ERENY + CHAZ | EGYPTIAN COPTIC WEDDING, RICHMOND VA
A Coptic Wedding followed an Egyptian Reception in downtown Richmond, VA
At the top of the massive staircase leading to the Virginia State Capitol building, Chaz waited for the moment he’d been dreaming about for years. His first glimpse of Ereny in her wedding dress.
While Ereny and Chaz finished getting ready at Linden Row Inn, we witnessed the intense emotions of the couple first-hand. They had written heartfelt letters detailing their devotion, and our cameras captured their moving responses as they read the letters aloud.
Feeling her hand on his shoulder, Chaz’s smile grew wide. As he turned around, his eyes lit up, tears started to flow, and his voice cracked. He couldn’t stop telling her how beautiful she was and how much he loved her.
After the first look, we met Ereny and Chaz in front of the Red Reeds at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to record some dramatic couple’s footage. Right before it started to rain, we headed to the ceremony site at the All Saints Episcopal Church on River Road. The All Saints chapel building was constructed in 1955 after the congregation outgrew what is now known as Monumental Church. The vaulted ceiling, stained-glass windows, and pews made it a perfect venue for a Coptic wedding ceremony.
Coptic weddings are traditional and symbolically rich. Rather than a single officiant, the group of deacons was led by the priest chanting prayers, reading biblical passages, and singing hymns, primarily in the Coptic language. Ereny and Chaz were seated side by side facing their family and friends. Wearing elaborate garments and gold crowns the couple was portrayed symbolically as the heads of a new household. The crowns also represented the honor that God bestowed upon them during the sacrament. Lastly, the priest spoke about the value of respect in their relationship. At the ceremony’s conclusion, Ereny and Chaz were greeted with shouts of joy and celebration.
The newlyweds finally got to enjoy some time alone during the limousine ride to the John Marshall Ballrooms. Built in 1929, this sought-after reception venue was once the largest hotel in Virginia. The opulent Regency and Deco-inspired design features including, vintage crystal chandeliers, and framed elaborate hand-carved moldings provided the perfect atmosphere for an Egyptian celebration. The split staircase made an excellent hiding spot for Ereny and Chaz, as they waited for all their guests to arrive. A grand entrance is a relatively common occurrence at a reception, but this couple did so with their own dramatic flair.
Suddenly, the ballroom was filled with the sound of drums. Guests erupted into cheers and applause, as Ereny and Chaz stepped into the spotlight. During their first dance, clouds of fog along with swirling blue and white lights created a scene right out of a fairytale. The night continued with the mother-son and father-daughter dances, a delicious meal, and the cutting of the cake.
The energy never wavered as the crowd danced and celebrated until the end of the evening. Ereny and Chaz exited through the lobby space and out the front door. With sparklers in hand, the guests bid the couple ado.
Band: El-Layl Dabke