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Saad & Shazia's Wedding in Dubai, UAE

Shazia realized she was in love with her best friend Saad, when she figured she'd rather fight with him than laugh with anyone else. Their 'Seasons of Love' themed wedding in Dubai was an intimate yet splendid affair!

How we met:

Our story is a classic example of the saying “boys and girls can’t be just friends”. We met as freshmen at AUD during the fall of 2011. We started hanging out with common friends and, within 3 months, we became best friends. We never considered our friendship to progress into anything else because we used to fight constantly. Our mutual friends never wanted to leave us alone together because they were worried we would kill each other. Looking back, the transition from fighting as best friends to the couple we are today is incredible. I guess I knew it was love when I realized I would rather fight with him than laugh with anyone else. We were lucky to have met at a point in life when we could spend all our time together and realize that we were inseparable (in university). In our last semester, on January 16th, 2015, we decided to take things to the next level and got engaged. Before the wedding, we got together with all our friends and re-enacted our entire relationship for our wedding announcement: https://www.facebook.com/poojastudiouae/videos/1149390085146093/

Wedding Planning and Decor:

Since we got engaged while we were still in university, we had 2 whole years to plan the perfect fairytale wedding. The planning process was very exciting for me, as Saad was very passionate, going the extra mile to make sure our wedding was the extravaganza we had both dreamt of. Both our families and friends were incredibly supportive and encouraging. Honestly, with the amount of ideas and plans everyone gave us, our challenge was deciding what ideas NOT to use. We had a WhatsApp group with both our families and everyone came together to help us pull off the #ShazKaz Wedding. It was because of this support we decided not to use a wedding planner, and instead make our wedding a family affair. Saad and I undertook enormous amounts of research. We looked at past weddings on YouTube, wedding portals like this one, social media (Instagram and Pinterest were my best friends), met many wedding designers, spent days and nights deciding the best venues, themes, decor, and activities. We even designed and printed our own invitations. After putting all our thoughts and ideas together in over 100 folders on my computer, we hired The Flower Boutique to decorate our venues exactly the way we had planned it.

Feelings on the Big Day:

Our Nikah was the most magical day of our lives. It started off on a serious and religious note, with everyone feeling extremely emotional. Once the Nikah was completed, I entered the hall on a palki and went towards the stage where Saad was waiting for me. I had gotten a veil that was covering my face and the plan was that Saad would take my veil off as soon as I reach the stage, and we would see each other for the first time as husband and wife. When we had planned this, we had imagined it as cute and filmy, but while it was happening it felt completely surreal. All my friends and family’s cheers faded in the background and all I could think of was the excitement of starting a new life together with this man I loved. The funniest thing that happened during the Nikah was that my girlfriends decided to steal Saad’s shoes. They came on stage for a group picture and suddenly just reached for his feet (the idea is that the girls return the groom’s shoes after he gives them some money). After a huge scuffle on stage, Saad just gave them his shoes and pulled out a back-up pair! I was really confused as to who to support so I just stepped back, but secretly, I was really happy when my girls got their cash!

Wedding Shopping:

My wedding shopping was both exciting and stressful at the same time! My trousseau shopping was done from Delhi, Bombay, Dubai and Qatar. For the wedding, I shopped almost entirely in Delhi, except for my Walima outfit which I bought in Dubai. My mom, dad and I went to Delhi together to pick out my wedding outfits while my sister approved some of my dresses over WhatsApp.

Schedule of events and outfits worn on each function:

The theme of our entire wedding was “Seasons of Love”. We loved the theme as we met one Autumn, became friends during Spring, fell in love one Summer, got engaged in Monsoon and got married during the Winter!

Spring Meet & Greet – The Address, Dubai Marina

Monsoon Mehendi – Home, Jumeirah Park Villas

Summer Sangeet – Armani, Burj Khalifa

Autumn Nikah – Atlantis, The Palm Jumeirah

Winter Walima – Westin, Al Habtoor City

I have always loved dulhans (brides) in traditional lehengas, so I opted for different styles of lehengas for most of my functions. For my Spring Meet & Greet I wanted to keep it light, so I wore a peach gown with gold detailing. My Mehendi was Monsoon themed and I had the hardest time picking out a dress for this function, but I finally found the perfect blue digital print lehenga with a touch of pink that fit the theme perfectly. Our Sangeet was Summer themed and I went a bit more modern in a hot pink and mint lehenga with a trail dupatta. I went fully traditional in a maroon and green velvet lehenga with an orange dupatta for the Autumn Nikah. My last function was a Winter Walima and I had chosen this dress before any of the others. For this function, I wore a pinkish nude Faraz Manan lehenga with pearl detailing.

