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Our Wedding Day

Engagement + wedding band: I did not have any specific requirements, except I wanted something in yellow gold and a solitaire. Mashayek went with Australian Diamond Brokers and revealed very little as he wanted to keep it as a surprise. I absolutely adored both rings and how beautiful it turned out. 
 
Wedding planning

Planning duration: four months
Our approach: we set ourselves a very tight goal and we found ourselves on go-go mode the whole time. The upside was that we did not dwell on one task for too long. We picked a job, assigned responsibility, completed the work and moved on to the next one. However, this also meant that many of the tasks were rushed and we did not have time to do it as well as I would’ve liked.
Vision: my own first priority was finding photographers who would understand our culture and would be able to follow with our style. Photography is very close to my heart and I looked into this right from the beginning. I wanted to keep the styles different so decided not to have the same photographer for all three events. I’m also a huge lover of details, so I sat down and began brainstorming with my bestie. Luckily, she had prepared a list for me to work from so I had something to work off.
Wedding shopping: I was not very fussed about the kind of outfit I wore, except I knew I wanted something in teal, light blue or purple (my favourite colours). I knew I definitely did not want to go with red as it is not a colour I feel very comfortable in and I did not want to go with a colour that has been an all-time traditional wear in our culture. However, I realised I would have to compromise due to time constraints and differences in opinions with family members.All my outfits were purchased from overseas, so we were really pushed for time and had a terrible time facing the traffic in Dhaka (getting from one place to another was our biggest hurdle). The second biggest challenge was finding the item I had pictured in mind. It often did not match with expectations, so I ended up settling for something halfway (for example, I picked a gold lehenga which had a purple border).


Wedding events
Wedding duration: 3 days, over two weekends
Wedding theme/ style: Bengali
Events
  1. Pre-wedding function- holud/ haldi ceremony, Saturday night (will add once photos become available)
  2. Wedding Ceremony, Friday afternoon (keep scrolling this page to read more)
  3. Wedding Reception, Sunday noon (will add once photos become available)
Wedding ceremony
Style: simple and laid-back as both of our events were quite formal so this event was kept very casual.

Overview & highlights: We started off the ceremony just after 5pm, getting to the venue took longer than anticipated as there was unexpected roadwork near our venue. Luckily, we had allowed ourselves a bit of an extra time for travelling and managed to reach just on time. The ceremony was followed by canapés, outdoor photo shoots with all guests, dinner, speeches by family and friends and cake cutting. It was nice to have an intimate gathering, although this meant we had to exclude some families who were very close to us.

 


The details:
·        Seating arrangement: DIY place cards
·        Cake: supplied from Wolfies
·        Bouquet: made by best friend
·        Boutonniere: made by best friend
·        Bride outfit: Mone Rekho Sarees
·        Groom outfit: Hugo Boss
Key professionals

·       Photography by DC Images: we chose Dale because of his strong track record in the wedding photography industry. He certainly did not disappoint us with his amazing photos but I felt it have been made more personal if we had the chance to build further rapport earlier on. Unfortunately, both of us were running on a tight schedule in the last few weeks so it was hard to make enough room for this. I highly recommended meeting up with your photographer/s in advance, especially if you are particular about how you want something to be shot. Overall, we really enjoyed getting shot by Dale that night. He matched with the outdoor lighting and planned our sunset shoot, which happened to be my favourite part of the night.

·       Videography by DC Images: initially, we weren’t sure whether we should hire a videographer. I have always been very big on photography so I wasn’t very picky about this. I contacted a few videographer/ cinematographers but realised it was easier to go with one company taking care of both. Jeff from DC images shot us on the day. We haven’t received our video yet so cannot comment on how it turned out (usually takes about 3 months). 
·       Hair and makeup: I contacted around 21 makeup artists in total. I wanted to step away from the heavy South Asian/ Bengali bridal makeup that most brides opt for. I was after an artist who would work to enhance my natural features rather than change it all completely. I wanted to be able to still look recognisable (most Bengali brides end up looking like someone completely different!) The main problem I had was that most make-up artists want to do a trial with your outfit so the brides can get a feel for the look. But my outfit was stitched and brought from overseas so I did not receive it until a week before the wedding. As a result, I left my trial till the very last minute which limited my choice of artists. I was not entirely happy when I went for my trial with her few days before the wedding. The look she did was very different to what I had shown her. I will refrain from giving out her name as I was not satisfied with her service. However, I was able to find a very talented artist for my reception (will share more about her on the reception blog).
·       Henna/ Mehendi artist by Glam YOU: I contacted a few artists but chose to go with Supriya after seeing her work at our pre-wedding Henna stall. She was absolutely amazing, the guests loved her and that’s when I knew that she would be the perfect one to get my bridal henna done with. I decided to go with a very simple pattern because I think less is more, especially when all of the South Asian bridal accessories tend to be very bold. Supriya did a fabulous job following the designs I had picked out.

