Religious wedding ceremonies are full of traditional and symbolic elements, like the Sofreh Aghd. If you haven’t had a chance to witness this Persian wedding ceremony, here’s an explanation of the symbolic elements.
In Farsi, the word Sofreh means ‘spread’ and Aghd means ‘ceremony‘. The following symbolic items make up the display known as the Sofreh Aghd.
The Mirror – a symbol of light, purity, and brightness. As the bride removes her veil, her reflection in the mirror is the first image the groom has of his soon to be wife.
Two Candelabras – these are placed on each side of the mirror, symbolizing clarity and energy in the couple’s life together.
The Traditional Persian Embroidered Cloth – a silk or embroidered cloth, handed down the generations, is a symbol of family and traditions.
The Holy Book – a symbol of God’s blessing for the couple.
Tray of Spices – to guard the couple from the evil eye, a tray of seven herbs and spices is part of the display.
Decorated Persian Flatbread – a decorative display of flatbreads is a symbol of prosperity for the feast and the couple’s life together.
Decorated Eggs, Walnuts, Hazelnuts, and Almonds – these are a symbol of fruitfulness, fertility, and abundance. The hope is that the marriage is as strong as the shells of these nuts.
Rock Candy – representing a sweetened life for the newlyweds.
Honey – a symbol of sweetness in the couple’s life
Two Sugar Cones – showering the couple with sugar is a symbol of a happy, sweet, and good life together.
Wild Rue – to guard the couple from the evil eye, a tray of seven herbs and spices is part of the display.
Sweets and Pastries – symbolising the sweetness of life.
Sugar Cloth – a piece of silk or fine fabric which is held above the bride & groom’s heads, for the duration of the ceremony, by happily married female relatives and friends.
Traditionally, the Sofreh Aghd would take place in the Mother of the Bride’s house. This would be set on a fine ceremonial fabric, on the floor. Today, the modern way of displaying the Sofreh Aghd is on a table or platform, designed to reflect the unique and personal style of the couple.
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A Sunday supper menu classic at our house, whether it be for two, or a large family gathering, is a Fish Pie. I’ve tried various successful recipes over the years, but this recipe by Irish chef Clodagh McKenna, has been voted the ‘Best Ever’ by my pescatarian husband.
This recipe should serve 4-6 people, as I like to include sides of french green beans, and steamed broccoli. Of course you also want to leave room for dessert. Enjoy!
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I love to entertain, but hosting during the holidays can heighten stress levels. I’ve mastered the art of enjoyable entertaining over the years, and my gift to you this season is a list of insider tips.
When setting the perfect table, look at varying shades, introduce textures, such as fabrics, crystals, and items in varying shapes and heights – it’s about creating an elegant, stunning, but equally comfortable space for your guests.
Look at the room or table from your guests point of view. I sit at each place setting to see what each guest will experience.
When entertaining I always time everything perfectly, but in order to keep my focus on my guests I keep hidden lists everywhere. I love a vibrating timer as you don’t want endless beeps as your guests are enjoying the festive music.
As I decorate I tend to remove some of the everyday. A great personal touch is replacing photos in picture frames with ones from past Christmases.
Be careful with scented candles as some may be overpowering. Mix complimenting scents and go wild with scent free candles!
Ensure that you can prepare most of the menu details ahead of time…you don’t want to spend your entire time in the kitchen. Hire gorgeous staff to assist – it’s money well spent and costs less than hiring caterers!
You may have additional people turn up or a guest may have a last minute ‘plus one’ – it’s the holidays!
I like to give guests different times so you can spread out the arrivals, this way you can properly greet everyone.
Unless you want to spend your evening behind the bar, stick to champagne, wines, and a signature cocktail. A festive punch is a great idea so guests can help themselves.
Stick to your scheduled end time, and plan ahead for taxis. You want everyone to get home safe, and this way you’ll still have time to clear up!
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One of eight monumental palazzos on the Grand Canal, Aman Venice is my residence of choice when visiting the Italian city. It perfectly blends historical architecture with contemporary living.
A boutique hotel which feels more like a residential palace – I would happily move into the Maddalena Stanza Canal Grande, with its silk-covered walls and canal view.
Wellbeing is at the core of the Aman brand, and self-care is a great excuse to try their grounding massage treatment. I personally don’t need any encouragement!
In the city that sees almost 5 million visitors a year, my sightseeing of choice is watching the world go by whilst sipping jasmine tea from the Canal Garden.
MUST DO – The Palazzo Kitchen Table is an experience not to be missed, even if it’s just to visit the hotel’s wine cellar.
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