Tag Archives: Behind The Scenes

Family of The Bride

Several of you have asked me to send pictures of my sisters’ outfits from the mehendi. Instead of replying to each one individually, I am sharing pictures on the blog. This post highlights their outfits, hair, makeup and jewellery.

Since my outfit was emerald-green with hints of magenta and navy blue, I wanted my sisters to wear the reverse of me: mainly magenta with accents of emerald-green and navy blue. My purpose in making them wear the reverse of me was so that we all stood out from one another but also looked cohesive.

My sisters and I wanted flowy gowns for their mehendi look so I used chiffon. The fabric was dyed to match the magenta in my outfit and I had “chun” added to their entire outfits. I added one strip of green and one strip of blue banarsi to the bottom of their shirts to tie all the colours together. I totally love chooridar sleeves so I took a risk and used jamawar for their sleeves. To slightly differentiate the sisters looks, I added blue and green stripes to the sides of one of the outfits. The kaam around their neck was also slightly different.


As you can see, my sister on the left has green and blue stripes on the sides of her outfit. They both have green and blue borders on the bottom of their shirts


Hair, Makeup and Jewellery
For my sisters’ jewellery, we decided to keep everything mainly gold with a little bit of green for a pop of colour. The green would also stand out better against their magenta shirts. The older sister wore drop earrings and the younger sister wore more traditional, circular earrings.

I love, love, love, messy braids so I knew that I was going to ask them to get that done for the mehendi. Both of them had messy side braids with side bangs. For their makeup, we wanted something modern and funky. That’s literally what we told the makeup artist and she worked her magic!

A closer look at their hair and outfits

A closer look at their hair and outfits


A closeup of the jewellery

And lastly, My Parents:
My dad wore a navy blue kurta from with a turquoise dupatta and white shalwar. I can’t remember the name of the store we purchased his kurta from but it was at Kurta Gali on Tariq Road. My brother-in-law also wore the same ensemble.

I made a navy blue gharara for my mom with a magenta shirt. Her shirt was made of raw silk and had gold chun with some gold embroidery on it. The gharara and dupatta were navy blue jamawar (dupatta was chiffon jamawar) with gold detailing. To offset the darkness of the navy blue, we had magenta borders around the dupatta and the gharara.

My gorgeous family MashAllah

My gorgeous family MashAllah

Outfits: Mohsin & Sons, Karachi
My Makeup: DIY
Hair & Makeup of Sisters: Fero GlamourStudio
Photography: Big Al Studios

p.s. Check out their dance on the mehendi!



Behind The Scenes: The Valima Day

This is the last behind-the-scenes post from the wedding days. Due to alot of requests, the next series will look at post-wedding life. Yup, I’m going there.

The day of the Valima started off good, Alhamdulilah. Nouman and I had set our alarms for 11:00am, giving us plenty of time to shower, get dressed and have breakfast before heading to my hair/makeup appointment. Although we did wake up at 11:00, we lounged around for too long and were rushing out the door to make it to my appointment in time.

Nouman dropped me off and then went off to get dressed himself – my parents had reserved a guest suite in our condo during the wedding so we utilized that. Once I arrived at the salon, I was asked to put on my shirt and then head over to my seat. Shirley was working on another bride so her assistant started on my hair. Shirley had a look at my jewellery and asked me what type of look I wanted. I explained that I wanted a “clean” look - dramatic eyes, natural lips and nothing too heavy/caked on. I had done a dark/bolder look on the shaadi, so I wanted the valima makeup to be a complete contrast. While my makeup was being done, one of my family friends also entered the same area as me to get done up for our valima. We chatted while we were both getting pampered and then Nouman called to say he was ready and outside the room. We allowed him to enter while Shirley finished my makeup. Once I was ready, Shirley pinned my dupatta, Maggie (her sister) put on my chooriyan and Nouman helped me put on my shoes. Then, we were off! Oh yes, I did forget my pants and garment bag. Richard, Shirley’s husband, was kind enough to call me to pick it up. Embarrassing!

That's my younger sister whatsapping chooriyan to me so I could match it to my outfit

That’s my younger sister sending me whatsapp pictures of chooriyan so I could match them to my outfit

We were running approximately 10 minutes late so we rushed to our photoshoot. The entire ride there I kept asking if my lip colour looked okay – I generally prefer bright colours so the neutral lipstick made me question my look. Once we arrived at our photoshoot, we met our photographers, grabbed an umbrella (just incase it rained) and headed off to take pictures. As we walked to our location, passerby’s were clapping, cheering and saying congratulations to us. It was so sweet! Walking through sand was tough but a bride’s got to do what a bride’s got to do for great pictures, right? The photoshoot itself was uneventful – we were used to our photographers by then and at times I could anticipate what they wanted us to do. Towards the end of our photoshoot, we took pictures by the water and then Nouman and I started panicking because we were getting late (again!).

