My Bangladeshi Wedding: Gaye Holud Part II – Our looks and attires



For our Holud, I decided to stick to traditional. The saree is the national dress for Bangladeshi women, and as I had decided to wear lehengas on both my wedding and wedding reception, it was a perfectly fitting option for the holud.

For each of the major events, I focused on one or two gemstones or precious metals which formed the basis of my ensemble. For the engagement, it was pearls and polki, for the bridal shower, diamonds, for the wedding gold with a touch of ruby, and for the reception, sapphire and diamonds.

And for the Holud? It was pure gold. The Indian subcontinent and its people have had long love-affair with gold and for generations we have adorned ourselves with this precious metal to mark important milestones and celebrations. We not only use as jewellery, but have even incorporated it into the garments we wear by weaving them with gold, and gold coated pure mulberry silk threads. The region that is perhaps most renowned for this practice is Kachipuram in the South of India, which is where my saree was woven. Sarees are typically designed with various threads, embroideries, sequins, and, or stones,  however, sarees such as the Kachipuram focus wholly on the weaving.  Motifs or designs are woven into the saree and often are symbolic of nature, temples or deities. What made the saree I chose to wear special, was the entire absence of any motifs of designs. The saree was wholly constructed of gold zari and as a result contains a significant weightage of the precious metal. For this reason, to me, it has become more than a piece of garment, and is something which I would like to keep and possibly pass on to a loved one. For those interested in these sarees, it important to be careful with your purchases as replicas do exist. Kanchipuram sarees are patented and registered and will contain holograms indicating their authenticity.


Kachipuram saree available at Nabila Boutiques Ltd

The simplicity of the saree allowed us to be creative with the blouse. Although typically created with the intention of an exposed midriff and shorter sleeves, I wanted mine to be longer both in sleeve and body length. There is something I find quite elegant about full length blouses and since I was going to be performing I also thought that it would be the most comfortable option. The saree itself came with a border which contained a tiny sliver of green and so in keeping with our theme, my mom designed a green blouse with cut-work on the body which allowed the original gold Kachipuram blouse piece to show through. The body of the blouse was also decorated with embroidered green flowers and the ends of the sleeves were of the same material as the saree.

As for the veil, I did not want it to be a distraction, rather it was designed to be a complementary addition to the garment which brought together the saree and the blouse. We chose a glimmering net fabric for the base and surrounded it with an intricately embroided green border which reflected the cutwork in the blouse.



To complement the gold on my attire, I paired it with traditional gold jewellery.  Floral jewellery, using artificial or fresh flowers is also a highly popular choice for holuds. Although I did not personally want to pair floral jewellery with my ensemble, I did want to incorporate flowers into my look and so I put flowers in my hair and attached strands of orchids and chrysanthemums from my brooch.

Like with all the other events, I did my own make-up. I wanted smooth and glowing skin for holud, which I tried to achieve with a combination of my favourite blushes and highlighters. The highlight of my look, however, were the eye and I brought attention to them with golden glitter lids and shades of deep bronze. The look was completed with a shade of mauve-pink on the lips, a shade which I find flattering on myself.

I also chose an interesting, traditional purse to pair with my look. What appealed to me was that it was of an unconventional shape, was constructed of metal, adorned with embellishments and that it really stood out against the smooth texture of my saree.





Kachipuram saree available at Nabila Boutiques Ltd




Achkan available at Nabila Boutiques Ltd

My mom and I put plenty of thought and time into designing Naveed’s achkan for the holud. It had to stand out, but it couldn’t be as extravagant as the sherwani he was wearing for the wedding. Panjabis or kurtas with a Nehru jacket were a popular choice but were not providing the uniqueness we sought. Naveed is also very picky with his colour and design choices and we knew that he preferred simplicity and elegance – so bold prints and designs, such as florals, were a no-go.

Whilst designing his attire, my mom and I were inspired by the moss green, and deep browns ever-present in nature and after having many conversations with Naveed we finally decided that it was to be an olive green achkan – a traditional knee length buttoned jacket. The achkan is a classic, and as we sought to be a little bit different from the norm, my mom designed a subdued dhoti style bottom or pyjama, which he paired with formal dark brown boots. The details were subtle but truly helped bring together his outfit with mine. Antique gold buttons on the cuff and on the body added the slightest touch of glimmer to go with my attire.




