San Diego Featured Wedding: Darline + Norman's Traditional Chaldean Wedding

Darline and Norman have a fun meet cute. The two originally met for the first time some years ago in the bridal party of a friends’ wedding.  And while the meeting was memorable, it’s because they were butting heads the whole time! It wasn’t until being in another friends’ wedding six years later that they started to get to know each other and begin a friendship. That friendship, of course, blossomed into such a strong love between them that Norman proposed in San Francisco for Darline's birthday last year! The two agreed that keeping their Chaldean culture alive during the wedding was of the most importance. The couple can be seen wearing ceremonial crowns at the ceremony which represents Christ and the Church-and representing their equality in their relationship. According to Chaldean traditions, you must have one to preserve the other. Many other cultural elements can be seen throughout the night, but a Chaldean wedding would look and feel familiar to most Westerners as its traditions are Christian based. A few cultural traditions like the Yalekhta, a piece of thin, transparent, square fabric richly decorated with different little beads or the addition a decorated cane, used by the person leading a dance honor their heritage and their family. And a grand entrance starts with traditional music and people cheering. The rest of the couples enter one couple at a time and finally the bride and groom enter as the cheering gets louder and the dancing continues until they reach their table. Any wedding that starts with this much vibrant energy is bound to be a special and very memorable day of love and family for all! Congrats to Darline and Norman!  For more insight into this exciting and revered culture and their history scroll down...

Photographer: Paul Douda Photography// Dress Designer: Berta Bridal// DJ: DJ HeartAttak// Cake Designer: Dream Fountain Catering// Makeup Artist: Flora Wade//Band: Haddad Entertainment// Floral Designer: Le Reve Flower// Dress Store: Lovella Bridal//Reception Venue and Caterer: Manchester Grand Hyatt// Hair Stylist: Sandra Hallak Hairstyling// Cinema and Video: Studio Kasha// Transportation: Talia First Class Limousines,INC.// Bridesmaid Dresses: The Dressing Room// Tuxedo and Mens Attire: The Gentlemens Tux Club// Shoes: Valentino// Lighting: World Audio Services

Chaldeans are the indigenous people of Iraq who speak a form of Aramaic and are Eastern Rite Catholic. They mainly resided in Northern Iraq as mountain dwellers and farmers, in villages dating back over two thousand years. Historically, Chaldeans are from the Arab World but are not Arabs. 

It's estimated that over 300,000 Chaldeans/Assyrians reside throughout the United States, particularly in Arizona, California, Illinois and other states. The community is known for caring for their own, especially the influx of refugees who have fled Iraq in the face of religious persecution, and feels a deep kinship to these victims of war and helps them in many ways through the Chaldean Community Foundation.

Like many ethnic groups, Chaldeans began immigrating to the US in the 1920s in search of better economic, religious and political freedom and opportunities. While some were lured by Henry Ford’s famous $5-a-day working wage, in true Chaldean fashion entrepreneurial endeavors quickly took hold – particularly mom and pop food markets. Today, 61% of Chaldean households own one business and 39% own two or more. Chaldeans enjoy large, close-knit families. They are bound by their faith and unique culture.

Chaldeans differ from the majority of Iraqi in three major aspects: first, they are Christian rather than Muslim; second, their ancestral language is Aramaic rather than Arabic; and third, most prefer to identify themselves as Chaldeans rather than Arabs or Iraqis. Information courtesy Chaldean Community Foundation.