Real Wedding: Esau and Aleisha

Esau and Aleisha met in high school and were married on June 30, 2012. The couple got engaged in December 2011, and planned their wedding in 7 months.

“In terms of planning I would say I started with the hall first, reason being is that we had such a short time frame and our wedding was July 4th weekend which made finding a location impossible,” Aleisha said.

real wedding

Luckily, the couple found their hall in February 2012, which left them plenty of time to work out the many other details. They decided to go with The Royal Indian Palace in Richmond Hill Queens, New York.

“They did the catering for the food and decor, of course, we had to throw in extra for that,” Aleisha said.

Although the couple stated they didn’t have a set theme, their colors were red and hot pink.

real wedding

“My florist was Dennis Rigas Floral Creations which gave me an amazing price on my flowers,” said Aleisha. “Definitely would recommend them to anyone that’s getting married.”

The couple hired Raqeebah Zaman as their photographer, and later hired her again for their first anniversary photo shoot.

“Our photographer was Raqeebah Zaman, I absolutely love her,” said Aleisha. “She did an amazing job on our pictures . . . she’s worth every dollar.”

real wedding

The couple originally wanted a very small wedding, but because it was first wedding for the bride’s family and the last for the groom’s family it became a much bigger event. When asked what the best part of their wedding was they responded: the nikkah.

“I guess I can say that the best part of our wedding would be the nikkah. After 7 exhausting months of stressing and planning it all came down to 5 minutes of saying “I do” 3 times.”

real wedding

Advice from the couple:
“For any young couple that’s getting married my best advice is that marriage is a growing experience. Today, tomorrow, and the many years to come will be and is a learning experience. You’re getting adjusted to living with your spouse, learning the way he or she likes to do things and vice versa too. Never get annoyed with your spouse because things can quickly get escalated one might say something that they would regret. At the end of the day you just need to remember that you are with the person you love and the person that Allah (swt) wants you to be with. Always be patient and loving to your spouse. And the best for last: Go with your heart. No one knows your situation other than you and your spouse and what ever advice you get from others just take a minute and think it through, and then make a choice on what YOU feel is right in your heart and what will work for your marriage.”

Photos Courtesy Of: Esau and Aleisha. Taken by Raqeebah Zaman.

Real Wedding: MuhammadQasim and Samaah

This real wedding story is really about the most common way we’re introduced to our future spouse: through family friends. That was very much true for MuhammadQasim and Samaah. Whose parents knew each other before they were both born.

“We have actually known each other for really long time. Our parents knew each other before we were both born, and we went to the same school when I was in grade four and MuhammadQasim was in grade six,” Samaah said. “We also went to the same madrasah on the weekends and got to know each other better after we started volunteering with the youth committee at the local mosque.”

The couple were engaged for 15 months and didn’t start planning until 8 months prior to the wedding on August 9, 2014. They started their planning by first selecting a photographer.

real wedding

“Photography was particularly important to us, because we needed both a male and female photographer for the parts of our wedding that were segregated,” Samaah said. “We also wanted photographers with a good eye for light since we both prefer more natural looking pictures.”

The couple decided to go with The Koebels, Chantelle and Myles.

“We couldn’t have been happier to have found Chantelle and Myles as they were just awesome people to have around, and in terms of the quality of their work  I believe the photos speak for themselves,” Samaah said. “They turned out so much better than we could have ever imagined.”

After locking down their photographer, Samaah also started her hunt for the perfect dress which was custom ordered from India.
real wedding

real wedding

“I also I knew that finding a dress would be quite the task since I wanted it to be hijab-friendly,” Samaah said. “I ended up having it custom ordered from India, and when it arrived a few months before the wedding it had to be fitted and altered, so I’m really glad that was sorted out nice and early.”

Being that the couple are students, they wanted to make sure their wedding was cost-friendly by choosing affordable venues.

“Our nikkah was held at the Az-Zahraa Islamic Centre in Richmond BC, and our reception was in my parents’ backyard,” Samaah said. “A pre-wedding ladies event was also held at the mosque, and my henna party was at my parents’ house as well.”

real wedding

real wedding

real wedding

The overall theme, as described by Samaah, was Mediterranean/rustic chic garden party. The wedding colors were coral, cream, and gold.

“We put a lot of effort into making our wedding colors prominent in all of the events,” Samaah said. “Since our wedding was in the middle of the summer, I wanted to incorporate a bright color that wasn’t too overbearing.”

Coral was the main color in MuhammadQasim and Samaah’s wedding events, and was shown in not only the floral arrangements, but the wedding party attire as well.

real wedding
real wedding

“For the reception his (MuhammadQasim) shirt and tie were coral, and our bridesmaids and groomsmen rocked the color as well. Our friends still refer to us anytime something coral is encountered,” Samaah said.

The couple’s theme was also evident in their menu items. The reception was complete with fresh chicken shawarma and falafel, cooked on site.