Wedding Venues:

We decided venues based on the number of guests expected and the theme we wanted for each of the event. Our Meet and Greet was the first time the two families would meet and we wanted it to be very intimate and floral. The Address was the perfect venue for this and I feel like it started the wedding on the right note. Since I was little, I had always wanted to do at least one function at home; the Mehendi at home was a lot of fun and I loved seeing the house I grew up in all decked up in lights and flowers (and umbrellas of course)! For the Sangeet, Armani was an easy choice; we wanted to do at least one function in Burj Khalifa, since it’s the most iconic beauty in the world and, after seeing the ballroom, we knew it was the perfect venue. We held the Nikah at the Atlantis, since it’s one of the hotels tourists love visiting and due to its aqua, rust and gold interiors, we knew it was a perfect fit for the Autumn theme. For the Walima, we were looking for a fresh venue that we could convert into a winter wonderland, and as soon as we saw the Westin, Al Habtoor City ballroom which was newly built, we knew it would be perfect.

Performers and Performances:

Over the course of the wedding, Saad and I were constantly amazed by the outpouring of love and excitement from friends and family. Since we had this big desi wedding planned, everyone was all pepped and ready to shake the dance floor. All the people closest to me gave speeches at the wedding, tugging at our heartstrings with every word. For the Welcome dinner and Sangeet, my bridesmaids were part of my grand entrances, twirling and dancing around me. At the welcome dinner, my parents and their friends performed for me, something I had never expected. It was a skit with a group of over 13 couples and their kids, welcoming Saad’s family into ours. The Sangeet was taken over by our friends, with all the guys and girls coming together for over 25 songs. All the dances at my wedding were choreographed by my good friend and Maid of Honor, Munira Rahman. One among the many fun things before the wedding were all the dance practices – watching my serious uncoordinated family and friends try to learn some graceful moves. My favorite performance from the wedding was on the Walima night. When Saad and I entered the hall, we did an entry dance and then cut a gorgeous wedding cake that came down on a chandelier. Right after that, I was asked to take a seat and, suddenly, Saad and his best men started dancing. I had no idea they had planned a dance and it was the best surprise to wrap up the wedding. We put this dance on YouTube in order to inspire other grooms to charm their brides: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7ZIC1uLpe8

Pre-Wedding Shenanigans:

Ever heard of a bride with a fractured foot? Yes, that was me. On the 8th of November 2016, I fractured my 5th metatarsal bone on my right foot. Doctors told me I’ve got to wear a hard cast for the next 6 weeks, followed by physiotherapy and my wedding was in the 6th week itself! I was shattered. My main concern was how am I going to wear my heels, to which my family and friends laughed. As far as dancing at my own wedding was concerned, I knew I would be able to, regardless of the cast; I knew for a fact that a crucial part of my physical healing was in my positivity and confidence. My wedding celebrations were to start exactly a month before my wedding with various family and friends hosting different functions. My Bridal Shower was scheduled for 18th of November 2016, followed by my Bachelorette on 25th and 26th November 2016, a Dholki on 1st of December 2016, and finally a rehearsal of all the performances on the last weekend before the wedding. All the celebrations went exactly as planned. I thoroughly enjoyed myself through all the functions, and on 10th of December 2016, 3 days before my wedding started, I had my cast removed. I wore the heels I desired and danced wholeheartedly on all my functions with no compromises.

On this note, I wish to give a piece of advice to all future brides! Planning a wedding is not an easy task; you will always be faced with hurdles. All you need to do is, accept those hurdles and be strong to face them with courage. That’s what I did, and I made the impossible happen. I wore heels and danced in my 6th week of a fractured foot, which my doctor also claimed was a miracle. It had healed before time, and that too without physiotherapy, I was able to walk, dance, wear heels and thus carry on with all the wedding shenanigans, just as I had wished.

Few words on the photographer, videographer, hair/make-up artist and DJ:

The team working with us that helped pull off the wedding was superb. Our photographer was the epitome of patience, making sure all the photographs and poses were exactly what we had discussed. My make-up artist did a really great job and made me feel like a princess every day, coming up with hairdos and looks that would flatter me and go with my themes. Our DJ was an absolute rockstar reading the crowd’s mood and making sure everyone got on the dance floor.

Advice for to-be-weds:

Love, laughter and happiness beat the greatest venue, décor, outfits, makeup and everything else!

Photography/Videography: Pooja Studio Dubai
Make-up Artist/Hair Stylist: Nadia Meghani, Dubai
Henna Artist: Mira Dubal, Dubai
DJ: DJ Nitesh, Dubai
Venues: Spring Meet & Greet – The Address, Dubai Marina | Monsoon Mehendi – Home, Jumeirah Park Villas | Summer Sangeet – Armani, Burj Khalifa | Autumn Nikah – Atlantis, The Palm Jumeirah | Winter Walima – Westin, Al Habtoor City