Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Wedding Bonanza (part 2)


I've decided to write the Wedding Bonanza story is five parts.  I started with the holud and mehndi DIY, and this part is more about those events.

I'm going to focus on the holud.  It's a truly Bangladeshi tradition.  After the guests arrive, the groom's party arrives.  They are greeted by the bride's family.  Her siblings and younger cousins line up and feed them sweets and hand them small welcome gifts, such as roses decorated with ribbons.  They bring dalas, which are the gifts for the bride.  Usually, baskets are decorated and the bride's bridal clothes, shoes, matching purse, and various other new outfits.  Some dalas contain gifts (clothes) for the bride's immediate family, which in my case meant my parents, my brother, and my grandparents.  Different families do it differently, opting to gift out to the parent's siblings/aunts/uncles, as well.  Other dalas contain fruits and sweets.  These were arranged out in front of the stage, along with the sweets that the aunties in my community made.  If you're wondering where the groom is in all this - he's not invited!  While we chose to have a ladies-only holud, even at coed functions, the groom isn't invited to the bride's holud, and vice versa.  Don't worry, though - members of my family decorated dalas of our own which were brought to Char earlier in the day.

A collection of beautifully decorated dalas of clothes and food!

After everyone was seated with my almost-in-laws at a place of honor, I entered accompanied by my cousins.  Traditionally, everyone in the bride's party dresses in yellow and the groom's in a contrast color, but I exercised a little bridezilla power.  I wore a yellow sharee (sari), my guests wore reds and oranges, and my in laws wore blues and greens.  My mom's best friend conspired to purchase matching sharees for the aunties and separate matching sharees for my friends.  If so many of them weren't hijabis, I might have posted the pictures!  Everyone lined up to put turmeric paste on my forehead and cheeks and feed me a bite of sweets.  This tradition is to wish the bride well and make du'a (give blessings) for the upcoming marriage.

After dinner the fun really began.  There was a show!  Many of the community aunties had prepared acts such as dances, skits, and poetry.  Since my in-laws are Pakistani, they incorporated some Urdu into their acts as well.  They really wanted them to feel welcome as the newest members of our community.  In addition to the aunties, my cousins and friends and little girls in the community also performed dances, down to my cousins children!  It was so cute!  My cousins did a really heartfelt dance to a Bangla song and my friends danced to BSB!  My in-laws prepared a couple of songs too!!  The surprise my mom and I planned for everyone was that I sang - I don't perform anymore, but I've been training since I was five, and aunties always tell me I should keep it up cause they love my voice (not to toot my own or anything, haha).  It was very exciting to perform and also kind of scary to sing for my mother-in-law-to-be, but she seemed to enjoy it.

After all the performances, we opened up the dance floor.  The highlights of that are my mother, Nanu (maternal grandmother) and Nanu's sister getting their grooves on!  It was a great night and you could really feel the love.

I want to end with this photo of my sharee/look.  I've (weirdly) colored in my head and neck because I'm not wearing hijab, but iA from now on, I won't be blocking out my face from photos.  The sharee itself is a yellow net in the lehenga style, meaning there are no pleats in front.  I chose this for it's beautiful color scheme of green, blue, and pink (and yellow!).  The blouse was made to fit with a three-quarter-length sleeve so that I can wear it again when I'm not with ladies only. ( :  I'm wearing flower jewelry in the traditional style, although mine isn't made from fresh flowers as it sometimes is.

The outfit I wore for my holud!  I loved the colors and the materials.  I'm wearing tradition flower jewelry, and I did my eye make-up to match, using yellows and greens.

Hope you've enjoyed!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Wedding Bonanza (part 1)


So now that wedding craziness is over, the furniture is purchased, and the apartment mostly settled, I thought I'd start to share some of the prep that went into the big day(s).

