adam and amirah on black and white film
Shakespeare Club Pasadena
Established in 1888 as a literary study group – hence the name – the Shakespeare Club is one of the first women’s clubs in the West. This was my first time at this gorgeous venue in Pasadena. Fortunately, the venue has a stunning 3D tour on their website. By the time I arrived at the venue, I already knew the place inside out. Thank you Shakespeare Club!
A day of firsts, this was also my very first Malay Muslim wedding. Luckily I had many family members who were more than happy to show me what’s what, and I’d done my research beforehand too. One of the helpful cousins was wearing a Chelsea FC face mask, and we had words about the Premier League! Hey, nothing against Chelsea personally. Just expect gentle ribbing about your football team of choice when you’re with a Brit!
I arrived early, of course, and met the divine Devna on the way in. Devna is amazing, just incredible at what she does. The intricate henna, her shining personality.. Gosh I could go on. After the wedding we shared some photos on Instagram, which has now turned into a rap battle of sorts. Devna sends me a beat, and I send her a (terrible!) rap in return. Never let us do karaoke at the same time.
We were joined in the bridal suite by Amirah and Adam’s family, who unsurprisingly were all as lovely as my couple. They signed a marriage contract before the ceremony, and we had a lot of fun trying to get them in the same room with no peeking!
Traditional Malay ceremony
After the relatively peaceful morning, it was all systems go and time for the Nikah (marriage) ceremony. The amount of emphasis placed on family was a joy to behold. During both the ceremony and the later merenjis (traditional Malay ceremony of blessing the newlyweds), many family members performed a song. I’ve been reliably informed that one such person is famous on Korean TV, but that would be telling. You’ll have to guess who.
The highlight of a Malay traditional wedding is the Bersanding ceremony. The couple are “Raja Sehari” or “Royals for the Day”. ‘Upacara Merenjis’ involves both parents of the groom and bride blessing the couple by sprinkling rose scented water, and bunga rampai (screwpine leaves sliced and mixed with sweet smelling flowers) into their hands. Usually a small number of selected guests are also asked to bless the couple, in this case we had most of the guests up on stage!
As the sun was setting, it was time to leave. We wandered around the property in the fading light, and there was a moment when I saw the beautiful shadows cast on the wall and let out a squeak. There was less than five minutes before we lost the light, and they are some of my favourite images from the day.
My lovely couple gave me the best gift – trust. They trusted in me shooting on film, and they trusted I’d know which images to get. I shot most of this wedding on Kodak Portra 400 and Kodak TMax 400. All the square b/w photos are from a Yashica 635, a brick of a camera from 1959.
Please join me in wishing this adorable couple all the joy ahead in their future together.
Venue: Shakespeare Club | Florals: Sergio Negret | Henna: Henna by Devna | Film stock: Kodak Portra and TMax 400