Our engagement session began at Seattle Center, underneath the iconic Space needle, and then took us to a beautiful golden sunset at the Seattle Waterfront. Neeru and Avneet are the type of people who you quickly become comfortable with. It felt like we had been long-time friends. There’s something special between these two, the way she smiles when he’s near her, or the feeling of comfort they have with each other.

Photographing Neeru and Avneet was an absolute pleasure because they left me feeling appreciative of love…Of finding that person who fits into your entire world, your entire life…not just one aspect of it, but in a complete and truly fulfilling way.


Seattle center engagement photo at Experience Music Project


engagement photo sari, suit, in the park with pink flowers


couple engagement photo in indian sari


loving indian couple walking through park for engagement photos


couple standing next to old building


engagement portraits



Looking through these pictures really makes me smile… I mean, their smiles are so contagious…and you can see their love jump out of every frame!


couple holding each other at Seattle waterfront



couple hugging each other at Seattle waterfront



Growing up in Bellingham, Neeru is a country-girl at heart. To capture this aspect of their relationship, we came to Bellingham for some really fun photos.

sitting next to the ocean at Bellingham Park


happy laughing smiling loving couple


having fun at the ocean


sitting on rocks next to the ocean


sitting on stairs and holding each other


standing in the trees near the ocean


sitting on the rocks near the ocean


loving couple hugging each other near a cliff


quiet peaceful moment as couple hugs each other


kiss on forehead


engagement portraits in Bellingham


couple walking into the seattle sunset


engaged couple watching the beautiful seattle sunset


It was so cool to spend time with these two lovebirds, and I truly wish them both the very best! Thank you guys for being so awesome!!



Sandhya and Scott are incredibly kind, thoughtful and so happy with each other.  I’m glad our paths crossed and hope to see more of these two in the future! Sandhya is so down to earth and warm-hearted, and Scott is fun and hilarious! It was one of those photo sessions that leave you energized and inspired.  Sandhya is a super-talented make-up artist in Seattle, and she did awesome make up for one of my previous brides.

The moment I met Sandhya and Scott at the Seattle waterfront, it felt so comfortable. We were cracking jokes and hanging out as if we were friends for years. Seriously, how awesome is that?!  They were so relaxed and in tune with each other, and that energy really came through in the photos.  A huge thanks to both of you for your positive spirits and happy smiles!


Seattle Sculpture Park with Space needle


sitting together on red chairs looking at the beautiful ocean


loving couple hugging at the Seattle Waterfront


seattle waterfront engagement photo


running on wooden pier at the Seattle Waterfront, ferris wheel and seattle skyline in the background


Sandhya mentioned they love drinking tea together, and often go for tea-tastings. They will be incorporating tea into their wedding, and also wanted to a few engagement photos to show this part of their relationship.


tea tasting engagement photo


loose-leaf tea


tea tasting couple


After fun adventures in Seattle, we drove up to Deception Pass, on Whidbey Island. After they had become friends, Scott brought Sandhya to this park, where they talked for hours. It was at this park where they took their friendship to the next level.  It was an important and meaningful part of their journey together and we wanted to capture these memories.  The photo below is a view from the Deception Pass Bridge. It’s actually quite scary to be up there! It’s higher than it looks!!


Deception Pass Bridge view of the Puget Sound


couple sitting on Deception Pass bridge Whidbey Island


couple sits underneath Deception Pass bridge


Deception Pass Bridge


hiking trail engagement photo


The photos below were taken at the beach where Scott and Sandhya went on a very special date.   So awesome!

sitting and walking on logs at Deception Pass State Park


walking on logs at beach engagement photo


The photo below is super special. This is the place they sat for hours, when they took their friendship to the next level.  Congratulations to both of you!

cute couple sits on log at beach


engaged couple sits on beach in a rocky cove


In the early part of their relationship, they went out with friends and wanted to show this in a few photos. We took these photos at The Parlor bar in Bellevue, WA.

