pakistani wedding

My Sister’s Wedding

*a.k.a. a very girly post*

Masood and I were in Karachi earlier this month, for a little over a week, to attend my sister’s wedding. The days flew by swiftly like a beautiful blur, and if it were not for the thousands of photographs, I would’ve thought I have indeed dreamed the entire affair.

Everything was perfect, alhumdulillah. It has been a very traditional Pakistani wedding, full of family and friends, colors, laughter, drama, flowers, and food.

I have my eyes set on these two traditional things (vase and glass), and had planned on quietly smuggling them into my U.A.E. home. I intended to use them as props for my food photography. However, I completely forgot about them. It was only during that dreadful chore, called unpacking suitcases, that I realized these items were left in Karachi. I also forgot the rabri that was in the fridge, my shower gel in the bathroom, and Masood’s suit in the bedroom.

karachi wedding

 

We landed in Karachi a few days before the wedding, with the bride completely hidden indoors, away from the harmful rays of the sun. Bright, yellow and green paper flowers and ribbons adorned the walls and the staircase handrails. Frantic, last-moment shopping was going on (mostly my stuff). There was a constant stream of guests coming in and out of our home at any time during the day or night. A pot of tea always sat on a stove top, ready to brew a fresh batch of the drink for the guests.

A professional henna lady came to our home and applied gorgeous, intricate designs on our hands. I admired how quickly yet efficiently she did her job. The best part about having henna is that it takes an hour for it to dry off completely, thereby exempting the person from doing any household chores. In my case, I made sure the henna took two hours to dry off.

Except for the bride, none of us had the time to go to the beauty salon for the customary facials and make-up. But you know what? M.A.C. Studio Fix fluid foundation did the job! After applying the tiniest bit, it looked like we just had a nice, fresh facial. I highly recommend the product. We applied make-up ourselves, and made use of an eye shadow primer each time, so that the colors blended nicely and easily. And most importantly, the people we knew still recognized us.

As much as I’d like to take credit for these beautiful photographs, I can’t because I was too busy entertaining the guests, looking after the bride, and having fun. I gave my camera to my teenage cousin, who did a pretty amazing job. Some of the pictures on this post were taken by him, while some were taken by the professionals.

pakistani wedding

Some drama was involved too, but is there a wedding without one? The nice thing was that at the end of the day, or the following day, people were back to their normal selves, and then everyone was happy all over again. The biggest (albeit quietest) drama, in my opinion, was the one that unfolded between the photographers/videographers. You see, the bride’s side hired professionals to make videos, and so did the groom’s. And these professionals from two different companies weren’t quite friendly with each other. Each wanted to capture the event in their own way, barely tolerating the presence of the other.  

Everyone looked their best during the three-night celebration, specially the bride and the groom. My sister looked absolutely radiant and happy, mashaAllah.

The ladies—specially the unmarried ones—took pictures of their dresses, footwear, henna, and bangles from every angle possible. The gentlemen—specially the unmarried ones—took pictures of themselves being silly.

wedding footwear

It is customary in our weddings that when it’s time for the bride to leave the wedding reception with her husband, her family will usually hug her endlessly and cry a bit (I heard some families get really hysterical). You see, most of us live in a joint family system, where daughters are treated as guests, who will one day go to her own home permanently. And the brides cry too, because the marriage means that she is leaving the carefree life at her parents’ for a new home filled with responsibilities. So it’s a pretty emotional, tear-laden moment when she finally moves on to live with her new family.

nikah in karachi

We did not cry when my sister hugged us one by one, waved goodbye and sat next to her husband in the car decorated with flowers. Instead, we whispered du’a or prayers of happiness and prosperity in her ears. We did not cry because after spending years working hard she can finally relax, be cared for, and pampered by her husband. We did not cry because we know she’s going to live with an amazing family, and that she’ll do a great job winning their hearts, insha’Allah.

And we did not cry because we know we’ll see her again the next day. Oh, and also because we were uncertain whether the eyeliner was water-proof or not.

The next morning my mother, sisters, and I went to the bride and groom’s home. It’s a tradition we follow here, wherein ladies from the bride’s side bring breakfast on the morning following the wedding. We brought the traditional (and extremely calorie-packed) halva puri and a basket of fruits. We sat with my sister’s new family, had breakfast with them, and engaged in casual conversation. My sister was all dressed and made up like how a new bride should be, and she just shyly sat there. Frankly, it was amusing to see her otherwise talkative self sitting so quietly. She then took us upstairs to show us her room and gifts.

pakistani bride and groom

Besides the traditional biryani and curry dishes, there were a variety of salads, grilled fish, and even chicken cordon bleu. Food leftover from the wedding feast was packed in individual parcels and distributed to close relatives so that nothing was wasted.

