Sweet Illinois, you are in for a burst of goodness with this chic cultural weekend of festivities by Christy Tyler Photography. Goodness, I tell you, in the prettiest of fashions -two fêtes that couldn’t be more gorgeous all for one couple so completely in love it seeps through the screen. A weekend of love, perfectly curated details and full gallery to keep it all in one pretty place – it just doesn’t get better, does it?
Let’s top it all off with their gorgeous film by I Do Films, shall we?
From the bride… When my then-fiancé and I set out to plan our wedding, we wanted it reflect us. We wanted an intercultural, interfaith weekend that celebrated the fusion of our differences and commemorated all that we already shared – a fitting and uncanny juxtaposition to the 10th anniversary of 9/11. The wedding weekend was kicked off Friday night, September 9, 2011, by the Mehndi (henna party): a lively, colorful affair that gave my friends and family a taste of Pakistani culture while still demonstrating that two cultures, separated by thousands of miles, could find commonality in music, dance and alcohol. The event started with Shaan and I making separate grand entrances. After we took our place in front of a large and beautiful backdrop, our siblings and close friends performed a Bollywood dance for the crowd that was choreographed by Shaan’s sister. I wore a teal dress with a lot of embellishment that was made in Pakistan. We also participated in some cultural rituals, including feeding each another chocolate, being garlanded by our sisters and having henna placed on our hands. Henna artists painted henna designs on our guests’ hands, and ladies were invited to wear colorful bangles that were provided. The remainder of the night was a fun dance party where Bollywood music segued to R&B.
Saturday, September 10, 2011, was the day of the interfaith wedding. Our motif for the day was inspired by a beautiful brooch that we found in a shop in Indonesia. We decided to use the lotus-like flower on the brooch on our paper goods, cake and even the henna on my hands and feet. (To honor my Irish heritage, I also had shamrocks painted into my henna design.) My wedding dress was handmade in Chicago with the help of Shaan’s aunts in Pakistan. They sent us samples of different fabric from Pakistan, one of which I picked to use as my sash fabric. My dressmaker sewed the flower brooch from Indonesia into my sash. One of my favorite parts of having a customized dress is that I got to request that pockets be put in! Also, my mom sewed a piece of fabric, which had “9/10/11” in blue thread (for my “something blue”) hidden in the inside of the skirt. On the morning of our wedding day, Shaan and I snuck away from everyone else and went for breakfast together near our hotel. It was surreal to be sitting together like any other day, knowing that later in the day we’d be married. Before the ceremony, Shaan and I did a First Look and photo safari of just the two of us around Chicago. The wedding ceremony included two string musicians (violin and cello) who collaborated with a sitar and tabla player, traditional South Asian musicians. I walked up the aisle to Canon in D, but it was a unique, fusion version utilizing all four musicians, unlike anything anyone had heard before. We crafted our ceremony with the help of the officiant and used readings from the Bible, the Qur’an and contemporary writers. Shaan and I also wrote our own vows. I carried a family rosary that my grandmother, mother, aunts and cousins also held in their wedding bouquet.
On Sunday, September 11, 2011, Shaan’s family hosted a brunch reception called a Valima at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. The brunch was followed by an interfaith blessing at the University of Chicago’s Bond Chapel, performed by a Catholic priest and a Muslim imam. Overall, it was a perfectly intercultural wedding weekend celebrating everything that’s important to us as a couple!
Photography: Christy Tyler Photography / Venue: Harold Washington Library in Chicago, Illinois / Cinematography: I Do Films / Event Design: Event Creative / Event Planning: Laura of The Ideal Day / Catering: Food for Thought / Henna: Aurora Mehndi + Crescent Moon Henna / DJ: DJ Chicago / Bride’s Dress: Nasreen Shaikh Design House
Wedding Photography: Christy Tyler Photography / Wedding Venue: Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago, Illinois / Event Planning: Laura of The Ideal Day / Wedding Flowers: Barbara Devlin / Wedding Cinematography: I Do Films / Catering: Food for Thought / Wedding Cake: Amy Beck Cake Designs / Wedding Invitations: Magnificent Milestones / Favors: Katherine Anne Confections / Officiant: Reverend Marian Hale / Wedding Dress: MJ Ernst / Groom’s Tuxedo: Munib Nawaz / Groom’s Bow Tie: Stefano Ricci / Groom’s Accessories: Paul Stuart / Graphics: Sandra Rogers / Ceremony Music: Caprice Music Ensembles + Alexander Duvel / DJ: Toast & Jam / Menu Cards, Escort Cards, Table Cards: DIY by the Bride and Groom / Wedding Guestbook: Quote Ya