I have such a soft spot for weddings steeped in culture and tradition, and particularly ones that are so different from my own heritage. It's such a cool perk of the job - getting to learn about other cultures through their wedding traditions. Nida and Aamer's families are from Pakistan, and so they chose to include many traditional elements in their wedding day, while also blending in some of their own personalities. It made for a very unique wedding experience for their guests!
These beautiful photos are courtesy of Kat Hartigan of Kat/Eye Studios.
Aamer wore pieces that belonged to his grandfather, including his watch. His beautiful headpiece was hand-carried from Pakistan, in pieces, by a family member and reassembled that morning. It was incredibly heavy!
After getting ready at the Fairmont Hotel, Nida and Aamer had their first look at the beautiful, lush Lakeshore East Park, just behind the hotel. It was the perfect backdrop and the weather could not have been more delightful!
In Pakistani tradition, it is customary for the groom to travel to the wedding accompanied by his family members, in a processional called a Baraat. Following their first look, the couple parted ways so that Aamer could have a traditional Baraat with his family and friends. When they arrived at Zhou B Art Center, Aamer and his party were escorted up to the entrance by a dhol drummer and flautist, where they were greeted by Nida's parents and escorted inside. This was one of the most magical parts of the day; to see the two families come together with such joy and anticipation was so memorable. I especially love the photo below where Nida and Aamer's mothers are embracing - so beautiful!
Nida and Aamer were very clear in their design direction from the very beginning; they wanted it to be contemporary and modern with elements of warmth and approachability. Sophia and her team at Kehoe Designs executed this design so flawlessly.
The ceremony decor was incredibly breathtaking! I even heard a few wedding guests literally gasp as they walked into the space! The gorgeous drapery was the perfect backdrop for their ceremony, and the lighting overhead and down the aisle made the space feel so magical.
It was so much fun working with Nida, Aamer and Kehoe Designs to design their dinner and dancing space. Zhou B Art Center is such a blank slate with plenty of concrete, pillars, raw ceilings and so much natural light! Aamer spent much of his childhood in Hong Kong, so one of the things he knew he wanted to incorporate was an assortment of Chinese lanterns. We opted to suspend them from the ceiling, which really made the space feel so full and brought your eyes up the moment you stepped into the room! Nida and Aamer knew they didn't want to overdo it with floral, so the blooms they did include had sentimental value for them, which was so special. Their unique table numbers, designed by Magnificent Milestones, were such a fun illustration of the cities where they were born, Chicago and Lahore, in Pakistan.
Guests were really ready to party once dinner was over! We kicked dancing off with a beautiful medley of songs performed by Nida's siblings and nephews, and a few heartfelt toasts given by some of their dearest friends. DJ Damaniac from DesiBel Entertainment and his talented musicians kept Nida, Aamer and their guests dancing for hours - even Aamer got in on the fun!
We ended this incredible day with a sparkler exit and a quick outfit change for Nida! So much fun!!
Before we go, I have to share a few more great photos of Nida and Aamer. Kat from Kat/Eye Studios captured their dynamic personalities so perfectly!
Venue: Zhou B Art Center
Hotel: Fairmont Chicago
Photographer: Kat/Eye Studios
Videographer: Smiling Toad Productions
Floral & Decor: Kehoe Designs
Catering: LM Catering
DJ: DesiBel Entertainment
Hair & Makeup: Bianca Sansosti Artistry
Invitations & Day-of Papers: Magnificent Milestones
Seating Mirror: Reenie Rose
Linens: Windy City Linen
Photobooth: Shutterbooth Chicago
Transportation: M&M Limousine Service