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An old friend of mine Mariya Dada recently got married and instead of doing the classic fairy tale wedding that most girls desire and wish for, she and her husband Aimun Asif Varind decided to go with a wedding that bought happiness to way more people than just her family and friends by having a small nikah/reception with just 40 people and a valima dinner for kids at Sirat ul Jannah.
Me: Blah blah blah, blah blah blah, give me details.
“So earlier this year when we decided on dates for the wedding, we started like any other couples. Making guest lists, making a budget and booking halls etc. We visited a lot of halls and realized how expensive everything was, but since we had originally planned for just one event, so we wanted it to be really cool at a great hall with beautiful decor etc. But I’d step out of the halls and be like “Shit man, this is so expensive” and on top of that there is food and a million other things and all I could think was what a waste of everything for just ONE day and that too just to make everyone else around you happy. However, everyone around me was like “Its a wedding. This is how it works. Of course it is going to be expensive“. And I was like BROOOOOOOOO wastageeeeee!!! Everyone agreed that yes, it is a waste, but of course there are going to be guests and they need food. So lets do this dish and that etc etc.
Then the entire story about the wedding dress started. I was checking out designers and small local stores to find something decent on a budget and of course my budget was half of what my mother and sisters wanted me to spend because I am not really into clothes and decided it was going to be a waste if I invest too much into it and Aimun too was happy about getting a nice sherwani that wasn’t going to cost an arm and leg haha.
Somewhere during this entire process, Aimun and I would discuss how we were taught as kids that you should not waste money, shouldn’t show off and if you have money spend it on those who really need it and I felt that all of us completely forget about these values as soon as a wedding is being planned.
I locked down a dress at a small designer and was going to pay in two days when I told my mom lets hold it off for a bit. Asked her to make an excuse that I saw something else that I liked and then Aimun and I discussed the entire thing seriously. We realized that all these expenses and money being spent was insane and we started thinking about how we were working so hard for this one day and what would we/could we do with all this money.
And then we realized there were a lot of things we could spend this money on. Like our home (We live on our own, so there is rent plus had to decorate the house too), travelling (both of us haven’t traveled much so this was very appealing!) and then of course, give it to people who could make better use of it.
So we went and cancelled the hall booking (the advance we paid was the only money wasted in this entire process!) and told our parents we don’t want a big wedding. That’s when things got a little difficult, because our families couldn’t really see what we were going at. For a bit even Aimun was like “Are you sure? I am a boy, I won’t care but you might regret it”. My siblings said the same thing. But I knew I wasn’t going to enjoy dressing up, sitting on a stage with people staring at me, eating, having fun and then leaving. I told them that wedding isn’t for me, its for the people attending.
My parents had a hard time accepting this. I told my mom k bhai you’ve already done 2 bachon ki shaadi so no further need to go all out. Aimun and I both told our parents that if you have any reason beyond “What are people going to say?” then we will do as you ask. But all arguments boiled down to exactly that one statement and we simply said that’s not a good enough justification for us to have a myopic vision and think about one day when we are thinking of starting a new life, right?
We should work towards a great marriage, not a great wedding.
So they gave in. My sister however made sure that it was a well decorated and well done event (It happened at her place!) and she was adamant from the start about photos and asked us to dress up enough to have decent photo memories haha. So I got a jora from a local tailor, bought nice jewelry and got a good photo session done.
And my wedding was basically a dinner with both our immediate families and 10 friends. So a total of 40 people.
So that was the wedding and we went to Sirat-ul-Jannah and spent time there with the kids and that was my valima haha.
My mom later told me that there are many girls in our community who don’t get married because their parents dont have any money to give them a grand wedding and that they would love to know about what we did because wedding is a simple thing you dont have to resort to out of need. So some money that we wanted to give away was kept aside for some of these families.
Just know that it is very difficult to go through with this decision because of family, society and a lot of external pressure. But sometimes we just need to reflect. I will add that yes, this day is also about the parents and they have to answer to the rest of the family, society etc – NOT to us, so we should try and get them on board through reasoning rather than being stubborn and not explaining WHY we want to do this. Its a big big decision and they should be a part of it happily.
Basss and Mashaa’Allah we’ve been very happy. The wedding felt great (ALL ABOUT ME :D) And sometimes I do feel its because we started it this way. And that’s my story.”
Me: :’) :’)
(One of the very few times in life where I didn’t have much to say.)
Please know that in no way are either of us saying that anyone who spends money on their weddings is wrong. This is just another way of making your big day special. So go with whatever makes you happy. I personally feel that when someone gets married they have so many dreams and a vision of how they want to look, how they want the food to be, how beautiful their venue is going to be. Putting all of that aside and doing something like this requires an insane amount of strength and a huge heart.
Couldn’t be prouder of Mariya and Aimun. Lets say a little prayer for a very happy, healthy, long and full of love life for these two very beautiful people.