BFIW Blogger Week: Love Zahra and Tom

2015 Jan 8 - by dulhan
Welcome back lovely readers! Did you catch yesterday’s stunning portraits of Anam and Salmaan “Swift?” Those two lovebirds and their amazing sense of style (did you see those Jordans?) really started our BLOGGER WEEK SPECTACULAR with a bang! Here to continue the festivities is the ever-lovely and fashionable Zahra Sandberg of Love Zahra.

Why We Love Zahra

1. Who is "Love Zahra”?

Love Zahra is a place where I share the things that I love with the world. It might be fashion, interior design, art, culture, babies - anything really. I want Love Zahra to be a place where I can showcase my creativity and hopefully inspire others.

2. If you could describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

Mother, Optimist, Bohemian

3. What was the inspiration for your blog?

I started the blog because I was a working mom constantly shuffling between work and mommy duties, and I needed to create a space to do things that made me happy. I have always loved fashion and interior design, so I wanted a place to share these passions of mine with the world. Love Zahra has provided me with many opportunities to work as a Stylist and Freelance Fashion Blogger, and as a result, I am now officially able to work from home and spend lots of quality time with my son Adam!

Wedding Deets

Chicago’s trendy stylist married her beau, Tom, on June 13th, 2010 at the beautiful Hyatt Regency Sacramento. While their traditional Muslim wedding took place in sunny California, they had a separate, intimate Valima reception at Stonegate Banquets in Chicago, Illinois. Twice the celebrations mean twice the fun!

4. Would you like to share the story of how you and your husband met?

We met at work. For over a year, we hung out with a group of friends, totally denying that we liked each other. Other people had to tell us it was so painfully obvious to them - and then we both were like - oh yeah we do like each other! We dated for another 4-5 years before getting married. I think I was scared about the cultural differences and how he would mesh with my family. I remember talking to my dad one day, and asking him if it would be ok if I married an American guy and my dad says - well YOU are American! That made it really easy. I think a lot of South Asian kids worry about marrying outside of their culture, but the wedding traditions are pretty much the biggest hurdle you really face. After the wedding, it is amazing how the differences aren't really as big as you thought they were going to be.

5. As a fashion/style blogger with amazing, daily, high quality pictures, how did you choose your wedding photographer and/or videographer?

Since I was planning a California wedding from Chicago, I used a lot of personal recommendations for vendors. I wish I could say I was as savvy then as I am now, but actually just for convenience, I went with for videography and DJ services, which I wouldn't really recommend to other brides. However, my photographer was amazing, her name is Anna Hogan and you can contact her here.

*Plug in: We’ve all gone through the last-minute ditch effort search for vendors through “wedding service” websites. Luckily, now South Asian brides can turn to our Red Book for excellent vendors with the highest recommendations!

6. You have amazing taste when it comes to accessories and outfits! What did shopping for your wedding entail? Did you have any absolute musts in your quest for outfits, decor, and jewelry?

After searching a bit and not finding what I wanted, I ended up going to a boutique in Chicago called Tabbarruj. With the help of the sales girl, I custom designed my dress and ordered it through them. The dress was made in Pakistan. I literally dreamed up the design, as it was really a mix of a few styles I had admired on the runway. I wanted a beautiful traditional dress, but I personalized it by going with a champagne color over the traditional red route.

*AND OMG we’re so glad you did- it came out absolutely stunning! Looks like Zahra’s sense of style and fashion appeared long before the creation of her blog. That dress is sheer perfection (masha Allah!)

7. What was your inspiration for your outfits? How did you find the one for your wedding day? Was your husband particular about his wedding attire?

My husband is American, but he thought wearing traditional Pakistani clothes was cool. The only thing he had a problem with was getting the churidar pajama over his calves, which I think is pretty much a universal problem.

*My husband, an Indian-who identifies as Texan first and foremost- shared this problem! He eventually abandoned the churidar for a salwar, when he repeated his sherwani for another wedding.

8. What was your inspiration for the colors or themes in your events?

I wanted the wedding to be really elegant, so I picked champagne, gold, and bronze tones for the outfits. For decor, I was going to go with ivory and green for more of an American wedding style, but then when I went to plan the design, my wedding planner (and life saver) Amrit from Anais events ended up completely changing my mind and we went with a color palette of sage green linens and hot pink floral arrangements.

*The décor, tablescapes, and color scheme worked beautifully together. We love the idea of incorporating a muted green like sage with the contrast of the hot pink florals.

9. Were there any distinctly cultural elements in your wedding traditions? How did you fuse these traditions with your ideas for style/decor of the wedding?

For the wedding, we went as traditional as possible. We were a little more relaxed at the Valima. The only traditional thing there was my outfit!

*And that sari was understated elegance at its finest #sarinotsorry!

10. What was your favorite/most memorable part of the wedding? And what was your least favorite part?

My favorite part of the wedding was having all of my best friends fly in from New York and be a part of my wedding as my bridesmaids. My least favorite part was stressing out about the things that went wrong - I can’t even remember what those things were anymore! But at the time they consumed me, so I didn’t really get to enjoy as much as I had hoped.

11. If you could go back and re-do one part of your wedding, what would it be and why? (or did you love everything as is)

I would have made a playlist for the DJ, but other than that I loved everything!

12. What was it like seeing your husband for the first time on your wedding day?

He had this look on his face of sheer happiness, and I knew he was just as nervous and excited. It was a very emotional moment for me.

13. How did you plan all these beautiful events without going crazy?

Who said I didn’t go crazy? I pretty much planned all three events by myself- the mehndi, wedding, and valima- so I was pretty overwhelmed. But I think what kept me semi-sane was my family, who were there to do all of the wedding grunt work, like making a dozen trips to the airport to pick up guests, feeding me dinner while I waited for my mendhi to dry, and diffusing any family drama that might have put a damper on the wedding.

*We’re glad your craziness didn’t translate into pictures! All the events looked like they were a blast.

14. What is your advice for other brides-to-be?

Delegate! Don’t do everything yourself and don’t stress over things going wrong because things are definitely going to go wrong. Just have fun and enjoy your day! Oh, and don’t forget to eat your cake.

*That last bit about the cake is the truth.

Follow Zahra on Social Media:

Instagram: @zahra_sandberg

Twitter: @zahra_sandberg



Photographer: Anna Hogan Photography

Wedding Planner: Amrit - Anais Events

Caterer: Mehran Restaurant Sacramento

Makeup and Hair for the Wedding and Mehndi: Rukshana

Makeup Artist for Valima: Anjum of Aaraish Salon

Stay tuned for more blogger-tastic weddings!