This past weekend, I got married. It was amazing, from the night of my bachelorette party to the moment we hugged our friends goodbye. Being a crafty lady, I wanted the event to be handmade. To that end, a friend made my dress, and a bridesmaid did my make-up. My best friend from junior high made my bouquet, and my mom assembled the centerpieces.
Not to be outdone by my friends, I made flower hairpins for the bridesmaids and crowns for the flowers girls. Although there were moments of regret — like when the clock struck midnight the night before we left town for the wedding and I was still sewing — my homemade hair accoutrements turned out simple and sweet.
My biggest project, though, was my sofreh aghd. In Farsi, sofreh refers to a cloth, and aghd means wedding. At Persian weddings, it’s a tradition to display symbolic items on a cloth to represent the qualities hoped for in the couple’s life. My dad is Iranian, and I wanted to honor his heritage. Along with serving some Persian food, a sofreh seemed like the best way to evoke the romance of Persian culture.
Starting in January, I began sourcing the different items for the sofreh. I spent hours searching online and on foot, as many objects were hard to find. Some of the items I displayed were:
- Persian sweets, including chickpea cookies, rock candy, and dried mulberries, all purchased at Kalustyan’s. The sweets represent a sweet, harmonious life.
- Iranian celebration coins, brought to me from Iran by an aunt. The coins say “Mobarak,” meaning “congratulations.” The coins represent prosperity.
- A book of Persian poetry. Persians have a strong reverence for their poets, especially Hafez, the greatest love poet in Iran’s history.
- Wild rue, or esphand, a seed burned like incense to keep away evil spirits.
- A bottle of rosewater, to represent a perfumed life.
- Jordan almonds, from my neighborhood Italian pastry shop, Fortunato Brothers. Along with candy, the nuts represent sweetness.
- A mirror flanked by two candles, to represent clarity and light.
- A bowl of painted wooden eggs, found in the Polish neighborhood of Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The eggs represent fertility.
In the whirlwind of the wedding, I only had a moment to admire the sofreh, but it looked enchanting, like a landscape from a Persian fairytale. My aunt, an artist, had assembled it with an organic flow and a playful smattering of color.
Were all the hours of planning and stress worth it? Yes. We were able to include our guests in a beautiful world of our own creation. The comment we kept hearing was that the wedding truly reflected who we are. The best part was that everyone came away feeling loved and inspired, as though they had stepped into the magical realm of the sofreh and been affected by the wishes expressed there.