The-Gramercy-at-Lakeside-Manor-Wedding-Photos_0030

My journey with Sarah and Diamond has been a year-long celebration, spanning multiple ceremonies and a phenomenal reception at the Gramercy at Lakeside Manor. Over the past year, Allison and I have become close friends with this dynamic duo, partially due to our shared love of awkward humor and their exquisite taste in music.

But what makes me really love Sarah and Diamond is their fantastic love story. The two met while working at a local hotel and Diamond was instantly smitten by her sassiness. Coming from a traditional Muslim family, Sarah wasn’t allowed to publically court gentlemen suitor, but being a badass punk rocker, she threw caution to the wind and started a romantic journey with Diamond. In the end, Diamond chose to convert to Islam, both to be closer to God and to be able to ask for her hand in marriage. Diamond visited Sarah’s mom, who happened to work at the same hotel, and told her his plans to convert and was hoping that she could be his spiritual guide. Soon after, he had mom’s blessing and approval to marry Sarah. It’s kind of like Romeo and Juliet, if it had a happy ending and Romeo had cool Dr. Seuss tattoos.

The ceremony was a private affair at the Islamic Society of Central Jersey. Sarah arrived in her traditional garb and met Diamond for a quick first look outside the building. The event was short and sweet and focused mostly on Diamond accepting guardianship of Sarah from her family, followed by a religious ceremony in the main room. Sarah sat in a seat of honor amidst her many female relatives and mother and watched smiling as Diamond said his prayers and vows in front of the Imam and the male members of Sarah’s family.

The festivities continued a few months later at The Gramercy at Lakeside Manor where Sarah and Diamond tore the place up with hundreds of guests paying tribute to the new husband and wife. The event opened with the Zaffa, a grand entrance that saw Diamond unveil his bride while a band of percussionists and accordion players danced around the happy couple. The congregation poured into the reception room, singing and cheering on Diamond and Sarah as they shared their first kiss and engaged in traditional Arab ceremonial dances.

I had two favorite highlights of the evening. The first was when the DJ announced that this was also Sarah’s birthday (something I had been unaware of), and Diamond came out of a side door with a birthday cake just for the glowing bride. The whole place erupted in “Happy Birthday” as Sarah made a wish and blew out her candle. The second highlight came earlier in the day as we were driving from Rutgers Gardens to the reception. At one point, I realized that we were fairly close to Vintage Vinyl, one of my favorite haunts in Central Jersey. I jokingly asked Sarah if she wanted to stop by to pick up the new Chuck Ragan album and take some portraits, thinking she would say no. “Hell yes,” came out of Sarah’s mouth, and moments later we were in the record store browsing through vinyl and taking some of the most memorable portraits I’ve ever shot.

Thank you so much, Sarah and Diamond, for being such kick ass clients and friends. Your wedding was truly magical. Here are some of my favorite photos from your big day. Hope you love them. 

VENDOR INFO

Ceremony Hall
Islamic Society of Central Jersey
www.iscj.org

Reception Hall
The Gramercy at Lakeside Manor
Hazlet, NJ
www.thegramercynj.com

Cake
Palermo’s Bakery
Ridgefield Park, NJ
www.palermobakery.com

DJ & Videographer
George Mousa
Jackson, NJ
www.pharaohsentertainment.com

Florist
Esther
Highland Flower
Highland Park, NJ
www.highlandflowers.com

Hair & Make-up
Heba Fouda
The Salon at Manalapan
Manalapan, NJ
www.thesalonatmanalapan.com

Wedding Gown Designer
Pnina Tornai
Kleinfeld Bridal
New York, NY
www.kleinfeldbridal.com

Officiant
Imam Hamad Ahmad Chebli
South Brunswick, NJ
www.iscj.org