Udval and John held an American and Mongolian University Club Palo Alto wedding, bringing together two very different cultures and reflecting on their unique love story that originated in Mongolia several years ago. John traveled to Mongolia initially for Peace Corps and ended up extending his stay in Mongolia for 13 more years, first falling in love with the culture and people and then eventually this mesmerizing woman with the kindest of hearts. Having met Udval in her native country, they developed a love for each other that might have seemed improbable given their backgrounds and distance apart, and it was so great to see both families come together from opposite ends of the world for such a joyous occasion.
When speaking to Udval about her wedding day, I was excited to hear that they would be incorporating both cultures into their wedding ceremony, having very little exposure to Mongolian culture, let alone a wedding, before. Udval explained to me that in Mongolian weddings, an important aspect of the Ceremony is the inclusion of a blue silk scarf called a hadag, which symbolizes well being and peace, and the lighting of a unity candle and offering of milk. A longer ceremony at around 30 minutes, the solemnity and traditions of this wedding made it one of the most memorable ceremonies I have ever witnessed, and I absolutely loved experiencing this melting pot of cultures and hope to shoot more in the future! Udval revealed to me that it was the first time her parents ever left Mongolia, so it was that much more important to document their reactions and presence throughout the day. For the wedding reception itself, it remained a typical American reception with some speeches and first dances, but it was touching surprise when all of their Mongolian friends and family stood up in front of everyone and sang a popular Mongolian song to the newly weds as they swayed left and right to the song with appreciation.
It was a great celebration being exposed to such a wonderful culture and even better people. Being able to explore the world through my lens is one of the best advantages of being a wedding photographer, and the emotions and love felt throughout the day help remind me why I am blessed to do what I do.
If you are interested in finding out more about this venue, check out my walkthrough of The University Club of Palo Alto