Photography by Big Al Studios

Photography by Big Al Studios

Once we arrived at our Valima hall, Nouman dropped me off to the main entrance so I could go and hide in the bridal room. Obviously, I first had to check the hall and took a peek inside – I loved how everything look! I said salaam to all of Nouman’s family, Nouman had arrived by this time, and then we both went into the bridal room. This is where the wait began, again! We were kept company by Nouman’s cousins and also by our videographer who wanted some “getting ready” footage of us. Nouman also worked on his speech while I ate appetizers.

Before we made our entrance, Nouman’s family was introduced. When it was time, we made our way to the entrance of our hall. Luckily, one of my friends had just arrived so I asked her to fix my train as Nouman and I made our entrance. I felt like a celebrity when we entered – the whole room was on their foot, the music was beating loud and we could hear cheers everywhere. As we walked inside, there were faces everywhere but the faces  I was looking for were of my family members. Finally, I saw my family at the front and I waved at them while holding back tears. Yeah, I don’t know what came over me. We had our cake cutting ceremony right after the entrance so that distracted me from crying. Both sets of parents were asked to join us for the cake cutting – Nouman and I had decided to have them by our side for this ceremony. We all hugged, cut the cake and fed it to each other.

Photography by Big Al Studios

Photography by Big Al Studios

After this, we did a mini-photoshoot, watched a slideshow and listened to speeches. We also had the mandatory portrait pictures with our guests. Once all that was done, it was time to get the party started. Nouman’s friends started on the dance floor and after around 15-20 minutes, we were finally able to break free from everyone and get onto the dance floor too!

The entire night was fun and upbeat – something we both wanted. For me, the highlight of the night was when Nouman danced to me on Michael Jackson’s The Way You Make Me Feel.

Photography by Big Al Studios

Photography by Big Al Studios

I was totally pooped and tired by the time we were ready to leave. Thankfully, we saved ourselves the 1 hour drive back to the east end because we were staying at my parents house. My parents had booked a guest suite so we crashed there once we were home.

The next morning, Nouman and I dressed up and went upstairs for brunch with my family. It was a houseful and the last time I would see my uncles and aunts before they headed back to the US. Spending time with my family felt good – I even got to Skype with my khala in Pakistan. My nani didn’t attend my wedding but that morning, I wore an outfit that she had asked me to wear when I had gone to do my wedding shopping in Pakistan.

The outfit has a train - I love trains.

The outfit has a train – I love trains.

Overall, our wedding was amazing. It was fun and full of people that we love. I wish I could get married to Nouman all over again. Alhamdullilah.

For more Behind-The-Scenes moments, check out the following posts: The Day Before the Mehendi Day, Mehendi Day – Part 1, Mehendi Day – Part 2, Wedding Day – Part 1, Wedding Day – Part 2 and Bridal Room Shenanigans.



Behind The Scenes: The Day After The Wedding

Happy New Year everyone! Hope this year brings you lots of health, happiness and blessings. Nouman and I were going to go downtown to Nathan Phillips Square to celebrate, but we felt bad because my brother-in-law would have been alone. Instead, we called over all of Nouman’s cousins and had a movie-night in.

I’m going to be honest, I was VERY anxious about the day after the rukhsati. It’s one thing to meet Nouman’s family at dawats but it is a completely new feeling to be part of someones family suddenly. I had around a million questions in my head:

  1. What time should we go upstairs?
  2. What will I wear?
  3. How dressed up should I be?
  4. Where would I sit once I was upstairs? If the kids separate, should I sit with the adults or the cousins?
  5. Would Nouman be with me?
  6. What do I SAY?