Kanchipuram saree and Achkan available at Nabila Boutiques Ltd


As mentioned in my earlier posts about the wedding invitations (click here to see), the bride’s and groom’s family generally gift matching attires to their close friends and family, so instead of seeing bridesmaids and groomsmen dressed in matching attires you see the whole extended family and friends. Since Naveed and I have massive extended families and plenty of friends in Bangladesh, seeing everyone dressed in their matching ensembles on the night was a great sight.

We wanted different but complementary looks for both sides for our family. We gifted the women chunari sarees, with two distinct colours around the skirt and the body and achol (the part that drapes over the shoulder, called pallu in Hindi). The Holud is supposed to be a colourful event, but we had foregone the inclusion of multiple colours in our décor so that our guests could shine and bring colours in into the celebration with their attires.

For the men, we wanted simple but quality panjabis as many have specifications as to which colours and designs they are willing to wear. For the bride’s side, it was a muted gold, and the groom’s side, pine green, all made of quality silk.

Naveed and I also have a whole bunch of mutual friends and as such it would impossible to put them into the bride’s or groom’s side, so we decided to make things simple for ourselves. All our female friends wore the red and gold sarees, and all our male friends wore the green panjabi.




Sarees: Nabila Boutiques Ltd


As it is particularly difficult to dance in saree, we designed an additional attire for the female performers. Flowy chiffon skirts in shades of green were matched with a green top with a few embroidered magenta highlights and a magenta scarf or dupatta. The purpose of this outfit was to be comfortable and to bring together the colours associated with the bride’s side of the family, and the groom’s.




A big thank you has to be given to my mom, Shamima Nabi, who was the creative brains behind the looks and the designer of Naveed and my attires.

In my next post, I will be writing about our holud gifts or dalas. It’s an important element of the holud ceremony. and each family does is differently. Stay tuned for the next post where I’ll be showing you how our families decided to show their creative talents.

My Bangladeshi Wedding: Gaye Holud Part I



The most festive of the Bengali wedding ceremonies, the Gaye Holud is a joyous event filled with song, dance, laughter and a ridiculous amount of food consumption. Literally translating to “turmeric on the body,” originally, this ceremony used to be a small one, where family and friends of the bride and groom would attend their respective homes a few days before the wedding, to celebrate and to apply a special paste, made largely of turmeric on their faces and bodies.  Now, you may ask, why turmeric? It was largely supposed to be a beautification process, enhanced with other ingredients such as sandalwood and rosewater, this paste is supposed to cleanse and exfoliate the skin and leave you with soft, supple glowing skin on your wedding day, when the everyone you know (or the whole town) comes to see you. For some families, it had it even greater meaning as turmeric was supposed to ward off evil spirits or an evil eye before the auspicious wedding day.



Fast forward to today, and specifically to my Gaye Holud, the actual application of the turmeric paste was largely just ceremonial. The event itself gave us another reason to exchange gifts, sing, dance, let our hair down and really celebrate. So what happened on the day and how did we prepare for it?

Naveed and I decided to have our Gaye Holud together in one ceremony. Some families choose to host two separate events for the bride and groom , but we wanted to celebrate together and honestly could not imagine adding another event to the already long list of events.

The morning started with the first delivery of gifts or dalas, as Naveed’s sisters, cousins and brothers-in-law delivered to my house, sweets for my family, and two ginormous fish dressed up as a bride and groom.  I don’t know exactly how dressing up fish became a common practice at weddings but I must admit seeing fish dressed in full costume is rather amusing. The rest of the gifts were to be exchanged at the event and I’ll be writing a whole post on our Holud Dalas very soon, otherwise this one will become exceedingly long.


When it comes to preparations, the Holud requires the most rigorous, time-consuming, coordinated and exhausting prep. Why? Because almost every item which is presented to the bride and groom, for every one of the upcoming events is beautifully decorated and presented in extraordinary gift baskets. Not only this, but the gifts for immediate family members, and extended family members too, are often carefully wrapped and presented in such dalas. Naveed and I both have families who well and truly like getting creative with our gift ideas, so needless to stay we spent months planning and creating these dalas which were brought in and displayed on the night of our Holud.

And that’s just the start of it. Friends and younger family members, such as cousins, also put together elaborate dance and vocal performances, skits and plays for the attendees, and for the bride and groom. For our Holud, our beloved friends and family put together an entire comical musical illustrating how Naveed and I met, and how the meeting eventually transformed into marriage. As you can imagine, this required great efforts and many nights of rehearsals and practice.




