Good morning, Maharanis! We know it's Friday and probably you are tired and need to catch your breath, that is why we are bringing this incredible love story that will help you relax and prepare for a full inspiring weekend. This time, we will join Mariam & Faisal at their big wedding celebration, and we are sure that you will love every detail of it. In fact, you will not only love it, but you will also be captivated by it as this event will make your imagination and inspiration flow! To make this their dreamed wedding, Mariam & Faisal selected top of the line wedding venues to host all the events. The halls of the Austin Creekside hosted the colorful and fun-loving Mehndi; the JW Marriott Austin became the main witness of the ceremony that united these lovebirds in marriage. And finally, all wedding events concluded with a fantastic reception party hosted inside the Sheraton McKinney's halls, where DJ Riz Entertainment set the dancefloor on fire and put everyone to dance! And all we have to say is that this wedding celebration turned out to be just perfect! So, kudos to Weddings By Vara as they were the masterminds behind the planning and execution of such marvelous and enchanting celebration. If you want to take a closer look at this incredible event, don't miss today's gallery for more awesome details! We have compiled the best shots captured by A&A Video Productions, and we are sure that you are going to be amazed! Wait no more and get ready to enjoy!
How did you meet your Groom and when did you know he was "the one"?
During the summer of 2015, I was invited to a friend's work party as her plus one and she introduced me to Faisal, her co-worker. We instantly connected and bonded over our love for food, traveling and sarcastic and flirtatious humor. There was an undeniable attraction that we couldn't ignore.
At the time, I was working at the Texas Capitol and Faisal's office was 4 blocks away so we started having lunch together and went on coffee dates. Eventually, those mid-day dates turned into post-work dates and we became best friends. We did everything together - cooking, going to UT football games, Sunday brunches, Austin City Limits. The similarity in our personalities was indescribable and that's how I knew he was "the one".
During that summer and months after, Faisal became my best friend and I knew he was the one I wanted to explore all of life's adventures with. He brings out the best in me, has the ability to make me laugh and truly is my other (and better!) half.
Share the scoop on your Proposal Story!
Faisal and I have never celebrated Valentine's Day in the traditional sense - we find it somewhat cliche and typically do a date night at home with some great food and a good movie. Last year - on the day AFTER Valentine's Day - he planned for us to meet up in downtown Austin for a live show and dinner. I was told to meet him at his office and instead, my 22 year old niece shows up. I then got a text from Faisal, with a coded Google map and instructions for a surprise love-themed mural tour.
At each stop, I found a red balloon nearby with a clue to the next stop, which eventually brought me to the Long Center right at sunset. Faisal was there, bouquet of red balloons in hand, standing against a backdrop of Austin's skyline and I was blown away. It was the most romantic thing Faisal had ever done and I was not at all surprised that he incorporated his software engineering skills to create such a unique and thrilling proposal. The next chapter in our everlasting relationship unfolded that night and I will cherish it forever.
Tell us how you went about planning your wedding, and your overall experience with the Venues, Hair & Makeup, Outfits, Decor Theme, and all of the other important details.
Like any girl recently (or about to be) engaged, I had my Pinterest boards ready to go by the time wedding planning officially kicked in. They were organized by decor, outfits, hair and makeup, and miscellaneous details. I cannot be more thankful for having these boards set up - they were handy and served as great examples to show my vendors (my decorators especially!) of what I was envisioning.
Our wedding consisted of six events, spanning a week and across Austin and Dallas. It was overwhelming to think about at first but with the help of my wedding planner, Vara (Weddings by Vara), I was able to prioritize and make decisions a lot easier than I imagined. Additionally, I introduced my parents and in-laws to Vara a month before the wedding. This was another great idea because they knew who to turn to if Faisal and I were busy during the actual events. She walked through the timeline and listened to their suggestions. It was great because they became comfortable working with Vara and Faisal and I were no longer the middle men between our families. I highly recommend this because it eliminated unnecessary stress that Faisal and I would be prone to during the events.
The one aspect that helped tremendously was booking some of the same vendors for the events in Austin and Dallas. This included my hair and makeup artist, our photographer and cinematographer, and DJ. Having one point of contact for each of these vendors was so convenient in organizing and planning the multiple events they were a part of. Since they were aware of the different atmospheres/styles of each event, I was also able to work with them in ensuring that each event and bridal look was unique and different than the other. I didn't want to overlap my ideas and have it repeated across multiple events.
With the help of my family, we were able to secure wedding venues almost immediately after our engagement. I built a very honest and open line of communication with my parents, Vara and venue coordinators to ensure we were all on the same page with event timeline, vendor responsibilities, and expectations of the coordinators. About three months before the wedding, I scheduled on-site meetings with my wedding planner, venue coordinators, caterer, and decorator. These meetings served as a walk through and gave the vendors the opportunity to discuss the layout and logistics of getting set up. Also, having the vendors meet prior to the wedding makes it all the more easier -- they're familiar with who they're working with and feel far more comfortable asking questions.
My decorator - god bless her and her patience with me changing up ideas between our meetings. Yara (Unique Design and Events) and her team are fantastic at what they do. Her inventory of South Asian decorations is unbelievable and every time we met, we added more to the decor. At the same time, I would change up the color scheme or tablescape. However, through these changes, we created distinct and unique atmospheres for each event. I envisioned the mehndi to be a mix of a mela and club vibes - all brought to life with the street food stalls, dhol wala and LED foam lights on the dance floor. Yara transformed the venue with bright and beautiful food stalls with signage in Hindi-like font, gold lanterns, and jula on the stage. In comparison, our wedding reception was an elegant affair with ivories, golds, blush and maroon accents. It was very romantic, soft and highlighted all the little details we incorporated. I loved every aspect our decor and the thought that Yara put into bringing my vision to life.