All these thoughts, even though I had known Nouman’s family all my life, had been racing through my mind the entire week leading up to the wedding. As you know, I like to be prepared so I decided to choose the most conservative approach to everything. This is how it all played out:

  1. I wanted to wake up at a decent time but I know that Nouman likes to sleep in. Noon would be the latest we would go upstairs. Thankfully, we were both awake by 10am because of all the commotion upstairs. This gave us plenty of time to shower and get dressed.
  2. I lucked out with this one. My sister-in-law had told me that most likely Nouman’s mom would have something picked out for me but I had packed a semi-formal suit, just-in-case. After the rukhsati, Nouman’s mom showed me 3-4 suits that she had set aside for me so I wore one of those.
  3. I knew that Nouman’s family would want to see me wearing atleast some jewellery, as would mine when they brought breakfast. Hence, I wore 3 gold chooriyan on each hand, my wedding/engagement rings and a ring that Nouman’s dadi had given me the day before. Besides my foundation, I wore eyeliner, blush and lipgloss.
  4. 4,5,6 – It was surprisingly very easy to go with the flow. I was definitely nervous as Nouman and I walked upstairs. We came upstairs, said salaam and hugged everyone (we made Nouman hug everyone too) and then sat down on the couch. Everyone started talking and Nouman’s family made me feel completely at ease. Nouman sat with me the entire time and thankfully, nobody separated. Everyone was super sweet; the younger guy cousins continuously asked me if I needed/wanted anything and if I was okay, Nouman’s dadi told him to put food on my plate, Nouman’s mom asked me a few times if I wanted to go lie down/freshen up – the list is endless. Nouman was also very good Alhamdulilah – he made sure he was with me the entire time and he probably asked me if I was okay atleast 100 times. Truth be told, I did not talk nearly as much as I do because of my nerves

Overall, the day unfolded as below:

  • We woke up, went back and forth exclaiming “OMG! We’re married!”, showered, dressed and went upstairs.
  • My family was bringing brunch but the boys got hungry so everyone started munching on breakfast
  • My family arrived around 1:30pm. I was super happy to see everyone but I was sad that my parents didn’t come. Apparently, the tradition is that the “young” cousins/females of the family take breakfast. I still don’t understand why. We chatted with everyone, had brunch, took pictures and then it was time for them to go back – all too soon! I showed all the mami’s and my sisters our living space in the basement and then they were off. I was definitely very sad and almost cried once the door closed. Nouman and his mom tried to console me and then thankfully we got distracted by his family.
  • Once my family left, everyone went back to the family room and started sharing funny childhood stories.
  • Nouman’s friends came over to complete his reception slideshow so we hung out with them upstairs. This was the first time that I had been around so many guys alone.
  • The rest of the evening is a blur – Nouman’s entire family slept over and everyone was just hanging out and having a good time. I was nervous most of the evening but his family did a great job in including me for everything.




Behind The Scenes: The Wedding Day – Part 2

Continuing the Behind the Scenes series from the Wedding Day.

Once I was in the bridal room, our photographer and videographer continued my photoshoot. I pretended to fix my makeup, dupatta and  jewellery while they flashed and clicked away. I was constantly being visited by friends and family (yeay!) so I was able to keep myself distracted most of the time.

When Nouman’s baraat (procession) pulled into the driveway, my younger sister came in my room to tell me. I got excited. It felt like a gazillion years had passed before I could finally take a peak at Nouman through the gap between my door. Nouman wore a sehra (a headpiece worn by brides/grooms to cover their face before the Nikkah (marriage) ceremony) so I couldn’t see his face. I’m not going to lie – the louder the dhol got, the more my heart was racing. While everyone was busy with the baraat, I was smiling and crying in my room. Yup, imagine how creepy I would’ve looked if anyone walked into the room.

Nouman showing off

After Nouman made his entrance, appetizers were served (which were THE best – the venue brought me two platefuls and I devoured everything) and we waited for the Shaykh (the person marrying us) to arrive. We were running around 15 minutes behind schedule because the Shaykh arrived late but it definitely felt a lot longer to me. Finally, my mom, sisters and our photographers and videographer came into the room – it was time to make my entrance for the Nikkah. My mom draped a net dupatta on me and we headed out the door. As we exited the bridal room, I was very nervous and panicking as I saw people still entering the hall. At some point, the 2 staff members that were opening the hall doors for me told late guests to stop and wait.

I stood in the lobby with my parents, waiting for the doors to open. As I waited (it was probably only 10 seconds), I looked at the DJ and asked him why it was taking so long. He said he was waiting for a cue from my sisters – at this point I got a little annoyed and said, “I AM giving you the cue. Put on my song – loud!” He did as I asked. As the music started, my heart was pounding and I was extremely nervous. My legs felt like jello, my hands were freezing and I was overcome with emotions. As I waited, hand-in-hand with my parents, my dad asked “Ready?” and exactly 1 minute and 21 seconds into the song (yes, I timed it), the doors opened. We waited at the door for 10 seconds before we started walking. Right before my first step, I remember tipping back slightly as my legs started to shake. I remembered to keep my posture straight and walk slowly but at some point, I lost it. My emotions hit me like a brick and I started crying. My mom realized I was crying and whispered, “Shazaaaa… Kya hogaya hai… Bas Karo (Shaza, what happened… stop crying)” and then started crying herself. My dad also knew so he whispered my nickname in the tone when he knows I’m upset and is trying to cheer me up. Obviously, all of this did nothing except make me cry more. At some point, I looked up and saw my mamoo and he mouthed something about me crying and I laughed. I finally smiled again and then proceeded into my nikkah tent. Yes guys, I had a tent for my nikkah.

