Nafessa and Michael
When social enterprise consultant Nafessa Kassim and business coach Michael Williams met each other for the first time in Los Angeles, little did they know that they were on the path to a long courtship and wedding straight out of a fairytale.
When Nafessa and Michael met for the second time at a Washington conference, sparks flew and a beautiful friendship developed organically. After a month of long phone calls and a 4.5 year old courtship period, Michael finally popped the question on the rooftop bar of W hotel with a special ring. Nafessa delightfully accepted and the couple went off to gorge on Chinese food and chocolate chip cookies with two of their friends recording all the action.
Nafessa and Michael chose to host their wedding at the Zama Beach Club at Isla Mujeres Mexico with Jewell Event Design helping them plan the event. The couple even designed their own wedding website and made sure their different ethnicities were reflected in a perfect combination at their customized ceremonies.
Given the wedding would be a mixture of South Asian and western traditions, the couple wanted to encompass the diverse religions and ethnicities of their guests. Nafessa and Michael showcased the beauty of accepting a diverse array of cultures and so chose an eclectic mixture of events – pithi, mehndi, welcome party, holi and beach games. Their choice of venue was one that was a beautiful vacation spot apart from being a boutique establishment small enough to offer them the privacy they needed.
The welcome party was a simple and sweet party with rooftop drinks. Both the bride and groom participated in the pithi and enjoyed the gorgeous spread of food, while for the mehndi, Rajasthani umbrellas and ethnic sarees were used as décor accents. The beach games party was a fun event as the couple used memorabilia from their long pre-wedding trip as props and guests all wore t-shirts saying “love is a journey.” The sangeet was very festive with a light adorned background with Indian accents. The table centerpieces were a variety of different artifacts with candles inside while a soft semi transparent gold runner decorated the table. The couple showcased their faces on frames of old and classic Bollywood posters along the table. The bangle and bindi counter lent some pizzazz to the entire event.
The couple chose a beach wedding as both feel a deep connection to water. The ceremony setting was a sandy beach with a beach background and pretty flower petals on the ground.
Instead of a typical religious function, the couple planned a beautiful spiritual blend – the bridal party read quotes from various religions along with a meditation session. The wedding was right before sunset with the beautiful rays of the sun shining behind the couple.
The beautiful beach reception featured tables dressed with a white diaphanous material and glittering chandeliers and bistro lights bathing everything with incandescent light. The centerpieces included gold votives with candles inside and cards bearing the country name, a picture of the couple in that country, and a poem or quote from the country, in the native language. The beautiful star-studded night sky with stars and the sound of waves created a romantic atmosphere as the couple danced to Dave Matthews Band’s “You and Me,” Sir Mix A Lot’s “Baby Got Back,” and even “Aati Kya Khandala” from the movie Ghulam. Later, There was a fun dance party with glow sticks and a mix of Indian and western music and even a Chuuro midnight party. Nafessa and Michael made sure that everyone (including themselves) had a blast at their wedding!
The couple advises that you think hard about what you love about weddings and then try incorporating that in your own wedding. Don’t forget to take into account the preferences of guests and family while also prioritizing and creating a special experience that will work for you!
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