But now it is over! Like so many days you think will never come, you see them come and leave and the world goes on. Subhan'Allah.
Sorry, I hope that didn't make it seem like we never expected Fahad to get married. Just a little aside.
The last week wasn't as hectic as I expected. We slowly got the house in order and made last minute preps for the wedding. I was given full authority to decorate the house as I pleased and I gladly took it!
On Thursday afternoon the guests started to stream in and the fun began! People came over to the house and got some last minute things ready. That night Fahad and Lubna rolled in from their honeymoon. The cousins and I blocked the entrance and wouldn't let Fahad and Lubna come in until he paid up. (This is another tradition like stealing the shoe which is another excuse to steal money from the poor groom.) Fahad first negotiated for us to let Lubna in which we accepted as we didn't want any money from her. Fahad was being a tricky one and ran around to the garage and got in from that door. He came in behind us and laughed but still gave us our money so we were happy! But he told the cousins not to split the money with me because I am married! That jerk!!! So, I did what any good sister in law would do and gave him the finger. Except instead of him seeing it, our Aunt turned around to get the finger right in her face!!! I was mortified!! (And this was caught on camera) Luckily she laughed it off and just made me promise not to go around giving the finger anymore.
Then Fahad and Lubna had to go sit on a seat we had prepared for them and we all sat around them and stared at them. Feraz suggested we get popcorn as we sat there just watching them do nothing. I actually felt a litttttle bad for them at this moment but then remembered that Feraz and I paid our dues at one time and now it was their turn! They were given gifts, flowers and a balloon that said "Welcome." Haha.
Then they were given some rice pudding to eat which is another tradition to welcome the new bride into the home. We stared as they fed each other and laughed at the silliness and fun of it all.
Finally, the couple was allowed to eat their food and we heard stories about their honeymoon in Blelize. Lubna wears hijab so for the water activities she wore a burkini which I had never heard of but sounds quite effective! They canoed, snorkeled and did other Belizish things.
The next day was an off day before the wedding so we were able to hang around the house, go to Friday prayer, welcome more guests that were arriving from out of town, do last minute things for the walima, and get to know Lubna better. Feraz and I went on an adventure to Canada (Windsor) to pick up some of his family from the train station. The ride back involved getting McDonalds so it was obviously a success.
That night Lubna's family came in to town so we went to the airport to pick them up. They joined us at our house where we hosted them for a dinner in our magical tent outside. We also had someone come in to apply mehndi/henna for the women. That night all the girl cousins crashed at one house. The boy cousins were at another house with the rest of the family split up between hotels, our house and other family members homes in the area. (Feraz's family is all over the world so we had lots of people flying in!)
And then! It was the big day!!! The morning was pretty relaxed. We got back to the house around noon where we ate lunch and figured out the schedule/program for the wedding. I did all the last minute things like get my bangels and jewelry ready and I ironed my clothes early because I knew there would be madness later!
At around four I went to get my hair and nails done and got quittte nervous at the salon because I hadn't realized we would have to leave the house by six or so to make it to the hall on time. When I got back home I was surprised to see that MANY more family members had come over and were getting ready all over the house. Unfortunately I didn't know most of these people and didn't get a good chance to talk to them. So in a whirlwind of colors, hot irons, make up, lotions and perfume we all got ready as fast as we could.
I rode to the hall with Fahad and Lubna who were happy and cute and not nervous at all for the big evening. When we first got to the hall I found my family and was sooo excited to see them. They were one of the only people there and I got teary eyed seeing them. Even though I have been back in the States for a while I haven't really had a chance to go home and see my family and I miss them so much! I was really happy that so many of them, including my brother were able to make it there!
I was a little nervous in the beginning because the hall was so empty and it was already 7 and the wedding was supposed to start at 6. It is really normal for desi weddings to start late so it is pretty typical for a "6 o'clock" wedding to start around 8 but I was still scared! It would have sucked if all that planning went in to it and only 25 people showed up! There was another wedding of a friend of ours that was going down the road and that made me worry about the attendance factor. But it was for naught! Soon the hall filled up and the couple got ready to make their entrance.
Before they came in, Lubna's family came in and we pinned them with flowers as they walked in. Lubna and Fahad walked in to an instrumental version of Bittersweet Symphony which sent chills through me! I didn't know that was the song they had picked and it was perfect.
The rest of the evening went off without a hitch. I surprised Fahad and Lubna with a little speech. It gave Lubna a heads up to some of the quirks of "Ashraf men" and I think people liked it! It definitely helped that I got to speak before dinner so I wasn't competing against delicious kebabs and chicken.
Fahad's friends did a little roast of him and we played a slideshow with a fantastic soundtrack that featured all of Fahad's chubby stages. The wedding went off smoother than I could have hoped for. The food and company was great, Fahad and Lubna were absolutely glowing and by the end of the night, I think we all left satisfied.
After the wedding we headed home and did what anyone would naturally do after a wedding. We went bowling at the most ghetto ass place we could find! I bowled an impressive 47! We did that until two am and then I headed back to the girl's house where all the cousins were hanging out. We stayed up until 5:30 am talking about cute boys at the wedding, traveling and how to be the hunter, not the hunted. ;)
And it wasn't over yet!!! The next day there was a brunch and even more hanging out at the house. The tent was taken down and we all packed into the house where we ate pizza, chicken, kebabs and biryani. Pretty amazing. That evening Feraz and I had yet another wedding to attend since my cousin was getting married! But I think there are only so many weddings I can blog about so I will stop here!
Everyone please pray that Fahad and Lubna have a successful, happy and loving marriage! May their love for each other be like the love the Prophet and Khadijah had. May they discover layers upon layers of beauty in life and each other in their union and may many, many beautiful nieces and nephews come into our life! AMEEN!