The dessert consisted of a dessert bar with DIY s’mores, and of course, the wedding cake.

real wedding

real wedding


“Our wedding cake actually fell over during delivery on the morning of our wedding,” Samaah said. “Apparently this was a source of great entertainment for MuhammadQasim, and helped to calm his nerves before the nikkah … The last minute replacement cake was from a gluten-free bakery called Cloud 9.”

After the nerves subsided, it brought the couple to their favorite moment after the nikkah.

“The first time we saw each other after our nikkah was recited was a very special moment. After all the guests had gone to eat dinner (aside from a few close friends, family members, and the photographer of course) MuhammadQasim came over to the ladies’ side with his eyes closed,” Samaah said. “Chantelle led him towards where I was standing, fixed his tie, and told him to open his eyes. He gasped, my friends giggled, I grinned, and a few tears were shed.”

real wedding


Advice from the couple: “A beautiful wedding doesn’t require breaking the bank, and sometimes simple is better. Your love and happiness are the most important things, so try not to let the materialistic parts of the wedding overshadow the beauty of marriage. Don’t forget that the end goal is being married for the pleasure of Allah (swt), and it’s not really about having a big, fancy wedding. I feel like that’s something that is easily forgotten amidst all the stress of wedding planning. Lastly, when you wake up on the morning of your wedding day(s), tell yourself that no matter what happens you won’t stress, you’ll be happy, and you’ll enjoy every minute of your special day. I did that, and it surprisingly worked quite well.”


All photos are courtesy of the above interviewed couple and The Koebels photography.

Behind the Scenes at Perfect Muslim Wedding: Part 1

Behind every company or organization, there’s a story. A story of how it all started and this is ours. It all started when my daughter got married in 2013. Six months of planning and a perfect, okay, almost perfect wedding (by God’s grace). Yes it’s true there was a power outage, and we were kind of left in the dark, but the show had to go on, including my father of the bride speech.


We planned the wedding and found the vendors purely through word of mouth. My wife deserves most, okay, all the credit. I just dealt with finding the venue and caterer. She took on all the other details with her wing-woman, Sabrina.

I don’t know if it was the power outage that caused it, but a light bulb went off. How come the Muslim community doesn’t have a resource we can tap into for wedding planning? The mainstream American market has “The Knot”, Brides Magazine, “The Wedding Channel.” Other communities have sites like “Maharani Weddings” and “South Asian Bride Magazine.” Muslims? Zip, zero.

So was born Perfect Muslim Wedding in fall 2013. I started it on a WordPress platform. Yes, I’m the one who designed that awful looking logo and wrote a lot of the initial content and did the social media.

Building the Team

Realizing if this was going to be successful, it had to be more than a one man show, I put a call out for interns. Initially four of them responded, but only one committed herself. A recent college graduate and also recently married with some wedding planning experience of her own, Marwa Diaf, a Sacramento native joined the team in Spring 2014.


Along with Marwa, another intern Dii Pooler joined to help out with Social Media. The WordPress platform had worked well as a starter, but we needed to move to self-hosted WordPress and as I struggled to get find a resource, another angel by the name of Ahmed Khatib, a family friend’s son, made himself available. We were off to the races, well kind of.

Dii did some great work on Instagram, Marwa started to put out content, and Ahmed helped to not only get the site hosted but took care of all the registrations for SEO and we slowly moved from being invisible to start showing up on webpages. Diane, a graphics consultant helped to re-brand the site as well as come out with some great graphics and infographics. We did a Perfect Muslim Wedding survey, a first for not only us, but no one had done anything like it.

The site grew organically. We offered free vendor listings to build community. We had neither had the budget nor did it make sense to do paid advertising like Google Adwords. I spent a lot of time on Pinterest building up the boards and pins. However, the catapult effect of going viral or getting gazillions of visitors never quite happened.

Along the way we have done some really creative stuff. Like this animation.

or the Perfect Muslim Wedding Survey Infographic or the Perfect Muslim Wedding Periodic Table below.


Some wonderful wedding video montages including this one.

We licensed the best of the best wedding photos and not only shared some in our blog posts put also in a kind of quarterly, half yearly ezine.

What’s next?

We had planned to go offline and do a wedding expo. I had known Irfan Rydhan, a community activist. A quiet but very resourceful person, I wanted to work with him. So was born The Perfect Muslim Wedding Bridal Expo. Initially we planned to do it in Spring 2015, but it took so long to do the incorporation and secure a venue, that it has now moved to Fall 2015. Through Irfan he’s brought on Farah Ghatala who has been a Fashion Director at shows like Desi Thrills and Zareena Anwar, another bundle of energy, former wedding planner and community activist.

Besides the team, whenever I have had to decide key strategic decisions I have leaned on the wonderful board we have from Dustin Haisler, Razi Mohiuddin, and Souheila Al-Jadda and others who are not officially “the board” like Becky Roth and Saba Azam, but give me great input.

