There I was about a year away from my wedding wondering how I was going to get from my inspiration board to reality. I began by buying every wedding magazine I could get my hands on, made an inspiration board and brought it to every meeting with every vendor. My first stop? Wedding planner.

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I was convinced that I could not plan this wedding on my own, but then after receiving the estimated invoice I thought to myself, why pay for something I can do myself? So I crossed that idea off my list. Then, I began my hunt for the venue.

I remembered one wedding I attended at the Marriott. I remembered the elegant ambiance and how I wanted my wedding to reflect that as well. So we checked out the Marriott in Rancho Cordova, California. Everything was perfect. There were two separate halls right next to each other (one for the men and one for the women), there was a way to customize the offered package and even better they offered “halal” meat. I knew that was the one. After I decided on the venue, my next stop was the dress.

It was about July 2011, I believe, when I began my dress hunt. I did not find the one until about October or November 2011. I had no clear vision when it came to my dress which made it pretty easy to find the one.

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Now for the theme. I told you I was going to tell you the do’s, the don’ts and the never think about doing. Well here it goes… Don’t rule anything out, keep an open-mind and really dig deep – what do you want to accomplish on your wedding day? Now this may sound silly, but I told myself I would not use the color pink. I thought, “I want something different.” But guess what? Pink was everywhere!

It was March 2012 and my family and I were in the middle of planning my sister’s wedding, we purchased the centerpieces from a small local party and crafts store. They did such a great job that I knew I wanted them for my wedding as well. Do. Remember to be specific as possible. Bring photos and always follow up with your vendors. My centerpieces did not come out the way I wanted, but it still worked out just fine.

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Your wedding won’t be complete and utter perfection, be prepared for the hiccups. Everything else came together so quickly. In the last 3 months before the wedding I booked make-up, hair, stage decor, DJ, and cake. That’s when the stress really hit. I felt like I was unorganized and running out of time. Don’t leave things for the last minute. There is no such thing as planning too early.

I was also making arrangements for the henna party that was being held on the Friday before the wedding reception.  Although not as extensive as the reception plans, there were still things to sort out. Because a lot was going into the wedding, we wanted the henna to be on the simple side.

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The venue was the Holiday Inn Express catered by Fresh Med in Sacramento, California. The centerpieces and decor were done by my sisters. Do. Always utilize the talents of your family and friends. I was also very lucky to have a great photographer in my family circle.

Now let’s talk logistics. Do. Make sure to create a set schedule and a list of duties for people in your wedding party. I can’t stress how important it is to make sure everyone is on the same page and everything is being taken care of. From bride to bride – you don’t want to worry about anything on the day of. Never think about doing. Never think about NOT making a list. A list will save you. The day of I remembered I didn’t purchase candles to accompany the centerpieces, and thankfully my cousin was able to run to the store. If I had made a list of things to do – I could have avoided that minor issue.

Do. Relax, as the bride and groom that is all you should be doing the days leading up to the wedding. Stress is not a pretty color. After all the vendors were booked and everything was taken care of, it was time to see it come to life. The henna party was cultural with a modern twist.  I was probably one of the few brides that did not apply henna.  I wanted my wedding to have a more modern feel, but still have that connection with my culture. The henna party was simple and easy, as it should be, you really want the wedding reception to really have that wow factor.

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I remember when my husband and I walked into the hall for the first time; it was better than I had imagined. It was elegant, just like the wedding I had attended years before. It was modern, it was different. Why was it different? Because it was our wedding. It was the celebration of the rest of our lives together. Although planning was stressful, try to remember what and who the wedding is for. It is the celebration of your love, your union. No matter all the bumps in the road in terms of planning, it’ll always be the best day of our lives.

I did not have Perfect Muslim Wedding to guide me, but now you do. Your wedding won’t be perfect to a tee, but it’ll be as perfect as you can get it if you use the right resource and that’s PMW. It’s the wedding planner you don’t have to pay for. With PMW you will not waste time checking out venues that cannot accommodate our religious needs, because you’ll know exactly which ones are perfect for you. You’ll know of the all the great caterers that serve “halal” as well. You’ll know where to find henna artists, make-up artists, so on and so forth. All with your religious customs in mind. The Knot cannot give you that.

So remember, utilize your resources and you’ll create the most memorable day of your life. Happy planning!

Marwa Diaf
Editor

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