Reflection

I have delayed in writing this blog as it was initially very hard to sit down and have to think about something that was so overwhelming (click here to read about last month). I was waiting for my feelings to settle and I’m starting to realise, this is probably as good as it’s going to get. I have told myself I will focus on the positive and keep the rest to myself (for now at least).
Here are some tips to help any future bride or groom reading this blog:

1) Take charge early: It is never too early to start planning early. We did our entire wedding planning in less than four months, and it was only in the last three we took it up very seriously. I’m a huge planner so I would always research information whenever I had spare time. I had a million other things from work on my mind, so I put every single detail down on paper to help me remember. I struggled to find the time doing a full-time PhD and working on the side at the time, so I made use of my commute on public transport, breaks at work and squeezed in some browsing before bedtime.

2) Plan, plan, plan: Make sure plenty of wedding talk takes place between bride and groom so you are familiar with how things will run on the day. Go through every single detail you can possibly think of and write it down (if you have a bad memory like me). We tried to incorporate a lot of this in our regular every day conversations, but it was difficult as we were living in different cities and most of the planning was done over the phone. We tried to prioritise and set ourselves weekly deadlines which helped us complete tasks on time. But there were times when I set myself too many goals and felt disappointed for not doing enough.

3) Make sure to prepare a run sheet: It is likely that some things will fall apart but having an order in mind will help you get through it on the day. Go all out and plan a few extra things, the chances are you won’t get through all of them, but at least you will have a few moments when some gets ticked off. 

4) Learn to rely on others if you can: I have had some mixed experiences with this, but that does not negate the importance of relying on others. Start delegating tasks based on the expertise of others. As a bride, you can only do so much movement on the day, so I relied on my closest family and friends and I constantly bugged them whenever I was stuck.

5) Keep your focus on the sunny side: Let me just tell you frankly, this is not an easy one. I still continue(and probably will continue) to struggle with this. You should expect that some things will not go as per plan due to external conditions (i.e. weather) but the problem turns into a different matter when it is internal. The latter is complex and not as easy to let go as the former, especially if the act was deliberate and intentional.

Last but certainly not least, enjoy every moment of the planning phase and of course, on the big day as any other married couples would tell you. Unfortunately, I was very much on the go the whole time, I did not get to cherish my planning days as much as I should have. You will miss it once it’s over, especially the company of having your family and friends lending you a hand through the stressful times. I would like to acknowledge the people who supported me every step of the way- my mum and dad, my cousin and niece from USA and my best friend from Melbourne. I would say thank you to these amazing human beings, but even ‘thank you’ a million times would fall short for the amount of support they have given me. I hope you enjoyed reading about our wedding day blog. Check out more pictures below and feel free to leave me a comment from ‘contact me’ page. Stay tuned for the remaining parts 🙂

NB: all used photos were obtained from DC Images and cropped if required. No other edit or colour adjustments were made.
 
Useful links and resources
·        The Crimson Bride
·        Easy Weddings (website and app)

Father’s Day 2016

Happy Father’s Day! I’m going to follow the trend from last year and write another open letter-

Dearest daddy,
I cannot say enough to thank you. Everything I have become today is from the great guidance you have provided me. I don’t know how you did it- raising a teenager + having a full-time job + running the household. I’ve never thought of it from this angle because I had always been focused on studying. But ever since I started work this year, I have gained the insight to what it’s like to be working in a full-time role in the real world. It is so much harder than I ever imagined. I have no idea how you did it with the amount of responsibilities that came with your job. I have always tried to appreciate everything you have done for me but after getting a taste of full-time work this year, I have learnt to respect you at a whole new level!
I have no idea how you can be so selfless, it’s probably something I will never fully understand. I can’t possibly comprehend how difficult it would’ve been for you to have a long busy day at work, then coming home from work and looking after a crazy teenager, lending a hand with her homework or assignments, and be the sole person to manage the home. You are a true superhero in my eyes because you are always there to rescue me whenever I come across a bump on the road. You are always one-step ahead of me; you know how to get ahead of me and you know when to pick me up on a cushion to comfort me. You are my strength and weakness. I’m truly blessed to have someone like you to lookout for me.  I honestly don’t know what I would do without you; I would barely know how to function! I’m truly blessed to have a father like you to guide me in this journey called life. I hope I can show you just how much you mean to me this Father’s Day.

