Real Couples // Off-Grid Hippie Uzbek Festival Wedding: Nodira + Alex

This wedding was a game changer due to the both the creative and brilliant multicultural couple Nodira and Alex and the amazing experience they put on for their guests (and me!). Nodira and Alex wanted their wedding to create a unique community-building experience out in nature with all of their friends and family for a weekend. Most of the guests camped out in tents on the property, Moon Mountain Lodge, which is a beautiful off-the-grid place in Northwest Washington State.

The ceremony in a cedar grove featured pagan rituals from Alex’s southern California hippie upbringing as well as some Uzbek rituals from Nodira’s childhood in Uzbekistan (and later New Zealand). Alex spent many years during his childhood attending Burning Man which his mother was very active with, and Nodira and Alex continue to attend. They actually set up the same camp that they put on at Burning Man with their friends each year as a surprise for guests. The wedding was full of surprises. Nodira performed the favorite song she shares with Alex (“Fidelity” by Regina Spektor) after taking piano and voice lessons in secret for two years! To find their table, all guests had to enter the forest and find a key with their name on it hanging from a tree. Each key was painted a certain color-scheme indicating the table.

Nodira changed into a custom-made white wedding hip hop outfit halfway through the night to fully enjoy dancing. The morning after the wedding, Nodira and Alex performed a formal Uzbek wedding ceremony, exchanging gifts and bows with the groom's and bride's families in authentic Uzbek attire that had been brought in from Uzbekistan. Nodira and Alex were both “child geniuses” who went to college before they were 16, and each started their Computer Science PhD programs at the University of Washington before they were 20. Nodira published a college-level mathematics textbook when she was 17, and since earning her PhD now works for Twitter and also advocates for women working in technology.

Photos and Words by Michael Tallman


Michael Tallman lives in Vermont and photographs weddings and other projects all over New England and occasionally further away. Love and life are messy, imperfect and magical, and he aims for his work to reflect that. His wedding photographs are a combination of documentary images that make the viewer feel like they were there and relaxed portraits that incorporate a sense of place as well as the personalities of the couple. He especially loves working with couples who want to defy expectations of what a wedding should be and celebrate with their community in their own unique way.