Karmina + Nick’s wedding day was unlike anything I’ve seen before! When Karmina and I got on our timeline planning call, she mentioned that she would like me to be at her “getting ready” location because they would be holding a Lebanese tradition of her father walking her out of his home for the last time. Since I have never had the opportunity of attending or photographing something like this before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was picturing a small group of family, her bridesmaids, and her father there for this scene. Instead, I walked into a decorated home with beautiful spreads of food and flowers everywhere. And enough people to fill a wedding reception!
We did get some quiet time for Karmina to get into her dress with her mom and sisters, which was a very sweet and sentimental moment. But right after that, the party BEGAN! Karmina met her dad in the back room of the house, and it was SO SWEET to see how emotional this made him. Their family and friends lined up on the back deck for what’s called the “zaffe” and the music began. Then all you could hear was gorgeous music being played, loud drums, and chants from everyone there cheering them on. The energy was unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed before and all I could do was smile and get lost in this extremely cool moment. Karmina and her father danced their way down the stairs until they made their way into the car that would be transporting them to the ceremony.
Upon arriving at their church ceremony site, we went ahead and did their first look. The fall colors had finally arrived in Raleigh, and the setting for where Nick would see his bride for the first time was so colorful and stunning. This is always one of my favorite parts of the day! The way Nick looks at Karmina is so very special. In fact, Nick’s brother (his best man) mentioned in his speech that when Nick first met Karmina he said “I would marry that girl.” Then after getting to know her a little more, he told him “I am GOING to marry that girl.” Hearing his steadfast uncertainty of this made everyone in the room so emotional.
Their Catholic mass ceremony was beautifully done, and I loved how they fused both Eastern + Western traditions into it. It was super chilly so we got the rest of our portraits done as quickly as possible so that everyone could head on over to their reception at The Fairview! The room was beautifully decorated with lights and greenery, and I loved all the little personal touches they added to the decor. They had a specialty cocktail list named after their three dogs (which naturally I was obsessed with) and wooden signs with lyrics from some of their favorite country songs. Oh, and the FOOD was amazing! When it was time for the new Mr + Mrs to be announced into the reception, there began another zaffe with drums, dancers, and the most FUN experience I’ve ever had photographing a reception. Both Karmina and Nick were thrown on their friend’s shoulders and they paraded around the room. Although it was a little hard for my 5’3″ self not to get lost in the dancing crowd, I was having the BEST time behind my lens that night. If I could have multitasked by both shooting AND dancing my heart out I totally would have!
The rest of the night was one of the biggest parties I’ve ever seen (they had 400+ guests) and everyone looked like they were having the time of their lives. I loved how the music was a blend of typical American wedding music, today’s hits, country, and Lebanese music! It was so clear how LOVED Karmina and Nick were by every single person in the room that night, and I often found myself getting all emotional over it. These two have become sweet friends and are some of the most generous and caring people I know. They were truly destined for one another and I am so excited to see what the future holds for them!
Thank you so much, Karmina + Nick, for allowing me to be a part of such a special day. I just love y’all!!!
Photography: Chelsea Allegra Photography
Ceremony Venue: St Francis of Assisi
Reception Venue: The Fairview
Wedding Gown: New York Bride + Groom | Essence of Australia
Suits: Joseph A Bank
Makeup: Danny B. @makeupbymrstery
Hair: Kristi Helwig
Catering: Three Seasons by Fares and Zeina Hanna
Cake: Whole Foods
DJ: A Bride’s DJ
Coordination: Sherene Bitar & Lily Hammoud
Videography: First Look Photo + Video