Flower Filled Contemporary Muslim Wedding {San Mateo, CA}

2016 Jul 17 - by Preeti
Farhana and Zaved had a magnificent Muslim wedding at the San Mateo Marriott in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Their wedding had rich reds and sweet creams. Roses and hydrangeas pom poms and garlands dripped in the decoration.

I'm also in love with Farhana's cream and gold lengha with red choli and chunni. With the double strand mang tikka she's just magical!

Let's hear from Farhana about the wedding.

Tell us about the wedding!

My husband and I are both Fijian/Indian but born in the US. We wanted to incorporate all of the traditional and cultural experiences into our wedding since it is quite important to us to be balanced and true to ourselves. This meant planning a wedding that included Fijian, Indian, and American influences. It turned out to be a very entertaining and unique wedding to say the least.

Our style was very traditional, but modern. We wanted a somewhat traditional nikah ceremony with a few American cultural twists. For our reception, we wanted our ceremony to be very hip with a few hints of our Fijian culture.

Our wedding ceremony and reception took place in San Mateo at the Marriott Hotel - just a few miles away from San Francisco. The ceremony took place in their outdoor gazebo with 180 guests in attendance and the reception was held in the Convene Ballroom with 360 guests in attendance.

Could you tell us about any special wedding customs/clothing you had?

We had a very contemporary Nikah ceremony outdoors and a very fun reception. Our Nikah ceremony traditionally is very short and sweet; During the ceremony a marriage contract is signed in a nikah ceremony, in which the groom or his representative proposes to the bride in front of at least two witnesses, stating the details of the meher (a formal statement specifying the monetary amount the groom will give the bride.)

The bride and groom demonstrate their free will by repeating the word qabul (""I accept,"" in Arabic) three times. Then the couple and two male witnesses sign the contract, making the marriage legal according to civil and religious law.

Following traditional Islamic customs, the bride and groom may share a sweet. This was followed by a ring exchange and welcoming of the groom into the family by the brides side.

Our officiant was very entertaining and made our ceremony very fun and the fact that we had an outdoor wedding made the ceremony more casual. After the ceremony we moved in doors for dinner. We had a few traditional Indian/

To make things a bit more interested and fun we played "The Shoe Game". It was one of the highlights of our dinner.

Another highlight was our Gelato bar for dessert, our guests could not get enough! During the end of the night we had the stealing of the grooms shoe followed by the vidai ceremony where the bride is accompanied by her family and sent off to her new home with her husband. We did it very traditional - tears included =)

Our Reception - we wanted our reception to be more of a celebration and everyone to let loose and have some fun! We kept it light with a Polynesian performance followed by dinner and dancing. The dance floor was packed all night. It was a very fun-filled night and ending/beginning.

Clothes: We wanted a very traditional look for our Nikah ceremony. Our wedding attire was custom made to match - traditional colors; gold and red with embellished handwork all over. I wore a traditional lehenga with a red blouse with three quarter sleeve and gold leheng adorned with work all over featuring floral motifs. He wore a golden full sleeves sherwani featuring adorned with hand embroidery.

Bridal reception attire was created to be very modern, contemporary with an Indian flare. I wore a off white, lehenga with gold, crystal, and white embellishments on entire outfit. The groom wore a tuxedo, blue with black contrast peak lapel.

What was the inspiration for your wedding?

The inspiration for my wedding was very contemporary - both my husband and I were born in the US and we wanted to mix our American and Indian and Fijian culture into our wedding. We knew I wanted something very relaxed and fun and our wedding was just that.

For our ceremony - we knew we wanted something different, that fit our relaxed personalities, so we chose to have a day time, outdoor wedding ceremony. We wanted our guests to be comfortable and feel entertained. Our ceremony was a fairly traditional Nikah ceremony, mixed with our american cultural aspects such as groomsmen, bridesmaid, walking down the aisle.

For our ceremony - we wanted a very hip, fun, entertaining celebration. We kept speeches to a minimum and incorporated some of our Fijian culture into the reception by having Polynesian dancers perform. This was followed by dinner and dancing. The dance-floor was never empty and the party lasted into 1 am. This was exactly what we were going for. A fun-filled reception.

What was the hardest part about wedding planning?

The hardest part about the wedding planning was making everyone happy and trying to explain our vision to people. No one understood how or why we wanted to incorporated all our different cultures into our wedding. BUT once they saw the final product - everyone was very supportive and happy.

Did you do any DIY (do it yourself) or special projects/things at the wedding?

I did make my ceremony and reception guestbook. I added special pictures from our engagement and also included pages dedicated to special people in our lives; parents, siblings, bridesmaids and groomsmen. It was actually very fun to create and our guests enjoyed not only signing our guestbook, but also being able to draw pictures, write special notes and read a little about our story...etc.

What was your favorite part of the wedding?

My favorite part of the wedding was our Nikah ceremony AND our ""SHOE GAME""

The Nikah ceremony is special because of obvious reason; this is when we accepted each other as partners for life and the whole ceremony was so touching and special that it will always hold a special place in my heart.

The Shoe Game is also a favorite just for the sheer fact that it was so much FUN! Our guests were non stop laughing and so were we. It was just a great way to get everyone involved and break the ice. Everyone was in great spirits after this game."

What 3 words of advice do you have for future brides/grooms-to-be?

Don't stress about the planning too much or about pleasing anyone. Just stay true to yourself and enjoy all the little moments during the wedding as well as the planning stages. The wedding goes by super quickly, so make it as fun, happy, and stress free for yourself as possible.

I highly recommend getting a day of coordinator. They will take care of every issue, coordinating your performances, walk-ins, food service, vendors, so you and your loved ones can enjoy your special day and not stress about everyone going smoothly.

{Wedding Vendors}

Photo & Video - Joseph Alan Productions // Decor/Flowers - SB Arts // DJ + Lighting for Reception - Nor-Cal Event Specialist // DJ + Dhol for Ceremony - Nirvana Entertainment // Wedding Planner/Day of Coordinator - Bobby Bhogal from SB Arts // Attire - Sari Palace - Berkeley // Jewelry - Deeya Jewellery - United Kingdom // Ceremony & Reception Location: Marriott Hotel - San Mateo, CA // Ceremony Caterer - Daawat - Union City, CA // Reception Caterer - Shalimar - Fremont, CA // Wedding Flip Book Photobooth - A Little Scene // Gelato Bar for Dessert - Pop Up Gelato // Hair for bride - Hair by Anaa K // Makeup for Bride, bridesmaids, mob - Amanda Pagan - Tangles Salon // Wedding Invitations: By Invitation Only Ink // Officiant - Maulana Shaad aka Maulana Saudullah Hamidi // Wedding Cake - Gala Bakery //

Henna - Yogi’s Henna and Face Painting