We left off with Part I at the Ismaili Centre Toronto, where Azim and I had our Nikah ceremony and became legally married.
That evening, I went home to my parents’ house to get my beauty sleep, and Azim went home to his to scramble and finish last minute details like writing his speech 🙂 I think he had a little bit of time to sleep in the next morning, but call time was 7:30 am for me and my bridal party!
I’m including the “Getting Ready” in this post, because it was such an important part of my day. It’s not so much about the makeup and hair – although getting glammed up was a lot of fun – it was more about spending time with my best friends before one of the most momentous occasions of my life.
I don’t think my mom got any sleep at all between a combination of nerves, and getting up at 4am to prepare a breakfast spread fit for a group of elite athletes. She baked croissants, mini quiches, blueberry muffins, and more. I made sure we had mimosas 🙂
Hair and makeup arrived a little before 8am to get the process started. There were 10 of us all together (7 in my bridal party, my mom, my Ah-po, and me), so they needed roughly 5 hours from start to finish to get us all done up. For brides who are interested, here is the schedule I put together:
|Bridal Party||Time Start||Time Finished||Artist|
|Jocelyn||8:15 AM||9:30 AM||Wida|
|Amentha||8:15 AM||9:00 AM||Mitra|
|Lillian||9:30 AM||10:15 AM||Wida|
|Hanan||9:00 AM||9:45 AM||Mitra|
|Marilee||10:15 AM||11:00 AM||Wida|
|Jasmine||9:45 AM||10:30 AM||Mitra|
|Janet||11:00 AM||11:45 AM||Wida|
|Laura||10:30 AM||11:15 AM||Mitra|
|Alison||11:15 AM||12:00 PM||Mitra|
|Bridal Party||Time||Time Finished||Artist|
|Ah po (Grandma)||7:30 AM||8:15 AM||Vanessa|
|Lillian||7:30 AM||8:15 AM||#2|
|Marilee||8:15 AM||9:00 AM||Vanessa|
|Laura||8:15 AM||9:00 AM||#2|
|Janet||9:15 AM||10:00 AM||Vanessa|
|Alison||9:15 AM||10:00 AM||#2|
|Jocelyn||10:15 AM||11:00 AM||Vanessa|
|Hanan||10:15 AM||11:00 AM||#2|
|Amentha||11:15 AM||12:00 PM||Vanessa|
|Jasmine||11:15 AM||12:00 PM||#2|
I won’t share my entire detailed wedding timeline here, but I will say that it helped immensely, and is the reason why everyone was on time and knew where they needed to be when. If I wasn’t in my current line of work, I’d be in event planning for sure! Happy to help any brides who are trying to DIY 🙂
Besides getting our hair and makeup done (both services I would highly recommend, and will include in my upcoming “Vendor Dream Team” post), I also spent some time giving everyone very small gifts and letters to say thank you. It was the very, very least I felt I could do to express my gratitude to my friends for supporting me, always, and for standing by my side on my wedding day.
We also did a “first look”, since none of them had seen me in my wedding dress yet! I love how these pictures turned out – can’t you just feel the love radiating off the page? I am seriously so lucky to call these women my best friends.
After we were all ready (ahead of schedule!!), we took two XL Uber blacks to transport us to Hart House. For those of you contemplating how to get from your home/getting ready place to the venue, I would recommend Uber. You can book ahead of time (up to one month), so you have peace of mind that your ride will be available. It was much, much cheaper than renting a limo! We had a slight hiccup when one of the Ubers got stuck in traffic on his way to us, but it worked out in the end, and that is a problem you’d potentially face with a limo too.
Concurrent to this, Azim was getting ready with his groomsmen at an Air BnB. He had a much later start to the day, and was able to get ready at a more leisurely pace. As my dad says, for the groomsmen it’s really just a shower and a shave 🙂
They arrived at the venue by appointing drivers and taking their own cars (based off of who was going to be DD, and who needed a ride at the end of the night. Being meticulous with this was another way I stayed organized!).
When the groomsmen arrived, they ushered guests to their seats. When we arrived, we hid in the bridal suite and took some pictures with each other.
I was overall very calm, and really felt like I was enjoying every moment. My dad remarked afterwards that he was so, so happy that I did. He was worried that I’d placed huge expectations on my big day, and that I’d be disappointed and stressed out. But that wasn’t the case at all!
I definitely had big expectations, but I had also planned and prioritized so that I wouldn’t have to stress out. My detailed timeline meant that everyone who had a role to play understood what they needed to do when, and any remaining stress I had was relieved by my wedding planner. I was more than happy to prioritize my spending to include Michaela and her services – without her I don’t think I could have stayed as “in the moment” as I was.
One of my absolute favourite moments of the entire day was right before I walked down the aisle. I don’t have any photos of this, which is ok because I don’t think this feeling could have been captured on camera. I was hiding in the chapel with my bridal party and my mom, and we were all standing in a circle, giddy with excitement. We could hear the guests outside because the stained glass windows were cracked open, and the sunlight was pouring in. I was overcome with gratitude, and felt surrounded (literally) by love and support. I’ll never forget that.
For the processional, I had our string quartet play Pachelbel’s Canon in D – it had been my mom’s dream to walk down the aisle to this for her own wedding, so I was happy to make her dream come true, 33 years later 🙂
Walking up the steps to Azim, and my dad acting as officiant, will forever be one of my favourite memories. It was so incredibly meaningful to me to have my dad proceed over our ceremony, and to have Azim’s dad read a beautiful poem.
Azim and I also wrote and exchanged our own vows, so from start to finish the ceremony was incredibly personal and felt very true to who we are.
After we exchanged rings and kissed, we practically bounced back down the aisle (to Mendelssohn’s Wedding March because I AM A CLICHÉ AND PROUD) :D, and had our first moment alone together all day! We did it! Woohoo!!
After the ceremony, we took LOTS AND LOTS of family photos, and then photos with the bridal party and groomsmen. While they enjoyed cocktail hour, we took photos with just the two of us, and also hid in the bridal suite and practiced our opening dance 🙂 I’ll save the details of that, and our reception, for the next post!
Thank you so much for reading!! Xox