Entering the Nikkah tent with my parents

Once I had settled into my seat, my sisters draped the chaapi dupatta on my head and the Shaykh came to take my consent for the marriage. I was crying on and off until the Shaykh came inside the tent. I stopped once he was there because he joked around a little. When he did ask me for my consent in the marriage, I stared at him blankly for a few seconds – I think I had expected him to say a long speech to me but he got right to the point and I hadn’t expected to be asked so directly (don’t ask, I’m not sure what was going on in my head). Since I didn’t answer, my dad repeated the question and I got startled when realized they were talking to ME! I said yes (he also asked me if I agreed to the Mahr and if I have appointed my dad as my Wali (guardian)) and then he congratulated me and went to Nouman.

Signing the papers

While the Nikkah was happening, I cried alot. Alot. I also tried to peek at Nouman – he was directly infront of me across the room. I couldn’t see any of his expressions because of his sehra but I did see him smile once when the Shaykh cracked a joke. Once the Nikkah happened, my mom said, “Finally, Shaza (she said my nickname)!!” and I cried and laughed. Hugs and kisses went around the room and then I was finally ready to walk to the stage.

My parents, sisters and I walked hand-in-hand to the stage. As I walked to Nouman, I remember looking at nothing but the ground and him.  I remember looking into his eyes as I made my way to him and trying not to laugh (and cry) as he gave me the smirk that he reserves just for me. Finally, I was holding his hand and standing beside him. I think we said HEY, We’re MARRIED!, I hugged his parents and sister-in-law and said salaam to my brother-in-law. Once we were seated, we took a few family shots and then did the ring exchange. Just like our engagement, Nouman quietly asked me if he was putting the ring on the right hand. He always gets confused.

My ring

Immediately after the ring exchange, my dad said a few words and then dinner was served. Nouman and I went to do our photoshoot while everyone was eating. Again, we were swarmed by people as we made our way out – we were happy that so many people could attend our special day. While getting our pictures taken, we were in a completely different world. I was giddy and the two of us couldn’t stop smiling. When our photographer asked Nouman to put his arms around me, I thought how strange it felt for us to be so close while our parents and families looked on (every now and then, I would catch my mom, his mom or my sisters walk by with a smile on their face as they looked at us). The whole night felt surreal.

Our very own photography - this one was taken by a friend's camera

Our very own paparazzi – this one was taken by a friend’s camera

As we made our way inside the hall from the lobby, the server designated to us repeatedly asked us if she could set up a dinner area for us. We told her not to worry about it. I saw the dessert table and couldn’t resist – I told her I would have a little bit of dessert inside. Unfortunately, I could only have a few bites before we were ushered back on the stage for the slideshow.

My younger sister made the slideshow and it was amazing. She even included a short video of me acting like a bride at the age of 2. After the slideshow, we had speeches and dhoodh pilai and then it was time for jootha chupai. After the jootha chupai, it was time for the rukhsati. I can’t even start to describe how I felt during the rukhsati.

Dhoodh Pilai

Dhoodh Pilai

I started getting emotional from the moment that I realized it was time – Noumans dad came on the stage to put his haar back on and I think I had a blank look on my face. As we both stood up, Nouman took my hand and tried to give me a smile. I think I smiled back but it was one of those ugly smiles – lips trembling, your heart in your throat, and fighting to keep back tears. I maintained my composure until we were almost at the lobby.

I was a jumble of emotions - I was happy and yet so, so, so sad. I felt I was leaving a part of myself behind. I was embarking on a new journey; one that would not always include the people I am used to seeing everyday. Up until that day, my family was always with me when I received bad news or got excited about something good. From now on, Nouman would be that person. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy that Nouman and I were finally together but my family is a big part of me. Leaving my parents home felt like I was leaving everything I know. The fact that I was starting this new phase of life was daunting – living with a boy for the first time (I have no brothers), trying to maintain good relations with my inlaws and hoping that I could keep everyone (including myself) happy. All these emotions, while knowing that I am only moving 1 hour away from my parents AND marrying the person I want to marry. Yeah, I still don’t get it. Trying to describe rukhsati emotions in words just cannot do justice.

