Nikkah Ceremony – Imogen and Muhtasin

Nicola AndrewsWedding Case StudiesLeave a Comment

I met Imogen and Muhtasin back in the summer of 2023, when Imogen’s mum booked me to photograph their engagement party. The party was at their family home on a hot and stormy evening. The garden was covered with fairy lights, lanterns and ornate cocktail trolleys for their guests to enjoy. We had the loveliest evening and I adored photographing the couple – they have the sweetest relationship and are totally in love with one another.

I was truly hoping it wouldn’t be the last that I heard from them……

So can you imagine how excited I was when Lisa (Imogen’s mum) messaged again to ask if would be available to capture their Nikkah ceremony in January 2024.

Now, I had heard of a Nikkah, but didn’t really know what it was, so of course I got on Google to do a little research! Being unprepared is just not my style!

“A Nikkah ceremony is a Muslim marriage, where a contract is signed between a Muslim groom and his bride. It is a religious ceremony performed by an Imam. It is not a legally binding ceremony in the UK”.

I was so looking forward to capturing something a little bit different, but also a tiny bit nervous because I wanted to make sure I captured the celebration perfectly.

I arrived at the house and was welcomed like an old friend, with hugs, offers of a drink and to make myself at home.

The kitchen where the ceremony was taking place had been decorated with flowers, drapes and candles – it was so pretty. A few members of the family were already seated and looking forward to what was going to happen.

Imogen was upstairs getting ready, so once Muhtasin’s sister arrived, I went upstairs to capture the final details and traditions before the Imam arrived and the ceremony began.

When I got upstairs and saw Imogen, she looked stunning. She was wearing a traditional Islamic dress that was covered in intricate beading. Her hands were decorated in the most beautiful Henna and I was slightly in love with taking photos of the designs!

Muhtasin’s sister was helping with earrings and a head piece, and it was lovely to watch these two cultures coming together and learning from one another.

Once everyone was seated in the ceremony room, Imogen came downstairs and was greeted by everyone with smiles and hugs.  She then took her seat at the front of the room next to Muhtasin.

The Imam arrived soon after, introduced himself, and explained a little about what the Nikkah ceremony would involve.

He began the ceremony with prayers and blessings, and it was a wonderful experience for myself to capture such a different type of ceremony compared to what I have seen many times before.

Imogen and Muhtasin had to promise themselves to one another and say the phrase “Qubool” (I accept) three times to complete the ceremony. The ceremony was much shorter than I expected it to be, and only lasted around 15-20 minutes.

It was then time for signatures from themselves and their parents. This part of the ceremony was more familiar to me, just like the signing of the register.

The Imam left shortly afterwards, and then it was time for gifts to be given to the bride and groom from loved ones, followed by some photos and of course food!

The word “Mubarak” meaning “Blessed” in Arabic was said around the room by many of Muhtasin’s family, and there were lots of words of love and congratulations from Imogen’s family too.

I was lovingly asked to stay for food, cake and coffee – and of course, it would have been rude not to take them all up on this offer.

A truly wonderful afternoon spent learning, laughing, photographing (and eating!) I was so grateful to be witness to such a beautiful occasion, highlighting the richness of diversity and the beauty of unity.

Wishing so much love and happiness to this beautifully sweet couple.

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