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I cannot explain how excited I was when Marie Joe Abi Nassif and Abdallah Salam reached me from New York to say that their wedding would be the first official wedding in Lebanon and they wanted to work with me. It was also an activist initiative against the official validity of religious weddings within the country so far. The interesting thing is that when you made an official wedding abroad and returned to Lebanon, it was recorded in 5 minutes and considered valid. However, if you do this in Lebanon, this was not accepted. For this reason, many couples were getting married in nearby countries like Cyprus and returning to the country.
You can read the whole story at the bottom of the page and watch the video…Beirut Sursock Palace Wedding Photos.
Marie Joe and Abdallah are the children of two well-known families that have served the country in many areas such as military, legal, political, etc. They completed their education at the Universities of Abdallah, Harward, Oxford and Columbia, Marie Joe da Saint Joseph, Paris II-Assas and Colombia and entered the world of law. After a while, Marie Joe followed her passion and quit her job as lawyer. Her passion was to sing opera. She gave concerts in Carnegie Hall and in many parts of Europe. She performed with the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra.
Why Civil Ceremony?
The biggest reason for the couple to have a formal wedding in Lebanon is that their country, like many other modern countries, gets this right. They think that people should get this right because they love their country very much. Abdallah is a Muslim and Marie Joe is a Christian. However, they also underline that these attempts have nothing to do with religion and that they are absolutely not against those who want to make religious marriage. The couple’s wedding contract is awaiting approval in the Ministry of the Interior, although months have passed. Normally, within 24 hours of approval, the ministry has not yet made a statement. It does not refuse either.
Below you can find some articles published in media about this wedding with my Photos:
We came to Beirut with a strong team for the wedding shoot. My dear friend Marius came from Romania to support me as a second photographer and did amazing work as usual. Gökhan and Aydemir were with us for the video and Ozan was their for drone shots. Beirut is one of my favorite cities. We spent 4 pleasant days before and after the wedding in the city.
Two days before the wedding, Marie Joe and Abdallah held a party for the guests at Lazy B Beach in Jiyeh. I met them and the guest for the first time face to face in this party. Everyone was really friendly. It was a great party that lasted from sunset until the next morning. I had to leave a little earlier because I was going to do a city tour the next day.
On the morning of the wedding day, we met with Marie Joe’s sister and her mother at Said Wehbe’s salon in Ayoub Building, where the make-up would be done. From there we went all together to the Tony El Mendelek salon to do her hair. I think this was the most active hairdressing salon I have ever seen, I have never seen the number of employees and customers and the crowd of people before. It was a very pleasant experience. After the hair and makeup, Marius went to the groom’s house and I went to the bride’s house. After the preparations and group shots at home, we had a cocktail and went to the place where the wedding would be held.
Sursock Palace Gardens is a palace in the heart of the city, between high rise apartments. Next to the Sursock Museum. Sursocks were one of the important aristocratic families of the Ottoman Empire in the region. Due to their tax collection responsibilities, they got very important with Ottoman support. There are still people living from this family in the palace.
Marie Joe came to the lawn in the garden where the wedding was going to be accompanied by her brother. They met with Abdallah, who was standing right in front of the wedding table, and the President of the Notaries Council, Josep Bechera, married the them. The promises made by the couple led to very touching moments. It was a great experience for all of us to photograph these moments and to witness a historical event.
After the wedding, we took a short photo shoot in the garden and inside the palace. Meanwhile, the guests went to the dining area. The area in the back garden of the palace was really carefully arranged for the wedding reception. The organizer, Sursock Palace Events, did a great job. The arrival of the bride and groom among the dozens of people, the aesthetics of the first dance, the magnificent Lebanese food and desserts at the open buffet, the light show on the cake cutting and the fun are the first things that I remember.
The wedding night continued with the after party, which was held in one of the rooms on the lower floor of the palace. Then, those who still have energy moved to Sky Bar, which is famous for its giant ceiling that opens and closes, one of Beirut’s most famous nightclubs.
I don’t know why, but I love Lebanese weddings, wherever they are. I am really happy that I witnessed and knew this very meaningful wedding day of Marie Joe and Abdallah. They made a very bold decision, went over it, and implemented it to change things in their country. Hope to see you again soon. I wish you endless happiness. Sincerely.
Here is the Video of Beirut Sursock Palace Wedding:
Beirut Sursock Palace Wedding Photos by Ufuk Sarisen