22 November 2018
In 2016, I met Shahrukh’s cousin in my Master’s program abroad (Scotland, UK). She graciously invited me to visit Kashmir with her, to which I enthusiastically said yes! Despite the conflict, Kashmir seemed like such a special place and I looked forward to witnessing its beauty firsthand.
Once in Kashmir, she introduced me to her cousin Shahrukh, who spent most of the trip exploring with us. During that time of adventure, Shahrukh and I (unexpectedly) fell in love. He was the one I had been waiting for my whole life — and I couldn’t believe I had found him on the opposite end of the Earth. We decided to stay together long-distance for two and a half years until we got married.
My first thought was that I felt like I had known Shahrukh my whole life, even though we were just meeting for the first time. We had an instant connection and I felt entirely comfortable around him. It was a beautiful and exciting feeling! I knew he was special and unlike anyone else I had met before. That’s why he calls me ‘zuv’ because we felt like soulmates from day one.
My favorite moment from the wedding was having the opportunity to meet all our guests after the ceremony. Most of them I had never met before, and it was such a special occasion to meet them for the first time. It warmed my heart seeing so many happy faces coming together to celebrate our marriage. The feeling of love in the room was overwhelmingly beautiful.
The awkward moment for me was, of course, not understanding the common language (Urdu) and being unsure of what to do or say unless someone translated to English. So, there were a few instances when I had absolutely no clue what was going on and I had to smile and pretend like I did 🙂 Fortunately, everyone was very understanding and patient.
The funny moment was when Shahrukh and I were getting our photos taken. We were trying to pose nicely and thought we looked so funny and kept teasing each other the whole time! We’re truly fortunate the photos turned out so beautiful because at the time, we thought we looked ridiculous and couldn’t stop laughing at each other.
Oh, and when I gave him a small kiss during our exchange of rings in front of close family and friends. All his male friends started cheering which was hilarious.
As a non-Kashmiri, my experience of a Kashmiri wedding was that it’s not only a magical experience but requires a tremendous amount of work and pressure on the bride (as well as the entire family).
While it was such a beautiful and wonderful experience, it was also incredibly exhausting for all involved (especially since I was very jet-lagged at the time). There is a different pressure when you don’t speak the language and are not from the culture, because you want to make sure you are respecting all of the customs and can ensure everyone feels welcomed.
The idea that brides must look perfect and wear uncomfortable jewelry and outfits is also challenging. I share this not to be negative, but to raise the reality of what women face to adhere to cultural expectations.
Nonetheless, I’m very happy and grateful everything went smoothly and turned out beyond beautiful. I will cherish those moments forever, and look forward to sharing them with my family and friends for years to come.
My Mehendi dress was from Rivaaj Boutique in Rajbagh (Srinagar). It was originally a lehenga which they stitched together in one evening (since I got the dress the day before the function - I know, it was stressful, but they made sure everything was perfect on such short notice).
My Nikah dress was handmade by the incredible Blush – Kanak Chandhok in Shahpurjat, Delhi. She did it all within one month. I had given her an idea of what colors and style I wanted, and she created it from scratch (it turned out way better than I could have ever imagined).
I did my own makeup for the Mehendi, but for the Nikah I used the extremely talented makeup artist Fiza Aziz Wani (she’s based in both Kashmir and Delhi). We had very little time to do it, yet she was so calm, professional and kind. I’ve never felt so beautiful before.
My husband got the fabric for his wedding suit from Polo View and then had Sher Ali add the embroidery (his shop is at the cross-junction Abi Guzar and Bund Road).
We rented Nigeen Club for the function, which was the perfect venue for such an occasion. I cannot recommend all these vendors enough!
Our photographers were Master Visuals – they were amazing! They captured every moment so beautifully.