Once we were outside, my mom was nowhere to be found. Turns out, she was trying to stay away so that I don’t get emotional – geez. I hugged everyone and cried like a baby. My mother-in-law and Noumans aunts were also crying – they get emotional whenever they see a rukhsati. Nouman’s mom joked with me between her own tears and I stopped crying for a while. I then hugged someone else and the water works started all over again. I remember my dad patting my hand as I hugged my mom, my mom telling me to stop crying, me telling my younger sister that I knew she’d have to cry (leading up to the wedding, I had told her that if she didn’t cry, I would pinch her until she does) and my older sister telling me that she loves me.

In the car

In the car


Nouman helped me in the car and I asked my mom if she had put my bag in their car. I cried and waved as we pulled away. I cried on and off throughout the car ride home. Nouman’s parents were in the car with us and they did their best to distract me. Nouman was trying to console me/whispering things to make me laugh.

At Nouman’s house, we took pictures with the rukhsati car and then proceeded inside for some rasms and gift giving. We did the rasm of looking for a ring in the water to see who will wear the pants in the relationship – unlike the movies, the game did not go on for ages. Nouman found the ring within seconds. Nouman had told me that the youngest devar (brother-in-law) sits on the brides lap and she gives him money. For us, Nouman had told me it would be his 6 month old nephew but unfortunately he fell asleep. By the time he woke up, he was slightly cranky and we didn’t do the rasm.

Although Nouman found the ring first, Nouman's cousins yelled out that there was another ring. I dug in and pulled out the second one

Although Nouman found the ring first, Nouman’s cousins yelled out that there was another ring. I dug in and pulled out the second one

The two most vivid emotions from the wedding day are happiness/a sense of peace and feeling shaky/nervous.


*All the images used in this post are via Big Al Studios unless stated otherwise.*



Behind The Scenes: The Wedding Day – Part 1

The morning of the wedding felt surreal. Surprisingly, I woke up well-rested (I love my sleep come rain or shine) but with knots in my stomach. It’s one of the most important days of your life and yet your emotions vary by the second. The best way I can explain how I felt is by saying this: I was truly happy and at peace (Alhamdulilah) but I could not stop the internal shaking in my stomach (and no, it wasn’t my gut shaking). I was lying in bed and thinking about my room, my family, my current home and the new life I was going to lead. I could not believe the day was here.

Unlike many brides (and grooms), I slept in that day. I had been awake (and crying) for around 15 minutes by the time my family came inside my room to check on me. My family is big on hugging and kissing so as soon as they saw that I was awake, they all jumped into bed with me. I cried, we laughed and then finally I got out of bed.

It was a very calm and peaceful day. It was Jummah (Friday) so all the men went for namaaz and I showered, prayed Jummah (Friday prayers) followed by Salatul Hajaat. The makeup artist for my family came around 1:30 so all my aunts and sisters started getting their hair/makeup done while I just hung around in a daze. My mom ordered pizza so we all munched on that (I definitely wasn’t a non-eating bride; I had 2 slices but had to stop because I didn’t want to be bloated). My mamoo’s (uncles) had picked up the flowers and dropped off my favours/receiving table things at the venue so I was very relaxed and carefree.

Besides how peaceful everything felt, the one emotion I remember strongly is the amount of crying I did. I cried in bed, I cried in the shower, I cried while praying… I cried all over the place. As my family’s makeup artist was finishing up,  I sat on the couch next to my mom and tears started flooding out (again). Neither one of us said anything but she held me in her arms and let me cry. I remember the makeup artist and her mom saying “Awww” but I couldn’t stop. Finally, when my makeup artist (Shirley Wu) buzzed from downstairs, I stopped crying and went to put on my wedding shirt.

Putting on my wedding clothes felt surreal. I remember trembling as I slipped into my shirt – this was really happening. I changed and went back outside to get dolled up! Once I was outside, I had my first small panic attack – my photographer was still not here. As Shirley started doing my hair, I kept thinking that she was so fast and that my photographer had better not miss this. Finally, we placed a call to the photographer who assured us that they were minutes away. Obviously, they know better when to come so that they don’t capture the ugliness pre-makeup. Once my photographer came, they took my getting ready shots (the pictures came out amazing but I can’t share most of them due to my wearing Hijab) and pictures of all my accessories.

