In a traditional, two-day Pakistani wedding last December, these high school sweethearts created an epic, transportive experience for their delighted family and friends.
When Rimsha Chowhan and her future husband, Zia Siddiqui, met as teenagers in high school, family and tradition were already a central theme in their relationship. “We met at a Pakistani physicians’ conference in D.C.,” she explains. “His parents are both physicians and my father too. We met through one of my best friends and we clicked instantly.”
Ten years later, the two were standing in the Muhammad Ali Center, exchanging vows and embarking on a traditional, two-day wedding celebration that took their guests on a wonderful, emotional journey that focused on family, friends and faith.
“It’s something we both always knew we wanted,” Rimsha explains. “I think I had one moment when I threw out the idea of a destination wedding, but I’m the only girl in my family with four brothers, so my mother quickly shut that down.” So, the couple and the bride’s family set about planning two perfect evenings at the Downtown Marriott— the first, a fun-filled, upbeat evening of music and dancing, centered around the traditional mehndi ceremony and the second, a more toned-down, elegant event with speeches, a cake cutting and a dramatic exit for the couple.
“You go through a lot of different feelings over the course of the weekend,” the bride explains. “The first night is all bright colors along with family and friends doing dances for the bride. By the end of the second night, the parents are crying as we make our exit. It’s a big mix of emotions.”
Central to both nights was the traditional Pakistani food, which they had catered by a specialty catering company in New Jersey. “It was extremely important to us that our guests ate well and that they had that authentic cultural experience,” she says. “But we also used as many local businesses as we could.” One local expert was wedding planner Ellen Fox, of ShaFox Weddings. “She was invaluable,” says Rimsha. “She helped bring all the little details to life— and there were many of them. But, more important, she was also so gracious to all of our guests. I’ve seen planners who get stressed and snap at people. But, as much as we had going on, she was always so nice to everyone. Culturally, that was very important to us.”
With two days of incredible food, stunning wardrobe changes and even a Saturday performance of Kanye West song “All of the Lights” by the Louisville Orchestra, it’s the moments with friends and family that have made the most lasting impression on this thoughtful bride.
“My father took singing lessons just so he could sing me a song. My brothers, cousins and friends all prepared dances for me. Zia planned a dance and he was really wonderful,” she says. “I was not expecting everyone to put so much effort into this; it was very humbling. I don’t think I could have asked for anything better.”
Planner: Ellen Fox with ShaFox Weddings & Events
Decor and Design: Millennium Events
Florals: In Bloom Again
Photography: Jordan Pantoja
Videography: Antonio Pantoja
Venue: Marriott Louisville Downtown
Caterer: Moghul Catering
DJ: Aumir Ahmad
Pakistani Band: Rajesh Bhandari
Cake: Mert’s Cakes