March 29, 2021
Zahra + Ali // Engagement Ceremony
Inspiration for the engagement party?
I sourced much of the inspiration for the engagement party from my Kashmiri-American identity. Like my identity, I knew I wanted the design concepts to be multifaceted and unique. In Srinagar, Kashmir, our “pink drink” exists in the form of nuun chai, a salty pink tea that is rich in flavor. Knowing we would serve it to guests as tradition, I opted to maintain a coordinating soft-pink palette, accompanied by a whimsical fusion of textures. I have always loved the cloud-like appearance of hand-dyed baby’s breath, and thought that it would provide a fitting landscape for the occasion. After ordering Hershey bars enwrapped with our caricature, I realized a churro wall would pair nicely. We aligned the churros and chocolate bars in alternating format, presenting the traditional churros-and-chocolate combination in a different way.
Most memorable moment of party
South Asian wedding culture emphasizes that engagements and weddings unify not only two individuals, but rather, two families. Receiving a family heirloom from Ali’s mother during our engagement ceremony showcased this best. Before his maternal grandmother’s passing in November 2018, Ali’s naani left a gold bracelet with his mom, with the intention to gift it to Ali’s future wife on his mangni (engagement). During an emotional moment for both of our families — one I’ll cherish forever — Ali’s mom fastened her late mother’s bracelet onto my wrist.
Advice for those planning an engagement or wedding right now
For those planning an engagement or wedding right now, my main piece of advice would be to be patient with yourself and know that adapting your event does not mean sacrificing details. Initially this was difficult advice for me to follow, because hosting my event at home was not something I ever envisioned myself doing. In fact, in years past, I always said I would never host a wedding event at my house, because of how unmanageable it can become. Though initially disappointed by the change of plans, a smaller event at home gave me an opportunity to indulge in the fine details. In scale, my engagement was ‘micro’, but the overwhelming joy I felt this day was anything but micro, which is what I choose — and what I’d advise others — to focus on.
Photography: Bonphotage, @bonphotage
Coordination: Rosewood Weddings
Floral Design: Flowers for Dreams
Stationary: Emily Rose Inc.
Food + Drink: Hotel Madrid, Anmol Catering, Saz’s Catering, Bon Vivant Cakes, Martha’s Pakistani Favors, For Your Party
Rentals: Tablescapes, Chance Productions, A la Crate Rentals, Nüage Designs, Cedar & Spice
H/M: Arch Apothecary
Bridal Dress: Shahjeevna by Syeda Sara Ali, @shahjeevna
Bridal Details: Maradadi, Hanif Jewelers, Jimmy Choo, Fey Jewelers