My unconventional wedding story!
It was the time I finished my Electrical Engineering when everyone in my family knew it was now time for me to get married, however, I had planned otherwise. I knew I wanted more from life, I knew I wanted to study more and that there is a lot more for me to explore before finally settling down. Keeping that in mind I started applying for Masters in IT in universities in Melbourne. Like any other desi girl, I faced a lot of resistance from my family and taboos such as “abhi or parhna hai?”, “ap shaadi kiay bager abroad parhnay ja rahi hai?”, lerki tou paraya dhan hai tou itna kharcha kiu kerna hai parhai pe? Seedhi shaadi kerwao and zimedari se jaan churao”, “lerki akeli abroad jai gi to bigar jai gi” and so on. Gladly, my father stood by me and being under his shadow I did not pay attention to any such remarks and kept applying for the universities. My father came to me and said: “Mina I have enough money to spend on your big wedding or I can give you the same money to spend on your education, stand on your own feet and become independent. Stating the obvious, I chose the second option to which he said “mera bacha parhna chahta hai or mein usko kabhi nahi rokun ga”. And this turned out to be the best decision of my life.
Tou buss, ammi istekhara karti gain aur meray rastay bantay gai. Within a few weeks I got my visa and I embarked upon the new journey of coming to Melbourne alone as an international student. Coming to Melbourne was one of the greatest experiences that I had. I got to learn my true potential which I would have never learned staying in the comfort of my own home. I managed my studies, job, chores, groceries and all in between by myself and made sure I took some time out from my busy routine to do things that I love, even if it was going to the mall and watch a movie. Along the way I made a lot of friends and had many unforgettable experiences. I made sure all the responsibilities that I had do not hinder my studies and hence, I scored High Distinctions and Distinctions in all my subjects due to which I was also offered a paid position at my university as a student leader. I was also the recipient of the High Achievers award and Deans award in all my semesters.
As my graduation was near, so was the pressure of getting married from my family. And quite frankly speaking, now that I was about to graduate and had the international exposure that I wanted, even I was now ready to settle down. But I never worried as my dad said “kuch kaam Allah pe chor dene hotay hain”. So I knew in the course of time, the right person will come.
It was the end of semester party of my 3rd semester and my friend really forced me to attend. I was about to miss this party because my exams were near. I am glad that I didn’t because little did I know that it was at this party I was meant to meet my soul mate.
Mirza Ali was also a student at my university, however, we both had different departments, so we never met at the university. He was a mutual friend of my friends so I was introduced to him at that party. We instantly connected and it was after some time that he told me he was genuinely interested in me. During the time we got to know each other, we realized we were all that we were looking for in a partner and it all just felt like it was meant to be. The story had a twist because he was Indian and I was Pakistani. So when I told my dad about him, he was worried that how would he get to know anything about him or his family as they are not from Pakistan. So instead, my father started talking to him and his instinct said yes. Speaking to someone as polite as Mirza and someone who finished his masters degree successfully, my dad knew he is genuine and right for me.
My wedding was nothing less than a roller coaster ride but it was yet so unconventionally perfect. I knew that my father has spent my marriage money in my studies and I am proud to say that I did not take a single penny from my dad for my wedding and also contributed my salami money as tuition fees for my younger sister. I am writing this not to brag but to inspire anyone who is reading this that within 1.5 years of coming to Australia, I was capable enough to afford my semester fees, my sister’s education, contribution in monthly expenses back home and also my wedding without anyone’s help. I was able to achieve this only because of one reason, NOT HAVING A BIG FAT WEDDING. Now that I think about it, my dad made the smartest investment of spending that money to make me independent instead of feeding a huge crowd on a huge wedding that would only last a day. This investment that he did Insha’Allah will last a lifetime.
The day I graduated, I truly felt like I have achieved what I wanted and as soon as we both graduated, we started planning the wedding in Melbourne. This is because we knew getting visas for India and Pakistan will not be easy. So I applied for my parents’ visit visa, however, the case was mishandled by my agent and my parents could not get the visa in time. So it was Mirza and I and help from a few friends that we were able to organize our wedding. Mirza and I decided on a simple wedding and a lavish honeymoon. You won’t believe but the entire cost of our marriage including the venue, food that included 6 dishes, photographer, decorations, our clothes etc only costed us $3000 (Australian dollars) which is only 5-10% of what we actually spend on weddings in India and Pakistan. We did our Nikkah with few close family friends and then had a cute reception of 50 people and this was all pre-covid times. The wedding for us was unique and we made sure that it’s OUR wedding so WE get to enjoy instead of having those exhausting 6 days long conventional functions. So after the wedding, we booked the best 5 star hotel, went for a shopping spree, got each other wedding gifts, went for a helicopter ride, and enjoyed the best fine dining dinner and later had the best honeymoon in Bali.
As international students, we both lived in share houses, so after we got married, because we had a simple wedding, we were not under any wedding debt, so we rented out an unfurnished house and decorated it the way we liked it and started our journey as a married couple.
So, whoever is reading this story, let’s normalize simple weddings. Let’s be wise with our money and spend it on a better cause, our dreams! It doesn’t have to be to move abroad, it can be any talent you want to polish or a business that you want to start, and you will be shocked at what magic you are capable of. Let’s change the concept of “lerki bojh hai” and stop spending a fortune on weddings, making our fathers be under so much debt. Let’s stop expecting a “well-settled” guy to fulfill our dreams and solve our problems. Let’s make marriage a journey of achieving things together and celebrating the small victories!