This Virginia Wedding Focused on Highlighting the Couple’s Cultural Traditions

Iranian and Afghan customs, along with some Turkish elements, were included throughout.

Gouzal, a global development associate from Charlottesville, and Arvin, a physician from Centreville, met as students at the University of Virginia. Gouzal recognized Arvin from studying at the library and recalls thinking he was quiet, gentle, and hardworking. Arvin says his first impression of Gouzal was that she was both radiant and down to earth. “Things between us always felt very natural and easy.” The pair dated for three and a half years before Arvin proposed along the waterfront in Alexandria with a poem by the famous Persian poets Hafez and Rumi. “We recreated one of our favorite dates by taking the water taxi from the Alexandria Waterfront to the Wharf, where we had a romantic lunch, and then took the water taxi back to the Waterfront where Arvin proposed after reciting the poems while on one knee,” explains Gouzal.

Their 250-guest, July wedding focused on bringing their two cultures—Iranian and Afghan—”together in the spirit of love.” Cultural details included favors filled with mini bags of Turkish coffee (a nod to Gouzal’s Uzbek-Afghan ethnicity) and Persian sweets; a sofreh aghd ceremony table with a silver mirror brought over from Iran; plus a Persian dinner menu, and other traditions, such as the tying of the green Afghan bridal belt, and the knife dance. 

The bride’s favorite part of the day, however, was the newlywed’s first dance to Waltz No. 1, sung by their favorite band, Pallett.This was really special to us because of not only how romantic and beautiful the song is but also the fact that Arvin introduced me to Pallett when we first started dating and I fell in love with the band at the same time I was falling in love with him,” says Gouzal. To make sure their first dance was “unforgettable,” the pair took dance lessons. See the details from their big day below. 



93 - Gouzal and Arvin Favorites - Akbar Sayed Photography
96 - Gouzal and Arvin Favorites - Akbar Sayed Photography


The Details

Venue: Hilton Mclean Tysons Corner
Planning, design, and florals: Le Chateau de Crystale Events
Invitations: Cartalia
Caterer: Alborz
Cake: Classic Bakery
Hairstylist: Mahnoosh Rezazadeh
Makeup Artist: Azin Farshadfar at Muse Studios

Bride’s attire: Val Stefani from White Swan Bridal
Groom’s attire: Suitsupply
Bridesmaids’ attire: Birdy Grey
Groomsmen’s attire: Men’s Wearhouse
Music: Shamoodi Entertainment
Videography: Akbar Sayed Photography (link to video)
Amy Moeller
Fashion & Weddings Editor

Amy leads Washingtonian Weddings and writes Style Setters for Washingtonian. Prior to joining Washingtonian in March 2016, she was the editor of Capitol File magazine in DC and before that, editor of What’s Up? Weddings in Annapolis.