Preparations also included all the other general things you would think of planning and preparing for a wedding including venue décor, music and menu selection. Although many choose to incorporate multiple colours into the décor of the Holud  to mark its joyousness, we decided to go with a theme which is not often done in Bangaldeshi weddings; rustic glam. We incorporated elements of a rustic garden, including pots, plants, burlap and barrels with glamorous elements such as chandeliers and intricate woodwork and ended up with creations such a ceiling adorned with vine-twined chandeliers.

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And did I forget to mention that the bride and groom make a special entrance on the day, which was also prepared in accordance with the theme? For me, it was a carriage. Yes, a carriage. One that was designed and decorated by my dearest mother (she did this in a cast and with a broken leg). The groom often walks into the venue under a beautiful traditional fabric held over his head (as opposed to being wheeled in, or carried on a palanquin like a bride), but we decided to change it up a little. We designed a wire umbrella, which was adorned with flowers as a replacement for the fabric, and hired what is essentially a Bangladeshi folk marching band to announce his arrival.






Once we entered the venue, we sat on a stage on which there was also a delicious arrangement of edibles, sweet and savoury. After we took our seats, which was preceded by plenty of dancing and celebrating, the Rakhi ritual took place.  It’s a rather quick ritual where the parents of the bride tie a rakhi, a traditional decorative bracelet, on the wrist of the groom, and the parents of the groom tie a rakhi on the wrist of the bride to symbolise unity.


Naveed’s especially designed bead rakhi – because he wouldn’t put on anything glittery


Following the rakhi exchange the guests were welcome to come up to the stage, apply some Holud to our faces and our hands, feed us a little something and wish us well for our lives ahead. This continued till the end of the night, only pausing during the time of the performances.


One of my favourite about these rituals are that they not religious rituals at all, in fact the entire event has no religious basis, and is rather a cultural celebration. Bangladesh is melting pot of different cultures, and we have adopted elements of Indian, Arabic, Pakistani and even Anglo-American rituals into our own. This is one of the reasons Bangladeshi wedding celebrations are so unique, and it’s also why I find writing about them so enjoyable.







This event was so incredibly festive and fun, and looking back at it makes me want to live it all over again.

In my upcoming posts, I will be writing about our looks and attires, how we chose them, and of course our Holud dalas and the inspirations behind them. Watch this space for new content, and for the meantime here are two trailers from the event 🙂


My Bangladeshi Wedding: The Invitations

Us Bengalis really like to get creative with our wedding invitations, and over the years I have seen everything from invitations delivered in miniature palkis (palanquins), in boxes of sweets, in glass bottles and in the form of hilarious movie posters with caricatures of the bride and groom.

For our invitations we wanted to give our guests a sneak peak into the theme of our Holud (one the pre-wedding events which I will be posting about soon), Rustic Glam. As we have multiple events in our weddings, we also have multiple invitations, and this is especially important as each of the events have somewhat different guest lists, despite having great degree of overlap. You can imagine how much fun planning all of this must be.





Traditionally, the bride and the groom’s families gift matching attires to close friends and families to wear to the Holud – think bridesmaids and groomsmen, except this was many of our close friends and almost all of our extended family, meaning hundreds of people dressed in attires from the groom’s side, or the bride’s. These attires are usually given with the invitations and so, we thought of designing a box in the Rustic Glam theme, which would contain the invitations, the attires, chocolates as a sweet treat and a special little gift they could keep as memorabilia, an engraved crystal pen.

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The box was designed by my mother and she hand selected each of the items, everything from the burlap to the lace and the pearls, that was to adorn them. Although it was exhausting, putting together the invitations was incredible fun.

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One of the stacks of invitations as we were putting them together


Naveed and I personally designed the inserts of our cards and searched long and hard to find complementary, yet dissimilar laser cut cards. The butterfly card, which was the Holud invitation just gave a little touch of the garden theme and some of the unused butterflies were actually used to decorate the carriage in which I entered our Holud – more on this soon ! Stay tuned.



