Natasha and Syed
Ft Lauderdale, Florida
Gown Designer | Mansha
Natasha and Syed
Ft Lauderdale, Florida
Gown Designer | Mansha
We met at Syed’s sister’s (Syeda) engagement party in November 2012. It was at The Park, which is a lounge in Chelsea, NYC. Syeda’s fiance (now husband), Russell, is a family friend and I was close to his sister, who invited me to the party. I was pretty late to the party as my best friend, Angel, and I had to attend a fundraiser earlier that night in another part of the city. When I got there, everybody was dancing and laughing and having a good time. Russell and Syeda introduced me to a bunch of their friends and Syed. Syed greeted me with a big smile and overconfidently said, “I’m going to date you”. I just laughed and chatted with everyone. Syed approached me and asked for my number, I was hesitant but gave it to him because I didn’t want to be rude to him as he was Syeda’s brother.
Syed: That night, I stayed over at my friend Jason’s apartment and in the morning I told him about this cute girl I met the night before. We looked her up on Facebook and I knew I was really interested. Natasha: He texted me soon after and we began to chat via text. We chatted for a few months and got to know each other. We hung out in groups with friends a few times and eventually became friends. Then started dating in May of 2013.
Syed and I had discussed getting married for some time before the proposal, so it was not a complete surprise. But, he wanted to surprise me somehow so he did a “fake out” proposal where he said to get dressed up because we were going to a nice restaurant for dinner. He made me believe he was going to propose but didn’t end up doing it. He took me to a lovely restaurant by the water in Long Island City, he seemed fidgety and nervous. I thought, oh my goodness, this is it, he’s going to propose. We had a lovely time, we chatted, we laughed, had dinner, then dessert. Nothing. He then said we should walk by the water, and I thought, okay, so he’s doing it by the water, that’s romantic! He drove around looking for parking, after 10 minutes of looking, he said “Ok! there’s no parking, let’s just go home”. I was like “really???”
The following weekend, we had planned to go to this restaurant in Northport, NY, by the water. Northport was very special to us because that’s where we first kissed. We planned to have a relaxing day – have a nice lunch there and then go shopping. We had so much going on with my new job in NYC and apartment hunting, that I was not thinking about the proposal. After a lovely time at the restaurant, we walked around the lake, which is something we used to do often when we first started dating in 2013. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining bright and the water glistened a beautiful blue-green. There were couples holding hands and children laughing and running around the lake. Syed said that we should sit down on one of the benches. He picked one further away from the crowds. As we were just chatting and staring out into the water, I told him I was really happy and he kept repeating “I love you. I love you.” It seems funny now, but I really did not think much of it. I picked up my phone to show him a photo of something and when I looked up, Syed was kneeling before me on one knee with a small open box which held a beautiful diamond ring, and he said “Will you marry me?” I was actually surprised and said “Wait…you’re really doing this right now?!” I just did not expect it at that moment, and although I had imagined that he would have given a mini-speech professing his love – looking back, I see now that the moment was truly beautiful. Of course, I said yes! The surprises didn’t end there. Syed then told me that we had to go home because my mom, sister, brother in law and nephew were all waiting for us at my apartment as they had driven down from Philly to celebrate. There was more hugging and excitement with my family, we called my dad also to share in the moment. Syed then revealed the final surprise – he had organized an engagement party with all of our close friends at spot in the city for later that night. When I got there, everyone yelled congratulations and it was truly wonderful to see so many of my loved ones there to celebrate such a special time in our lives.
It was SO stressful!! Two Bengali families + One wedding = Craziness! From the state in which to have the wedding to the venue to the vendors, it was challenging to make decisions which pleased both families and both Syed and I. However, we were able to pull it off and we now joke that if you can make it through wedding planning together, then you can make it through anything! I have to say, my sister/MOH, Alia, and my bridesmaids really helped keep me sane during this process. Syed and I chose most of our vendors based on references from our married friends. We fell in love with Phil (our photographer) when we met him at our friends’ Derek and Margarita’s wedding. Phil was sweet and super friendly, he actually joined in the party and we all had such a great time with him. He also had creative photo ideas and the photos came out fantastic. I couldn’t believe it when he even gave us photos the day after our wedding!! I also met my makeup artist, Affan Malik, through my friend Jen. He’s truly amazing. He not only did my make up for the two wedding events and made me feel like a Bollywood star, but he gave me opinions on various aspects of the wedding while we were in the planning phase, reconstructed my flower jewelry for the Holud, fixed my sister’s hair and makeup at the last minute, and during the reception, he even went back to our room and created a floral design on the bed from left over flowers just to make us feel extra special. As if all that was not enough, he constantly made me laugh during the whole process.
The day began with getting hair and makeup done. While I got ready, my bridesmaids visited and helped me with my jewelry. My aunt helped drape my red and gold wedding sari on me. After my makeup artist, Affan, gave me the final touches, my bridesmaid and I did a champagne toast in my suite. The girls looked beautiful in pastel green, pink and gold floral sarees, perfect for a Florida wedding. We had planned to have the ceremony outside on the terrace of the hotel, however, the weather was not cooperating and it was way too windy to have it outdoors. The ceremony was actually kind of funny because it did not go as planned at all. The ceremony was originally supposed to be in NY, but due to some changes, it was changed to be held in FL at the last minute and we booked an Imam at a family friend’s recommendation. Little did I know, not only was the Imam going to perform our wedding ceremony completely in Arabic, which we do not understand, but the Imam had another wedding he needed to attend right after our ceremony and he was in a rush! He also had me sit with the guests and performed the whole ceremony by having Syed and my father recite prayers. I had never seen that before. Finally, I realized we still needed to do the cultural ceremony and rings, so I told my sister, the MOH, to step in and take over so we could continue the ceremony. The reception was lovely. It started with our first dance to “Thinking Out Loud”. Our parents welcomed everyone and said some words about us. My mom read one of her favorite poems “On Marriage” by Khalil Gibran. The night was filled with beautiful speeches from our family and friends, the father/daughter dance to “My Girl”, the mother/son dance to “Because I Loved You”, and then we danced the night away with all of our family and friends. The cake was four tiers of white, pink and gold with delicious buttercream and the filling was cookies ‘n cream, which is Syed’s favorite flavor for everything. People loved the dessert bar provided by Salsan Events and the ice cream sundae bar from Kilwin’s was a hit! After the reception, we changed our clothes and headed to the restaurant downstairs with only our friends to continue the celebration in a more casual setting.
There was a moment near the end of the night when many of my friends and family were on the dance floor, we had formed a circle and were singing along to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” (it was playing at my request – great song!) – I was next to Syed (who was singing & jumping up and down) and I just looked around – everyone looked so happy and they were all having such a great time. There’s something truly special about being surrounded by so many of the people you love, knowing that they are there for you too – to celebrate our love. In that moment, I felt truly blessed.
Elope! Kidding 🙂 Don’t get caught up in the details of the wedding – colors, flowers, seating charts, etc. At the end of the day, what you will remember is the love you feel for your partner, all the people you love celebrating with you, the awesome music that kept the party going, and you’ll want fantastic photos as a keepsake of one of the most memorable moments in your life. Invest in a day-of coordinator or wedding planner if you have a demanding job. Splurge on your dress, hair/makeup, photography, DJ and desserts. And remember, have an amazing time!!
I’m 31 years old and Syed is 28 years old. I’m a Trial Attorney practicing immigration law – I specialize in the area of asylum claims related to persecution based on political opinion, sexual orientation & victims of domestic violence, sexual assault. Syed works in real estate and investments. His newest venture is that he and his partners are opening a chic modern bar/restaurant in NYC.