Juan and Shahirah's Wedding Reception


Almost every young woman fantasizes about her dream wedding. From the design of her wedding dress to the design of her wedding invitations. Will it be in French lace?  Would it be a traditional or modern design? What is the most elegant font one could choose for the invitation card to the most important day of one's life?

I am but one of those women. I didn't have my head up in the clouds about my wedding day. I was more concerned about the type of man I would end up with. And then I met Juan. Even though he wasn't Muslim at the time, I was drawn to his character and calm demeanor. Despite our cultural differences, I knew almost early on that he could be the 'Juan' (the one) but ultimately, I let Him decide. Although we got to know each other for almost 2 years, we only started the wedding planning process 8 months before the wedding. It was the most stressful thing I ever did because we didn't have only one big event to plan but TWO! And nothing ever goes exactly to plan when you plan an event.

Our nikah (solemnization) took place on Saturday, 4th August 2018 and it was followed by our wedding reception the next day. In Malaysia, wedding receptions typically happen at least a week after the solemnization but in our case we had to do it the very next day because our international guests couldn't stay for another week.

Looking at these photos brings back many memories - in some ways, it feels like it was just yesterday - but it also evokes the deepest gratitude to our family and friends who were there for us - from helping us pack 400 wedding favors to planning and catering for our wedding reception.

WE DID IT, CHICOS! We promise to make it last, inshaaAllah (God willing).



Warnabilla putting the final touches on my bridal ensemble. She's a sweetheart who is most importantly, especially on your wedding day, a very professional make-up artist. 






Juan and his trusty best man, Jonathon. 


Looking dapper and dignified.


I chose fuchsia for my wedding reception gown. I was nervous to wear an unconventional color at first but I definitely didn't want to be boring! I felt like queen all night. Thank you, Rizman Ruzaini.


"You think you know but you have no idea" is what comes to mind when I see photos of the reception hall decoration today. Oh my goodness. I am going to have to elaborate on this in a vlog but alhamdulillah, everything turned out great in the end.


Our wedding reception was a mix of Johorian Malay and Ecuadorian-American tradition. In Johorian tradition, the bride walks down the aisle first and awaits her groom.


Before the groom can be with his bride he has to pass through a few 'tolls' or a barricade consisting of my cousins and aunts who won't let him through without a little negotiation. As you can see, the best man plays a big role in the negotiation process.


That was the moment we discovered Juan's veil-lifting skills, which was 👌.


Together again - after being separated for a whole 15 minutes. LOL. 




One of the highlights of the night was watching these little girls perform traditional Malay dance. We are truly grateful to the late Pak Ngah and A.R. Rahman for organizing the traditional dances and gamelan music for our wedding reception. 
Innalillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon


Stealing private, happy moments amidst the craziness. 


So much love for mi familia for helping us make this happen, for everything, really. 


The Ecuadorians and Americans who came all the way for our celebration - muchas gracias


And last but not least, thank you to all my friends who came from near...


... and far (as far as Egypt!). 




If I could do it all over again, I'd find a way to talk to my friends more. I really miss the good old days when we would talk to each other in person more than follow each other on social media. My friends' presence meant so much to me I tried to save as many Instagram stories they posted of the wedding as I could. 









And finally... the video!



Venue: Glam Hall, Menara Mustapha Kamal
Make up: Warnabilla
Dress: Rizman Ruzaini
Bouquet: Idieana Rozaidi
Photography/Videography: Wolvesome People
Decorator: Mahligai Creative
Caterer: Katie Kitchen


I love being married to Juan and building our lives together but there are times I feel this experience is very surreal. I wasn't looking for 'prince charming' to come and save me. I didn't define my self-worth based on my relationship status. My self-worth couldn't be based on something worldly because my existence is part of something much bigger than this world can contain.

I knew if I were to have a partner he would have to be someone who was curious about the meaning of his existence and cares about how his way of being in this world affects others. Someone religiously spiritual rather than ritually sanctimonious. A man who, when getting to know a woman, cares more about what is on her mind and in her heart instead of what is on her head ― for instance, if she wears the hijab, why, and if she doesn't, why not?

Choices reveal a lot about a person and some choices are worth investigating. 

More than anything, I knew my partner would have to be kind-hearted, respectful and responsible because marriage isn't always a bed of roses and the last thing a woman should have is a man who is irresponsible with the way he handles difficulty.

I found my partner and more than a year later, he's still that same man to me and more.

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