Photography by Big Al Studios

While I got my hair/makeup done, I was also on Skype with my khala (aunt) and nani (grandmother). Unfortunately, they couldn’t attend but they were with us the entire day via Skype. My khala is a joker and she kept cracking jokes. Initially, my khala had no idea that Shirley can speak/understand Urdu – she cracked a joke about the makeup and Shirley responded in Urdu. It was pretty funny.

Photography by Big Al Studios

Once my hair and makeup was done, Shirley asked me to put on my Gharara and get my dupatta. She put on my jewellery, did my dupatta setting and I was ready! By the way, when Shirley finished my hair/makeup, I looked in the mirror and couldn’t stop smiling. I looked like a bride!

Photography by Big Al Studios

By the time the short photo session was done, we were running around 15 minutes off schedule and we rushed to get out of the house. My parents, younger sister and I were in one car and my sister and brother-in-law were in a second car. I remember reading lots of dua (prayers) and my mom reading lots of dua’s as we left the home.

When we arrived at the venue, my dad helped me out of the car and we walked inside the hall. As I entered my wedding hall, I was blown away. I fell in love with my venue all over again. I quickly said hi to my videographer and the venue’s coordinator and made my way back into the lobby. At this point, we took some more pictures and then I rushed upstairs to hide in the bridal room.

In the bridal room, I waited – to finally be a Mrs.

Photography by Big Al Studios

Want more Behind The Scenes moments? Check these posts: The Day Before the Mehendi Day, Mehendi Day – Part 1, Mehendi Day – Part 2 and Bridal Room Shenanigans.



Behind The Scenes: Mehendi Day – Part 2

I was supposed to complete my “Behind the Scenes” posts but life got in the way and I’ve fallen behind. Anyway, it’s time to continue behind the scenes on the day of the mehendi. Click here for part 1.

Walking up to Nouman on the mehendi was probably one of the best moments of the day. I waved at him and I could see him smiling ear to ear – but he was visibly nervous to me. Once I was on the stage, I relaxed and waved around at a billion people. The next little portion is a blur – I think some of Nouman’s family came up to take pictures but I have no recollection of time elapsed during that period.

Photography by Big Al Studios

The next thing I remember is when Nouman and I got up to take our pictures while everyone was eating dinner. We were swarmed by people as we tried to make our way out of the room. We talked to as many people as we could and then scuttled off to take pictures outside. Once we were outside, I felt like we were in a different world. It was just Nouman and I (and our photographer/videographer team but by this point, it felt completely normal to have them around) and it felt really good to get away from everyone – not in a bad way! Simply because we were finally together after not seeing each other for 1 month! The photoshoot was fun because we got to pose but also because we talked away from everyone else.

Once we were done the outdoor photoshoot, we headed back inside so we could take a few more pictures in an indoor setting. Again, we greeted people, chit chatted and took pictures. As we were heading back inside the room, I saw the cotton candy machine we had ordered and immediately broke the line (priviledges of being the bride) to eat some. Nouman was too nervous to eat but I downed my share easily!

After settling back into our chairs, our families started the rasms (rituals). First, Noumans mom put on a haar and gajray on me. Then, my mom put 1 paan each (beetle leaf) on Nouman and my hands – she had decorated the paan leaf with gold trimming. We were then fed sweets, had mehendi (henna) put on our leaf and people circled money around our head to ward off the bad eye (nazar). Since the next day was the wedding, I kept fruits instead of traditional sweets (mithai) – I was not going to risk breaking out! I have to mention that within the first few bites of eating, Nouman started to gag and he fake-ate for pictures the rest of the night.

Photography by Big Al Studios

Towards the end of the rasms, our families started the dholki portion and they sang the night away. At this point, Nouman kept nervously asking me if he could step out for a bit to where all the guys were. I had no idea what was going on and kept telling him to stop being so nervous (typical of me). Little did I know that he was nervous about what was going to happen soon.

Photography by Big Al Studios

Anyway, once the dholki was done, my dad sang a lullaby that he used to sing to me when I was a little girl. That was the moment that it truly hit me that I was getting married – TOMORROW! I was looking at my dad singing the song then I looked over at my mom and sisters and all of a sudden I was so overwhelmed; I couldn’t help but cry.