Both on the editorial and wedding expo we have tons of work to do, but I am excited not only about the journey but working with the wonderful team we have and hope to grow. It’s a unique opportunity. As far I know no one has done this in the United States, more specifically, the bay area. Stay tuned for more stories and please help spread the word and remember us in your prayers.

Real Wedding: Hedieh and Mahdi Ashktorab

We love to cover real Muslim weddings, and we have another beautiful one to share with you. Hedieh and Mahdi are second generation Persian-Americans. They were married on August 24, 2014 in Saratoga, California. Here is a Q&A with them for more check out their website:

Hedieh and Mahdi Proposal Pefect Muslim Wedding Sofreh

Q. Describe the different segments of a Persian Islamic wedding?

A. There is the “aghd,” which is the religious portion and includes the “sofreh,” which is a floor spread that includes several kinds of food and decorations. Combined they are referred to as “Sofreye-Aghd,” where the legal marriage and ceremonial traditions are exchanged. The symbolic items include herbs, pastries, a mirror and two candelabras, bread, fruit, flowers, prayer rug and other items, which are elements that will make up the couples new married life. The aghd is followed by the ceremony, which includes dinner and reception.

Q. What is most memorable to you from the wedding?

A. The reaction to our dance, especially our parents.

Q. Anything you wish you did differently?

A. Our venue was outside at Saratoga Springs, so we had a limited time to setup and for the wedding before wrapping up. The caterer came a little late, so timing at an event like this becomes critical. However, it all worked out.


Q. What was most stressful for you in the wedding planning?

A. Just figuring out how we were going to do things. We had no experience with, for example, party favors. Once we figured them out, it was easy going. Also deciding on the mahar, which is an Islamic requirement. When you have two families, one more traditional, just getting to an agreement. Again once we got there it was fine.

Q. Any advice for other couples that plan on getting married?

A. Start early. Have clear lines of communication. Use your support system of family and friends and delegate.

Q. What was the most important thing to you in the wedding planning?

A. Just having the wedding, and making sure the guests were happy. Celebrating the wedding with family and friends and doing things they all enjoyed.

Q. Anything else?

A. After the day of the wedding, we headed off to our honeymoon. In hindsight we had family who had come from all over the country. We should have stayed at home and then left the week after. By doing this we could have not only spent time with our relatives but also taken care of other things that needed attention. We would have been more relaxed at the honeymoon then.

Below are some photos from the proposal and wedding, as well as the video.

Hedieh and Mahdi Proposal Pefect Muslim Wedding Walking

Hedieh and Mahdi Proposal Pefect Muslim Wedding Dancing

Hedieh and Mahdi Pefect Muslim Wedding Maysam family

Hedieh and Mahdi Pefect Muslim Wedding Maysam dance


Wedding Vendors

Engagement Photographer – Yas Photography

Wedding Photographer – YtyPhoto

Wedding Videographer – Awkward Turtle

Catering – Majid Catering

Cake & Desert – Haleh Pastry

Florist – Royal Floral Design

Dance – Fancy Footwork

Rentals – Williams Party Rentals

DJ – Jeff Werner

Venue – Saratoga Springs




Real Wedding: Mariyam & Omer

This real wedding is Mariyam Azam and Omer Ali Khan in San Francisco and Sacramento, California. Enjoy!

Our nikah ceremony and reception took place a year before our walimah, at Mehran Banquet Hall & Restaurant in Pittsburg, CA. Sabah Azam Photography photographed the event and also did a wedding photoshoot for us at our alma mater, UC Berkeley, a year later. 

The cake was catered from an East Bay baker who has since retired, Sue Faina. The venue was decorated by Farzana and Nadeem Mohammed of Milaap Events. My makeup artist for this event was Farhana Baig, and for the photoshoot was Faizah Mullah.

Our rukhsati event, a year later, took place at Chandni in Fremont, CA. All food and decoration was included in the venue package. Faizah Mullah was my makeup artist and Sabah Azam Photography photographed the event.

Venues and Vendors

The final event, the walimah, took place at the Hyatt in downtown Sacramento, across the street from the state capitol. Food was catered by East West Foods. Makeup artist: Faizah Mullah. Photographers: Jared Lee (also videographer) and Sumaira Akhtar.

Of the three wedding venues, the, Hyatt was, of course, my favorite. The huge and luxurious bridal suite overlooked the dome of the state capitol. The location was perfect and allowed us to have a photoshoot at the capitol building right before the reception. Our guests raved about East West’s food, and my peacock wedding cake awed everyone at our nikah. It was the most delicious red velvet cake I’ve ever had.
As for decor, I refer everyone I know to Milaap Events. Farzana and Nadeem Mohammed, the perfectionist owners, are so creative and personable. They worked with my budget to make my peacock-themed event come to life.
Lastly, Sabah Azam is my photographer of choice. She is creative and thinks on her feet. She always captures the most beautiful moments and her turn-around for photos is reasonable. I really liked my photos from the capitol photoshoot with Jared Lee as well, and he made us a great video and photo montage.

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Perfect Muslim Wedding Mariyam and Omer 1

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