A Traditional Wedding on a Farm in Iowa
Michelle and Maziar
Just as Michelle Exline and Maziar Minovi knew for sure that they had the perfect partners in each other, the Washington, D.C., couple was certain that they had the right place for their wedding in Michelle's family's farm. For the bride, an attorney, the rambling white farmhouse near Charles City, Iowa, abounded in happy childhood memories. For Maziar, an emerging-markets investor born in Iran, it had become a second home. Even more significant, it was where they fell in love.
Invitations were printed in Farsi and English in burgundy ink on translucent paper overlaid on paper made of rose petals and grass seeds.
A handmade wooden sign points the way.
Members of a neighboring family planted colorful zinnias at the edge of the Exlines' field in preparation for the event; by the wedding day, the flowers were nearly four feet tall -- "It seemed everyone in town and our families pitched in to help in one way or another. It was like an old-fashioned barn-raising," says Michelle.
The bridesmaids wear empire-waist gowns by Simple Silhouettes and carry orange, peach, and pink roses wrapped in white organza ribbon.
Bridesmaid Kristen Carr Jandoli approaches the altar while Michelle's sisters await their turns.
The Flower Girls
The couple's nieces and cousins (from left) Elizabeth Bjelica, Shiva Minovi, Hanna Bjelica, and Darya Minovi served as flower girls; their dresses were made by a family friend, and each girl chose her own floral headband or barrette.
The American Ceremony
The American ceremony took place beneath a canopy of trees.
The Iranian Ceremony
The couple is seated under a ghand sab, a ceremonial cloth made for the Iranian ceremony.
The Iranian Ceremony
In an Iranian ceremony, married women rub sugar cubes over the cloth sheltering the couple to sweeten their marriage; when the ceremony ends, Michelle shakes the cloth over the heads of her single girlfriends to shower them with sugar and rose petals, symbolically passing her good fortune on to them.
The view across the Exlines' field toward a neighboring farm.
Michelle and Maziar enjoy a private moment.
Young guests take turns on a tire swing; as a child, the bride, too, played in the shade of these venerable old trees.
Rose petals and votive candles encircle each centerpiece; Maziar's mother brought an assortment of blue, yellow, and white ceramic tiles from Spain to use as table numbers.