This wedding is the perfect cultural fusion between two people desperately in love. Saphiya and her groom David planned their wedding in just three months, but you’d never guess it. The details are all so perfect and personal to their families, we get the sweetest little butterflies looking through their photos from the wonderful Gene of Geneoh Photography. Head on over to the gallery for more images!
From the bride, Saphiya: We were married in David’s hometown at a 19th century lodge, which combines Old World European elegance with Minnesota charm. Once we discovered and fell in love with this gorgeous venue, we built the wedding around the place. The Outing Lodge is located within 300 acres of the beautiful and heavily wooded Pine Point park. So, our wedding was rustic, with a vintage touch to it. Of course, my dress added a fair amount of tradition to the mix too. We had a very short engagement – about three months – and a very small wedding, with about 25 people. It is fairly common in Pakistan – where I am from – to have a small ceremony first and a bigger reception a year or two later. That is what intend to do as some of our very dear family members and friends were not able to be at this wedding. Having such a small wedding made it very intimate and personal. It all just came together. Honestly, once I had discovered Ruffled and a couple of other wedding blogs and seen all the gorgeous weddings, I had a hard time deciding exactly what I wanted — luckily, my mother-in-law, who was my go-to person for all my wedding ideas and needs, helped me bring various little things together (the menu, the flowers, the decorations etc.) and helped David and I create the kind of wedding we really wanted. It wasn’t easy – it took countless hours of talking over dinners, lunches, coffees and trips to vendors – but it was a lot of fun.
I would describe our wedding as rustic, vintage and a little mix of cultures. We personalized almost everything and wrote our own vows. David surprised me by reciting the second half of his vows in Urdu – my first language – I was almost in tears! We chose our favourite poems by e.e. cummings and Neil Gaiman as readings for our ceremony. We actually never officially decided on a theme, or even a color scheme but they definitely emerged as things came together. My dress was pink and lilac, however, since it didn’t arrive from Pakistan until two weeks before the wedding, we held off on the colors of the flowers. Our wedding invitations set, that we downloaded online for free from e.m. papers, used tandem bikes, birds, and grains of wheat on the various stationery we used for our wedding. They seemed to fit our personal style and from there, a nature theme emerged.
Instead of a traditional cake stand, we used a wooden cookie board. We wanted to incorporate family photos into the mix to honor our families – especially since only my mother could make it to the wedding. David came up with the brilliant idea of using bird houses and tying strings between them to hang the pictures on by using clothespins. We had some of our favourite books stacked under the bird houses and around the table, including books we had read together and a set of books David had inherited from his grandfather. Our friends, some of whom arrived the afternoon of the wedding, helped with setting everything up. My mother-in-law and I found our bird nests place card holders at pottery barn – on clearance! They definitely added a wonderful touch to the dinner table and were a cute little souvenir for our guests to take home.
We had personalized labels for our wine bottles and the spice jars that held my wedding favors: a popular spice mix, called Chaat Masala, from Pakistan. I printed recipe cards with a vegan recipe of my favourite street food from Pakistan which used the spice and set them next to the favors. David did our guest book and instead of going the traditional route, used vintage map post cards that our guests filled out. One of my favourite things about our wedding actually happened without me knowing it – it was gray and rainy on the day of, so David’s mother and aunt got several colorful umbrellas for our ceremony, including a hot pink one for me. It added so much color to our ceremony and I remember thinking everything looked so beautiful as I walked down the aisle.
Any advice for brides planning their weddings now? Enjoy it — it will be stressful and overwhelming at times but don’t let that get to you. Two nights before our wedding, David and I sat at our neighborhood Fedex store until 2:30 am, creating and printing the menus, place cards and programs. We were exhausted but it’s a very special memory for me because it paid off and we laughed through it. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Believe me, once it’s over, you will be surprised at how much of it wasn’t that important. We spent a lot of time thinking about the ceremony music, stressing out about the sound system. It started raining on the day of and we had the option of either having a music-less ceremony or an indoor one. We choose outdoors and it was absolutely perfect. I don’t think anyone even missed the music.
Also, hire a good photographer that shares your style and vision. We were blessed with Gene of Geneoh photography. Once we booked him, I had a constant sense of peace knowing that he was going to capture the true essence of our big day – and he did. Looking through our wedding photos, we felt that we were reliving the whole day. There were so many little things that I didn’t even remember that he captured and I am ever so grateful for that.
Geneoh Photography. Head on over to the View the rest of the wedding here
Our first dance was to ‘You Swept Me Away’ by the Avett brothers. Right after that, the groom and his friends surrounded a very confused me on the dance floor and suddenly started dancing to a famous Punjabi song that my best friend had told David about. I had no idea that was coming – neither did my mother – but she joined us on the dance floor and that was probably one of the funnest parts about the wedding.
Wedding vendors (Stillwater, MN):
Ceremony and reception venue: The Outing Lodge / Wedding photographer: Geneoh Photography / Wedding coordinator: Carlota and Nancy at the Outing Lodge / Wedding flowers: Rose Florals and Camrose Hills Farm / Wedding dress: made by bride’s friend / Wedding hair: Tawny Meyers / Bridesmaid’s dress: BCBG / Groom’s suit: Jos A Banks / Wedding catering and cake: The Outing Lodge / Wedding invitations: e.m. papers