Happy Friday, Maharanis! Can you believe how fast this week went by? It is unbelievable how time flies when you are having so much fun! Today, we wanted to give you an extra dose of inspiration so you can make it through the weekend and get back on Monday with your batteries recharged! So get ready to enjoy Sana & Muzamil's intimate and charming wedding celebration. Initially, these lovebirds planned a massive traditional 3-day Pakistani wedding; however, the emergence of COVID 19 flipped their plans upside down. So, Sana herself took the lead in planning this spectacular event to ensure that everything would look just as she wanted it, and she nailed it! In only 5 weeks, she put together a lovely Nikkah ceremony held at her parents' backyard. The elegance, the traditional flair, and the minimalist but exquisite decor put together by Saarah Bhaiji created the perfect setting for this festive occasion. But this lovely setting was just the preamble for the real beauty of the evening: Our lovely Maharani! She looked ravishing thanks to Rimsha Khan, who took care of her beauty needs making her look like a princess while walking down the aisle in a gorgeous attire from Zara Shahjahan. The whole evening was a huge success, and we have no words to describe how much we loved it. If you want to check more of this intimate celebration, don't miss the awe-inspiring shots by Ben Ramos Photography in today's full gallery. It is the best way to prepare for an inspiring weekend!

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How did you meet your Groom and when did you know he was "the one"?
Muzzi and I knew of each other through mutual friends, we officially met in chemistry class our freshman year of college when we were 18 years old! We became quick friends and over time became best friends. Lots of things about our personalities and history were freakishly similar and we had no idea at the time that our relationship would turn into what it has today. We both anticipated it lasting a couple months at max, with warnings from friends about what a terrible decision we were making. We had tons of ups and downs through our college years, but here are we are celebrating 9 years together next month!

Share the scoop on your Proposal Story!
We had been together for 7 and a half years and Muzzi proposed to me on the Chicago riverwalk! It was sentimatel because it's where he had told me he loved me several years prior. We had already planned an engagement party and I catch on to everythingggg, so pulling this off was EXTREMELY impressive! Muzzi worked with one of my best friends who was also my coworker at a new job I started, he got in touch with my manager and had her pretend we were meeting for dinner. I showed up to the dinner location to find Muzzi standing there in a suit with an umbrella and he walked me to the river where he had set up candles, flowers, and a guitarist. Of course, I said yes!!! Our immediate siblings and cousins were hiding, waiting to come down and surprise us with so much love! I thought we were headed off to dinner, but a second surprise was waiting for us at a nearby lounge with all of our closest friends who had decorated and we had the best night!

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.
We had originally planned a massive traditional 3 -day Pakistani wedding with different venues for a mehndi, baraat, and valima. Each one picked over a long time. Both our families went to Pakistan early in 2020 to get outfits and prepare. All of that flipped upside down when COVID hit. We had no idea what was going to happen with our wedding events, and with Muzzi on a tight schedule for medical school, we didn't know how to plan from there. Our wedding was going to be mid-July, and we didn't make any decision on what to do until the very end of June (even then with tons of uncertainty). We decided the best thing for us was to have a religious ceremony and get married, we'd deal with the reception and large events at another time. So I pulled together the nikkah ceremony in my parent's backyard in 5 weeks. Things fell into place in ways that never would've happened had we kept our original wedding. The blessings in disguise revealed themselves throughout the planning, before, and after the event. Looking back, I wouldn't change a single thing!

I picked the theme (and probably drove everyone crazy with this) but asked everyone to wear white. I knew that Muzzi and I would also be wearing white, but I was really excited and kept envisioning an all white super intimiate backyard event with greenery, candles, lights, and flowers all around. I found a friend Saarah Bhaiji who set up all the decor with the help of some of my friends and I rented tables and chairs for the weekend through a local rental company.

 I knew one of my best friends, Rimsha Khan, who is a makeup artist in the Chicagoland area would be doing my make-up, she does exactly what I want which is smokey but soft. I LOVED my hair and makeup, and she actually did this for me twice -- once for the event and again for the shoot we had a few days later.

The photo and video was SUPER important to Muzzi and I, so we booked Ben Ramos (photographer) and Paraagon Films (videographer). I could not have been happier with our decision, both of these professionals are incredible at what they do and created magical shots that we'll look back at forever! I was truly blown away at their work and they became an extension of our friends at our event.

