Manya and Hassan, Westfields Marriott Washington Dulles, USA
This wedding included Indian and Pakistani rituals specially selected by the bride and groom to reflect their romance and beliefs.
Manya, who hails from New Delhi, and Hassan, a Pakistani who grew up in Rome and Lahore, first met through mutual friends in college in the US. Their friendship turned into love over time, and the two overcame a lot of obstacles before tying the knot in a lovely outdoor ceremony in August 2019. All the beautiful moments of the celebrations were captured by WeddingSutra Favorite – Sam & Ekta.
How They Met
Manya shares, “I grew up in New Delhi and Hassan grew up in Rome and Lahore. We first met in college in Virginia through common friends, and over time, our feelings deepened for each other. Hailing from India and Pakistan respectively, belonging to two different religions, and growing up in families who are not only traditional but also our lifelines, we tried to fight our feelings. We wanted to avoid putting our families through the heartache that our relationship would give them, but despite that, our love only grew deeper. Finally, after years of being in separate cities due to jobs and graduate school, we moved to the same city for work and realized that what we had been fighting for years may be futile. So we informed our parents of our relationship and planned to wed. Of course, it was a shock to our families and the ensuing months were quite stormy. However, our loved ones gave us their blessings, and we finally got married.”
The couple hosted their wedding celebrations across two venues – The Chantilly National Golf and Country Club for the Welcome Dinner, and the Westfields Marriott Washington Dulles was where the rest of the functions were held. “Both the venues were beautiful and their teams were very easy to work with. They helped us design the perfect wedding by incorporating the many custom requests we had, working seamlessly with our vendors, and making the weekend magical. The Chantilly Country Club had a sprawling golf course that proved to be the perfect backdrop for our welcome dinner where a live jazz band played through the sunset. The Westfields Marriott, also, was a great location with green trees and a red-brick terrace. We held our reception in one of its ballrooms, and more intimate events like suhaag and mehndi in the smaller rooms,” shares the bride.
Making sure that this beautiful love story had a beautiful new beginning were the wedding planner Christine Godsey of CG & Co Events, makeup artist Nikki Fraser of Beauty ‘N The Bride, Imperial Decor and DJ DC Vibez. Capturing the beautiful moments were their award-winning photographers Sam & Ekta.
Manya shares, “Working with Sam and Ekta was absolutely incredible. They connected with us over many months to get a deep understanding of our story, and what we wanted from the photos and videos. They also got in touch with our planner, decorators, and DJ for any setups they needed. Lastly, the results they produced were better than we could have imagined.”
Godh Bharai and Mehndi
“Combining the Godh Bharai and Mehndi ceremony allowed us to combine special elements of both the Indian and Pakistani cultures. As per Pakistani culture, Hassan’s family brought my mehndi and symbolically applied it to my hands on top of a paan (betel) leaf. Then there was the gift exchange between the two families as per Indian culture, followed by dinner, dancing, and mehndi applying sessions for the family members. It was a beautiful coming together of our two families as they got to spend quality time together in a low-key intimate evening.”
For this occasion, Manya wore a bright pink Kanjeevaram saree, while the groom chose a sleek black bandhgala suit.
Bhaat and Suhaag
A colorful affair with decor that included multicolored tapestries and marigolds, this occasion was replete with laughter and fun moments that the bride shared with her family members. Manya says, “In this event, my family showered me with gifts, rice, and lots of love. They got me ready for my big day by adorning me with wedding day jewelry amid laughs and of course, dancing.”
Looking radiant in a bright pink saree with minimal accessories Manya happily accepted all the gifts that her family showered her with.
Welcome Dinner and Mehndi
“The theme of this event was romance – with soft colors, a gorgeous sunset, live jazz music, and decor elements that included quotes from classic love songs as centerpieces. This event was our opportunity to meet our loved ones who had traveled from far and wide to come to celebrate with us. In that spirit, we kept programming at this event to a minimum and fun to the maximum with games, memorable toasts, and hours of dancing. The night ended with limbo and my dad singing with Hassan’s cousin into the abyss!”
Manya was the showstopper in a sheer green embroidered floral saree from Warp N Weft, while Hassan cut a dashing figure in a classic tuxedo.
“Somehow everyone managed to wake up and clean up for the haldi the next morning. Set among the colorful decor setups, the function saw guests enjoy treats from chaat stations, trying out accessories, and dousing us with turmeric and milk. Our friends and family plastered us with a concoction of haldi, mehndi, oil, and milk.”
In sync with the colorful vibe of the event, Manya opted for a red and green printed lehenga with floral jewellery, and Hassan wore a green kurta with a red stole.
“Our wedding ceremony held a very special place in our hearts as it was designed by us to celebrate all the things we cherished. We wanted to make sure it highlighted us, our relationship, and the things that are important to us in our marriage. We hand-picked elements of both our cultural ceremonies, added our own flavor, and designed a program through which we made our promises to each other with the help of our close ones. Watching our vision of the ceremony come alive, it felt like we had finally succeeded in joining our lives together in a way we had yearned for years. It was just perfect!”
Dressed in a pastel peach embroidered lehenga with baby blue accents, Manya was a vision as she walked down the aisle to reach Hassan who looked regal in an ice blue and gold kurta which he paired with a string of pearls.
“The wedding ceremony was followed by an evening full of celebrations. We entered to the sound of ‘Arrival at Winterfell’ the way Dany and Jon did in Season 8 of the ‘Game of Thrones,’ (although I do hope our story is different!). Our families and friends gave toasts that were emotional yet funny at the same time. The dances put on by our people were each better than the last, and my sisters gave a surprise skit that they had written about our story which had us gaping in amazement. As you can guess, this was followed by hours of dancing, and it was a perfect way to end what was the most incredible weekend of our lives.”
Advice For Couples
“The number one piece of advice we have is discussing your vision together and selecting a few (only a few) things that you care a lot about. This will help you prioritize your energy, money, and planning towards those few things. If you know there are things you are less particular about, it will make it easier for you to delegate those to others. Secondly, be organized! If it weren’t for our endless spreadsheets and reminders and auto-generated emails, we would have let a lot of things slip.’
The Wedding Makers
Venues: Chantilly National Golf and Country Club, Westfields Marriott Washington Dulles, USA
Wedding Planner: Christine Godsey – CG&Co Events
Decor: Imperial Decor
Groom’s Outfits: Deepak Perwani (Godh Bharai, Mehndi), Hugo Boss (Welcome Dinner), Deepak Perwani (Wedding)
Bride’s Outfits: Nalli (Godh Bharai, Mehndi), Odhni Sarees (Suhaag), Warp N Weft (Welcome Dinner), Kamal Bhai Saree Sangam (Wedding)
Jewellery: Raabta by Rahul
Makeup: Nikki Fraser – Beauty ‘N The Bride
Photography and Videography: Sam & Ekta