriage, continuing long distance and in a pandemic.
In August, the Beirut explosion reshaped the city that we love, blew out windows of our friends’ homes, blew out windows of our wedding venue. Then two weeks later, Hurricane Laura slammed by hometown in Louisiana, and nothing was the same. So as our wedding approach, deciding to proceed with our US wedding only felt right, but only if we could share it with the people who were instrumental in supporting us along this journey, and only if we could do that safely. Enter Robert and his idea of doing a high-quality livestream so that we could protect the people we care about but have them with us for this day. It was all that I could have asked for. We started this journey, just the two of us asking God what He was thinking, and we closed this chapter and started a new one, just the two of us thanking God for taking us beyond what we could have ever asked for.
Ms Jana and I got to quietly do my hair and makeup. I got to FaceTime my mom, sisters, and childhood best friends. Fawzi got to FaceTime his parents in Lebanon, who stayed up until 1am their time to be with us. We started the day with all the songs that have captured our story of time, like On My Way by Boyce Avenue and Faithfully by Journey. There was no distractions when I walked it. It was just him. It was always just him.
Ms Nanette perfectly… PERFECTLY… captured our story and all the feelings of the day. Thank God, because my brain could only think “I get to marry him, I get to marry him,” so I couldn’t stop giggling and heard nothing for the first few minutes. She read a verse from the Bible about the depth of what Love means, and a verse from the Quran about when God created Eve from Adam, when created them from the same soul. We danced to our same first dance song from Lebanon, that Fawzi picked out, “Best Part of Me” by Ed Sheeran and YEBBA and I can’t listen to it without weeping. We cut our cake to “Conversations in the Dark” by John Legend. And ended the night, with a dinner, just the two of us, Eve who finally found her Adam.” – Overview from the bride
Photography/Videography: Robert Michael Films
Planner: Engaged to be Wed
Venue: Maravilla Gardens
HMU: Jana and Co.
DJ: Music By Bonnie And Company
Florals: EmmaRose Floral
Officiant: Ceremonies by Nanette
Dress: Bridal Elegance
Bakery: Sweet Art Bakery
Wedding Submission Services: Published + Pretty