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Fashion model Yasmeen Hashmi’s spring wedding to Karachi-based lawyer Hasaan Shah was an intimate and elegant affair that also flouted tradition in favour of individuality. Hassan Tahir Latif speaks to her about modern bridal looks, planning a wedding during Covid and more

Talk us through your mood board for the wedding.

I’ve always enjoyed looking at pictures of weddings from our grandparents’ time; the intimacy and festivity infused in them informed my mood board. The small weddings in drawing rooms, in personal gardens, with close loved ones all around—that’s what I wanted. And colour; lots and lots of colour.

Considering that you’ve been part of some memorable bridal campaigns, how did you ensure that your own wedding looks stood out?

I’ve worked with brands that have a strong aesthetic and that’s helped me define my own. Having this understanding of my style, of what looks good on me and what I can pull off really allowed me to comfortably go for what I wanted, knowing full well that that confidence would alone be enought to make me stand out. I even went for my fittings on my own, as I wanted it to just be a one-on-one conversation with the designers, and I guess they appreciated that as well. They all knew that I like to experiment with cuts and silhouettes and that I can pull off unconventional looks. With all this in mind, I wasn’t worried about my bridal looks not standing out.

Weddings are stressful for most brides. Was it the same for you? How did you cope with it all?

Being a very chilled out person in general helped me a lot. I made sure everything was organised and delegated to the right people. Once all the orders had been placed and tasks appointed, I didn’t need to worry. The designers knew me, so that end was sorted. Similarly, I went for Carbon Events by Sara Chapra for the décor, as she knew my style. She suggested ‘Walking on Sunshine’ as my theme and I fell in love with it instantly. To reduce stress, my advice is to know yourself and to know who understands you the best. Once you delegate tasks to them, the stress dissipates.

What were your rituals before the wedding? Did you change up your skincare regimen, for example?

To be honest, I’m not very into rituals. I tried the whole ubtan thing, but I felt too uncomfortable. In terms of skincare, I didn’t change anything at all and didn’t go for any treatments.

I believe to look pretty all you need to be is confident—a lesson learnt through my modelling campaigns. I don’t recommend anyone to change their skincare routines or get treatments right before the big day. It’s best to incorporate new products a few months in advance. Even for my bridal looks, I went for skincare and makeup products that I knew worked on me. In fact, I didn’t even go for a facial; I went for it afterwards to detox my skin from all the products during the wedding days.

Your reception look as a modern bride was refreshing. What was the thought process behind it?

I’m glad you think so. I’m a modern girl at heart, so it was a no-brainer. Don’t get me wrong, I love traditions, but they’re not for me. I knew I was never going to be a bride with a dupatta on her head, at least not for my main day. I believe a lot of the traditions are there for other people and they were incorporated in some of the other events of my wedding. But, the main bridal look was going to be quintessentially me. Faraz Manan understood that and that’s why he started off with the emerald colour actually. The initial outfit he showed me wasn’t too far off from the final look. Anyone who knows me knows that I’d always wanted to be a Faraz Manan bride. However, it was important that it be a comfortable look, with no fuss on embroidery or heavy detailing. A backless outfit with minimal embellishments on the pants was perfect—for the wedding lunch and the party afterwards.

We fell in love with your bridal shoot. How did you come to the decision of choosing Fatima Tariq for your portraits?

Fatima’s work is gorgeous and I’ve been obsessed with it. However, the portraits were a gift from my cousin Farishteh; once she told me about that, I knew I had to get Fatima to cover the rest of the event as well. The way she creates moods and captures moments is truly magical. Both my husband and I are ecstatic at how the shots turned out.

They always call it the bride’s big day. But, did Hasaan have specific wishes for the events or did he leave it all up to you? How did you balance what you both wanted?

As I said, I’m a chill person and don’t generally freak out, especially when I know everything’s been sorted. Hasaan, on the other hand, is a lawyer who works all day; he wasn’t able to see a lot of the backend work and got a bit antsy towards the end. But he was also very trusting of me and that helped a lot. His main thing was that he wanted his friends to have fun, but he was also concerned about Covid. So, I decided to stagger the guest list at my wedding lunch; the elders came for lunch and once they left, we had a black-tie sundowner. I wanted to throw him the best party of his life. It was intimate, it was manageable and it was a lot of fun.

Both of you look adorable together. Tell us more about you two. What’s the story?

Hasaan and I go way back. Although we were in different schools, we both knew of each other through our friends. However, when we got back from college and saw each other again, it was love at first sight. He’s always been the person I kept going back to and couldn’t get him out of my head. He’s the funniest person in the room, he’s humble, he’s kind, he doesn’t gossip, he’s not uptight—I automatically gravitated towards him and the positive aura that surrounds him. When his family found out I was single, they sent me a proposal and now we’re excited to spend the rest of our lives together.

Were there any big day mishaps that you can share with us?

No mishaps at all! One funny incident, though, was how my youngest brother’s Gen-Z friends took over from DJ Shakir at the sundowner and played their rave music. We are still laughing at the image of a bunch of teens in sunglasses on the dance floor. But ultimately, it was endearing.

You decided not to have a mehndi. Any particular reason for that, or is that something that you’re personally not interested in?

I’m not a mehndi person at all. Even in non-Covid circumstances, I wouldn’t have had one. I run away from dance practices and I didn’t want to put my friends, who all work, through that. At the end of the day, it was about having a good time and that’s what we had.

What was your experience as a bride during Covid-19? Would you have done your wedding differently if there was no pandemic?

Quite fun actually. I enjoyed the intimacy of it and, as I said, would’ve done it that way regardless. The smaller affair allowed Hasaan and I to hang out individually with all our friends and loved ones, without the pomp and circumstance of a bigger, traditional event. At all the events leading up to the wedding, we had everyone whom we love present and were able to interact with them. It’s also quite affordable, so I do recommend everyone look into smaller weddings, even after Covid.

Any tips for other brides who’re preparing for their big day during the ongoing Covid-19 crisis?

Divide your guest list. That’s what we did at most of our events. The elders would come for lunch or dinner, enjoy some music and leave. Then our friends would join us. We didn’t want too many people in closed spaces and this really helped with that. Strategic guest list making should be your biggest priority if you’re planning on getting married during this time.

What would’ve been your ideal destination wedding, if you could’ve had it anywhere in the world?

Oh that’s easy! Hunza or Skardu if in Pakistan (I’m in love with our northern areas) and Lake Lugano in Italy if anywhere abroad. The Lake Lugano and Como region is my favourite place in the world; I went to college there and a wedding event in that area would’ve been the stuff of dreams.

Now that the wedding is over, what are your plans for the honeymoon?

We’re going on a safari trip to southern Africa. I’m looking forward to visiting Botswana, Tanzania, Kenya and Zimbabwe. The wide open spaces and the wildlife are going to be amazing. But, both Hasaan and I are city people as well and enjoy good nightlife. So, we’ll be sure to spend some time in Cape Town as well and explore a bit more of South Africa.

 

 

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