After the performance by my dad, the dances of the night began! They were all amazing and so well choreographed (Nouman and I are so thankful for everyone who participated!). During the first dance, I was pulled onto the stage and I tried following the steps that everyone was doing - it was fun and unexpected. Both Nouman and I were pulled onto the second dance by all my lovely family friend girls. I was extremely shy because this was the first time Nouman and I were dancing together! I don’t think I looked him in the eye except maybe a few glances here and there. Me, a bashful bride? Who would’ve thought it?! The third dance we were pulled up for was also unexpected but I totally didn’t dance; it was a boys dance and I was surrounded by 8-10 guys so I swayed and clapped while Nouman did the carlton (no joke). My sisters also did a dance and they pulled us up – although we were expecting this one. Last minute, my sisters and I decided that Nouman and I should be part of their dance. Since we didn’t have time to practice, we described the dance moves to Nouman on the phone. It wasn’t anything major but it was still fun because it was on the song “Dola Re Dola.” More details on why we chose that song when I post the video! The last dance, a surprise, was the Kolaveri Di dance that Nouman took part in. This was why he was nervous all night – he had only practiced it once and he likes to be perfect when he dances. It was great.

The end of the choreographed dances marked the beginning of the open dance floor. This was super fun!! Everyone danced for a long time and we all reluctantly parted ways after the DJ announced the last song.

Me, dancing the night away.
Photography by Big Al Studios

That night, I was a ball of emotions in bed: I smiled, cried, and could not believe that our wedding day was just a few hours away!

Behind The Scenes: Mehendi Day

The day of the Mehendi, for me, started out pretty calm. My mom, sisters and I had set aside everything that we needed to wear or take with us a few days before the Mehendi. I made a checklist that included every small item that we might need just incase we forgot the day of. Yes, there was some running around that day but it was mostly for everyone else but me. My uncles went to pick up flowers and my sisters/brother-in-law went to the venue to set up the dholki area.

I woke up with a big smile on my face and some butterflies in my stomach. The first thing I did was yank my hands out of my covers to see my mehendi. Overall, I felt pretty good that morning. I had moments where my nerves took over – my hands became ice-cold – but I was pretty calm for the most part. Before I showered, I made mehendi to put on the mehendi trays and was about to start cutting fruits (instead of having mithai, we asked to be fed fruits) but my mom made a big deal and refused to let me cut them. Privileges of being a bride. The few minutes of panick I had were when my sisters were late and their makeup artist was about to be home any second. I’m pretty sure I called them and told them to drop whatever they were doing and get back asap. Thankfully, they made it back before the makeup artist came. YEAY!

I showered, blow dried my hair and then got my hair done. For the Mehendi day, I decided to do my own makeup and dupatta setting. I got my hair put up in a bun so it could hold my dupatta (it was a little heavy). While I was getting my hair done, I was pretty calm – even the makeup artist commented on it.

Once my hair was completed, I finished my makeup – besides my bright pink lips, I kept my makeup pretty minimal: foundation, green eyeliner, mascara and blush. Needless to say, I applied my makeup really fast. Once my sister and mom helped me pin my dupatta, I put on my remaining accessories: colourful matching chooriyan on one hand, 6 gold with white stone bangles on the other hand and a big ornate green ring. My makeup artist had put on my teeka and earrings when she did my hair. I put on my shoes and we were all set to go!

My sister putting on my chooriyan

The car ride to our venue is a bit hazy to me – I remember reading lots of dua’s, smiling, feeling a little nervous, anxious to get to the venue before anyone see’s me (my brother-in-law was speeding), and excited to get the party started. I just called my sister and she said I was a little quiet and seemed nervous. Once at the banquet hall, I went to see everything inside and meet with my vendors. We then decided to take pictures and videos of my family and I – the whole time, I remember feeling giddy and hoping that Nouman doesn’t see me. When we were almost done our photo-shoot, Nouman’s car pulled up and my sisters rushed to cover me. We hadn’t seen each other for 1 month, I wasn’t going to let him have a look at me just like that! Thankfully, I was standing (surrounded by my family) quite far and to the side of where he came in so he didn’t get a peek. Once he was inside, I rushed into the bridal room – my videographer/photographer making sure that Nouman wasn’t around.

The bridal room marked the beginning of a long wait. The bridal room was my safe haven and also a torture chamber. I would get excited when my friends/family came inside and any moment I had to myself was spent fixing my makeup/dupatta/posture. One of my closest friends, who lives in England, could not attend the wedding so I promised her that I would send pictures. While waiting, I took a picture and accidentally sent it to Nouman instead of her! Geez. Miraculously, I realized my error as soon as I hit SEND and then proceeded sending him a billion messages telling him not to scroll up. Tempted as he was, he listened.

You might be wondering why I put tape on my list. Well, while I was hanging out in the bridal room with some friends, my ring broke! The entire ring separated from the band! Obviously, this sent everyone in the room into panic mode. Girls were calling out solutions all over the place: tape, glue, needle and thread, chewing gum – yup, we heard it all. Since I knew we didn’t have tape or needle/thread, I was willing to use gum just as long as my ring stuck together. Anything in the name of fashion, right? Someone in the room went to check if they had eyelash glue in their purse – nope. Luckily, one of the girls found tape (I keep thinking we used band-aid) and everyone forced the ring to stick together. YEAY!

