Faith has always been a part of my family’s life. We’re Assyrians. They’re a small Christian minority from Iraq. Because my mom married a Lebanese man, there was never really any question that when I married a Middle Eastern man, of course we’re going to include that into our wedding. When we were growing up in Iraq, Christianity and being an Assyrian was part of our identity. We were Christian in a dominant Muslim world. So we were a minority in our society by religion. So today, we do it here because it’s our faith. I always found it really impressive that my parents managed to assimilate into a country, become citizens and so love that country, but still hang on to the pieces of them that they think are unique and special. I tried to incorporate as much as I can, it’s hard, it’s part of the melting pot. They have to live in America, so they have to adapt to their country so they’ll be a good asset to their community and their families. By us melting together, we will forget about that venom in our humanity, and the melting pot hopefully will give them more harmony. But with the exception that you need to hold on and have something to contribute. That’s what makes it more beautiful. So, when I was younger, we would always have “Leb fests” and the entire neighborhood would be invited over. Do you know how to squeeze a lemon so you don’t get the seeds in No. Okay. Use your hand like that and squeeze. My mom and grandmother would cook Lebanese food, and we would listen to music. It was part of my culture growing up. Tradition provides foundation and grounding. You take the traditions that you shared when you were younger, and then mold them into something that’s uniquely yours. Incorporating our heritage and our background into our wedding was really, really important. Every week, I’d get a new Wikipedia article from my mother about some Assyrian tradition that we should include. Like bridal dress or it was just everything. It got to the point where we were like, we’re gonna need to edit this down. I learned new traditions I didn’t know we had thanks to her mom. So that was unique. So in our church, when you get married, they have two ribbons. One’s red, one’s white, that represent the union. They tie them onto the arms of the couple. My parents took their ribbon and they cut it into four. One for them, one for me, and one for each of my brothers. And so, if you look at the boutonniere that I’m wearing, you’ll see a red and white ribbon wrapped around it. And that’s the same ribbon that was used when my parents got married, and then when I was baptized, and probably when my brothers were baptized. You don’t know they’re there, but those are a part of our family and our traditions, and we wanted to make sure that those were on us while we took our step together. At our wedding, you’re going to see lots of nods to the Mediterranean. We will have fresh herbs in all of our arrangements. You’ll see lots of lemons, olive branches wherever we can include them. We have crosses that have been handed down over time. One of them is from our parish, where my parents were married. So I always keep that near me. I’ve never seen it so glorious. The flowers and the arrangement and the setting. It was spectacular. You’re locked arms with this person, and you’re on this path together. It’s not always gonna be so happy, and it’s the tough times as well, but it really is that partnership that makes you loyal to the end. I now present to you all, Mr. and Mrs. Daniel. You may kiss the bride. You’ll see a traditional Assyrian entrance. Everybody’s dancing, and they have these colored, noisy, handkerchiefs. That’s the easiest way you translate that. The scarves are called “Yalekhta.” They’re really very decorative, and everybody waves them when they dance. It’s just so colorful, and we enjoy using them and dancing with them. So, here I am. And I particularly loved all our non Assyrian friends who are out there trying to learn our dances. And it was awesome. We did things that were honorable to our family members. What was fun is figuring out how much is for family and how much is for the couple, and I think so long as you’re truly mindful of that, there’s no wrong answer. I think it felt most authentic to us, the way that we wanted that to come together for our wedding. Absolutely. Thanks for watching World Wide Wed. Subscribe to Refinery29 to never miss an episode.