Zeenat and Ismail tied the knot on 22 April 2017 at Gausia Manzil in Cape Town. Surrounded by 250 friends and family members, their wedding is best described as elegant, happy, and magical. Today we take a closer look at the wedding planning and the wedding itself, as Zeenat answers a few of our curious questions!
How did the two of you meet?
Ismail and I met through friends, sparking a conversation over waffles and ice cream one Friday night. We swapped numbers, chatted over the phone and arranged our first official sushi date a few days later. The rest that followed is, as they say, history.
Tell us about the proposal and don’t leave any details out! We’re way too curious.
I am originally from the UK and most of my family and friends, including my immediate family, still live there. As a result, Ismail’s proposal was a more official one, allowing both families to meet each other, especially my mum and sisters who were in Cape Town for a short holiday in August last year. We arranged for the two families to meet at my grandparent’s house on a Saturday afternoon, over tea. Although my ring was not yet ready at this time, to make the occasion a little special, I had a set of pretty cupcakes made with the caption He Asked, She Said Yes and created a pretty pink dessert table.
Describe your wedding day.
Indian weddings tend to be spread over a few days with lots of singing, dancing and plenty of food and ours was no different.
The official start of the wedding kicked off on the Wednesday before the wedding with a mehndi or henna ceremony as well as an official engagement and exchanging of gifts between the two families. As this is a very traditional occasion, I wanted the look and feel to replicate India in all her fine and vibrant glory with plenty of fun and colour for our 120 guests. My extremely heavy and intricately embroidered dress was designed in the UK by my sisters and custom made in India and weighed nearly 12 kilograms. Despite the weight, I still managed to join my family in eating, singing and dancing until the wee hours of the morning.
Our reception, which we decided to hold on the Saturday and one of my best memories of seeing Ismail all suited and booted as he is normally a jeans and T shirt kind of guy. We spent the afternoon with our photographer, taking style shoots in and around Bishopscourt before heading to the reception venue and it was so wonderfully relaxed and fun.
What was your colour scheme or theme? How did you incorporate it in your décor?
I had wanted a magical garden theme for the reception, with plenty of whites, greens and gold for the stage, table décor and bouquet. The venue was recently revamped and the white washed walls, and lightly coloured tiled floor really lent itself well to the overall décor. The fonts of all my stationary, date pencils and invitations, menu and welcome signs were all in gold and the entrance table and guest tables had plenty of lit candles and white flowers.
How did you feel just before you walked down the aisle?
Mainly Nervous, very excited to see the hall, and a bit relieved too, knowing that all the planning and stress over the last few months was finally over.
Most memorable part of your wedding? And how did it make you feel?
Unknown to me, my sisters had organised a large projector screen and played a video clip with short messages from all my family and friends in the UK who could not attend the wedding. It was such a lovely thing, and really surprised everyone in the hall and bought a tear to my eye.
Another was in the entrance to the venue. I wanted something completely different in the foyer to welcome my guests and so decided on a doughnut wall, I found the peg boards on sale at Typo and decorated the edges with flowers from China Town. The doughnuts were actually mini cakes, baked in the shape of a doughnut and decorated in green, whites and golds.
A final standout feature was our wedding cake, which was elegantly decorated in cream and hold icing on the outside, while the opposite side had the British and South African flag to represent where we both come from.
What was the funniest thing that happened on the day? We also want to giggle…
My ten year old cousin gave the most hilarious, sweet yet equally embarrassing speech.
How long did you have to plan your wedding? Was it enough time? If not, how much time would you have liked to plan your wedding?
We only had eight months to plan the whole event. Although a very tight time frame, this was the only time in the calendar when all members of my family were able to attend. While we fine-tuned the main aspects, I sent out save the date pencils so that guests from the UK, Canada, Australia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Pakistan were able to book airline tickets. It was nearly not enough time to plan and ideally I think you need a minimum of a year.
What or who helped you the most with your wedding plans? And how or in what way did it help you?
I could not have managed without my sisters and mum, they took a lot of the stresses away from me, which allowed me to actually enjoy the run of to the wedding. From the running around for things, to being at the venue early on to ensure everything was in order, they helped ensure everything ran like clockwork and to my desires.
Do you have any advice for couples currently planning their wedding?
Organisation is essential – try and do as much as you can as early on so that you are able to enjoy the time nearer to the big day.
Your honeymoon… Where? When? What did you do? How did you feel? We are so curious!
We had a mini-moon in the Garden Route immediately after the wedding which gave us a week to fully relax and unwind and then our ten day honeymoon to Thailand in August.
Photos by: Fayros Jaffer from Life In Pictures