On a stunning day in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia I had the privilege of capturing the lively wedding reception of Pazilat and Varis, a loving couple deeply rooted in their Uyghur heritage. Their union was a beautiful coming together of love, laughter, and tradition, all unfolding against the backdrop of the chic Hotel Indigo.
Nestled in the heart of Old Town, Hotel Indigo was the perfect venue for this unique celebration. With its artistic flair and historic charm, it mirrored the essence of this part of Alexandria – classic yet vibrant. The couple had chosen to hold a private ceremony earlier, opting for a laid-back reception filled with music, dancing, and the company of their close friends and family.
I loved how Pazilat and Varis had absolutely no feeling of obligation to check any kind of wedding boxes when they were planning their big day. Rather than follow tradition for tradition's sake, the couple decided to include only the parts that were really important to them, in exactly the order and timing they cared for.
These two fast-forwarded to a party that was everything they wanted in a wedding celebration: a gathering drenched in history, culture, and the Uyghur community's rich tradition of music, dance, and communal celebration. Courtesy of the fabulous DJ Dilyaraskar who flew in all the way from Canada, the melodies and rhythms of Uyghur music filled the air, adding an extra layer of excitement and authenticity to the occasion.
It was so neat to see how their community came together to celebrate Pazilat and Varis exactly as they wanted to be celebrated.
Breaking away from the conventional in yet another way, Pazilat and Varis chose to have their portrait session a couple of weeks after their wedding. This allowed them to fully enjoy their reception fun and dancing on their wedding day, and spend unhurried, intimate moments during their photo session later.
We shifted scenes to Oatlands Historic House and Gardens in Leesburg, Virginia, where we had the perfect setting for their intimate photo session. Oatlands offered an idyllic landscape dotted with lush greenery and historic structures, and we had all the time in the world to capture the couple's radiating love against this picturesque backdrop.
This was a first for me, taking wedding portraits after a wedding day, and I have to say, it opened up a world of possibilities! We took our time meandering the beautiful grounds, unhurriedly finding the best nooks and crannies for photos where we could amp up the drama and create some really beautiful images.
I would not be sad if this were the start of a new tradition!
Every part of Pazilat and Varis's celebration was new and truly unique. Their day was a beautiful blend of heritage, love, and pure joy. I am immensely grateful to have been included in this fabulous celebration and to have the opportunity to document their love story in such a distinctive and meaningful way.
Thank you to the vendors!
Venue: Hotel Indigo
Photographer: Steady and Sway
DJ: Dilyar Askar
Portrait Venue: Oatlands Historic House & Gardens