For the final event (of eight) to celebrate their marriage, Afnan Tariq planned an evening of family, music, elegance and cultural traditions for his new wife, Ayesha Ahmed.
Afnan and Ayesha met at an after-party at New York Fashion Week a few years ago, and began dating soon after. Afnan proposed last year while the couple was at Disney World. “Ayesha is a big fan of Disney, so I rented a special boat to propose during the fireworks.”
Both the bride and groom’s parents are from Punjab, Pakistan. In the Islamic culture, weddings consist of multiple events, some ceremonial and some more celebratory. Ayesha and Afnan's families celebrated with eight events over three weekends in St. Louis and Boston, “with outfit changes for each of them, too!” Ayesha laughs. The events include a mehndi (a night of song and dance), a nikkah (the religious ceremony), and a shaadhi (the giving away of the bride). For the valima, which is the reception hosted in the groom’s city, Afnan enlisted the help of his sister and parents.
The Tariq family drew inspiration from Afnan’s time spent living in Washington, D.C., and worked with the florist to deck the hall with thousands of cherry blossoms. Exclusive Events created a custom-made chandelier dripping with blooms. Guests enjoyed a ‘mocktail’ hour with stations offering traditional Pakistani and Indian street snacks called chaat, as well as seafood, cheese and grilled meats. The Tariqs also hired a consulting Pakistani chef to work with the chef at The Ritz-Carlton, creating traditional and authentic food.
The newlyweds enjoyed their first dance to Frank Sinatra’s The Way You Look Tonight, before breaking it down on the dance floor to Indio-Pak-Canadian entertainer Josh the Band, as well as a DJ and a musician playing the dohl, a traditional Pakistani instrument.
Ayesha says her favorite part of the evening was seeing the space for the first time. “Afnan had been telling me about it for so long, and when we walked into the hall and saw all the effort he and his family put into it, it was breathtaking,” she says.
The couple enjoyed an around-the-world honeymoon to Morocco, the Maldives, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
The Date: April 19, 2014
The Bride: Ayesha Hassan Ahmed
The Groom: Afnan Raouf Tariq
The Bride’s Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Hassan Ahmed
The Groom’s Parents: Dr. and Mrs. Manzoor Tariq
The Ceremony: Mandarin Oriental, Boston
The Valima: The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis
The Dress: Hassan Sheheryar Yasin, Lahore, Pakistan
The Rings: Cartier for him, private Manhattan jeweler for her
The Florist: Festive Atmospheres
The Cake: The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis
The Band: Josh the Band, and DJ Ice of Detroit, Michigan
The Tux: Tom Ford
The Photographer: Crystal Communications of Lahore, Pakistan
The Wedding Planner: Nimra Tariq
The Best Man: Dr. Shamail Tariq