Venue: Cypress Meadows in Moss Beach, California

Sepideh and Aaron met one evening in a cafe in Berkeley where Sep had gone to study for a midterm. There were only two available tables, all close together. Sep squeezed by Aaron's table and took a seat next to him. She thought the gentleman sitting next to her looked familiar, and she asked him if he had ever dated a friend of hers. When he answered no, Sepideh smiled in embarrassment. Apparently her smile made him feel comfortable enough to start a conversation. In fifteen minutes they covered all sorts of topics, including her hatred of linear algebra. When Aaron was ready to leave, he asked her for her email address and offered Sep his, in case she ever wanted help with linear algebra. It took them several weeks to meet a second time, and when they finally did, they never really talked much about math again.

The Iranian wedding ceremony dates back to ancient, pre-Islamic, Zoroastrian traditions. When Sep and Aaron first started talking about the ceremony, Aaron was willing to do an all-Iranian wedding, but Sep felt that it would be insincere since she's pretty American, and so she just picked two aspects to incorporate.

The two traditions included in the ceremony were the grinding of the sugar and the honey kiss. Sugar grinding is an old tradition whereby a silk scarf or any fancy fabric is held over the couple while a married woman who is considered fortunate grinds two large solid sugar cones over the bride and groom to shower them with sweetness. The scarf symbolizes the fabric of the couples’ new life together and each little sugar grind that is sprinkled over them is supposed to “sweeten” (bring wealth, prosperity, and happiness) their new life together. It is said that each grain represents years of happiness to come. The second component is the honey kiss, which is performed at the end of the ceremony. The couple is presented with honey. Here, the groom dips his finger into the honey and gives some to the bride. She does the same in turn, and this ensures that they have a sweet start to their marriage.
image of the two sugar cones


Matt O'Brien's photography celebrates humanity. His photography, whether shooting, teaching, or exhibiting, has taken him around the world. When it comes to weddings, his approach is naturalistic and unobtrusive. He lets the events of the day unfold, capturing the beauty and uniqueness of the people, emotions, and actions as they reveal themselves. His easy-going nature allows people to feel comfortable and relaxed, which always makes for better photos, not to mention a more enjoyable experience. Matt is based in Berkeley and shoots weddings throughout northern California, and from time to time travels to far-away places to photograph weddings (Thailand in April!).