Have you ever been to a pre-wedding welcome celebration that featured flame throwers and water drums? Well, Iqra & Zain sure did lit up the skies with their vision! Today's couple is one that was not afraid to experiment and to celebrate big time, and as we will see in today's gallery thanks to A&A Video Productions, the grandeur of it all was just too much to handle! Our couple definitely wanted their guests to feel as if they were on vacation, and it is safe to say that it was a total success! The Hard Rock Riviera Maya was the venue that hosted the extravaganza, and it was filled to the brim with color and detail, all of them reflecting Iqra & Zain's personalities. I am so loving the finesse of it all! Want to experience for yourself a taste of Pakistani traditions in Mexico? Head to our gallery of today and check it out!  

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Share the scoop on your Proposal Story!
Zain flew into my hometown in Virginia all the way from Texas with his entire family. I had the expectation that his family would come over for dinner at our house as they have done before. After their flight landed, I was texting Zain to make sure everything was okay, and providing details about dinner at our place. He wasn’t answering which was completely unusual of him. My parents then said they had to step out to run a quick errand and will be back shortly. I didn’t understand why my parents were leaving right before we were expecting guests. The next thing I know, I am all alone at home, confused about where everyone was. My sister then called me saying she was picking me up to pick up Zain’s family from their hotel. At that point, I was extremely sketched out and wondered why he wasn’t Uber-ing like he said. My sister drove out and we ended up at a small lake next to my neighborhood. My sister started running away from me so I followed her while extremely confused. From a distance a saw a bunch of people lined up on the sides of the pier and candles lit in the dusk. I walked closer and saw mine and Zain’s entire family and best friends lined up on the pier, with a trail of rose petals and candles along the entire pier. My favorite song “see the light” from the movie Tangled played whole as the sun was setting, and I ended at a heart-shaped from rose petals and candles, and Zain standing at the top of it. He then got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. It was so perfect and the best part was that everyone I love, was involved in such a big moment in my life. 

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.
Zain and I got engaged on September 16, 2017, and immediately started to brainstorm on how we wanted to have our wedding. We both decided that a destination wedding is what we wanted. It wasn't easy and took a lot of convincing for both of our families to agree. After all of our research, we decided to have our wedding in Riviera Maya, Mexico because of all the South Asian Wedding vendors that were available there.  At that point, all of my friends and families were thrilled and completely on board. We started by reaching out to different Travel Agencies, particularly the ones that specialized in South Asian Destination Weddings. We ended up going with DestaWed, and signed a contract with the Hard Rock Hotel in Riviera Maya, MX through them. After signing with them, I decided to plan this wedding of 5 events on my own, as I used my experience of events and corporate planning into my own wedding. During the 1-year planning process, I worked with my Event Consultant for the Hard Rock Hotel in Riviera Maya, which made my process as smooth as can be.

My destination wedding events kicked off with an elegant Welcome Dinner that was located on the Maracas Terrace overlooking the ocean. During this event I wanted all my guests to start feeling like they were at a wedding while also on vacation. I wore a custom made saree that went elegantly with my theme. I kicked the event off with a welcome speech, followed by a showcase of interactive Water Drums. The Water Drums caught all of my wedding guests in surprise and the party had officially begun. We ended the event with the classing wedding shoe game which made all of my guests laugh.

The second event we held was a Pakistani traditional event known as the mehndi. This event is filled with sweet feeding and dancing rituals. I wore a custom multi-colored lehenga which basically matched my LED dance floor. We kicked off this event with another show stopper surprise by including a fire show for our guests to enjoy. I kept the entertainment a secret throughout my planning process and my guests were astonished and enjoyed the spectacular show. We continued the event by having choreographed dances by my guests and myself. The event ended with an open dance floor and LED glow dhol fiesta.

The third event including my wedding ceremony. I decided to go with light coral and sea green colors to bring out the ambiance of an ocean wedding. My bridesmaids all wore a custom made sarees with white bedazzled tops and a combination of green and coral saree draping. The groomsmen all wore turquoise pants, with white tops and champagne suspenders. I wore a sea-green Pakistani dress with gold embroidery and jewelry to match. The groom wore a matching sea-green sherwani. The combinations of the bridal party outfits looked beautiful for a beach wedding. Since the ceremony took place during the sunny day, we chose the Gazebo that overlooked the ocean for our location. I entered in a horse and carriage and proceeded to walk down the aisle with both my mother and father. During the ceremony, Zain and I poured our hearts out and shared intimate vows in front of all of our guests. It was a tear-worthy and beautiful moment.

