With so many fun and unique elements incorporated into one wedding day, it is impressive how pared down and chic Shawn and Nishat were able to keep this fabulous garden wedding in New York! Starting with a simple color palette and finding exciting ways to add both of their family's heritage into the day you will not want to miss a single moment of this late summer soiree.
Shawn and I prided ourselves on being able to maintain a timeless, romantic feel while also incorporating elements from our many backgrounds. We knew we wanted our wedding in New York, where I grew up, and a city that is one of the most diverse in the world. Our vision for the wedding was white and green with hints of blush. We felt it would be clean and elegant to match the Palm House. We also loved the dotted lighting that used to be present at the Palm House prior to its renovation, so we elected to have amber uplighting along the beams of the venue and bistro lighting along the wall, to replicate its sparkling, romantic, “lit only by candlelight” feel.
Our ring bearer and flower girl, both my first cousins once removed, are mixed in race - the ring bearer is half Bangladeshi, half Czechoslovakian, while the flower girl is half Bangladeshi, and of mixed European descent. During the ceremony, we incorporated a Persian tradition of exchanging a taste of honey on our fingers. After our ceremony and prayer with Imam Shamsi Ali, who is a world-renowned scholar, you can see that we incorporated a private Chinese tea ceremony in the Palm House. Shawn’s Chinese lion dancing troupe from college, Penn Lions, also performed during our reception.
For more entertainment, we also had Denise Fike, a live fashion illustrator local to Philadelphia (where we had met in College), draw portraits of our guests and their outfits. She sketched a range of clothes including saris, American dresses, and Chinese outfits.
Finally, our neon sign for the photobooth reads "#shahafiei" - a blend of our Persian and Bangladeshi last names, Shafiei and Shahabuddin. As far as outfits, my ceremony dress was custom made - I sketched it myself and had a vendor from India make it. I wanted something timeless for the first dress - modern, minimalist, elegant. For my reception dress, I wanted something more romantic - something that reminded me of the embroidery and intricate decor that South Asian dresses often have.
We made the seating chart and ceremony program posters, as well as the copper frames. I also made and assembled the “Reserved for” seating signs. The last big DIY project was the wedding favor. I love sweets and I used to work at a bakery (the irony is I am a dentist), so I made 200 cupcakes - white cupcakes filled with a black cocoa pudding and topped with vanilla frosting, and vice versa for the other cupcake - black and white to maintain the "timeless" theme. I ordered custom M&Ms that were branded with our “NS” logo to decorate the cupcakes. I ordered the boxes and ribbons, designed and printed the stickers, and assembled everything with Shawn and our siblings as helpers - it was truly a family effort!