When I first laid eyes on this wedding, I immediately knew that I wanted it on the blog. I just had to share it. I saw a beautiful minimalistic multicultural wedding that focused on the love between the couple. I knew there was a beautiful story behind these wedding photographs and I was pleased that Runa agreed to answer some questions and allowed me to share their story.
How did you both meet?
We both went to the same secondary school together, lost touch after leaving and then Paul sent me a friend request about 13 years after on Facebook!
During his first year in Kuwait (where he was working as a Geography teacher) we messaged each other now and again, mostly about work, religion or current affairs, and then during the summer of 2012 he asked to meet me for coffee in our home town, Sheffield. Eventually I agreed! It was good to catch up with an old classmate, and so we met once before he left for Kuwait at the end of the Summer break. Our relationship grew over WhatsApp, Facebook and Skype! When he became serious about us, he began to look more into Islam on his own for about a year or so, before he actually accepted Islam in July 2013.
How did he propose?
Paul came out on a surprise visit from Kuwait in November 2013 and took me for lunch and a walk in rainy Castleton, where we’d been before, and then proposed with a beautiful ring at Cave Dale. It was very romantic!
What obstacles did you have to overcome when planning you wedding?
The obstacles that came with our relationship were primarily to do with getting my family on board with the whole East meets West thing. It came like a bolt out the blue when I told my parents that November. Due to this, I had to get my parents on side and gain their blessings. After almost 8 months of trying, I almost began to give up and so applied for a teaching job in Kuwait, got it and told Paul to get me on the same flight as him in August as we were getting married at some point before we flew out!! We went down to the Town Hall in July, set a date and had 4 weeks to plan and organise a minimalistic wedding as cost effectively as possible!! Mission impossible or what!
As I had been married before, I did not want a grand affair, and Paul being the Yorkshire man that he is (!) didn’t either! We had a guest list of about 30-40, all invited via a call or text message! Then we decided to approach the owners of the Turkish restaurant we had both visited over the last couple of years and grew to love. They agreed and gave us a decent quote, so we booked them. Next I got in touch with a cake maker I knew and we both decided to go with cupcakes, and she did a fab job for us with a slightly vintage look. A friend gave me a number of a local photographer who gave us a good quote, however I wasn’t impressed with the photo quality, and so googled wedding photographers in Sheffield and came across Mylo photography!
Joanne took pity on us (!) and gave us a very good quote and we absolutely loved working with them and loved the photos even more! We met them a week before the wedding and told them the plan for the day, and because the restaurant and Botanical Gardens were in the same vicinity as our old school, we asked our old school if we could take pictures on the school grounds as it was closed for the Summer. They happily agreed and made our day that bit more special! Kieron and Joanne also agreed to meet us at the hotel after the reception, for a few intimate shots just in the evening light.
So, wedding venue, photographers and cake were all done…oh and rings too! We went for simple wedding bands and ordered them right after we booked the Town Hall so they arrived in time. Now we had to go wedding dress shopping, and Paul wanted to come! Because we’re not bound by any traditions, I didn’t mind him wanting to take me dress shopping and so we decided to hit Belgrave Road in Leicester, as an initial starting point! I knew I didn’t want to wear red again as Asian brides do, and I knew that a Western white wedding dress would not look all that great with a hijab!
I tried on a few Asian outfits which were a mix of red and white, and then we spotted an unusual one that we both liked. We left it for it be adjusted, however when we came back to collect it they had pretty much bodged it up! By this point, I wasn’t sure of the colour purple for a wedding anyway! So in a way, the good-for-nothing tailor did us a favour, and instead I randomly came across my actual wedding dress in another shop (after getting a full refund, I should add) and I bought that instead! Paul also bought me a peach coloured outfit for our nikkah ceremony which took place the day before our Civil ceremony in a local mosque. We also went suit shopping for him, and that didn’t take all that long! He knew what he wanted and got his mum to order it for him! Though getting him to find a pink tie to go with my outfit was a bit more painful, though we got there in the end!
Do you think its harder to plan a wedding when the couples are from different faiths/culture etc?
I think it depends on what each person wants from the day. We both wanted our family and friends to enjoy our day, our way. They all knew the complexities that came with our relationship and so were very supportive and appreciative of being able to be part of our big day.
Because of my religious values, I thought that the whole not being able to drink at the wedding might be an issue for Paul’s family. However, they were all very understanding and accepting of our wishes and were just happy to be part of our day.
It would have been nice to involve our families more in the planning, but at the same time it would have come with some hassle too I imagine so it was better that we did it on our own, especially given the short time frame.
How did you and Paul decide on what you wanted for your wedding?
The fact that we had only 4 weeks gave us no time to stop and think about things, which worked out for the better really! Paul left the colour scheme (and I use that loosely, as it kind of happened after I stumbled across my wedding dress) to me, and I just went with the flow!
Do you have any advice to give to other multicultural couples?
Go with your heart. Have patience. Never lose hope in God’s help and guidance as sometimes in such relationships it’s required… a lot! Keep smiling! 🙂
Photography by Mylo Photography