Our last event included our reception which took place in the ballroom at the Hard Rock Hotel. We had decided to do a grand entrance and had indoor fireworks go off at our entrance, and then more fireworks as we got on the dance floor. We had speeches, by our dads, sisters, and best friends. We also include a fun surprise by adding a Michael Jackson and Drake Father Daughter mix. During my first dance, we had our first set of confetti blast on the dance floor. Our guests enjoyed this event as we added 2 more confetti blasts during the open dance floor which caught them all in surprise and enjoyment. We exited with the classic sparklers send-off and hopped on our horse and carriage to take us back to our room.

To end the events, we decided to have a boat party in which we rented and sailed the Caribbean seas in a private catamaran.   It was the perfect ending to the destination wedding, as we finally were able to let loose and enjoy our vacation with our best friends.

My overall review for my wedding is that it blew my expectations beyond words. Every detail I had planned for was beyond exceptional. Having a destination wedding was the best decision I had made. There was no ounce of stress in bones the second I entered the resort. Every single one of my guests enjoyed their time with us and have spoken so highly of their experience. The advice I would like to give to future brides that want to have a destination wedding is to enjoy their planning process, as when the time of your wedding is here, it flies by so quickly. Also, do not stress about the guests that can’t make it. Not everyone you invite will have the time, or expenses to make it. All that matters is that you have the support of the people who do decide to come, and it will be a great time. 

How did you select your bridal lengha or wedding dress? Did you have a favorite color in mind?
When shopping around for my wedding dresses, I knew I wanted something unique. Traditionally, Pakistani brides wear red on their wedding days. Since my wedding was going to take place on the beach, I wanted to wear more pastel colors for my ceremony. I went shopping in New Jersey and immediately fell in love with a custom sea-green bridal dress design that I thought would look perfect for a beach wedding. For my bridesmaid, I wanted to make sure their outfits were comfortable and light but also complimented my dress. I decided to create a custom sea green, and pink saree with embellished tops. All of my bridesmaids loved the design and the pictures looked amazing in front of the Caribbean sea.   

What was the most enjoyable part of the planning process, and why?
My wedding planning experience was extremely fun, but a lot of worthwhile work. The best part of my experience planning a destination wedding was the site visit. I took a trip with my parents, maid of honor, and groom's parents to Hard Rock Hotel, Riviera Maya resort where I planned to hold all of my events. I was able to see and select all of my locations for the various events and actually envision my events put together. I spent an entire day meeting with my on-site coordinator and vendors to discuss the details for each event. I was able to be extremely productive and enjoy the resort which was harder to do during my wedding time. 

What did your guests particularly love about your Wedding?
My guests absolutely loved the vacation wedding they had attended. For many of my guests, this was the first destination wedding they had attended. The idea of having a wedding while on vacation was worthwhile for every single one of my guests. The Ceremony, in particular, was guests favorite. The romantic setting of exchanging vows on the beach set the tone of the entire wedding. it was such a beautiful moment that put smiles on everyone faces. 

Was there a really special moment in your wedding that constantly replays in your mind?
There is not a moment that I will forget about my wedding. During my reception, my father gave a heartfelt speech. That is one moment I will never forget. He talked about our relationship from when I was younger to now. That was the first time I had started to get emotional during the wedding. That exact moment is when it hit that I was going to start a new life, in a new city with my husband and my dad would be across states. We then had our first dance to "Tu Jo Mila" and ended with style by dancing to "In My Feelings" by Drake, and "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson. It was an amazing moment.


Do you have any words of wisdom for Brides-To-Be?
There are so many things I learned during the wedding process. The best advice I would like to give to Brides-To-Be is to listen to your gut. There are so many people that will give you their opinions and will tell you what they think you should do. At the end of the day, this is your day and you will remember it for the rest of your life, so do you want you want and don't please others if you are hesitant. Wear that dress you want, have the decor you like, and have that destination wedding if you want to, because your guests will love you no matter what and this it truly is a magical day just for you and your Hubby-To-Be. 


We know you want more of this gala, stick around for part two! 

Venues: Hard Rock Riviera Maya | Catering: Hard Rock Riviera Maya | Cakes & Treats: Hard Rock Riviera Maya | Photography: A&A Video Productions | Planning & Design: Bride & Groom | Floral & Decor: Tulapania | Floral & Decor: Zuniga | Floral & Decor: Latin Asia Cancun | Hair & Makeup: Styling Trio | DJ: DJ Ashu | Baraat: Drums in Paradise | Bridal Fashions: Sameera Faridi Designs | Cinematography: A&A Photo Video | Bridal Draping/Sari Tying & Styling: Styling Trio | Fireworks: PSAV | Invitations & Wedding Stationery: A2Z Weeding Cards | Lighting: PSAV | Mehndi Artist: Priya Chandel | Travel Concierge: Desta Wed | Flame Show: Drums in Paradise | Water Drums: Drums in Paradise | Confetti Canon: PSAV | Catering for Welcome Party / Mehndi / Ceremony: Latin Asia