UK wide & Destination weddings
Muslim wedding photographer London and rest of the UK.
@Amir happens to be a bit of a writer. A bit of a Sheikhspeare. Me being me, I had to get Amir on board for his own wedding post. Below is a guest post by the man himself. This is an article for the modern Asian grooms-to-be who are planning on taking a more proactive role in preparing for the big day, this is Amir’s approach. Naturally, I did ask Amir to put in a good word for me, I didn’t expect it to be this bad ass (read below). Much love to you both. Brilliant working with you. Also a big thank you to Slawa from Cherry On Top Studio for assisting me on the wedding day in Luton. Here goes..
The Best Laid Schemes of Marriage and Men…
A nice, simple wedding. I had gone on about this all my life, resisting no end of forewarned scoffs from family and friends. Mine would be the wedding done differently, I declared. Mine would be the unwavering needle in the nuptial haystack. Mine would be the unashamedly simplistic wedding that would commemorate love in all its quiet, gentle glory.
Well that didn’t last long.
It was a month into planning, when we first realised that I had in fact been a wedding planner in a previous life. Once given the creative freedom and the opportunity, I could not help but insistently put my own stamp on things. Some time later, I had put the deposit down on the desirable Chelsea Harbour Hotel, designed my own bespoke wedding invite and was now spending long hours contemplating how I wanted (ahem – needed) the staging to complement but not drown out the elaborate stonework on my sherwani. ‘So I’m thinking gold pillars, opulently draped gates, royal blue accents, Mughal-empiric furniture…but honestly, nothing too over the top…’ By now, I was vehemently making robust hand gestures at every ‘business’ meeting and demanding mint tea at every opportunity. The room would sit back and marvel and so too would I. Luckily Sohail (of 1SW), our stage designer, was an ideas man – you name it, he had it. And if he didn’t have it, he would get it. And if he couldn’t get it, he would make it. And he did. All of a sudden, I had a theme. I had a schedule. I had a list of sash colours and main courses and cake flavours to choose from and of course, I needed to try all of it before deciding anything because ‘that’s just what we do, darling’. I had genuinely become my worst nightmare and yet, I was having the best time of my life.
Looking back at those months, the key factor along the way was meeting the right people. Asian weddings, Muslim weddings, London weddings are all big business. Sadly, it’s often business done without much love or thought and this is reflected in the way many of the businesses handle their business and custom. You will meet many who simply want to get the job done or force their styles and opinions upon you. The result would be an impersonal reunion of people with food and drink but no heart and soul. We were very thankful that we mostly met the right people. Our clothes had turned out just how we wanted – We looked good MashaAllah. Hair and makeup for Sadia was admired by one and all MashaAllah. The food on both occasions was worthy of the kitchens of heaven MashaAllah. Meeting good people is paramount in wedding planning and they may be few, but they are out there.
Most deserving of a paragraph of his own is Shahriar, our beloved photographer, who was a godsend and one of the great successes of our wedding. The first thing you need to know about Shahriar is that he does things very differently to all other Asian wedding photographers. He was sensitive to our Islamic considerations and meticulous in his planning and preparation, regularly calling us to ensure everything was on track and even just to say hi. He is so passionate about his work and his enthusiasm is delightfully contagious. Both sides of relatives were full of praise for him and by the end of it, he was more family than photographer.
Both Sadia and I would wholeheartedly declare that our wedding was the most special time of our lives. And so it should be. How can it be that one cannot enjoy the luscious fruits of one’s love and affections? It wasn’t so much the ‘simple’ affair but it was from the heart and was the product of an enlightening journey. Most importantly for us, it celebrated and shared our love in our own way. It was gloriously ours and no one could take that away. They tell me that you only get married once, so make the most of it. Well after this experience, I doubt we will limit ourselves to once only. Why deny ourselves the haute pleasure of a good wedding cake? Get married every year I say and get married we shall. And what’s more, you’re all invited. Amir Sheikh
Two days later. Chelsea Harbour Hotel, London.