A few members of team bride (red) and team groom (green) on the day of the Holud 🙂

My Bangladeshi Wedding: The Bridal Shower

2Weddings in Bangladesh have incorporated customs from the world over and in recent years the inclusion of a Bridal Shower in the wedding festivities has soared in popularity. Given the already long list of events, I personally did not think I would have the time or energy to have one for myself, but the insistence and support of my wonderful friends and family made it happen, and I am so incredibly glad that it did.

THEME: Old Hollywood Glam

I have long held a special admiration for the signature styles of classic Hollywood icons such as Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor. Their immaculately presented looks exuded elegance and class,  and the bridal shower gave me the perfect opportunity to replicate the styles, silhouettes, hair and make-up that reigned in popularity in their era. Not only that, this event also allowed me to decorate my house with in beautiful vintage theme that perfectly complemented the existing décor.



A red carpet entrance for our guests

With my dearest mother 



The Photo Booth









This was the only event in which I wore a non-traditional attire and as I chose to wear bright and bold colours for the majority of my other events, we contrasted the look with the other events and opted for a pearlescent white. Like all my other attires, this dress too was designed my talented mother, Shamima Nabi.


Keeping in mind the popularity of the A-line silhouette in the 1950s (along my personal likig for the silhouette), she designed a long flowy gown with touches of silver. The sweetheart illusion neckline, synced waist and capped sleeves all went well with my particular body type, which is something I believe one should always keep into consideration when selecting a dress for a special occasion. As we were channelling the glamour of the stars of the yesteryears, some form of stole, cape, wrap or even poncho was also a must. Although fur is often a popular choice for a wrap, I am personally not the biggest fan (unless it’s faux), and so my mom custom made a tailored cape with lace, net and a glimmer of glitter and pearls.


On the day, my mom too brought out her inner 1950s superstar. Despite the fact that she had broken her foot in two places just three days prior, she gave it her absolute best and fully participated in each and every one of the events and activities, an effort that I will truly cherish forever!



Our guests who chose to wear traditional attires followed an old Bollywood theme, where they took inspiration from the looks of Madhubala, Sharmila Tagore, Zeenat Aman and other classic Bollywood beauties.


This theme called for waves and barrel pinned curls, and that is exactly what I went for. I accessorised my hair with a pearl headband and for my jewellery wore statement diamond earrings and bracelets.

As I was following in Monroe’s footsteps, red lips were a necessity! With a touch of blush and illuminator, I kept my eye shadow simple, and applied clearly defined winged eyeliner and long (but not unnatural) lashes.


My mom also chose a similar style of hair and make-up, and it was through this event that we discovered how much curls suited her. The style also went on to influence some of her looks in the other events, which I will be posting about in the near future.

This all girls event was incredible fun, from song, dance, laughter to bridal games, competitions and gift distributions everything was packed into those few hours. My wonderful aunt provided endless entertainment for the guests and assumed all responsibility on the evening due to mom’s unfortunate accident. The event well and truly could not have taken place without her!


Three generations: Me with my adorable grandmother, mom, and aunt


My dearest cousins






Gifts for our guests




This was only the very first event of the wedding festivities and over the next few weeks I will be posting about all about the events that followed. Stay tuned!




Looking back at Naveela and Tonmoy’s Engagement

The year 2016 has been incredibly – everything from wedding preparations, to starting my PhD, to moving houses and travelling across the globe, left me with minimal time for my blog (thus my long absence). As we approach the end of the winter wedding season though, I’ve decided to dive right back into writing about the unique mixture of customs, traditions and rituals, and of course, attires that give Bangladeshi weddings their own special identity.


Naveela and Tonmoy’s engagement ceremony took place a few weeks after mine, and the rituals that took place night were very much like the ones that were performed in mine (elaborated here). The event was hosted by Naveela, my sister-in-law’s family, and it was essentially an announcement of Naveela’s and Tonmoy’s desire to commit to a lifelong relationship and an opportunity for them to seek blessings and well wishes from their close friends and family. It provided a platform for members of the extended family to be formally introduced to one another, and for them to be able to meet, greet, and socialise with each other.

And of course, it gave all of us involved a perfectly good reason to dress-up, feast and celebrate!

The stunning bride-to-be, Naveela, was dressed in a mixture of golden-beige and royal blue, a combination not frequented by many brides. Her dress was adorned with embroidered lace, fine zardozi needlework, and glass-cut mirror embellishments. Many of the traditional dresses focus heavily on crystal embellishments and embroidery, the detailing of which although beautiful, is sometimes in my opinion, overwhelming. What I truly liked about hers was the clarity of design the glass-cut mirrors provided, something that my mom and I kept into consideration while designing my own wedding dress – stay tuned for upcoming posts on that.