The main wedding reception took place in a huge tent. The decorators did an amazing job with the stage, the elegant white mini tents or gazebos, soft light under the glass tables, and blue water in the vases.

The last day of the celebration, the bride and groom entered the hall ala Mughal style as two guys— complete with traditional dresses from the royal era with matching glittery turbans and silver swords—announced their arrival and accompanied the newly-weds to the stage. A spotlight followed the couple as they walked down the aisle, and then there were fire works. It was truly a grand entrance!

valima in karachi

Masood and I were completely booked during our few days stay in Karachi. We were hardly at home. We used to have lunch with one family and then dinner with another. Masood was visiting after five years, so his family were too eager to see us. As a matter of fact, we were at another wedding (my in-laws’ side) 11 hours prior to our flight back home!

Besides having a great time with the family and wedding, I did a lot of shopping too. The husband was showing signs of immense generosity which I had immediately taken advantage of.

Now back home, and specially while writing this post, I’m suddenly missing my sister. She used to live just an hour away from me, and I would just visit her anytime I pleased. Well, she still lives an hour away, by plane, that is. But I’m happy knowing that she’s being loved and cared for. I pray for her happiness and well-being. May she and her husband, together, grow stronger in imaan.


49 comments

  1. Very beautiful post! Funny and happy and sad simultaneously 🙂 …and it brought back lots of memories from this past summer from my own sister’s wedding. Karachi traditional weddings aren’t all that different, only that my sister didn’t have those super pretty mehendi decorations! Lol at the crying stuff- out of my entire family I was the only one who was so emotionally charged. I must say, your one hour flight is much better than my 19 hour flight(s) 🙂

    Hope your sister is content and leads a wonderful, comfortable, and happy life InshAllah!

    1. Welcome back, Maria! Thank you so much!!! And ameen.

      I was wondering where you were. I hope everything’s well at your end, and that you’re back to blogging. Lemme go check if you have new posts…

      The one hour flight is temporary, like for three months max, and then she’ll be more closer to you 🙁

  2. hello, Nadia… oh, please say congratulations to your sister and husband for me. you narrated the wedding event wonderfully and the pics are select and taken from the best angles. this is a very pleasant post. 🙂

    ahaha, but i like the intro – this is a very girly post. but it should be, my dear… 😉 however, you didn’t forget your usual makulit na quips, pambihira…

    “The best part about having henna is that it takes an hour for it to dry off completely, thereby exempting the person from doing any household chores. In my case, I made sure the henna took two hours to dry off.

    And most importantly, the people we knew still recognized us.

    The ladies—specially the unmarried ones—took pictures of their dresses, footwear, henna, and bangles from every angle possible. ”

    you sound like you had a good time especially with Masood being generous and all, haha. marami kang naiuwing loots? ahaha, ikaw na… 😉

    thanks for sharing this. btw, you didn’t say how your mama reacted, i was looking for that part, ahaha. cheers, dear 🙂
    35andupcynicismonhold recently posted..The rain and quiet

    1. Why, thank you so much for your lovely comment, ‘San! I won’t be me without the makulit na quips 😉

      Marami talaga ako naiuwing loots, as in. I’m super happy for a few months now, hehe 😀

      My mom was too busy with the wedding to react to anything else 😀

  3. Beautiful Post, mashaAllah.

    I like these following lines:

    The best part about having henna is that it takes an hour for it to dry off completely, thereby exempting the person from doing any household chores. In my case, I made sure the henna took two hours to dry off.

    And most importantly, the people we knew still recognized us….lolz

    May Allah shower his blessing on these new weds. Ameen.

  4. Assalamualaikum Nadia…

    Amazing photos and of course the write up! Made me smile a little reading how witty u can be at times :p
    Why didnt u tell me you are coming??? But then again I knew that you both will be busy visiting and stuff.

    Many congratulations to your sister and wish the couple everlasting love,happiness till Jannah, in shaa Allah.

    1. Walaikum Assalam Wana, and ameen to your dua.

      I didn’t want to call to let you know I was in the city and then not meet you 🙁 As a matter of fact, I did not inform any of the my friends that I was visiting Karachi because I knew I can’t commit to anyone: first, because there’s just so much going on with the wedding and subsequent dawaats, and second, I don’t drive in karachi so I a completely dependent on everyone.

