Navin and Faika’s wedding celebration continued with the mehndi event, held at the poolside of their family home. Considering it was winter, the temperature was just right for an outdoor party (especially for a Malaysian like me who doesn’t like the cold!). It was quite an intimate event, with only close friends and family attending the event. I love the intricate mehndi art on the arms combined with the gorgeous bangles that were given as a gift to the guests.
1.5 years before their wedding, Navin and Faika spoke to me over Skype, all the way from New York city. They were planning their Bangladeshi wedding way ahead of time, and soon, we were hired to photograph their event in 2017. By this time, I have been to Bangladesh a number of times, and it felt like familiar ground once I stepped off the plane in Dhaka once again. For Jamie and Jennifer who were with me, it was their first time traveling there, so the experience was new and exciting. The moment we arrived at our hotel, we were welcomed with a gift from the couple, which included wet wipes, chanachur snacks, medication for tummy aches, mosquito repellant and more! They were so thoughtful and we felt blessed to be part of this wedding.
As part of the usual wedding celebrations in Bangladesh, there are the exchange of gifts. It’s pretty similar to our Muslim weddings here with our ‘hantaran‘ exchange between the families. But one major difference is that we do not have this giant fish which is usually decorated to represent the bride and groom. It was a huge fish, and weighed about 20kg each!
From the fun chip san leong games to the religious akad nikah ceremony, Zaha and Rachel’s fusion wedding was filled with laughter and tears. I love how the bride DIY-ed a tissue paper flower wall for her Chinese tea ceremony, which turned out gorgeous in the photos. The red contrasted so well with the white gown!
It was their love of children that brought them together…and their desire to serve the Lord. Surrounded by children from their church’s kid’s ministry, Samuel and May just considered each other as acquaintance. It was April 2015, and they didn’t really talk to each other. Neither were they attracted to each other. In fact, May was not even thinking of getting into any relationship at that time. It all changed one day, when…
May: …the Holy Spirit spoke to me at night and told me to send “him” a text but I wasn’t sure who that was. So I scrolled down the contact list inside my mobile phone. My finger stopped at Sam’s name instantly but I ignored it at first. Then I scrolled backwards and my finger stopped at his name again. So I sent him a message. Surprisingly, Samuel replied me promptly and then he started to text me from that moment on for a month.
During Mother’s Day at church, he gave me 2 pink plastic roses while the other volunteers (kids impactors) received 1 “purple” rose. I felt weird but received it.
Next, he started to flirt with me and asked me out for coffee after the event. On the second movie date, on 27 May 2015, he confessed his feelings to me. Strangely, he held my pinky finger and my face felt warm and nervous. Then he held my ring finger and continued to middle finger. My heart was beating fast and I didn’t know what was going on. We held ‘fingers’ till the movie ended. And at the car park, he held my hand and asked, “Would you like to be my girlfriend?”
Christian and Sindee first met in Vienna years ago when she was a student there. After being together for 15 years (which is amazing on it’s own), they flew back to Malaysia in 2016 for their wedding. For both the tea ceremony and the evening reception they wanted to have simple, elegant and fresh décor. They had an oriental touch with Chinese elements, such as lanterns, the double happiness stand, and local flowers which matched very well with the 1930s chinese jazz music the band was playing. The best part of the evening was their grand entrance with a lion dance performance!
Personally, I love seeing a blend of different cultures coming together like this. It tickles me to see all these ‘mat salleh‘ in our local terms (or rather, foreigners) playing fun games and eating chicken feet to get to the bride. You can’t tell from these photos, but Chris was suffering from bad food poisoning the morning of the wedding. He was such a trooper, and didn’t allow the tummy aches from robbing his joy! It was a lovely day filled with wonderful moments and we are so glad to be part of this celebration.