Dress: Nabila

Tonmoy’s look was classic and timeless. A sleek navy suit, paired with a crisp white shirt and a subtly printed blue tie to complement Naveela’s blue ensemble.  I had a special appreciation for the finer details including the visibility of the cuffs the white dress shirt and how that perfectly complemented his white pocket square and fine white print on his tie.


The pair looked gorgeous and perfectly complemented each other on their engagement night. Having been a part of their wedding festivities as well, I cannot wait to cover some of their fabulous looks!



Starting Make-up Artistry: Flawless by Nabila Nabi

Beauty products have fascinated me since I was a child, and I have long been interested in make-up, make-up application techniques and make-up styles. For a long time, I have also been doing make-up for my friends and family at their requests, however never really thought of starting my own make-up artistry, until my own engagement. As I’m very picky about make-up, and have undertaken courses in make-up, I thought of doing my own and I was extremely glad I did.

Ever since my engagement, the numbers of requests increased significantly, and I thought, why not start make-up artistry? Given that I have undertaken make-up courses and have received plenty of positive feedback from friends, family and acquaintances, I thought starting this new endeavor!

So here’s starting Flawless by Nabila Nabi! ( )

I’m based in Dhaka, Bangladesh and Melbourne, Australia. I work in both countries and travel between them.

Below are a few samples of the work I have done 🙂

Naila’s make-up for a night out: Glammed up cut crease in black and gold and brown lipsUpload 2 (2)

My Engagement make-up: For my engagement, I decided to do my own make-up. Inspired by the colours of the orchid, I wanted to enhance (not alter) my natural features

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Denise’s make-up: Contour, highlight and smokey eyes

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Rashmi’s make-up: Subtle pink tones, glowing skin and soft antique gold eyes for a dinner partyFlawless 9

Pastel smokey eyes and nude-pink lips

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Naveela’s make-up: A soft cut-crease and light pink lips

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Naila’s make-up: Old Hollywood glam

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Black and gold cut crease – attending a wedding in Dhaka

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My make-up for the Bengali new year (red and white being the tradtional colours)


Zaiba’s make-up

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Fariba apu’s make-up: Soft smokey eyes and brick-brown lips

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Tri-colour eyes

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Day-time glam: Winged eyeliner with metallic purples and pinksUpload 10

Shades of pinkUpload 11

Brown lips and smudged liner Upload 14


Our Engagement: the Event

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I’ve written about our attires for our Engagement (click here for mine, here fore and Naveed’s) and the activities preceding our Engagement Ceremony (Pre-Engagement Dala exchange, my attire, his attire for the evening), but what actually happened on the night of the ceremony?


(Not a reader? Scroll down below for links to the video)

Essentially, it was opportunity for our close friends and family to come together (this is a lot of people if you have two Bengali families), celebrate our engagement, the union of our families and for our loved ones to bless us for our lives ahead.

The Engagement ceremony is typically hosted by the bride-to-be’s family in Bangladesh, and my family and I, especially me and my mom planned every detail of the ceremony from months ahead. My mom even personally designed many of the decorative accessories used in the hall.

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I am a huge fan of bright colours, and although I knew that although pastels are the go-to choice for Engagements in Bangladesh, I wanted mine to be different, and after discussing our ideas with my fiancé, Naveed, and his family we decided to go with a purple and white colour scheme for the event. The décor of the entire event had a pearl white base with accents and highlights of colours of the orchid flower.

Speaking of flowers, I adore Chanel’s use of its now iconic Camellia, and so I was inspired to use large white, blooming floral arrangements throughout the decor of my engagement hall.

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The entrance 

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Metal structures adorned with flowers and accessories – designed by my lovely mother  

Pearls were also featured in the décor, particularly the entrance and the stage on which Naveed and I sat. I also wore a purple dress which my mom designed (more on my dress here), pearl and polki (uncut diamond) jewellery and wore orchids in my hair to bring every element of the theme together. Naveed too had purple touches in his outfit, namely his bow-tie, cummerbund and lapel pin (more on his outfit here) as on our night we wanted to complement each other.