Love you always and forever,
From your little girl xo

Father’s Day bake: Peach and raspberry flan

Recipe: Australian Healthy Food Guide Magazine (February 2016)

Loss and grief- the sister I never met

As you can tell from the title, this is not my usual cooking or dining shenanigans story. This is actually quite sensitive so only read if you’re okay with a mushy topic like this.

Today, I had the privilege to attend a talk at my work where a lady spoke about the loss of her newborn baby.

She was absolutely amazing, I’m not one that usually gets emotional hearing other people talk about their losses but I did get teary in this one towards the end. It only took me a few seconds to work out why, it was because it triggered something else. But first, I want to share the lady’s story before I tell you mine.

The lady spoke about her baby who died two days after he was born because of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. This basically means, for some reason her baby had stopped receiving oxygen a week prior to her labour. He was in NICU after he was born but he had never opened his eyes, he had no brain function.

She spoke about all these memories she made with her baby while he was alive. She had a lot of photos the medical staff had taken for her. She introduced her baby to her family at the hospital when they met her for the first time and also said goodbye.
However, she does have many regrets, she says there are so many things she wishes she could have done with her baby but you just don’t think of it at the time because of the horrific process you’re going through. She suggested many things including getting hand or footprints of the baby, taking the baby outside for a walk or doing professional photography with the baby (I learnt there are organisations that do photography of stillborn or sick newborn babies, will share the link with you later). You may be thinking what are these are ridiculous ideas?
I’ll be honest with you. If you had told me about these ideas without the background story. I would’ve said- that’s just crazy! I mean, why on Earth would you wanna do these things with someone who isn’t going to make it? I mean the most you could probably do is take a photo with a normal camera but why would you wanna do professional photography? Professional photography is supposed to be only for happy tales only and doing it in this context is just depressing!

But hearing today’s story changed my perception completely! I had said earlier that triggered something in me and that’s why I’m writing this so I can process my experience in a healthy way. It took me back to the past and got me thinking about my mum who lost her first baby. As a kid, I never paid much importance to it because I thought, she only lived for a few days so it’s not like you could have much memory of her. Now thinking of it today, I can’t believe I had been so ignorant all this time!

It’s only today I realise, a loss is a loss – it doesn’t matter at which point you lose it or how long you’ve had it for. I never talked to my mum about the personal grief she experienced after my sister died. When I first heard about it as a kid, I thought it’s alright, she must be over it now because she has me now.

But what I realise today is that you can never be over it. Your life will never be the same after that loss.

We almost never talk about it because it’s been an awkward topic to address before today. All I know about her is that she was born in 10th November 1988; she was born premature, so that was why she didn’t live. To be honest, I don’t know if we have anything in common, other than the fact that we were both whisked away to ICU straight after we were born. It’s actually quite strange because I was more premature than her but I’m still here writing today 😛
I guess it was just luck and partly technology. They must have had better incubators by the time I was born.

I never asked my mum what she did with my sister or how she got to say goodbye. Prior to hearing this talk today, I thought there wasn’t much you could do other than hope and pray. I don’t know how she cherished the moment. I don’t even know if there’s a photo of her but I don’t imagine there would be because cameras weren’t as common in those days.

I can’t begin to comprehend what my mum must have gone through during this time. She’s one amazing obstetrician but I know even the strongest people would break down at times like these. I have heard from other people that she had gone through periods of darkness. I kind of wish I could’ve been a part of it but she was born before me, unfortunately. All this time, I thought there isn’t anything I can possibly do because it was before my time; but I realise today, there is one thing I can do.

I can still acknowledge her- that’s the reason I write this today. I realise that I’ve rarely used the term sister in the past and usually refer to her as my mum’s first child. I don’t even know why I did this, it wasn’t intentional but it’s only today I realise the importance of addressing her correctly. She is my sister whether she lives today or doesn’t. She may not be here with us today but we do have the ability to keep her alive through us.

Finally to finish off, my mum has come through her personal grief with scars of experience. I hope the pain has somehow diminished after all these years but I know it’ll always be a part of her. She will always hold a special place for her and I hope she’s watching us from above. 

I don’t have personal photos to share with you as I don’t have any, so I leave you with a picture from Heartfelt Photography. I’ve just had a look at their work because I got so curious as to how they photograph sick/dead babies and I have to tell you, it’s absolutely amazing what they do to make the photos look as beautiful as they can be! 
 

Photo taken from Heartfelt Photography