Bar Engagement Photo


Bar Engagement Photo


Congratulations!! 🙂

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This is part two of Kris and Lollie’s Chinese-Cambodian Khmer wedding ceremony, which was held at the beautiful Piper Hall Mansion at Loyola University in Chicago.  Part 1 described the groom’s processional and hair cutting ceremony, and these photographs show the Monk’s Blessing (Soat Mun), Pairing Ceremony, and Knot-Tying Ceremony (Sompeas Ptem).

Cambodian Khmer wedding photography


Honoring the Parents

Kris and Lollie honored their parents by thanking them for the hard work of raising a child.  They also acknowledged their duty and responsibility to take care of their parents for years to come.

honoring parents cambodian khmer wedding

Kris honors his parents during the Khmer wedding Ceremony


smiling chinese cambodian bride during khmer wedding


Chinese-Cambodian bride honoring parents during khmer ceremony

Lollie honors her parents


Monk’s Blessings  (Soat Mun)


During this ceremony, Buddhist monks blessed Kris and Lollie by sprinkling them with flowered water while chanting specially selected blessings.  During this peaceful ceremony, Kris, Lollie, and guests, remained very quiet with their heads bowed and hands folded in prayer.

monks blessing khmer wedding ceremony

Buddhist Monk's blessing during Khmer ceremony. Guests hold their hands in prayer and remain silent during this peaceful ceremony.



Chinese-Cambodian Khmer Wedding ceremony

Monk's blessing during Khmer wedding



Pairing Ceremony and Knot-Tying Ceremony (Sompeas Ptem)

The Pairing Ceremony was the final and most energetic stage of the wedding. Family members and friends tied Kris and Lollie’s left and right wrists with blessing strings. The praises of happiness, good-health, well-wishes, success, prosperity and long-lasting love are acknowledged and witnessed by a loud gong and joyful cheer!

During the knot-tying ceremony (Sompeas Ptem), friends and family came forward to bring their best wishes and blessings to Kris and Lollie by individually tying red strings around each of their wrists. These knots were tied on both the bride and groom, and were worn for three days afterwards to preserve good luck.

While Kris and Lollie’s wrists were tied with the blessing strings, the following song was sung:

We tie, we tie three strings to each wrist of our children.  We wish for true happiness and success to this couple, who will always be together like wet grass seeds.  We tie your left wrist to make you remember your parents.  We tie your right wrist to make you carry on the family lineage and traditions.”


The ceremony concluded with a shower of palm flowers thrown over the couple. It was a very exciting and energetic part of the wedding. The guests were having fun as they showered Kris and Lollie with white Palm Flowers.


groom honoring grandparents during khmer wedding





Parents and bridesmaids at traditional Cambodian wedding


brides entrance for pairing ceremony at Cambodian-Khmer wedding

Lollie enters for the pairing ceremony during the Cambodian-Khmer wedding

Pairing Ceremony Cambodian Khmer Wedding

bride and groom during knot-tying ceremony at Cambodian Khmer Wedding

Knot-tying ceremony during Cambodian Wedding. Family and friends tie red blessing strings on the wrists of bride and groom.

Cambodian bride and groom during pairing ceremony



Thank you Kris and Lollie, for the wonderful opportunity to photograph your beautiful Chinese-Cambodian Khmer wedding in Chicago.  We enjoyed celebrating with you and your families, and wish you both the very best on your new journey together.


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Congratulations to Kris and Lollie!

Welcome to the first of two blog posts dedicated to Kris and Lollie’s Chinese-Cambodian Khmer wedding.  Their wedding day included several beautiful ceremonies and my goal for these photographs is to convey some of the beauty and meaning of the Khmer wedding tradition.  The text has been provided to me by Lollie, and I also found some information online.  Thank you to my brother, Tanvir, for helping me photograph this beautiful wedding.  I’m always very appreciative of his support, creativity, and awesome energy!

Kris and Lollie’s Chinese-Cambodian Khmer wedding ceremony was held at the beautiful Piper Hall Mansion at Loyola University in Chicago.

Piper Hall Wedding Loyola University Chicago

Piper Hall Mansion - Loyola University Chicago


cambodian khmer bride green dress

cambodian bride's green wedding dress

Traditional green silk Cambodian wedding outfit



Although this was my first Khmer wedding, the experience was similar to an Indian wedding and I felt very comfortable the entire day.  The language and prayers were different, but the culture and traditions were quite similar.  Traditionally, a Chinese-Cambodian wedding consists of ceremonies and celebrations lasting three days and three nights. However, due to the demands of modern day life, today in Cambodia and overseas, all the following wedding ceremonies are completed in one day.

