Amara and Amir are a Pakistani couple living in Canada with their children. They chose to have their religious wedding in Turkey and reached out to me for assistance. I played the role of a wedding planner for them as they were mainly searching for a mosque for their wedding ceremony. They had no interest in decorations, flowers or any additional events and just wanted a few outdoor shots in the city.
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Their first choice was the Blue Mosque but it was under renovation so we had to find an alternative. I reached out to Hagia Sophia Mosque and was able to secure a date for them. I also considered Ortaköy and Süleymaniye Mosques but after evaluating all the options Hagia Sophia was the couple’s final decision. This 1500 year old mosque is significant due to its masive dome which was considered an engineering marvel at the time. Moreover it influenced the design of many other mosques and cathedrals.
One week before the wedding day, the weather in Istanbul took a turn for the worse with a cold and snowy air wave approaching. Amara did not want to go out in the rain as she was wearing a traditional Pakistani wedding dress. I suggested that we could do the photo shoot in the sunny weather of Izmir instead and the couple agreed. We scheduled the nikah at Kemeralti Hisar Mosque.
First we rented a Mercedes VAN for the photo shoot so we could move around the city with ease. The driver of the VAN picked up the couple from the Wyndham Grand Izmir Ozdilek Hotel. Then the imam performed the wedding ceremony at Kemeraltı Hisar Mosque. Two people from the mosque workers became the nikah witnesses during the ceremony. After the couple prayed, we took some family photos on the top floor of the mosque.
For the outdoor shots we explored the side streets of Kemeraltı including Acı Kahve and Kızlarağası, capturing some lovely photos. The next stop was Passport Pier on the beach. Finally, our final stop was Dario Moreno street; a place I particularly adore. Dario Moreno was a Turkish singer and actor who was popular in Turkey and France in the 1950s and 60s. Dario Moreno the artist of Italian Jewish descent setled on Elevator Street in Izmir with his mother as he rose to fame. In the 90s the street was renamed in his honor and is now known as Dario Moreno street. The street with its colorful cafes and historical buildings served as a beautiful backdrop for the photoshoot.
Amara, Amir and their children hold a special place in my portfolio as one of the rare couples who traveled from Canada to get maried in Izmir. I wish them a lifetime of hapiness together.
Mosque Nikah in Turkey by Ufuk Sarisen