I'll be honest - I dropped the ball on my hair and makeup trial. I was so overwhelmed with work and wedding planning and wasn't able to drive to Dallas for my trial until a week before the wedding. But I wasn't panicking because I trusted Alex (Ms. Painted Lady) and within four hours, we had knocked out three unique bridal looks. It was incredible to see our ideas come to life and were able to make changes before the big day. One of the looks we planned was for my mehndi - a voluminous side braid with my polki jhoomar. On the day of the event, moments before she was getting ready to braid it up, we changed the look with an all-down, side part hairdo. We were SHOOK at how we didn't come up with this idea during the trial and it turned out amazing -- by far, my favorite style of the week!
As overwhelming as all this sounds, I loved planning our wedding. It was a collaborative effort with my family, Faisal and his family, Vara, our vendors. I couldn't have survived it without their input and support throughout the eight months of planning. In comparison to other weddings I've seen, ours went incredibly smooth and it couldn't have gone that way without the open communication, trust and dedication of my vendors. Openly discussing concerns about cost, ideas, or technical execution helped to alleviate any problems that may arise the week of. I jokingly tell Faisal we should throw another wedding for our five year anniversary because I miss the planning aspect so much - I was met with an eye roll instead.
How did you select your bridal lengha or wedding dress? Did you have a favorite color in mind?
Before we got engaged, I was absolutely set on having Farah Talib Aziz design my mehndi and wedding dress. Her style is elegant, traditional with a mix of modernization and the colors are so vibrant. I had found some of her work on Instagram and Pinterest and added it to my collection of designs. Soon after we set a wedding date, I set an appointment with her studio for 4 a.m. (thank you, time difference). It was impossible for me to go Karachi at the time so virtual appointments were the only option. Thankfully, Farah and her team were understanding and showcased options similar to the designs I had saved. Ultimately, I ended up choosing my first choice and Farah suggested I have a deep red dress with gold work, Swarovski crystals and a gold farshi gharara. I was sold!
About three months before the wedding, I was able to visit Karachi and meet Farah at her studio. Although close to the wedding, she could confirm my measurements, show the progress on my outfit and make any last minute changes if any. Since my mehndi dress wasn't as intricate as my reception, I chose the design at this time, mix-matching top and bottoms from different designs to create a unique look.
My mother-in-law and I chose my valima outfit together. I was certain I wanted a lighter color, like blush or nude. We chose this beautiful nude dress by Nimrah Khokar. It had delicate flower buds and hummingbirds embroidered in silver. It was absolutely perfect!
What was the most enjoyable part of the planning process, and why?
I'm thankful for the help I got from my family, Vara and vendors but I loved planning the wedding with Faisal. It was important to me that the wedding showcased both of our visions and he was a part of the planning from day one. From figuring out invitations to working on the logistics of the timeline, he was my soundboard and I was his. This collaboration made us enjoy the wedding even more because we saw our shared vision come to life. Additionally, we were excited to share this moment with our family and see our guests enjoy the details and hardwork we put into the events.
What did your guests particularly love about your Wedding?
If there's one word I heard from our guests it was unique. Going into the planning process, I wanted to stray away from the traditional and overdone concepts and piece ideas together to create an unforgettable experience for our guests. From the street food stalls at the mehndi, to the sparkler send off at our reception, our guests were wowed. T
o this day, guests come up to my parents to talk about how much they loved the vibe at the mehndi - I want to say that was everyone's favorite event! I wanted it to be very interactive and make sure everyone had a fun time. We were already doing a buffet style dinner at the wedding reception and valima so I wanted a twist on dining for the mehndi. The food stalls were so different -- pani puri shots, bun kabob, Indo-Chinese cuisine - there was something for everyone to try.
Was there a really special moment in your wedding that constantly replays in your mind?
There are two. The first one was at our mehndi, when I made my entrance on a dholi. I was carried by my four cousins and all I could see straight ahead was Faisal on the stage. I could not stop smiling and was so happy. When I got to the stage, he and I rushed to the dance floor with our family and friends and danced to one of our favorite songs - London Thumakda. We danced the entire night away and were enveloped in so much love.
The second is our first look on the wedding day. I am terrible with surprises and wanted to show Faisal my bridal dress so badly prior to the wedding. Thankfully he didn't let me and I'm glad I didn't because our first look was an incredible moment. I was so nervous walking up behind him but at the same time, I had a huge smile on my face. When he turned around, his face lit up and I will never forget that moment. Faisal is very attentive to details and he noticed all the small things on my wedding dress, jewelry, makeup -- everything. He loved my look and made me feel like the most beautiful bride in the world. Even during the event, he kept sneaking glances at me and me at him - we were unbelievably happy and oblivious to everything around us.
Do you have any words of wisdom for Brides-To-Be?
Plan - use Pinterest and Instagram to your advantage but have your expectations in check. Sometimes our ideas don't pan out exactly how we envision them and have to switch to Plan B and that's okay! Everything can't go smoothly 100% - it's unheard of during a wedding, especially a South Asian wedding. Be flexible especially during the day of and focus on you and your fiance. This time is about you guys and take the time to enjoy that!! You planned as much as you could, now it's the time to enjoy all of that.
Also, have faith and trust your wedding planner and vendors. They have extensive experience with weddings and will guide you towards the best decisions. Be honest with them if you don't like a certain idea and work collaboratively. It will only result in a smooth and beautiful event! Respect them, their profession and treat them with kindness.
That is all for today, darlings! Enjoy your weekend, and make sure to join us on Mondy for more!