Outdoor Ceremony Blends Persian, Jewish Traditions


September 6, 2015 • Milton, Massachusetts

By Stacey Marcus

When Simin Lee and Nicholas (Nick) Bodnar tied the knot in a beautiful backyard ceremony and reception at the bride’s parents’ home in Milton, Massachusetts, guests enjoyed the flavors of the couple’s Persian and Jewish heritages sprinkled with the sweetness of pure love. The couple originally met in Beijing at a Chinese immersion program in 2008 while undergraduate students at Harvard University. It wasn’t until they were both graduate students at Harvard Medical School that their love blossomed. “It was a nice time to start a relationship,” says Simin, who recalls studying for 12 hours straight and then cooking together or enjoying take-out.

The couple delighted in an inside joke about an enchanting chocolate shop in Cambridge called L.A. Burdick Chocolates where girls huddle to drink hot chocolates and couples canoodle and share a little slice of romance. Simin and Nick said that they were not yet on “Burdick’s level” and never made it to the chocolate until Nick suggested they visit on a snowy night during the historic 2014 wicked winter. “It was a very sweet surprise when Nick dropped to one knee and proposed,” says Simin.

When Simin and Nick began making plans for their wedding, a defining element was to honor their diverse heritages through treasured traditions. To pay tribute to Nick’s Jewish heritage, the couple included a blessing read in Hebrew, the breaking of the glass and a gorgeous chuppah (wedding canopy). Simin shared the wedding program, which outlined how they integrated the sofreh aghd, a traditional Persian wedding spread featuring a variety of items that symbolized the couple’s new life together, including ayneh va shamdoon (mirror and candles) for light and purity; shirini (pastries) for sweetness of life; tokhmeh morgh (eggs) and ajil (mixture of nuts) for fertility; sekkeh (coins) for wealth and prosperity; anar (pomegranates) for a joyous future; and esfand (incense) to guard against misfortune.

Family played a major role in the ceremony with a trio of officiants: Dr. Andrew Bodnar, father of the groom, and Fereydoun Nazem and William Lee, uncles of the bride. Simin’s father, Dr. Thomas Lee, gave a toast about how the couple’s sweet story illuminates the power of destiny. The breaking of the glass was particularly significant to Simin and Nick, who come from different cultural backgrounds and broke barriers to create a union of love, peace and understanding.

Photography by Person + Killian Photography

Featured Vendors: LOCATION *Private Home in Milton, Mass. // WEDDING PLANNER Nicole Simeral & Co. // CATERER Off the Vine; Fiouna Catering // TENT Sperry Tents // RENTALS Rentals Unlimited // FLORIST Winston Flowers // BRIDAL GOWN Monique Lhuillier // BRIDAL ACCESSORIES Matina’s Bridal; Jimmy Choo shoes; Bloomingdale’s jewelry // BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES L’Elite // GROOM’S ATTIRE Ralph Lauren // HAIR STYLIST Jessica Holt and Gina Penna of Salon Capri // MAKEUP STYLIST Kathy Genchi of Julien Farel Salon // STATIONERY Inviting Company // RINGS Hamilton Jewelers

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