There were five events.  That's right.  FIVE.  IN A ROW.
1. First, obviously, there was a bachelorette party.  I didn't do anything DIY for it, but it could not go unmentioned.  No boys and no booze, just a few lovely ladies out to have a good time.  And let me tell you - we did.  I don't think I had such a good workout in weeks!
2. Second, I had a small mehndi with a group of female friends and cousins.  I got my bridal mehndi done by one artist, and another was there to do smaller designs for the attendees.
3. The next night, there was a traditional Bangladeshi holud.  It's a ceremony during which guests wish the bride prosperity.  It's called a holud because of the use of turmeric, which is made into a paste and applied to the bride's face.  In addition to the blessings that she is receiving, the turmeric also serves to brighten the skin, leaving it glowing.  The yellow brings out the golden undertones in our skin.
4. The fourth evening was the actual wedding.  We were married by an Imam, followed by a whole night of speeches, slideshows, and schmoozing with out 500+ guests.
5. The final event was the walima, which is a reception hosted by the groom's family.  It was a smaller gathering, but just as lovely.

Let's start with the mehndi and holud.

The mehndi was held in my parents' basement with a backdrop done up by one of my lovely cousins with sharees and Christmas lights.  Alhamdulillah it was very nice, until it got pulled down by guests.  Oops!  Here's a shot of my beautiful mehndi done by Henna Cafe, and you can see the bright background!

My and Char's names were written in mehndi hidden in the designs.  Tradition dictates that he has to find our names on the wedding night!  Hehehe!!

 As I explained before, the holud is a celebration of the bride.  We had a small(ish) ladies-only gathering that lasted into the night.  A tent was sent up in my parent's backyard to accommodate the 140 or so women and girls that were in attendance, with a stage on one side.  The stage and all the decorations were done in-house.  My parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and parents' family friends painted the backdrop, the stage covering, and set up the decorations.  And!  They decorated the buffet tables with fabric flowers!  At a holud, the dinner is prepared by the host, but all the sweets (and there were tons!) are a potluck event.  Every auntie bought a different kind of sweet, in addition to the amazing food and sweets my mom made.  It was really something.

More later, friends.


Metallic Mani #2


I wasn't going to post this tonight, as I'd already published, but I guess I got too excited.  I'm trying the metallic Sharpie French mani that I saw on Concrete and Nail Polish, a nail blog I enjoy.  I'm kind of obsessed with Sharpies so I already had all the supplies on hand!  I started by trying all three metals (gold, silver, and bronze) as tips over two coats of Essie's Brooch the Subject.  I didn't love it - the colors were weirdly difficult to distinguish against the base.  So I changed it up a bit, using Essie's Topless and Barefoot instead, a beautiful pink nude.  I stuck with one color (gold) and to spice things up, I added a bit more than simple French tips - STRIPES!!!

Top: the first go round.  Index - silver, Middle - bronze, Ring - gold
Bottom: current iteration.  Thick gold tips with stripes(!) on the index and pinky!

One thing to watch out for is to make sure the Sharpie is dry, and then carefully applying the top coat.  Otherwise you'll end up with smudges!!  Blech.

Have fun trying this with any base color and any Sharpies you can find at home or at work!  Think of designs like polka dots or stripes, or go crazy with an Olympic theme.  ( :




I read an article a few days back about a lovely Sikh man who hung out around New York City in a Captain America costume - complete with beard and turban!  (He wrote the article.)  He describes his worries and expectations and the outcome and experiences.  He received a lot of attention and most of it was raving.  He wanted to challenge the thinking that Captain America, the idea and what he stands for, has to be defined by and as a white male.  And I think he succeeded.  Kudos to him for having the courage to introduce a new idea to the world.

While reading, however, I started to think about whether we all needed to make spectacles of ourselves to encourage people to be more open-minded and think critically about society today.  Now, I don't think that what Vishavjit did is ridiculous - I actually really applaud him.  I want to be clear that he is awesome-sauce.  I agree that being outspoken is the only way to approach it - no one ever inspired a revolutionary movement by sitting around silently.  And sometimes being outrageous is the right way to make a point.  I just wonder if pageantry is ever going to stop being the only way to open dialogue.  How sad for us.