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Butterfly chocolate boxes for our guests 🙂

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The event went as follows:

  • Close friends and family arrive
  • My brother (hosting the evening) welcomes Naveed and his immediately family on stage
  • I walk into the hall accompanied by my family and join Naveed and his family on stage
  • Speeches by parents (there were tears)
  • Exchange of rings – this usually happens at the Engagement stage in Bangladesh
  • We receives gifts from parents
  • A small prayer with everyone in attendance
  • We cute a massive cake
  • More gifts from relatives (because you can’t have too many)
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After this, all the guests came up on stage to congratulate us, take photos and give us their blessings. Of course, food is the centre of event in Bangladesh so we also invited ours guests to join us for a feast.

It was an extremely busy night for me and Naveed, and we were overwhelmed by the love and good wishes we received.

I’ve included links to a full video and a trailer of our Engagement below. Also included, is a link to a full video, and trailer to our Pre-Engagement Dala Exchange 🙂


Our Engagement (full video):

Our Engagement (4 minute trailer):

Our Pre-Engagement Dala Exchange (full video):

Our Pre-Engagement Dala Exchange (trailer):



Naveed’s look for the Engagement and my crash course in men’s fashion

FNF (322)I’ve long admired well-tailored suits, but it was during the six months before the engagement that I truly learned and understood the details and intricacies of a perfectly tailored suit or tuxedo. Naveed has always been picky about his suits, but for his engagement, he needed perfection and so a custom tuxedo that was tailored exactly to his body, from a company that is trusted for its suiting seemed appropriate to us.

We spent multiple days trying on different suits and tuxedos to see which suiting company had the best tailoring for his body type. Now with Naveed its particularly tricky as he’s got broad shoulders and a smaller waist, making tailoring without dents and creases a much more difficult task. So after plenty of searching and tons of advice, we decided that it would have to be a suit or tuxedo from Emerdegilo Zegna.

FotoArt F-01 (34)FNF (57)We loved the beautifully crafted black tuxedo, with wide peaked lapels (I learned so much about lapels during this time), that was on display at the Collins Street store (Melbourne, Australia), however, there was one small problem and that was the colour, black. In both our families, our mothers consider the colour black an inauspicious colour for any wedding or pre-wedding festivities, and it’s a sentiment that is echoed by many, but not all Bangladeshi families. Keeping this in consideration, we decided to opt for the colour navy. Now we know that many will argue that a tux jacket can only come in black, midnight blue or white, but we decided to switch it up a little and add a pop of colour and individuality.

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Breaking the rules a little more, we also decided that the bow tie would be a two-toned, purple and antique gold combination. Oh and we also wanted a cummerbund, that too, not in black but in purple. Of course having such specific demands, we realised that we were not going find the bow-tie and cummerbund ready-made, and so, my mom brought in Thai silk in those specific colours from Thailand for the bow tie and cummerbund, which were to be constructed in Australia. To our disappointment we found that not many stores in Melbourne actually make cummerbunds, and we had to make countless phone calls and had to literally walk through thunderstorms to find a place that was experienced and willing to construct them. Finally, after oh so much searching we found Trevor West in South Yarra, where Ian was willing to make both the bow tie and cummerbund to our specifications.  The upside of this process, was that after surfing through endless catalogs, websites, and magazine articles, my knowledge on men’s formal wear had increased many-fold.


The entire process of having the suit made was very long, we had to go into go in for measurements, wait for multiple weeks whilst the suit was being constructed in Europe, go in for multiple final fittings afterwards and of course had to dedicate more time trying to find the appropriate accessories as well. But was the whole process worth it? Absolutely! We absolutely loved the opportunity to hand pick everything, from the buttons to the material of the lining, to the styling of the lapels and pockets and were extremely pleased with the final product.

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To complete the look, Naveed chose to wear a white dress shirt with a winged collar and black buttons, and keeping with the formal look he also chose to wear classic black, leather, lace-up shoes  (‘Prindo’- by Hugo Boss). As a finishing touch, he added a lapel pin with a small purple flower and a plain antique gold pocket square. The hints of purple in his outfit perfectly complimented my attire, and we had achieved exactly the look we had hoped for.


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My Engagement Dress: from concept to reality

Thanks to creativity of my mom, my engagement dress was in every way what I had dreamed of.


