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

Khmer-Cambodian-wedding-ceremony

 

 

 


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

 

cambodian-khmer-wedding-hair-cutting-ceremony-gaat-sah

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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Thank you!

 

 

These three sisters are the cutest!  Last September, we had an awesome family photo session at Golden Gardens Park.  Since then, they have been quite busy with a new addition to the family- their adorable baby sister, Espy!!   It was so nice to spend time with the girls again, and we had a lot of fun taking photos at their house.

I really wanted these portraits to capture the personalities of each sister:  thoughtful, happy, goofy, silly, serious, silly, happy, happy, happy…. 🙂

The beautiful quilts in these portraits were hand-made by the super talented, Jan Tetzlaff.  The color palette was inspired by the girls’ Golden Garden’s photos. Great job, Jan, the quilts look amazing!

I must say…the entire time I was working on these photos, the girls’ energy was contagious and I couldn’t help but have a huge smile on my face. Thanks to the wonderful Chang family for the opportunity to take these photos.

thoughtful young girl handmade quilt

young daughter holding doll in front of beautiful hand-made quilt

newborn daughter sitting in front of a beautiful hand-made checkered quilt

 

portrait of two adorable sisters laying in front of beautiful hand made quilt

 

cute happy newborn baby girl laying in hand-made quilts

 

I love the series of portraits below… Tayla has such a happy personality… she’s all smiles!

super adorable girl multiple expressions portrait

 

daughter laughing in front of the camera

 

portrait of daugthter playing in backyard

 

adorable newborn baby girl sitting in flowers

 

daughter playing in flowers in backyard

 

cute newborn baby girl smelling flowers

 

photo of three cute sisters sitting on bench

 

photograph of three adorable happy sisters on bench
The three happy sisters….

individual photographs of three sisters sitting on a bench

 

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Thanks everyone! 🙂

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