  5. It seems only yesterday that Sanaf landed n i took her out for her driving lesson (UK style) lol n now all celebrations are over n everyone flew back … Poor Anni had been under alot of pressure n now she says time flies 🙂

    1. Driving lesson (UK style)? What does that mean? Now I’m regretting not having seen her driving skills in Karachi 😀

      It was pretty stressful for Anni and several other people, but she’s right: time does fly so swiftly.

  6. Congratulations and best wishes to the newlyweds!

    Such a lovely story! I felt like I was there as a guest. Don’t we just love MAC to mark us pretty 🙂
    Abigail recently posted..Bangus Sisig

  7. I do miss your storytelling style and gorgeous photography. Congrats to your sister and her new hubby! May Allah make them the coolness of each others eyes.

    Man, there’s nothing like a wedding in Pakistan! It’s been 13 years since I attended my uncle’s wedding in Pakistan, and you’re absolutely right about the drama. I blame the heat for that!
    Humaira recently posted..28

    1. Ameen to your dua, Humaira. I do realize that I’ve been focused so much on reviewing restaurants and food that I’ve neglected to post personal stories. I do love writing stories so, yeah, will post more inshaAllah 🙂

      It’s been 13 whole years since you last attended a wedding in Pakistan?! Wow. That’s a really long time.

      I can’t blame the heat for the drama since the wedding took place in November 😀

  8. owh! what a lovely wedding! wish I were there too! so glamorous! so grand! so colourful! alhamdulillah…. congratulations to the lucky couple. May Allah bless them both. I am happy for them.

    *what’s this! tears in my eyes?*
    Atie recently posted..Rain, rain, go away…

    1. Ameen to your dua, Atie! Those must be tears of joy *hugs*. The wedding was indeed grand and very, very colorful, and everyone enjoyed so much, alhumdulillah.

  9. Your pictures are absolutely stunning, maybe your best yet mashaa Allah! May Allah bless the new couple and their life together ameen

    1. Thank you, Lubna. Indian and Pakistani weddings are indeed quite similar, save for a few customs and traditions. But otherwise, it’s the same colorful, festive, and laughter-filled event.

  10. Asian weddings are like taken from a fairytale … unbelievably beautiful and full of magic! This henna tattoos, scarlet colors all around … I wish one day I’ll be invited to such a wedding 🙂

  11. Aww such a lovely post. I felt like i had also attended your sis’ wedding. Wish her a very happy and blessed life ahead!
    I love the pics and the lovely tiny details 🙂

  12. Asalam o alikum.. sis apki ye post par kar kafi acha laga…main b uae me huti ho…ye post tu waqai muje b apki sis ki shadi me le gayi goyaa….bohat acha laga or sab se best ye laga ” we were uncertain whether the eyeliner was water-proof or not. ” this line made me really laugh…. v cute …hope apki sis ab bohat achi zindagi guzar rahi hugi..and its post ka shukria…it amused me alot….meri shadi nahi hugi ..jab hugi tu yakeenan esi hi hugii..karachi and marriages…bohat maza ata hay i know it…. best wishes ..Allah hafizz

  13. i am surprise to see u r married to an Indian Guy…Superb!!! …i Would love to knw the story of ur marriage….each minute detail…how it took place…how u met masood bhai etc… 🙂

    1. Oops, I’m terribly sorry for replying so late. It’s been almost a year since your commented on this post! I’m not sure how I missed your comment.

      Masood and I do not have a romantic story about how we met. It was an arranged marriage, which basically means the fairy tale began after we signed the contract 🙂

  14. Hello Nadia, I chanced upon your blog from Miss Maqsood’s. I enjoyed browsing through your posts and am stopping to comment on this one. I recently finished a book ‘How it happened’ by Shazia Fatima Haider which is all about a Karachi family’s story around the weddings of their son and daughter. Your post was like a lovely continuation of that book. Though the photos are not visible anymore on this post, would have loved to see them.

    1. Hello GM! Thank you so much for your lovely comment. How interesting! I’d love to read that book. Let me see if I can get my hands on a copy.

      I’m not sure what had happened to the pictures, but thank you for pointing it out to me. I have uploaded the pictures again so that you may see them 🙂

      1. Thanks for updating the pics. They are lovely and so rich in colors. Looks like green bangles are an auspicious symbol for you’ll too 🙂 The book is quite nice. When I began reading it, I found it very boring. Nothing much was happening, but towards the end, I realized that even though there was little that was earth shattering, the narrative itself was quite readable and fun. Plus, I learned a ton about Shias because the story was about a Shia family with a Sunni love angle thrown in. I only had a very hazy understanding about the differences between the two sects before.
        GM recently posted..New Themes: Apostrophe and Canard

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