Our venue was my parent's backyard which was also really special. My parents bougt this house some 15+ years ago, at the time my sister and I were in middle school and elementary school. An old married couple was selling this house and told my parents that both their daughters had gotten married in this backyard. My dad thought of my sister and I, he still says it was one of the main reasions he bought this house and told us that story constantly. Originally, we had no intention of doing our wedding in the backyard just because of how many guests were invited to each event! When we knew our limit was under 50, it just worked out so beautifully and it meant so much!

How did you select your bridal lengha or wedding dress? Did you have a favorite color in mind?
I actually didn't ever order my nikkah outfit when I was in Pakistan, I was super SUPER indecisive. I knew I wanted to wear white, and that was it. I looked at a million styles and options. When we knew we were doing a backyard nikkah and I had kind of envisioned it in my head, I remembered this Zara ShahJahan lengha that I had just loved SO much because of how elegant and understated it was. I ordered it right away, which was still 5 weeks before our event. Even with all the COVID uncertainty, they were able to get it to me and I didn't have to make a SINGLE adjustment! It was perfect, I was so comfortable and I loved how it sparkled all night.

What was the most enjoyable part of the planning process, and why?
There was A LOT of stress around how we would pull this off logistically, a lot of things were super uncertain, we didn't know who would want to attend or not, how many people to anticipate, etc. So instead of capping out at 50, we decided to invite as minimally as possible. We got down to 35 guests. For two Pakistani families, that's nearly impossible. There were so many family members and friends on both sides that we were not able to include. We also decided against a driveby so that we could enjoy the event with whoever was there, and that was the best deicision ever! We still plan on celebrating with alll of our family and friends when things calm down with COVID, but this turned out to be so extremely special and intimate.

My favorite part of planning was that it was so much easier and less complicated than a big venue wedding(s). We got to make it so customized and special. We decided to do a single long table, add fresh flowers, make mini goodie bags for the ceremony portion, pick our favorite songs, etc. All of that made the planning so tailored to what we actually wanted, and that was so special.

What did your guests particularly love about your Wedding?
I think our guests really loved the actual nikkah ceremony -- the imaam that did our nikkah did so in English and gave us such valuable advice and information on how to start our marriage and how  to continue to be in our marriage. It was so beautiful and powerful, but short and sweet. They all also really loved the decor and vibe of the event.

Was there a really special moment in your wedding that constantly replays in your mind?
SO MANY THINGS! I remember every single moment of that day, intentionally. I woke up actually smiling and in just such a great mood. I felt like the energy was so powerful and positive all day. I remember giong out on a drive alone in the morning with my coffee to pick up some fresh flowers for the cake. I was listening to some of my favorite songs, the weather was incredible, and I was looking at the sky paying attention to every detail of the day so that I would remember what it felt like. That was actually the only time I cried all day, and it was all tears of happiness and just joy. I felt really good about how the day was going to go.

I walked in under my grandmother's wedding veil into the instrumental piano version of kuch kuch hota hai with my brother. It was right as the sun was setting so the ligh was coming down, so the timing was perfect. I did trip on some uneven ground during my enterance *face palm* but laughed it off and it became such a funny memory.

The nikkah ceremony was so special because my grandpa was right next to me. The imaam, someone who's lectured I used to attend and raved about to basically everyone I knew, gave us (and everyone there) such simple but powerful advice. We hugged each other's families and hugged each other last, and I felt just so extremely happy.

One of my FAVORITE moments from the night was when everyone sat down to eat dinner. It was dark and literally everything I had hoped and imagined came to life at that moment. The lights and candles were so dreamy. It was so incredible to look out onto the table and see so many people that are so close to us together in the middle of a pandemic to celebrate our marriage. More than anything else, I got to actually enjoy our nikkah with my best friend and HUSBAND (whoa) and we were so happy to finally be married.

Do you have any words of wisdom for Brides-To-Be?

Every single couple and every single scenario is SO unique, and often times weddings don't reflect that! I'd say to pick really awesome vendors, let your wedding reflect you two as a couple, and enjoy the heck out of the night. Had we spent the entire night on a stage taking photos, there is no way we'd get to enjoy it the way we did! All the minor things that did go wrong didn't matter at all. I'm a control freak and care so much about details, but the day of I really thoroughly enjoyed from the moment I woke up until the night ended.

What a great way to end the week, isn't it? Enjoy your weekend and don't forget to join us on Monday for more!

Ceremony Venue: Family Backyard | Planning & Design: Sana Memon | Floral & Decor: Saarah Bhaiji | Hair & Makeup: Rimsha Khan | Bridal Fashions: Zara Shahjahan | Cinematography: Paraagon Films | Photography: Ben Ramos Photography