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With my designer mom, Shamima Nabi 

I wanted a dress that embraced elements of both South Asian and Western wedding ensembles, and so a gown was designed that was embellished with intricate embroidery done by expert artisans of the Indian subcontinent and that had a silhouette and veil, which was inspired by the traditional white wedding dress of the West. I had only seen the sketch that my mother had prepared and had to wait months to see it in its true form, but the wait was completely worth it!


Designer: Shamima Nabi of Nabila


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The dress was conceptualised and designed in Bangladesh, and was crafted in New Delhi, India, where many of mother’s designs are brought to life. As I saw the dress being unpacked after it had arrived from Delhi to Dhaka, the first thing that I noticed was the colour. It was a deep, vibrant purple, a colour that I absolutely adore and the exact shade that I had hoped for. Pinks and pastels are a popular choice in Bangladesh for the engagement, but neither I nor Naveed wanted to stick to the norm and we’re glad we made that decision.

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Designer: Shamima Nabi of Nabila

The second thing I noticed was the sheer amount of fabric. The fall of the dress is thanks to metres and metres of material that form the silhouette. Although the A-line look can be achieved through the use of can can netting, using only can can does not give the dress a seamless fall and can make it look rather stiff. The large circumference, and ample material in my dress allowed for a smooth and natural pleated fall and also allowed for plenty movement, which looks great when you’re walking around. My dress was also slightly shorter in the front with a small trail at the back, which enhanced the silhouette from the side.


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The entire bottom border of the dress was embellished with small pearls and the body was decorated with purple silk thread embroidery and purple Swarovski crystals that made the dress glimmer under the light. Of course, given the amount material and the embellishments, the dress became rather heavy and weighed a mere 11 kilos (numb feet, totally worth it).

The veil too had an embroidered border and had purple Swarovski crystals scattered all over, however it was rather light weight and easy to carry and truly made me feel like the bride-to-be.

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I feel immensely lucky, to have had the most important woman in my life design my engagement dress and hope to wear only her designs in all my upcoming wedding events. More than half a year away but I can barely contain the excitement!



The Pre-Engagement Dala Exchange – The Event

This final post about our Pre-Engagement Dala Exchange is about the event itself and the activities that took place that night. 

The event took place at my house, which was beautifully decorated by my mother. Our dalas/ gifts to the groom (click here to see the dalas/gifts) were displayed in our main drawing room before the arrival of our guests, the groom’s family, and members of my  extended family, my closest cousins, aunts and uncles arrived early in order to greet the groom’s family at our door and welcome them into our home. 

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As it’s customary for the bride or groom’s siblings, cousins and friends to deliver the dalas to the other’s home, Naveed’s sisters along with their partners, Naveed’s cousins and his sisters-in-law arrived first (Naveed and his parents arrived later) with all the dalas they had prepared for me and my family.  Their dalas were displayed opposite ours, allowing all the guests in attendance to see both the gifts, and the effort the bride and groom’s families had put into decorating them.

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Members of my family waiting to receive guests 

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Naveed’s family bringing in my massive dress dala (this was a difficult task to say the least)

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Bringing my dalas into our home 

Another large purpose of this event was the introduction of Naveed’s family to my immediate family, especially, my dear grandmother. As his family live in Melbourne, this was the perfect opportunity for them to meet my family in a relaxed environment before the actual engagement. 

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my lovely mother

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my dearest father 
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After the meeting with my family members, a small ceremony took place in which Naveed’s mom put on a set of of jewellery on me. This jewellery was gifted to me by her, and I absolutely loved it (Bangaldeshi brides/brides-to-be are lucky)!

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Next, it was time for us to feast. We had arranged a buffet of traditional Bangladeshi food, which I believe is one of the most underrated cuisine’s out there. I could write pages about the divine taste of just Bangladesh biryanis on its own  (out of the hundreds of other things) but I’ll save that for another time. 

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The event however, wasn’t quite over at the end of the night, as my brother, cousins, nieces and nephews were invited to Naveed’s home the very next day for the delivery of Naveed’s dalas and another exquisite feast. 

That’s all for the Pre-Engagement event, here’s the link to the video and the trailer of the video for that evening. Enjoy! 

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My dress: Designed by Shamima Nabi of Nabila

Naveed’s attire (panjabi, jacket, shoes), my dad’s panjabi, my brother’s panjabi: Nabila

My mother’s dress: Designed by Shamima Nabi of  Nabila