The ring that broke

While Nouman’s family was assembling for his entrance, I was trying to get a peek at him from my room. It didn’t work. I saw the top of his head at one point, major flips happened in my stomach at this point, but that was all. I could hear all the laughter, yelling and crazyness and that made me excited.

My family/friends receiving Nouman’s side

When it was finally time for my side to gather in the lobby, I touched up my makeup, straightened my duppatta, put on my shoes, read dua and was starting to wonder if I could walk out of the bridal room (I didn’t know if the main doors to the hall were closed or not), when I heard my younger sister say, “Oh! Someone should probably get Shaza!!” I smiled when I heard everyone laugh. YEAY! It was time!! As I walked to the staircase, all my “peoples” started cheering – I sure felt special.

The walk in was a little nerve wrecking – I was praying I don’t trip, excited to see Nouman, and hoping that I don’t walk too fast or too slow. I walked in under a pink dupatta that my mother-in-law had draped on me at my baat pakki – with my 3 uncles and brother-in-law holding each corner up. As we entered, I remember seeing my mother-in-law, one of Nouman’s aunts, 1 cousin and alot of light. I don’t recall any faces other than those 3 although I know I waved at everyone that was receiving me. At one point, the men holding my dupatta stopped – for what seemed like 100 years (it was probably 5 seconds in reality) - and I just wanted to get on stage.

Getting ready to walk in

Once I was on the stage, I felt relieved to see Nouman. The walk had been nerve wrecking and I felt at ease as soon as we were side-by-side.

I’ll share moments from the rest of the night once I get my pictures!

Behind The Scenes: Before The Festivities

Before our wedding, I always wondered how the bride felt before each wedding event and what the energy of a “shaadi wala ghar” (wedding house) was like. I’ve given you a detailed description about the day of the mayoun – now it’s time to revisit each of the other events.

The day before our Mehendi was extremely fun and felt surreal. My family spent the day talking, eating and preparing for the BIG DAYS – we lined up everything we needed for each day and grouped them accordingly. I also had all my grooming appointments that day – waxing, manicure & pedicure. Once I got home, my mehendi artist came and we started on the mehendi.

The real fun began when all my uncles, aunts and cousins came over. We were getting mehendi done, eating, chit-chatting and dholkying it up. It felt really unreal; I had the biggest grin on my face for most of the night. My mom and sisters would randomly ask me if it had hit me yet and yes, that was the night it really started to hit me. That night was just what I had wanted; laid back, relaxed and full of family and fun. We only stopped partying because our concierge called about complaints from neighbours. Geez.

When I went to bed that night, I remember lying awake in bed feeling happy (Alhamdulilah), giddy and a little nervous. I definitely had butterflies in my stomach but I also couldn’t stop smiling into my pillow. I was one day closer to being a Mrs.

My hands

Food and Words

Kids hanging out. Do you like the decor? My sisters and I did them!

Stay tuned for more Behind The Scenes posts :)

Bridal Room

You might be wondering what I was upto in the bridal room… No? Oh well, I’m going to tell you anyway!

Most of the time, I had visitors in there. There were 2 or 3 times when I was completely alone – it was good to have a few minutes of peace amidst all the craziness. It’s a weird feeling to be sitting in the bridal room as THE BRIDE. Everytime someone would come in, we would squeal with excitement and gush over how amazing everything/everyone looked. Most of the time, it didn’t hit me that I was the one getting married. It hit me like a ton of bricks each time I was alone – especially on the shaadi day.

Each day, I stuffed my face with a huge portion of appetizers. I definitely wasn’t one of the brides who starved themselves.

Mehendi – this was half way into my plate of appetizers. I’d had 3 spring rolls and 2 of the potato looking things when I took this picture

On the wedding day, I was actually pretty nervous while I waited. I was perfectly okay when I was surrounded by people but as soon as I was alone, I got the jitters!

Day of the wedding – I downed all the veggie/fish. The younger one walked in on me stuffing my face. She made fun of me but then joined in :)

I got REALLY nervous when I heard the baraat entering. I decided to spy on them from my room. Ofcourse.

Peeking through

The Valima day was the most relaxed. Nouman was with me and I felt calm most of the time – it might have been all the chocolate I consumed while waiting!

Working on his speech

… And now you know what I was upto!