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!
Navin: We met at work at a bank, July 2007. We worked in different teams but covered the different parts of the same broad industry. When we met, Faika was new to the firm while I have been there a few years. We were working late and she didn’t know how to order food on the firm’s system, so I gave her my appetizer – best investment ever. Also, they say food is the path to a man’s soul, seems it works both ways. It was in the middle of credit crisis, so financial sector was blowing up, while work wise it was terrible, we both lived in fear of getting fired any day and having to pack up from USA and go back home – it meant we had less work to do and more time for each other. That was a blessing in disguise.
I always knew she was the one. I introduced her to my family just mere weeks into dating. I gave her a greetings card with paper ring in it on our six month anniversary. We were not in a rush to the finish line though, we enjoyed being in love. And finally in 2016, we made it official, in beautiful Tuscany, Italy – with a thousand year old church in the backdrop and green open Tuscany all around. We had our religious ceremony then in July 2016, and it was 9-years to the day we first went out.
Navin and Faika’s 3 part celebration kicked off with the holudh event at the Radisson, which traditionally, has lots of dancing and performances involved. Friends and family members showed their moves on the dance floor and stage. As with most Bangladeshi wedings, their decorations are amazing!