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Venue: Westfields Marriott, Washington, DC
We had 550 people at our wedding — and we pulled it off!
Alias and I met on a blind date through family, on June 10, 2006, and we were married almost exactly a year later, on June 9, 2007. We have so much in common, not the least of which is that we're both University of Virginia alums — I just completed my undergraduate degree last year, and Alias graduated a few years ago.
Both the ceremony and the reception were held at the Westfield Marriott. Our Bella photographers — recommended to us by the Marriott wedding planner — were really great and made good use of everything the location had to offer. Our friends and family have been raving about the photos ever since they were posted.
Nervous? No, I wasn't nervous, but I guess that's because I planned the whole wedding myself. I was really all over the place, so busy the first part of the day that I didn't have time to think about it. Also, Alias and I spent the whole day together, we weren't superstitious about that.
I didn't have a bridal party. I have a large family and many close cousins, and it would have been really difficult to choose just a few people. My cousins were my closest female confidantes on my wedding day — my "saviors," my support.
Organizing everything for that many people was certainly stressful. We had family come in from all over for the wedding — lots of family. But once I had my hair done by 4 p.m., it was two hours until the ceremony and I was home free!
We are both Afghan, and we had a Mullah conduct our ceremony. I remember that when he asked if I take Alias as my husband, we suddenly weren't sure who was supposed to speak, so Alias accidentally spoke for me and said "yes".
There were many beautiful Afghan traditions during the ceremony. Initially, I wore a green dress, as that color symbolizes happiness, fruitfulness and the good life. We had the traditional Henna ceremony, where we saw one another in the mirror beneath a green cloth, and read passages from the holy Quran. Then the oldest person in our family decorated both mine and Alias's hands with henna.
We toasted with sparkling cider, since alcohol is not allowed in the ceremony, the holy part of the wedding. We had a wonderful Afghan singer, whom we flew out from Los Angeles for the reception. Once the celebration started, and the alcohol flowed, we never left the dance floor!
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