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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.