There were four main parts to Kris and Lollie’s wedding. This blog post will focus on the first two parts.


  1. Groom’s Processional (Hai Goan Gomloh) and Arrival (Neay Pream He Kaun Kamlas), Presentation of Dowry (Chambak Rouy)
  2. Tea Ceremony / Honoring the Ancestors (Sien Doan Taa), Hair Cutting Ceremony (Gaat Sah)
  3. Monk’s Blessing (Soat Mun)
  4. Pairing Ceremony, Knot-Tying Ceremony (Sompeas Ptem)


Groom’s Processional (Hai Goan Gomloh) and Arrival (Neay Pream He Kaun Kamlas), Presentation of Dowry (Chambak Rouy)

During the processional, Kris and his family arrived at Piper Hall bearing gifts. This was the first ceremony of the day and the guests were handed trays of fruits and gifts so they could join in the procession. The processional is a symbolic journey of the groom traveling to the bride’s house. Upon entering Piper Hall, the gifts were arranged on a table in the center of the room, in front of the bride and groom. The event was filled with beautiful Cambodian music and was a very fun and happy ceremony.


Groom's processional prior to Khmer ceremony

Groom's Processional (Hai Goan Gomloh): Groom and his family walks together (parade) to Piper Hall where they are welcomed by the bride, Lollie, and her family



Groom's family meets bride's family prior to Khmer Ceremony

Cambodian bride, Lollie, greets her groom, Kris



groom's processional prior to Khmer ceremony


fruits and gifts brought to the khmer ceremony by the groom's family


Tea Ceremony / Honoring the Ancestors (Sien Doan Taa)

Kris and Lollie paid homage to their ancestors by lighting incense, bowing, and offering tea. This is also a call to the ancestral spirits to witness the new family bonds being formed, and to also impart their blessings upon the families.


Cambodian bride and groom at Khmer wedding ceremony

Chinese-Cambodian Khmer Wedding Ceremony



Cambodian bride and groom exchange rings at Khmer wedding ceremony


Cambodian Khmer Wedding Ceremony


Hair Cutting Ceremony (Gaat Sah)

To prepare the bride and groom for their life as a married couple, their hair is symbolically cut, representing a fresh start to their new relationship together as husband and wife.  The master of ceremony performs the first symbolic hair cut and wishes the couple happiness, prosperity, and longevity.  The bride and groom’s parents, relatives, and friends then take turn to symbolically cut the bride and groom’s hair and give them blessings and well-wishes.  (In the old days, the bride and groom’s hair were really cut during this ceremony, but in modern times it is only done symbolically.)

Two songs accompany this ceremony:

Sarika Keiv Vong (The Beautiful Cardinal Bird)
The bride’s beauty is extolled and compared to that of the beautiful cardinal bird.

Trapeang Peiy (The Village Pond)
This song describes a pond with clear water where the bride was brought to take her bath.  It also symbolizes the bride and groom working together in beginning their new life as wife and husband.
Cambodian Khmer wedding musicians and instruments



Lollie's brother and sister participate in the hair cutting ceremony (Gaat Sah)



Gaat Sah hair cutting ceremony at Khmer Wedding

Gaat Sah hair cutting ceremony




Hair cutting ceremony at Cambodian Khmer wedding


Cambodian Khmer Wedding at Loyola University Piper Hall Mansion in Chicago

Gaat-sah hair cutting ceremony


Cambodian Bride wears gold jewelry and traditional blue silk dress


bridal party at Khmer wedding


cambodian bride wearing traditional green silk dress



beautiful bride at her Khmer ceremony



happy smiling cambodian bride princess


gold cups and red string traditional khmer ceremony table setting


Congratulations Kris and Lollie. Stay tuned for part 2:

  • Monk’s Blessing (Soat Mun)
  • Pairing Ceremony, Knot-Tying Ceremony (Sompeas Ptem)


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